Thursday, December 27, 2012

I will become another
For now to be unremarked would seem to be right
Not yet a wizard carrying a carved wooden staff
Or a beard that had grown long, through the long ages
Matching waves of hair from under a pointed cap
But soon when the world ceases to be all that it promised
I will obtain the magic lore and walk in the world reborn
A new wanderer in grey; serious and grim, with a heart...
As big as the world, that is full of good deeds and songs

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So I will desire for understanding and the humility to see it
For from the heart of Christmas must surely always come peace
But though it does not last and is so often bereft of sincerity
We celebrate what may yet come to pass within our wishes

Though the heart desires more speed, the world moves so slowly
In intricate slow dances that only the wisest may know truth of
For though hope is perhaps a window to look down on folly
Without that sweet chance of change we would not continue

Attest to be the unlooked for excellence within a gentler world
Release the encouraged separations we bring about so easily
For me I will take of the goodness I am offered and use it all
Unrestrained by conventions and the blind obedience to virtue

For of all the gifts and words and deeds we may give and receive
Time is the only one true endowment we have that is worth giving
Spend it wisely lest its jaws seize fate and nip away at our existence
That for all the heady semantics of prose; is my Christmas wish.

Monday, December 24, 2012

For whit I now make my plea of ignorance no less the bold for its stupidity
Sooth it was as colossal in size as told from legend by a nurse to a cradle
The elephant in the room now reveals itself and so may sit down beside me.
Yet I though alike to a juvenile, stumbling half king that possesseth no kingdom
Having less of the better part of valour and more of the main part of jest
Have a care and mock me not, for this regent my yet bite back if provoked
Or would so if it were unrestrained by convention and blind obedience to virtue

How may we live such sightless lives seeing naught of the devastated stratagems?
That sinks a country lower than heathen realms while its people decay Portamento
Whence good is lost to commerce so the world we knew looks upon its own feast
Devouring first its singed toes in spite and then each finger with aberrant relish
The marrow sweetened by idolatrous celebrity news hides the bitter taste of wrong
Feast away thus poor nation for I cannot help you regain thy mark in the world
Empires fall surely as night but more the pity that the treachery came from inside

© Edetric Vistal

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Some pictures from around Entwistle reservoir yesterday. The tree decorators have been out in force this year but there is a note from the water company saying that if the decorations are not removed after Christmas then next year they will not be permitted and will be removed as soon as they are put up. This is because apparently; the Countryside Ranger time is too valuable to be used to remove them. But if they are going to remove them one way or another then they don’t actually gain anything, so humbug to you United Utilities.

This one is desperately sad – shame on you tree decorator people

Some other shots


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Now into my 7th week of not smoking. I have an electronic cigarette for the moment which is completely harmless and smell free. I am loving being able to walk up the inclines without any huffing and puffing. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes to the lung capacity so quickly. Don’t think about it - Just do it. There is a scare story circulating of increased resistance after vaping but this seems to be a red herring. My oxygen levels are now amazing. Gee it only took 38 years and loads of missing teeth to wise up.

I have saved so far up to today a total of £450 but have spent on the electronic substitute £185 so really saved a grand total of £265. It would have been more but I switched types of e-cig so that bumped up the cost a bit. I now use the Liberty Flights kit. There is a shop just around the corner. Good vape and looks like a mini huqqa pipe. They also do a pipe – cool!! Thinking about one of those.


I previously used the ‘nicolites’ product which was good but way too expensive.  It was also too realistic if you understand and long term I don’t want to get hooked on a long term replacement.

You know one other great thing was that finally the taxman didn’t get the revenue... that is so pleasing. Let’s all move to ecigs, get vaping and then stop. Don’t get hooked long term because the chancellor’s eyes will be looking this way at the tax revenue he’s missing.

I finally decorated the cakes this week. The square 14 inch monster (22lb) is for Nick’s Rumbletums catering in Clitheroe and the 12 inch round one (14lb) is for home. Simply decorated really, (what else) but holly is a good Christmas motif. Both cakes have a combined weight of 16.5 kg or 36 lb.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A heavy hoar frost has been with us for some days now. It is thickening its grasp on the trees and plants. Even without snow after a while it starts to look almost like we have had a blizzard.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

T-6 Days

The end of the world is nigh so apocalypse observers would have us believe. The Mayan calendar may have begun in 3114BC and continued accurately ever since, but it comes to an abrupt halt on 21 December 2012. Hence, the belief that the cosmos will cease to exist in a few days' time...It would have been my brother Phillip’s 53rd birthday on the 21st.

Soon enough; without the help of the Mayans, this will all end for each of us one way or another and then our entire current personal world will fold in upon itself to dissipate into the cosmological machine. The time of that event is unimportant because probably we are living multiple parallel lives that span simultaneously the whole of time. When one strand finishes another begins and joins with those already in play.  They touch, caress and repel with equal force through the spatial time layers triggering thoughts and reverie in us from the other strand events.

We have already lived so many lives flowing ceaselessly through time in multiple directions and will subsist in so many more that we have no need to fear anything from the future; for not all of them can be tainted by our current measures of regret and longing. That is my belief because in the final analysis; just one lifetime would be too easy. The world and the universe don’t appear to do fair and uncomplicated in this strand. But hope is a child born of hidden knowledge garnered in the cosmic cycle of rebirth.

Went to watch the latest ‘Great Expectations’ film last week. Enjoyed it very much (so recommended) but I generally like anything Helen Bonham Carter is in. Love the line (departing slightly from the Dickens text) from Miss Havisham (played by HBC) as she shows Pip the wedding table complete with decaying cake “The mice have gnawed at it, but the sharper teeth of time have gnawed on me.”
I won’t be going to see the new Hobbit film though as I am not playing the 3 films over 3 year’s game again. The Lord of the Rings was quite enough.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Gabrielle’s chariot descends to bear me away
The inviolate forever meets the indomitable
Pity the porcelain now lost amongst the glass
Yet all is not lost; while we attempt restoration
The king has lost his crown; gainsay not his head

Friday, December 07, 2012

Uncalled but not unlooked for on the horizon
The first snow of the winter season fell today
Swirling in unison down onto hard starlit paths
Highlighting the fading relief on ancient words
Biting through melancholy; wrapping us in glee
Whispering promissory notes of cold sterility

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The first house east of the sea and west of the world sits atop a green rolling hill that rushes toward the sea like the keel of a ship. Proud chalk bows pierce the waves that crash and roll remorselessly against them. If ever you arrive in winter all may seem bereft of joy and warmth on the desolate deck of this land but there is a welcome waiting for you within the halls of the steward that assuages all hurts.
One day we will travel there and see ourselves what dreams a smouldering sunset over calm sea can bring to our eager minds. There we shall sit on the edge of the aquatic realm in the garden of Qustal and count stars emerging as the day sun passes away to draw down night from the heavens. As gentle and gracious shall the transition to dusk fall, that it shall recall to us the russet and gold gown worn by fairest lady Agrimonea, as she exits our presence  in a passing of beauty that we know shall come not again; till the morrow. If hope were a star that could be plucked from the heavens; its name would be Agrimonea.

© Edetric Vistal

Bread prices set to rise after bad weather hits UK wheat crop. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said millers were expected to import 2m tonnes of mostly German wheat to make up for a 13% shortfall in the home-grown crop. It will be the biggest wheat import since 1980, and is expected to lead to a substantial increase in the price of bread next year.

The price of bread-quality wheat for delivery rose by £5.50 a tonne last week to £261.50 a tonne, according to the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA), a trade body.The cost of basic feed wheat on the futures market rose to a record high of £227 a tonne, a 45% increase since January. Global wheat prices are also at near-record highs.

Glencore, the global commodities trader, which controls about 8% of the global wheat trade, is expected to be a big beneficiary of the price rise. This year the boss of its food trading business said the worst drought to hit the US since the 1930s would be ‘good for Glencore’.

Chris Mahoney, head of Glencore's agricultural division, told investors this summer. "High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities (exploiting price differences in different markets). In terms of the outlook for the balance of the year, the environment is a good one.”

Thanks for the reassurance Chris and perhaps it is good for Glencore investors but probably not so good for the rest of us – no wonder they call money by the old euphemism ‘dough’.
See full story in the Guardian

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

On a clear and frosty day to surely attend
Under trees; do shadows and sun blend
The beauty of the winter we may lend
But remember, fauna from the cold; fend

Monday, December 03, 2012

One day I will live in a house high on a bleak heather clad hill close to the stars. The air will be as clean as the stream that feeds the well and shall carry to me the scent of the world and there will finally be room for the mind to expand to its potential across the rolling, empty day!

Most authorities trace the name 'Darwen' to the Brythonic* derw "oak", originally applied to the river; an etymology supported by an older form of the name, Derewent (1208).
The area around Darwen has been inhabited since the early Bronze Age, and the remains of a barrow from approximately 2000 BC have been partially restored at the Ashleigh Barrow in Whitehall. Artefacts including a bronze dagger and urns containing human ashes were found, and a small number of these finds are now on display at Darwen Library Theatre. The Romans once had a force in Lancashire, and a Roman road is visible on the Ordnance Survey map of the area.
Mediaeval Darwen was tiny; little or nothing survives. One of the earliest remaining buildings is a farmhouse at Bury Fold, dated 1675. Whitehall Cottage is thought to be the oldest house in the town, and was mostly built in the 17th and 18th centuries but contains a chimney piece dated 1557.
* The Brythonic languages derive from the British language, spoken throughout Britain south of the Firth of Forth during the Iron Age and Roman period
Here are some pictures from the walk around Bury fold the other day.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

The ultimate futility of the inbuilt need to exist can only ever be modified with exquisite grace. It rises and falls extant in delicate virtue till we are transformed to constant joy by it.  

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The world sits behind the stars
The stars sit behind the creator
The creator sits beside nothing
Nothing is the design of intent

Friday, November 30, 2012

 Apple and Olive Oil Cake

 280g plain flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
75ml virgin olive oil
25ml hazelnut oil
150g vanilla caster sugar
4 eggs
4 dessert apples, peeled and cut in 1cm dice
Zest from 1 lemon
30ml milk
2 eggs (whites only)

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C, grease 2 x 25cm cake tins and lightly dust with flour
  • Weigh the sugar, vanilla seeds and oil into a large mixing bowl; use an electric mixer to whisk the sugar and oil till light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, whisk until creamy and pale in colour.
  • Sift all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold half of the dry ingredients gently into the egg mixture with a metal spoon.
  • Add the milk and fold the rest of the flour in. Do not over work the batter.
  • Fold in the diced apples and lemon zest.
  • Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
  • Divide the cake mixture between the two cake moulds. This will give you two fairly shallow cakes, if you like a higher cake only use one cake tin.
  • Place the cake tins in the preheated oven on the middle shelf and bake for 1 ½ hours.
  • Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the moulds for 10 minutes, turn them out on to a cooling rack and let the cakes cool completely.
  • Dust with icing sugar
This cake is interesting and tastes rather like a steamed sponge pudding and is best served warm with custard or cream. It’s nothing like the one at Breda Murphy’s the other week. I probably wouldn’t make it again with this recipe.


David Cameron refused to undermine 300 years of Press freedom yesterday as he rejected the key recommendations of the Leveson Report to bolster a new press code with statutory underpinning (a voluntary code of practice for the press that is backed up if needed by the law.)

Without statutory underpinning
None of us will ever be winning
The politicians continue grinning
The press will carry on sinning
David Cameron’s mettle is being tested and unfortunately he’s buckled already. Levenson’s report despite my initial scepticism it would be a whitewash seems to be fair, balanced and walking in the right direction. If the recommendations are not implemented then all it proves is that the powerful vested interests who twitter on about the traditions and freedom of the press have something to fear from it. We need to move on from journalism laws of the 17th century. It will harm nothing in the way of honest, investigative journalism and empower people savaged by the noxious fumes from current affairs that quickly wither in importance leaving behind destroyed reputations and lives for those affected. Currently libellous redress is only for the rich.  Time for change; so do the right thing, Prime Minister.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.  He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them. After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out,

'Excuse me, where are we?'
'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered.
'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.
'Of course, sir, come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'
The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
'Can my friend come in, too?' the traveller asked gesturing toward his dog,.
'I'm sorry sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.....

'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'
'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'
'How about my friend here?' the traveller gestured to the dog.
'There should be a bowl by the pump,' said the man.

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveller filled  the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveller asked.
'This is Heaven,' he answered.
'Well, that's confusing,' the traveller said. 'The man down the road said  that was Heaven, too.'
'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'
'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'
'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'

Tuesday 13th Nov 2012
Went for a Job Seekers interview today – the staff were friendly but guarded; but what a convoluted performance just to get money you are supposedly entitled to. I had to take my passport in to support the claim –probably because they have never seen a UK one before. It does make me confused that I have worked for 36 years and all through the period paid tax (and all the other payments) and now when you just want back what you’re entitled to they expect you to jump through hoops...aargh!! One has to comply with the tenets of the Job seekers agreement which basically says:-

I am prepared to do as I am told and let go of all pride and self respect values I might once have held. If you fail any of the tenets apparently they can withdraw the money which in my case only lasts for 6 months anyway. (In total it amounts to £1846.) If after that when the six months have elapsed and you have the smallest modicum of savings then you get nothing. So ill thought out, poorly executed and useless to me in the long run- yep, sounds like a government policy to me.
Oh well see how the next 2 weeks go

Tuesday 27th Nov 2012
Returned to the Job centre to have my two week interview but I knew before I went that the Job seekers allowance thing wasn’t going to work out. So I have now been signed off any benefits I was receiving. Bit annoyed really as before I was made redundant the advisors at work basically said there was none of this hassle for the first six months. But I have thought about it quite a lot and at this point in time I am not prepared to –

§  Travel for up to one and a half hours in each direction to a job
§  Work for the minimum wage (currently £6.08 per hour
§  Learn to drive a fork lift truck or some other totally unsuitable task.
§  Be prepared to work at any time of the week such as nights and weekends
§  Search for a job for a minimum of 3 hours each day
§  Apply for the jobs given to me at the Job Centre
§  Sign up with a minimum of 2 job agencies
§  Be talked to like an imbecile by a slave labour gangmaster; sorry, jobs adviser

Anyway the funniest thing was after I had laid out what I wasn’t going to do the lady said, “Most people don’t do that anyway.”I think she was giving me the option to carry on, (but I think that is termed fraud.) I wasn’t happy with being so disingenuous. Anyway in time to come I may need the help for real when one day I could have sunk low enough in self esteem and cold, hard cash to finally meet all the criteria for the Cheap labour Charter; sorry, Job Seekers Allowance. That’s the most worrying prospect for the future. I wish I was more materialistic then I should have taken the money by any means, fair or foul, but I’m not really wired that way. Besides that would take up time that could be better used by the staff to find jobs for people more in need? My heart truly goes out to all the people who have to do this simulation for real, week in and week out; at the mercy of ‘Jobs Advisors’ or get nothing. Imagine your life was hanging in the balance of these people. Perhaps we would have change swiftly if they applied the criteria of the Job Seekers Charter to their own staff.

So to sum up - Work for 36 years and pay thousands and thousands in taxation = get nothing. Must be Britain 2012. Thank my lucky stars I had a nice walk before I went.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's a bit wet here but forecast drier and also much colder for the coming week. Took Robbie out this morning and the overflow from the reservoir was going over well. Probably the best I have ever seen it. Some areas of the country have had bad flooding these last few days.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The mother light is waning
Around the dimming world
The mother light is waning
On tall sails now unfurled

The mother light is waning
When joy sets sail to sea
The mother light is waning
For you and also for me
The mother light is waning
For our time not yet to hand
The mother light is waning
Until again she takes our hand

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Love is three monkeys
  Never seeing
    Never listening
      Never saying
        Always waiting

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It has been the November week of four birthdays so I hope everyone had a good time. Shame about the weather during the week but it is pretty much as we’d expect at this time of year. Well perhaps not as cold and frosty as it could be, but incredibly wet and windy.

I have now been out of work for 8 weeks and the time has simply flown by and I have also quit smoking. 3 weeks now and I’m really quite proud of that. Nick has also given up, (well in point of fact he quit first) and he has almost completed a month. I think he wanted to conquer it before he turned 50. So well done you!

Breda Murphy in Whalley

Our dear neighbour has been going here for years and I can see why. Simplistic and understated in design yet retains a personal and surprising convivial atmosphere for lunchtime meals.

The premises are part restaurant, part deli, part gift shop sitting in the old market town of Whalley. This ancient village hosts the ruins of an abbey and numerous artisan and specialist shops.

The food was impeccably cooked and presented and the balance of flavours well executed. Although the portions may appear to be on the small side (especially the main) by the end of the three courses we felt well fed and above all, (and this may be the most important consideration) contented. Overall it is much better to have less beautifully presented because dining then becomes also a visual experience which feeds the soul as well as the stomach.

I couldn’t fault the entire experience at Breda Murphy’s and that is a rare accolade; truly excellent.


Smoked chicken with braised chicken livers

Goats cheese quiche with red onion marmalade


Sea bass fillet on creamed potato with hash brown, wilted spinach and a fennel Chou

Loin of lamb coated in crushed cumin with a mustard couscous and seasonal vegetables


Almond and Pear tart with vanilla ice cream

Apple and olive oil cake with salted butterscotch ice cream

Warm Whiskey & parsnip pudding with nutmeg Anglaise & vanilla ice cream

Coffee with a miniature homemade shortbread
Accompanying Wine – Australian Shiraz

Cost for 3 people £98

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"As good for you today as it's always been."  - maybe but obviously not so good for the employees.

Premier Foods, the maker of the iconic Hovis bread, has announced it is to shut two bakeries and axe 900 jobs as part of plans to overhaul the struggling bread business.

From Wikipedia

The last major British television and cinema advertisement launched was in 2008 to promote its Hovis brand of bread. The 122-second piece name ‘Go On Lad’ was commissioned as part of a £15,000,000 brand relaunch designed to reverse Hovis' declining market share and profits. The commercial follows the journey of a young boy through 122 years of British history, from the establishment of the Hovis brand in 1886 to the current day. The campaign was handled by advertising agency Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy. Production of the commercial itself was contracted to London-based production company Rattling Stick, with post-production handled by The Mill. It was directed by Ringan Ledwidge.

The advertisement, and its associated campaign, proved a popular, critical, and financial success. Its launch was covered by several national newspapers within the United Kingdom, including The Independent, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Mirror, on television programming such as the Granada Reports and Loose Women, and by over 300 local and national radio stations. Sales of Hovis products jumped by over £12,000,000 in the weeks following the launch of Go On Lad, and over 1,000 unsolicited letters and e-mails were sent to Hovis praising the piece. The campaign received dozens of awards from the advertising and television industries, including Gold’s at the Creative Circle Awards, the Marketing Society Awards, and the British Television Advertising Awards. In 2009, the British public voted ‘Go On Lad’ the best television commercial of the decade.

Date and Walnut Cake


•125g dates (pitted)
•150g walnuts (in small chunks)
•300g self-raising flour
•300g soft butter
•4 eggs (beaten)
•300g light brown sugar
•½tsp cinnamon
•Milk (to achieve a soft dropping consistency)

·         Prepare the dates and the walnuts. Remove the stones from the dates and cut into pieces, break up the walnuts into smaller chunks. Blend with the flour and cinnamon and let rest.
·         Cream the butter with the sugar in a bowl, then beat in the egg
·         Add the flour, spice and date and walnut to the creamed mixture and stir well but gently. Do not over stir.
·         Obtain a soft, dropping consistency with a small amount of milk added if needed.
·         Put mixture into a 9 inch round spring form tin (line bottom with greaseproof paper)
·         Bake at 16oC for 1 1/2 hours on the middle shelf (150oC for 1hr 15 min fan oven)

Verdict – cooked well but might benefit from a tablespoon of Golden syrup added after the flour has been added to retain a little more moisture but omit the mlk if you do this. Some other older recipes soak the dates in orange juice and 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda but not sure about that as modern dates are pretty good and usually quite soft.