Family holiday 2014

Last year we were with the family on holiday in Norfolk… here’s a post from then:

I am lucky to have a most remarkable family; every year my cousins and I take our families on a holiday at Easter time, and this year it was in Norfolk… and altogether twenty-nine of us were staying in a wonderful house in the village of Bacton. There weren’t twenty-none at any one time; the most was twenty-five, which is quite a number even so!

This must be the eleventh or twelfth year we have been away together, and we have stayed in large country-houses, old farmhouses, and even converted chapels in Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire,, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Devon… this year we went east and found accommodation big enough for us right by the sea.

We were a little anxious in January when the coast took a terrific battering, and several houses and other property was lost to a terrible tidal surge… we just hoped we still had a holiday home waiting for us! We were fine, as it happens, but tragically several people had lost their homes although fortunately not their lives.

DSCF6561Down on the beach at Happisburgh (pronounced Haze-burgh) the dreadful impact of the high tides, huge waves, and on-shore winds was only too apparent. The cliffs had been gouged away, the soft clay and sand wrenched from beneath homes and houses.DSCF6564


2014 is the anniversary of some dreadful battles for liberation across Europe; 1944 was a year when the tide began to turn and the forces of good began to overcome the forces of darkness and evil.

My father was a paratrooper during the war; he gave seven years of his life to serve his country, and fight for the freedom of all people whatever their race, colour or religion… he was very conscious of that. He was conscripted when he was just nineteen, and was not demobbed until 1946. He did not fight in the Netherlands, but in many other theatres of war including Monte Cassino, North Africa, France and Greece. When we visited the Oorlogsmuseum at Overloon, I found it very disturbing, because although my father did not fight across this land, many young men of his age did, and many, many young men died.DSCF6823The museum is wonderful, fascinating, and really tells the story of the war in the Netherlands and in other areas, including the Far East. Visit it if you can, and if you go in the bomber simulator think of the young men who would have really experienced what you are.


A fitting tribute to Nigel



Our dear friend, best man, god father to our son, Nigel Marland, died earlier this year. He was a life-long supporter of Oldham Rugby League Club, and as a tribute the team’s strip has his name and dates emblazoned on the shirt.

Scan wedding 2Nigel in his white tuxedo at our wedding

Beach huts


When we lived in Cambridge as children, ear friends of ours had a beach hut in Frinton, a rather posh and exclusive Essex resort. I’m not sure how often we went there, but my memory seems to tell me that it was several times each summer. I know we had sunny warm days there with our friends, they had three boys, one the same age as me, one very dashing and much older (he was at least three years older than us!) and one younger. They had family who lived there,so after a day at the beach, sometimes we would go back to their aunty’s home for a proper high tea.

The beach hut itself was about the size of those in my picture which are at Sheringham in Norfolk, not Frinton-on-Sea in Essex. However, I seem to remember it having a door in the middle, and windows either side of the door. I can’t quite remember what was inside, but there may have been a bench seat running round the walls. Whatever, I was enchanted by it,and still would love to have a beach hut; in the meantime, I have a summer house in the garden which my husband bought me which is equally enchanting.

Happisburgh Lighthouse

Isn’t this magnificent? This is the lighthouse at Happisburgh, pronounced Hazeburgh, and it is the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex) and interestingly it is the only independently run lighthouse in Great Britain.

It was built in 1790 went into action in 1791; originally there were two of them, this magnificent lighthouse is 85 foot tall and the top of it,  lantern, is 134 foot above sea level. It’s partner was only 65 foot tall and 20 feet  lower. The second one went out of action in 1883 and demolished safely before it was dangerous due to coastal erosion. The two lighthouses produced a guide like landing lights for an aircraft to lead ships safely round some very dangerous sandbanks, the Haippsburgh Sands.

Volunteers now look after it after it was decommissioned in 1987; they repainted it in glorious red and white bands in 2009. You can see a live webcam from the top here;

Lost… my cake mojo

I have always thought I’m pretty good at making cakes… in general my cakes are fine, whether they are chocolate, fruit, plain sponge… they always seem to look good and taste good… but recently I seem to have lost my touch.

I think it may have started last year on the family holiday when I thought I would make a carrot cake; it didn’t work. I put it in the freezer and made another to take away for the family… I ended up throwing it away. I’ve had another couple of disappointing bakes since then so I decided that this year I would make an easy-peasy ginger cake. It looked good, it smelled good, but when I opened the tin to ice it… it was wet… what had happened? I had a good look at it, decided it was just ‘moist’ and put on a nice lemon frosting. It actually didn’t taste too bad, as long as you got a nice outside edge… the middle was soggy, well, actually it was more than soggy, and then would you believe it the frosting got mould! What? Disaster! I’ve never had that happen before so into the bin it went. I had also made some really simple sponge buns, no-one can go wrong with buns… I must have beaked hundreds if not thousands of buns in my time… so I just don’t understand why now suddenly even my buns were failures…

Next year I’ll make a chocolate cake, or maybe some biscuits for the family holiday.

sThis cake was perfect… as was the cake in my featured pic, so where am I now going wrong?