Monday, August 3, 2015


The Athena dog wanted in. She has always had the idea that she is human; one of the family; in fact, a Sister. So why should she not get in?

In then end she did get into one boat, while the others rode in the rower. Such blessings come along with being Californians where the sun is abundant and the water still, miraculously, exists. 

It is comforting that Grandpa has always been a boat man, ever since he was just starting out. This means he is able and willing to invite any and all to take part, to learn, and even to drive (under careful guidance, of course). 


Even the children have always been eager boat children, ever since they started out. They don't know life with out a boat, and at any given time one might hear the sounds of small voices calling out across the lake. "Grandma! We're here! We see you! Helloooo!"


So when Oregon loved ones came to call it was the natural thing to do, getting into boats and gliding along, merrily. Sweet voices, large and small rang out wafting across to where Grandma sat, watching. It was a moment of peace. A very nice one, after a divine dinner and all sorts of jolliness.

For no voice was the least bit strident, or unhappy. No, it was all good fun, causing this Grandma to once again be thankful, for the thousandth...the millionth... time.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, August 2, 2015


The kiddies were getting an idea. They remembered how many days it took to drive northward to Cannon Beach (three), and wondered if there might be a better way. Their memories of the trip included multiple potty stops, meals, hotels and gas stations. It was all the most terrific fun, to be sure. But it took rather a lot of time.

The eldest, of course, brought up (again) the possibility of flying there. "Grampa, it would only take 2 and a half hours, instead of 3 days! We have just GOT TO FLY!" he intoned.

"Yes! Fly! Fly! Fly!" cried the 2 little ones. "Only 2 and a half hours!" They did have a point, Grandma thought.

"But," Grampa said, "If we fly once, that still leaves all the other trips to Cannon Beach still needing a solution. What would we do then?" They stood in silent confusion. Gramps was right.

"So, do you know, Grampa?" asked the eldest.

Gramps thought for a moment, and then said, "Well. I suppose we could always consider an RV.." The children paused for only an electric moment and then, "RV! RV! RV!" they piped. 

The RV idea, of course, is one of Grampa's most favorite topics to discuss and research. Taking the kiddies to do this with him was just exactly the ticket, and Grandma began gathering them up and vectored them toward the van.  

'In we get, then." said Grandma.  "Off we go to the RV lot!" said Grampa.

The RV lot had simply TONS of RVs. 

The nice RV man shook Grampa's hand and welcomed the children. And they were instantly interested in every single trailer, camper, 5th wheel, and Class A, B, or C they saw. Nothing could get them tired of it. They talked about what it would be like to eat in the little kitchen instead of wall-to-wall fast food; or using the RV facilities so that no Rest Area need ever be stopped at (Grandma and Grampa both liked this idea); then stopping for the night in a nice, protected RV Park with hook-ups and little shops along the way. It would be dreamy.

After a while the nice RV man made them some popcorn. And he gave them a Sprite. And we went back out into the heat to look at yet another set of rigs. But at this point, Grandma had begun to feel hot and not at all dreamy. Soon even the men felt that they did not really need to step into another bake oven of an RV, and decided to end the tour. 

"Goodbye! Goodbye!" said the children. "Thank you!"

We drove out of the lot, and then - sudden sadness! "Where is my doggy?" said the small girl.

Silence. "Doggy?" said Grandpa.

If a drone had been hovering above the white van, listening and watching, it would have seen the van make a u-turn, retrace its steps back into the RV lot. It would have seen the small girl and the Grandma climbing back into the RVs, to look for the very important stuffed doggy that was missing. The RVs were all still bake ovens.

Although we never found it, the small girl was kind and understanding. She (and we) still live in hope that the nice RV man will come across it and it will make its way back to the Little Blue House.

In the meantime, it will probably be a while before Grandma climbs back into an RV again. Winter, maybe?

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Best Saturdays

The best Saturdays are those spent with the people we love. Sometimes that happens within just a few miles of home, and at other times the Volvo wends its way westward, toward the waves. Because seeing the rather stunning son almost always involves waves. 

So, we faced this: order to find this:

I do not like the driving part. And laboring through the SoCal traffic nightmare always makes me wish just a teensy-weensy bit that we had a nice friend with a nice airplane. But then I would probably be afraid of the airplane too. So there's nothing for it but to say our prayers and just plough on through.

You don't see it here, but just to the left of the Rather Stunning were huge numbers of other surfers, all crowding the waves and jockeying for position. I did not know how they could find a scrap of wave upon which to ride, there were so many of them. But strangely, they did. To the right there was a clot of beginning surfers, searching for a scrap of their own wave, and mostly failing. But up they scrambled, over and over again. It was really rather sweet.

At first, I didn't know how I could keep tabs on my own experienced surfer out there, hidden amongst the many. We joked that he really should have a helium balloon tied to his toe and hovering, in order to mark him out. A bright, pink, bulging, glittering blob of a balloon with a large black arrow pointing downward at him, with the words, "Here I am MOM!" But strangely, I did pick him out of the crowds. Mothers can, you know - they can tell which one is theirs no matter if there are a thousand other black-clad, mostly young men out there flailing about and disappearing beneath the waves. We know which head belongs to us. 

And there was someone else to see on our westward trek, today. Someone else to plough through traffic for. Someone else who knows and loves the rather stunning son, and who is, herself, rather stunning. 

Yay and Hooray!

Because life sometime brings along with it some terrifically wonderful people who make the journey that much sweeter!

Every mother's dream. 

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Leaving L.A.</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Friday, July 31, 2015

Morning Raspberry and Almond Muffins

The muffins are in the oven, but I can tell you right now that there were problems. I don't know if they will be even half as pretty as friend Rosie's were yesterday, but they will probably taste divine.

Everybody knows that mornings are the right and proper time for muffins. And on any normal day, these muffins would have long ago been made. But here it is, 6:27 pm and they are only just now baking! But oh, dear Readers, they are smelling awfully nice, and I can hardly wait to make their acquaintance. Just a few minutes more, and I will.

In the meantime, I shall give you the recipe. It is in British, not American measurements so I will add those just in case. *It was here that I had the first of my afore-mentioned troubles. Because as I did not realize, there are tons of websites out there that will give you the conversions. But much to my dismay none of them matched each other - and Rosie, over the Pond in England, was already sleeping! I didn't want to take the time to figure out which conversion site was the best. 

First clue of good baking: Whatever you do, don't rush it.

In the end I came up with a batter that did seem the right consistency and tasted really great (I suppose with one cup of sugar it's bound to be smashing). Here is friend Rosie's recipe, with my conversions in bold:

Raspberry & Almond Muffins

Makes 12

325g(11oz) self -raising flour (2 2/3 cups)
225g(8oz)) caster sugar (1 cup)
1tsp baking powder
50g(2oz) blanched chopped almonds (1/2 cup)
2 eggs
100g(4oz) butter,melted + more for tin(optional) (7/8 cup)
284ml carton of buttermilk (1.2 cups)
½ tsp almond extract
150g(5oz) fresh raspberries +few extra (I love raspberries) (one heaping cup)

Preheat oven to 200deg C/180 C fan/gas6 (370F). Butter or line a 12 hole deep muffin tin. (I use muffin cases)

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and two thirds of the chopped almonds in a bowl

In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, the 100g(4oz) of melted butter, buttermilk and almond extract and whisk until blended.

Pour liquid on to the flour mixture and mix until smooth (being careful not to overbeat)

Stir in the raspberries.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tin, sprinkle with remaining almonds and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins until risen and golden brown.

These can be made up to 3 days ahead and refreshed in moderate oven for 10mins to serve. They also freeze very well.

*My second trouble happened at the raspberries.

Do you love raspberries, too? So do I! But you wouldn't know it because I FORGOT TO ADD THEM TO THE BATTER. At the very last second, before placing them into the oven I saw the raspberries sitting there, innocently minding their business. What to do! I couldn't pour the batter back into the bowl without making an unbelievable mess. So I just picked the berries up one at a time, and poked them into the individual muffins by hand. Still messy, but OK. About 4 raspberries made it inside each muffin.

 And so now, TA-DA!! Here are the finished muffins:

Not quite the same as friend Rosie's. I ended up having quite a bit more batter, which probably means I guessed wrong on the conversions. Oh well! At least I was right about one thing, about which the SconeLady's husband agrees: 

They taste divine!

Friend Rosie's Morning Raspberry and Almond Muffins

I do hope you try them, my friends. If you find a good solid conversion chart and do that up right, you won't be sorry. Every recipe that comes from our SconeTherapy Norfolk kitchens will please your family every time.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Scones and Cathedrals

The emails between Norfolk and California have begun picking up, dear Readers, and I'll bet you have no difficulty at all in guessing why. Travel plans! The excitement builds as Fall of 2015 shapes itself into yet another search for scones - and Cathedrals - and friend Rosie.

It is really lovely to make distance plans with someone who is just as keenly interested. Who speaks British and understands American. Who gives more than she receives. And shall I say one thing more? Whose children are just as nice to me as their mother is. It is puzzling, but they do!

Just yesterday as I was plying friend Rosie with electronic details, questions, and exclamation points, she sent the photograph below with the caption: 

This is what I've been doing this morning xxx

What she had been doing this morning is going to be what I am doing tomorrow morning. Just look at those muffins! They are Raspberry and Almond, and were made for a charity event that friend Rosie fully supports. I found myself envying the lucky charitable giver who will be consuming these tasty treats at that event. I myself would have paid dearly for them.

But since I am not there and she is not here, I shall have to make them for myself. And by tomorrow evening there will be a post all about it, with a photo. We shall compare how the British AGA cooker produces muffins, as compared with the Electro Lux oven in my American kitchen. I myself cooked with an AGA long years ago in Norfolk, and I know how superior it is. There should be an AGA in every kitchen! How delicious everything would be.

And in the meantime, Readers, thirsty California is once again getting rained upon. Right this very minute! Yay and Hooray! We sit here gazing out of the open door at it, in wonder. It may appear dull and gray, and may mean the lake overflows again. But to we thirsty Californians it is the most beautiful sight in this wide world right about now. 

The Governor's wife must be dancing a jig.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

There's Always A Dog

Reaching far back into the annals of family history, you will always find one: a cuddly, tail-wagging, happily licking Dog. I'd never actually had one of my very own, but the family did have its fair share. I loved them all, but (due to a bite, or two) was wary. 

And then with marriage came a whole selection of show trial dogs - trained and disciplined, intelligent, responsive. These were not really pets. They were serious workers who were loved by the family and knew their jobs. They are still remembered and spoken of with great fondness. It's almost as though they still exist, decades on.

Young Father-in-Law with never-to-be-forgotten 'Sparky'

With a new baby coming, we began thinking of getting our very own pup, probably a Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers start out winning right away, don't you think? Who could go wrong with a breed-name like that? 

Our first Golden, 'Brandi-Wine', babysitting the lovely daughter

Before very long it was hard to remember what it had been like without a dog, so far into our hearts did she reach. But dear Readers, there was a bit of a problem with this pup in the beginning. She wouldn't obey! Her will was stronger, at first, than ours. So we set out to train her, with the help of my Father-in-Law (who could probably train a cobra, if pressed). And miraculously, once she learned the basics she would do just about anything we asked. 

Soon we branched into all sorts of interesting obedience training, all our own. We started small. But eventually we could place a large bite of raw steak onto the bridge of her nose, and she'd wait for our signal to eat it. When we snapped our fingers, Brandi gave the meat a quick flip, and it never hit the floor. Hahahaha! It was all such terrific fun. 

There is a picture of her somewhere, wearing an Air Force flyer's cap and regulation sunglasses (there might have been an unlit cigarette in her mouth - our friend's, mind you!). Brandi was exquisite.

Brandi-Wine, 1981

And so the tradition has sifted on down through the years. There have been other Goldens, and other funny things they've learned to do. But above everything else, what they did was love us. If you have a doggie of your own, you'll know of what I speak. The endless, loyal, and uninterrupted love of a dog is fairly unparalleled in this world. Sure, they can be a nuisance and get hair all over the house. They bark sometimes when you don't want them to. You have to arrange for their care, and they need a Vet to keep them healthy.

But wherever there is a faithful dog, something else always follows - smiles. Lots and lots of smiles. You can't get away from it. It is the sweetest thing.

The friends of a Golden, 1996 

There's nothing like the love of a good dog


Continuing the tradition - darling Athena, 2015

And sweet Bear! 

Tonight we drove over to see Athena, and to play in the back yard with her. She is growing so fast! Not only physically, but in the wisdom that comes of much training. The lovely daughter and her family of 'dog-whisperers' don't let Athena get away with much. She might try to, but it's no use. She's met her match-es.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I don't care if it does have a fancy name - I don't like it. Trachelas tranquillus by any other name is still a SPIDER.

This one looks hideous enough, but isn't very interested in humans. I was happy to hear of this after I ran into one the other evening. The evening walk has been extremely pleasant this summer as the nailing heat of the day subsides. At that time, you can see people everywhere streaming out of their doorways with huge smiles plastered all over. This I did, on the evening in question. I was minding my very own business, thinking about fun travel ideas...when all of a sudden a spider with red legs let itself down from a tree right in front of my face. A split second later and it would have landed ON MY HEAD (I apologize to my sister for this visual picture).

It too had probably been minding its own business when along I came without warning. We both overreacted. It started wiggling around hideously not 2 inches from my nose, and I screamed, arms and legs flailing and jumping, and looking sadly ridiculous. It was at least 30 seconds before I could get it under control. Someone, somewhere, laughed.

With all the gyrating about, I became tangled in its line. All it wanted was to get either back up into the tree, or down to the ground where it could escape this creepy human lump. It wriggled fast, dear Readers. I cannot overemphasize this point. I finally lowered its line onto the ground, where the spider - I kid you not - jumped! Its hideousness could go no further, and so I made a mad attempt to squish it - but missed. 

It scurried into the nearby grass, I scurrying in the opposite direction. There, I saw the person who had been laughing at this episode. It was actually two someones. They were several yards away, too far to see anything so small as that spider. Therefore, I realized that so far as they could tell, I had screamed and gyrated and flung my arms and legs in such a ridiculous manner - FOR NO REASON. They stared. "What was it?" said one.

"Yeah, what was it?" followed the other.

A pause. "Spider.." said I, with a shudder.

"Oh. Sorry for laughing," said the one.

"Oh yeah. Sorry for laughing," followed the other.

"Don't mention it."

I escaped, unsure of which was worse, the spider itself, or the spectacle I had made of myself. It was almost as bad as the day I was speaking to a couple of 8th graders just outside our classroom door. These 8th graders had been bad, and were being reprimanded. Just as I was at my most irate, a passing seagull dropped a large glob of white you-know-what onto my glasses. The two bad boys saw it and howled with hysterical laughter, falling all over themselves and gasping for breath. The entire episode was viewed by all 33 other 8th graders, through the window.

Just imagine trying to get that situation back under control. It doesn't bear thinking of. Maybe the spider wasn't all that bad.

But, sometimes life just is not very fair.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">House Spider</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Class in colors</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>