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Saturday 28 August 2010

The Sunday Roast

At Last We Have A Teacher Who Can Teach Eddie A Lesson

Well fancy that! We'd all recognise you anywhere wearing that snorkel, wouldn't we? LOL

Let's try another photo of you but this time on dry land

Geepers! . . . why didn't you let the dog take the snap? Now wait a minute I recognise that dog! let's take another look

Well shiver me timbers I still don't recogise the shadow but I can see this photo is a well known comments calling card in BlogLand . . . . . . yes!

This week's interview is with Pseudo
who writes the blog, Winds of Change

Thank you for the interview Pseudo

A very warm welcome to you and your followers

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

I started blogging because my sister on her blog Shaunnas Soliloquies was blogging and she convinced me it would be a good outlet to get me writing (and enjoying writing) again.

I guess that I continue to blog for several reasons.
One, I do like writing again and blogging gives me a fun place to experiment.
Two, I like connecting with people. Blogging is so instantaneous and I learned that it did not matter if two people read a post or 50 people read it. I liked that connection of readers and writers.
Finally, I keep blogging because of the relationships we make through blogging. I have friends all over who I have never met in person, yet knowing them has enriched my life.

What's the story behind your blog name?

Perfect timing. Gives me an opportunity to explain the recent changing of the blog name. I started off as Pseudonymous High School Teacher because I thought the writing would be more about teaching and for teachers, and I definitely needed to be anonymous. The Department of Education (and parents) can get pretty weird about what teachers say and do publicly. I wanted to write whatever and however. Plus, it was an experiment. I thought if I liked it, I would close it down and start a new blog with a better name. So I went into blogger one day and opened it on a whim. I think I wrote two or three posts and forgot about it, went back later, back and forth , slowly but surely, inching my way to blogdom. By the time I was hooked, I had made friends, I had a few followers, and I barely had time to keep up with my new hobby.

The intention to redo and rename the blog has been on my to-do list forever. Especially this summer. Your asking me for an interview lit the fire under my ass and got me moving.

(As a roast host I specialise in lighting fires under people's asses! LOL)

I had asked a few blogger friends for advice, a few friends IRL, and my sister. I went through a slew of blog names and let them percolate all summer and I’d been waiting for something to rise to the top of the heap. Winds of Change was never one of the blog names during this process. I was going to go with something that reflected the book I am working on, but as soon as I put that title up, I freaked out and wasn’t feeling it. Winds of Change was part of the description following the blog title, and that’s where I came up with it on the spur of the moment. I have been through many changes in my life, and especially this last year. The blog title reflects this. And there you go.

(Very interesting how blogs and blog names develop and change in accordance with new situations)

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

I have to say the best thing is the community and friends that you make, but a close second is the feedback you get on your writing. It is not direct feedback, like a writer’s group; but if you read between the lines in the comment thread, you can get a good idea what readers connect to in your writing.

(Yes it's all great fun)

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Read blogs for awhile before you get started! I didn’t and I learned a lot of things the hard way.

Be sincere. I think we all connect when the writing is honest; no matter if it’s humor, narrative, opinion, or any combination of writing genres.

Know why you are blogging. There’s an undercurrent in some of the parts of the blogging world that’s a little too much like a high school popularity contest. Me, I try and stay away from that energy. I would advice newbies to not get caught up in that frenetic melee.

Join a weekly blog event. I started with Wordless Wednesdays and have moved on to include Random Tuesdays and the Spin Cycle. I have met a lot of bloggers through these weekly themes.

Don’t pay too much attention to unwritten “rules.” What I enjoy the most is that there are no rules. I can blog frequently or infrequently, depending on what else is going on in my life.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

After two years, and now following over 200 blogs, I’ve read so many posts that have moved me and I wish I could recall more by post name and blogger. But the one I will always remember is Fall Away Day.
This blogger has moved to a more anonymous site titled Bad Words , but that post was one of those epiphanies where I felt she had written it for me personally. I had a fall away day (weeks, months) last year that my readers only know as the unbloggable. But it was a tough year and that post really hit home for me.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

I guess that would depend on what you mean by significance… I’d say that one of my first posts Sometimes There are Worse Things Than Nipplage , was my most well received. I wrote it before I learned that blog posts are supposed to be short and the post was a narrative essay that I actually revised and put some writing muscle into. It’s a bit about struggling with self image a few months out of breast cancer treatments and I think it manages to be both funny and poignant. That post was picked up by and run on the Mid Life Blogger’s website and also won a creative writing award and $25 from a writing contest. WOO HOOO! So, yeah, I would say it has been my most significant post. Other posts that went over well with readers or I feel are my most well written are listed in my sidebar.

I run a Travel post every Thursday and put up a Mr. Linky so others can link up and join in. This weekly post is my favorite as I am living on an island in the middle of the ocean and only have funds to get off the rock every few years. I love seeing other places virtually. My favorites have been the linked posts from across the country of where people go that is close to home. I know of great haunts in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconson, Maine, Vermont… the list is endless. All thanks to other bloggers. Sometimes I get a blogger who lives abroad linking up.

Which two blogs would you recommend for roasting?

Two? Only two? That is so hard. I’m going to double down and list four. (I figure it goes saying here that the blogger who wrote the most significant post I ever read would be a great interview).

There are two bloggers who run weekly link-in fun. Both are fun and witty writers. I credit them with connecting me to a lot of my bloggie buds.

Jen at Sprite’s Keeper who runs the Spin Cycle titled Sprites Keeper.

Keely at the UnMom’s who runs Random Tuesdays.

Two other bloggers that I have been reading forever and would be great interviews is Captain Dumbass from Us and Them , and Jan from Jan’s Sushi Bar .
I’d describe how much fun they are and why I like their blogs so much that I keep going back – but I’ll let your readers go discover them for themselves.

The list could go on and on…

(Thanks for your recommendations - I will contact them soon)

Pick three things you can't live without.

Chips, dips, and a certain amount of quiet time each day.

(Good choices - I do believe in some quiet time to oneself whilst muching some goodies of course)

If we were to make a movie about BlogLand, what would it be and who would you cast in the leading roles?

If I were to make a movie about BlogLand, it would be about a retreat to The Women’s Colony and all my women blog friends would get to go for real (or kind of real, like filming a movie real, which is only a bit more real than this virtual land). It would revive The Women’s Colony in all its wonderfullness. It would be a satiric documentary where it was half real and half not. Maybe something even more fun, along the lines of Curb Your Enthusiasm. An outline and we improv the rest. Male blog buds would have to fill in for the servant rolls, but only if Johnny Depp and other middle age hunks of movie stardom were unavailable. During the movie we would drink lots of cocktails and lounge around while the males made us decadent meals and snacks and gave us massages. Conversation would run the gamut.

For those of you who missed the Women’s Colony website while it was up, it was brilliant.

If you could live your life again who would you be, and why?

For better or worse I figure I am me for a reason. And even if I could live my life over again as a wiser me and could make better choices, I don’t think I’d do that either. Where I have been has led me here….

You have been given a wonderful talent from above. This causes you to make your mark on humanity and be world famous. In which area would prefer: a best selling novelist, a brilliant artist, a gifted musician, a fantastic singer, a charismatic leader, anything you choose, and why?

Novelist. Writer. Hands down. Wouldn’t even have to be best selling, just an honest living; more than a public school teacher’s salary would be nice. I would not be comfortable with celebrity and prefer a quiet life. I also wouldn’t mind being a brilliant artist (who would?) My dream life would be a house in the country and being able to stay home and create and make a living off my creations.

If you were an ice cream cone, which flavor would you prefer and who would you most want to lick you?

Did you get this question from Liar? I guess I would be chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups inside and I’m guessing it would be my hubs licking me since it is both of our favorite ice cream this summer.

(No surprisingly, not from Fragrant Liar - she inspired me to ask my final question though LOL)

Describe in one sentence your perfect day.

A day at the beach with either a snorkel and mask and no waves, or a body board and some zip zoomy waves; followed by a relaxing walk with my dog, and then a stretch in a chair to read a good book and end with a refreshing beverage and an awesome sunset.

(Sounds great - want some company?)

If you were a fiction writer which one would you be and why?

A lot of my favorite women writers have had tortured lives. Or committed suicide. So I’ll stick with me and hope I get published someday. Beyond the blog.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Over the years I’ve had many, to be sure. But I am getting to an age where I don’t embarrass that much. I guess I don’t take myself too seriously. Also, teaching teens is very humbling. They love a good laugh at (with?) the teacher. I suppose what used to be rather embarrassing (but I have gotten used to it) is that although I am an English teacher, I am not the best at spelling. I blame it on taking French in HS, but who knows. However, the students just LOVE when their English teacher spells a word wrong on the dry erase board for all to see.

. . . . . and to finish . . . . . for the really brave
If you woke up and found you had changed gender what would be the first thing you would do, and the second thing.

I suppose the first thing I would do is check out my penis. Then I’d find something to do with it before I changed back.

(Hope it meets up to all your expectations LOL)

Your turn to ask me a question if you wish.

Eddie- how did you come up with the idea of personification for your feet in the feet sagas? I just love it.

How interesting you asked me this! - no doubt others will wonder also. Like all my ideas it came in a flash, out of the blue.  I needed a vehicle to explain certain aspects of Eddie's rather eccentric personality - without it a shrink most certainly would be knocking on my door! LOL. What better vehicle than Eddie's own feet, recently so badly treated by their demanding and inconsiderate owner. I made the feet display entirely different behavioural characteristics, always at odds with each other but eventually having to settle their differences and uniting together against their common foe, Eddie himself! LOL.  In that way the door was open for them to display Eddie's often 'wayward behaviour' in a way not otherwise possible. This idea will be extended in the next sequence when some other body parts gang up on their owner, only to unite and fight together with Eddie against a deadly common foe LOL. Watch this space!

Eddie, thanks for asking me to your roasting spit, it was a lot of fun reflecting on all this.

The pleasure is mine Pseudo and I really enjoyed working with you.

Today's Sunday Roast with Pseudo from Winds of Change is the 130th
in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world. _____________________________________________________

This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press HERE

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Spot Eddie and Maggie?

There we are! Maggie on the left and Eddie standing next to her at the front. Haven't I got skinny legs? No wonder my Mum was worried about them LOL. Don't I look grumpy? Must have been before I found my Bluelights.

Well, it turns out that all I needed was my red tricycle to make me smile. My cousin is standing by me with his bow and arrow . . . . and Maggie is standing on the back row second left. I wonder what happened to all these lovely children, where they are and what they are doing now.

If you are one of them step forward and make yourself known.

My computer crashed and my whiz kid son fixed another one we have which must be a lady because it is dual core and can multi task which is marvellous. And what a memory! 4Gb no less! And 500GB hard drive - just enough to store all my jokes.

I am rather busy at present and hope to resume business in Blogland in a few days. Hopefully I will be able to get the next roast ready for the weekend.

While I am away I have a little mathematical problem for you to solve. Make yourself a LARGE cup of coffee.

There are eight doors in a row. Behind each door is a number. Each number is less than 20. No two numbers are the same, and the numbers on the doors are in order.

• three of the numbers are prime numbers
• two of the numbers are square numbers
• two of the numbers are multiples of 5
• five of the numbers are even
• three is a factor of two of the numbers
• there is a run of two consecutive numbers, and another run of four consecutive numbers.
• the numbers sum to 93
What are the numbers on the doors?

Now come on if I can do it then . . . . so can you! LOL But it took me a long time.

If you're 'stumped' and dying to see the answer, fear not, for Socrates has solved it and is willing to share the answer with you HERE

Saturday 21 August 2010

The Sunday Roast

Has This Lady Always Been Typecast As Someone Who Blogs Her Guts Out?

Deep in thought! Obviously think about her forthcoming pub meal . . . . .

. . . . . and the drinks . . . . . . and the quiz . . . . . .

. . . . . and she even finds time to run her own
Friday Twiz feature. She says this feeds her Twitter addiction. Click on the URL for a full explanation.

A get a load of this! She invites Guest Posts from her holiday guest bloggers . . . .

. . . . and she writes various
published articles .

What a busy lass, and to boot she is a Lancastrian, in the North of England, my home county

And after all this she still has time to blog.

I expect this little commenting graphic will be familiar to many.

This week's interview is with Nickie O'Hara
who writes the blog,
Typecast .

Thank you for the interview, Nickie

A very warm welcome to you and your followers

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

I blog for a number of reasons, the main one being to hone my skills as a writer and to empty my head of all the crap that's whizzing around it.

I had two stories about my life that I thought people should know. The first was the story about
how I became a grandmother at the tender age of 36 (this is the first story I sold as a freelance writer) and the reason why this was such a miracle as my daughter was diagnosed with cancer at 14 months old

Since then I've entered the world of "parent blogging" which has spiralled in popularity in recent months and it is a community that I'm proud to be a part of.

What's the story behind your blog name?

My blog was originally called "The Bored Housewife" when I first started it in 2003. I soon found that (a) I wasn't as bored as I first thought and (b) I got a lot of salacious comments from undesirables. I let the blog collect dust for a while whilst life took over with a number of major life-changing events (the need for me to have a hysterectomy at age 31, the death of my mother after a life-long debilitating illness, a move to a new town and a role -reversal with my husband involving me becoming the breadwinner and him a house -husband) and decided last year that I was ready to start writing properly after becoming more comfortable within my own skin - you could say I finally grew up. It sounds corny but I'd become "typecast" as a parent - just a face in the crowd - and I needed to break that mould.

I think that my bio describes me better :

"1972 model, good condition (large scratch on bodywork), one careful owner since 1990. Genuine mileage. Full history available."

This sprang to mind after writing short adverts for my husband who dabbled in buying and selling cars for a few years.

(Loved the car analogy! Hope the scratch in your life was not too serious though)

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

I've noticed this mentioned a few times in your Sunday Roast interviews but I'm afraid I've got to mention it again. It's the community spirit. The comments and interaction that I experience with my readers and other bloggers surprises me every day. When I first started blogging there were very few comments left; blogging seemed to be a way to put your private thoughts in the public domain and occasionally it felt very voyeuristic to actually pass judgement on that. However, since the internet has become more accessible to more people I find that there are many opinions to be heard and my voice is just one of them. If I've opened the door to a conversation or lead the way with a viewpoint and it's got people talking then it can only be a good thing. I'm a massive advocate of social networking as I find working full time, being a parent and caring for someone with mental health issues (my husband) can be quite isolating sometimes. Social networking is my "pub" - my night out with my friends without having to pay for babysitters, queue at the bar for a drink and search for a taxi at the end of the night. Plus I don't have to get dressed up to do it.

Yes, Nickie, BlogLand is a fantastic community, full of wonderful people)

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

It's funny you should ask this as a similar question was asked on a forum that I frequent. The simple answer is to just start... don't think - just dive in. Whatever you write can stay, be amended, be deleted, the title can be changed... nothing is permanent and who ever uses their first draft anyway? You also have to be yourself, be original and be try to lay your blog post out so that it is easy to read (spacing, punctuation). I may sound pedantic when I say that but a block of text with no natural breaks tends to make it difficult for the reader to browse through. I wouldn't say that blog design is important initially but you may want to have a play around with styling once you settle into blogging.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

I like to think that every single blog post written has it's own merits, regardless of the subject but I am truly blown away each time I read a guest post submitted to my "Cancer - Your Story" series.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

I've already mentioned the two that are most important to me. I have also detailed my husband's battle with his Mental Health and the way in which we cope with my son's ADHD. I'd like to think that I showed my deep side in this post and I loved it when the story of my chance meeting with the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP just snowballed.

I enjoy writing every single post I put up on my blog and don't consider it a chore. If I did I would stop. I do this for me initially and knowing that people keep returning to read is what spurs me on. My blog also gives me a chance to try out different styles of writing (there is at least one piece of creative writing on my blog each week - look out for the "Writing Workshop" posts) and I know that I will eventually find my niche.

Another favourite observational blog posts I wrote was
Caution: Men At Work - (a.k.a. Fitting A New Radiator Nearly Made My Head Explode)

(Nickie, this really this post really appealed to me and totally cracked me up when I read it! -it was a real hoot!)

Which two blogs would you recommend for roasting?

Whenever I read The Sunday Roast I am always surprised by the cross-over of recommended blogs that I already have in my RSS Reader - two noticeable ones that have cropped up a few times are Auntie Gwen's Diary and Mr London Street. Also, my guilty pleasure is reading the updates on Letters of Note, Found Shopping List and People I See On The Street.

It would be too obvious for me to recommend other parenting blogs. If you want to see the best of the best then there is a list called the Tots100 Index which is updated monthly. I very much enjoy reading blog posts from the King of Ankh and there is a new blogger/writer on the block called Steve who's blog is based at Steve's Twisted Quill. Finally, the Japanory blog is a cross between a travelog and a blog of Carole's time in Japan over the past four years.

Many people keep a "blogroll" in their sidebar but I find that becomes dated very quickly, especially if blogs become dormant or you follow many blogs within the same genre. I read the majority of blogs via Google Reader and have a widget on my sidebar which shows the single blog posts that I have "favourited". The widget shows the most recent five but if you click on "view all" you can see all my shared items - very varied and multifarious.

(A good way to attempt to keep on top of what is posted - thanks, personally I sometimes find it difficult to keep tabs on others' writings)

That concludes the formal aspect of the interview but it would be nice to get to know you a little better while you are slowly turning on the roasting spit. So while you are screaming in agony above the open fire here are a few more questions for you.

Pick three things you can't live without.

(excluding the obvious of family, air, food, water, etc.)
Laptop, home-made chips and Twitter.

If we were to make a movie about BlogLand, what would it be and who would you cast in the leading roles?

Anyone who knows me would not be surprised by what I am going to suggest. My Blogland movie would be called "Typecast", it would be a musical and would have me in the starring role. I would work my way through each of my own blog posts (albeit in chronological order) with a cast of thousands, struggle through the bad times by bursting into song at inappropriate moments, have Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini Op. 43, Variation XVIII playing in the background for the sad parts and have a finalé worthy of a BAFTA. I'd tap dance at some point in the movie too. Just like real life really.

(The music reminds me of a favourite film, "Somewhere In Time")

If you could live your life again who would you be, and why?

I never know how to answer this question. My life has shaped the person I've become and if I changed any of it then who knows what would happen. I try not to have regrets and believe that we are all in control of our own destiny. If you want something then you have to work for it.

(Great answer, Nickie . . . .and most people settle for being themselves)

You have been given a wonderful talent from above. This causes you to make your mark on humanity and be world famous. In which area would prefer: a best selling novelist, a brilliant artist, a gifted musician, a fantastic singer, a charismatic leader, anything you choose, and why?

Have the various references to writing given it away? I would love to be a best-selling novelist or really a recognised writer of any description. I really appreciate the comments on my blog about my venture into creative writing (I try many different styles) and I believe it will happen one day. First and foremost, I have to learn more about writing and encounter more in life as I am the type of writer who draws from personal experience. I also need to finish my degree first (I'm studying with the Open University). I am two years in with probably another three or four to go! Eek!

(I've just started a writing course with The Writers Bureau. Looks good. It's self pacing too.)

If you were an ice cream cone, which flavour would you prefer and who would you most want to lick you?

When I was 13 I went to Germany on a school exchange programme for 10 days. They had the most amazing ice cream cafés over there and my favourite during my stay was one that looked like a pile of spaghetti. My only disappointment was that you couldn't actually suck it up like real spaghetti. I don't actually want to look like a pile of spaghetti though so I think I'd be a Tutti Frutti ice cream (a little bit of everything in there) and I would like my childhood idol - Simon le Bon of Duran Duran - to lick me... from top to bottom, from bottom to top, wherever he wants... oh sorry, where was I . . .

(Very funny, Nickie . . . I can see the shoulders in BlogLand bobbing up and down and hear the giggles)

Describe in one sentence your perfect day.

To sit and watch all of the 80s Brat Pack movies and anything else that John Hughes has written in one sitting with someone bringing me food and drink when necessary - no interruptions.

If you were a fictional writer which one would you be and why?

Victoria Wood. I know she's not your contemporary writer but I just love where she comes from with her sketches, observations and songs.

(Brilliant lady is Victoria Wood)

What was your most embarrassing moment?

There's been so many.. some of them TOO embarrassing to share. I will tell you a little story about a night out though. My husband and I had been out for a couple of hours and were walking between pubs. I had on what he calls my "silly shoes" (quite high stilettos) and was tottering along beside him. Where we live there are a few cobbled streets and I think you can guess what happened next... yes, my heel caught in one of the cobbles and I rather unceremoniously landed on my derrière in the middle of a rain-soaked street. Because we'd had a few sherbets, we both though this was quite amusing and my husband offered his hand to help me up. I must have caught him off-balance because rather than him pulling me up, he ended up on top of me in the middle of a rain-soaked street. Neither of us could move for laughing even though we tried to get up on several occasions. A good Samaritan passer-by saw our plight and offered to help my husband up and... yes, it happened again - he ended up on the floor too. So, now we have three people on a rain-soaked floor, in the middle of town, in a mini-pile-on, all laughing as though their sides would hurt and only two of them know each other. We eventually managed to get to our feet and retired to the nearest watering hole to recover. Funnily enough, we've never seen the bloke again!

(ROFL literally! Thanks for sharing this wonderfully funny story. It is a great shame you have never seen the other fellow again. It would be nice to have an annual reunion together)

. . . . and the really brave go for this question I was recently dared to ask!

If you awoke to discover you had changed gender what would be the first and second things you would do?

Oh, hahaha. I think that the first thing is the most obvious... I would have to go to the loo because I'm always desperate for a pee in the morning when I wake. Then I'd have a bit of a grope and a play to make sure everything was in full working order. Finally, I'd probably then ring one of the tabloid newspapers and try and make a few quid off the back of the story or try and sell the rights to the film to the highest bidder.

(That's what I like, a gal with a true entrepaneurial spirit. You'd make a fortune Nickie - I like your business acumen! But if it happened to me I would feel a real sense of loss! LOL)

Your turn to ask me a question if you wish.

I have two stock questions that always reveal a lot about people - you can answer either or both for me:

1. Who would you like to have a cuppa with?
2. Who is your biggest female inspiration?

(OK - Those are great questions and I will answer them both for you:

1. Billy Graham, the great American Christian evangalist. I am delighted to see he is still alive because I would love to have a 'cuppa' with him. In fact it would need a large pot of tea or even a long lunch extending into late afternoon because this man would set anyone's Spiritual Life on fire . . . . or rekindle it . . . . and we all know how many fires he did light! Tens of Thousands! Truly, he is a man of God.

2. Joanna Lumley , that great English actress. She is my ideal lady on planet Earth and so far I have found none to compare - she is so polished, so talented, so beautiful, and she has a wonderful sense of humour and an equally wonderful heart. She certainly has captured mine - she is two years younger than me and she can still can turn every head in every room she enters with her natural charisma. And when she speaks . . . . sheer poetry. I believe she has inspired a number of modern 'beauties' to go to finishing school.

Well, Nickie, sadly we have come to the end of the interview. Thank you and my best wishes for all the projects you are undertaking, including you Open University course. Let's just finish with a look at your blog screen.

Said Nickie, "Eddie, thanks for featuring me - it's quite an honour in blogland.Wow, this Sunday? I shall be sure to put my best frock on seeing as though I'm expecting visitors."


Today's Sunday Roast with Nickie at Typecast is the 129th in a
weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world

This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press HERE

Wednesday 18 August 2010

When Is A WC Not A WC?


A young couple about to be married were looking for a country house. The owner of the house was very hospitable and showed them round, and the couple were very impressed, saying they would consider buying it. On the way home the young lady, recalling she had not seen a Water Closet anywhere, very thoughtfully asked her fiancee, ''Edward, did you notice any WC.?"

"No", said Edward, and so he wrote to the house owner enquiring as to the whereabouts of the WC. Being a country gentleman the house owner was ignorant of the term WC which he understood it to be the Wesleyan Church, and so he wrote back :-

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter.

I take great pleasure in informing you that the WC is situated nine miles from the house in the center of a beautiful grove of pine trees, surrounded by lovely grounds.

It is capable of accommodating 229 people, and it is open on Sundays and Thursdays only. As there are great numbers of people expected there during the summer months, I suggest that you come early, although usually there is plenty of standing room. The fact there is often nowhere to sit is always an unfortunate situation, especially if one is in the habit of going regularly. The committee are striving to address this problem and during their last meeting it was suggested that whenever insufficient seats available then ready made stools might be made available to sit on.

It may be of some interest to know that my daughter was married in the WC and in fact it was there she had first met her husband and then frequently every Sunday for several years.
I can remember the rush for seats at Easter and Christmas. Usually there were 10 people to every seat which should usually be occupied by only one. It was always wonderful to see the expressions on their faces.
I have heard great sermons preached from it and everyone who uses it usually sings at the top of their voices.

You will be glad to hear that a good number of people bring their lunch and make a day out of it, while those who can afford to go by car often arrive just in time, expressing considerable relief. Yet my wife and I are constantly surprised at others who miss it entirely.

I would especially recommend your ladyship to go on Thursdays when there is an organ accompaniment. The acoustics are excellent, and even the most delicate of sounds can be heard everywhere. Ocassionally the noise is deafening when everyone participates together.

My brother was always there, too. He had gone regularly since he was christened. A wealthy resident erected a bell over the WC last week to be rung every time a member enters. A bazaar was held last week next door, the proceeds to help to provide plush seats.

My wife and I are getting old, now, and do not go as regularly as we used to. In fact it is four months since we went last, and I can assure you it pains us very much not to be able to take a regular seat. Our flush of youth seems to to have evaporated permanently so we do not feel the need to be there as often as we did.

I shall be delighted to show you round personally and to reserve the best seat for you, where you shall be seen by all.

Hoping to be of some service to you.

Yours faithfully
Came across this recently and decided to post it just in case it is new to you. LOL
Maybe not well known States side but very well known in UK.

Saturday 14 August 2010

The Sunday Roast

Roasting Mr. Toast!

Drat it! I forgot my camera when I visited Mr Toast recently, and would you believe it? - the official Sunday Roast photographer didn't turn up either! Nor was I able to manage a suitable artist's impression. So this week, for the first time ever, we are stuck for a photograph - sorry folks! However, I shall do my very best to describe this gentleman with whom I sat during our very pleasant interview on a sunny day in very salubrious surroundings somewhere in Western US. As he handed me a Jam Toastie and a mug of his famous tea I could tell immediately he is a London expat, because he spoke with an authoritative typical posh 'upper crust' English accent and gave me a non-cockney smile with no winks or nods. His round face revealed two well proportioned ears, two brown eyes and a straight normal sized nose. He is of medium build and I would estimate his age about 35 ish. His face revealed a friendly grin with a harmless and full set of brilliant white teeth, suggesting he might be related to the distant Scottish McClean clan. Fortunately he has a very good sense of humour (thank God). He possessed a good head of curly hair, indicating a lifetime addiction to toast and jam. His contented countenance suggested he had eaten his fill of Hot Toast and Jam for breakfast. As we talked he showed me a graphic from his blog which inclined me to think he also likes mushrooms and toadstools . . . . and listen folks . . . . he sometimes disguises himself as an ant and wanders around blogland. What a peculiar fellow.

His extended vocabulary includes a word he uses frequently. When asked if he likes something he closes his mouth, hiding those white teeth, and makes an "Mmm" sound. I found this most confusing because if he agrees with something said he also makes the same noise. Once or twice I was not sure whether he agreed with me or liked what I said, or simply liked his Jam Toastee . . . or any permutation of the three. Now I have described him in detail I am sure you will ALL easily recognise him in a crowd, won't you? Oh dear the readers are ganging up on me again and heckling.


"OK - sorry! Thought you'd all like to know what he looks like - sorry! I'll draw a line under it then!"


This week's interview is with Mr Toast (or is it, Mmm?),
who writes the blog,
Hot Toast and Jam

. . . and I believe there's good tea there too!
Thank you for the interview, Mmm

A very warm welcome to you and your followers

I must mention that Mmm conducts his own interviews which is interesting. I believe this is a first to have a fellow interviewer on the show. Now, Mmm, please tell us about these interviews and what motivated you to do them.

Well, for starters, thank you for the interview, a first for me too. How thrilling! ... Almost makes me feel somewhat marginally significant! :)

(Mmm, all bloggers are very significant . . . . some are "Mmm" . . . . some are "Uuuu" . . . . some are "Eeee" . . . . . some are "Hhhh" . . . . . and if we are really lucky a few are "Oooo". We are all different and all contribute in our own way in this great and giant playground, Blogsville LOL. But pray continue about the interviews and why you do them.)

I like doing my own interviews because there is so much incredible talent out in blog-land and if I can somehow help shine the spotlight on that, then wonderful! I totally love to connect with people. I like to get to know what makes someone tick inside, so will often spend a fair bit of time exploring their site initially before asking questions that, hopefully, go one step beyond what they might present, whilst respecting any privacy they wish maintain too. Every question is optional.

(Thanks Mmm. I too think it is great to 'connect' as you explain and I would add that you and I are in a very privileged position to be able to do this regularly . . . but now let's continue with your own interview)

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

Mmm... Good question. :) Firstly, why I began blogging. A good friend of mine moved his family back to PA and as I was tired of usually losing touch with dear friends, blogging became a way to continue our conversation. Neither of us had done that before. It was very "topical," actually, mainly about our faith and such, with some personal reflections thrown in for creative expression. When that fizzled out, I began another blog upon my wife's initial suggestion as a way to meet other people since I felt so cut off from those perhaps with a background more like mine, or at least from a more diversified culture compared to the homogeny of sorts around here. I was, after all, a big city boy (Londoner) now grown up and stuck in "Aggie-land!" I missed talking about things other than what often men here gravitate towards, you know: sports, TV, hunting, camping, or what have you. Since then, I've gone through about 3 blogs, each meeting a different need for a different period. Sometimes I've used a blog as a cathartic change to force myself out of isolation when having felt so far away from those things one would normally consider "home."

What's the story behind your blog name?

Well, haha, I love simple creature comforts and anything to do with Tea-time, so, as with my other previous blog titles, this one too elicits those same feeling of coziness, familiarity, homeyness. I went from being called, "Mr. Sponge" to now "Mr. Toast!" I have to laugh. (...Just butter me up, won't you? No pun intended...well, OK, maybe a wee bit!) :)

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

Meeting other people one wouldn't otherwise have a chance to know, let alone going beyond that superficial level to discovering something unique about another, whether that's their expressions of life, art, fears or aspirations, or what have you.

It also allows me an avenue to express myself in ways daily life can't afford, such as my first annual Christmas Tea or my regular Creative Tuesdays art co-op, open to anyone regardless of perceived talent -- just making that effort is what counts..and there are even the occasional surprise gifts thrown in. (I dearly love my little community of creative bloggers there.)

I also love being able to write when the mood hits and going back to read it later. (I wouldn't journal as my penmanship is so appalling!) Now, one thing though, I'm a horrid typist, actually, so find myself continually having to go back to fix things. Ha! The typos I leave as comments on others' blogs can be such a hoot sometimes, let me tell you!

(Yes, enough to get your face slapped I find sometimes and thank God for spellcheck, eh!)

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Ha. Well, that rather depends on their objective, no? I won't discuss how to gain traffic -- one can read that elsewhere easily enough, so here's a few things from own experience:

1. Boiled down, blogging is about "community," so make it inviting! Or, at least, don't slam the door in someone's face with loud, garish background colors or patterns, or offer huge images that haven't been downsized where one is forced waiting for ages to see what's downloading. Studies show people simply won't wait, in fact, but will just move on. With that, make sure the type is easy to read too -- that's essential!

2. Be true to yourself. Decide upfront what kind of blog it will be: personal/journalistic, topical, and stick with it? For me, it's my chance to share my world, inside and out, without trying to give too much info that could potentially be damaging or such to anyone. Sometimes that's meant leaving out some huge trials of hardships or heartache, or even joys, but that's my preference. Yet I want to be real too, so might then say things between the lines at times. Also, though, I want to offer a warm hearth, as it were. A place where I can invite you in, virtually make you a cup of tea for a nice sit down -- something I dearly love to do and don't get to practice nearly enough here! "Real Men" after all, don't do tea here, right? Pity, that. -- Missing out on one of THE greatest traditions of modern civility! Hee. (Well, that's what I like to imagine anyway!)

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

Wow. So many. Some have touched me deeply. I'm not so interested in someone arguing their point, even if I wholly agree with it, as much as connecting with that sincerity flowing from another's words. (Show me heart, not just convictions.)

Susan at 29 Black Street is one such person for me. She was my initial blog inspiration, actually. Although quite different in world outlook, I've loved reading her initial honest morning confessions of pain, loneliness and so on, whilst still trying to keep that business edge for her "creative empire building," as she calls it! Now, as it happens, she is madly in love and living a Canadian fairy tale of sorts up there in Nova Scotia! Perhaps masochistic, but I've loved reading those who, in spite of incredible hardships thrown at them, face life to the best of their ability and forge on. It reminds me that life is super complicated -- I can't pretend to know (or offer) all the pat answers to everything in spite of whatever I truly believe and think; that however hard life can be, there is always beauty around too; and comfort, of sorts, can be found in that sharing.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Whoa. Hmm.... Well, there are some I've written that have felt like they most resonate my longings or inspirations. Some of those might include My Clouds, New Year's Soup, Lost in the Glow, and Snow. All the Christmas Tea posts during, before and after were significant too in how enjoyable it was netting together bloggers under one event and enjoying all their imaginative company. I did love that so and can't wait, in fact, to do it again, come this next Christmas time! (So, stay tuned there and join in! It's great way to meet others in the blog community in a festive Christmas setting.) :)

Which two blogs would you recommend for roasting?

Ha. Well, the ones I've already featured myself, of course! Oh, beyond that? Hmm.. I think Betsy with her Five Men would be an interesting roast! Here is this happily married full-time mom with 4 teenage sons, one in college and three being triplets, each autistic and non-verbal, to boot. If you read her "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" posts" you can see the type of challenges faced daily, yet with this air of grace and that innate ability to make lemonade out of life's lemons -- something of which I myself need to learn to do a lot more!

That concludes the formal aspect of the interview but it would be nice to get to know you a little better while you are slowly turning on the roasting spit. So while you are screaming in agony above the open fire here are a few more questions for you.

You know, I rather like being hot and toasty though, so no probs there, really!

Describe in one sentence your perfect day.

Spending a day with my loved ones and children and, yes, throw in some intense yet full of laughter banter and discussion with one or two, or a couple of good friends, all over a nice Tea, say? You know, one with real warmed up raisin scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam, cucumber whole wheat sandwiches (with the crust cut off) and, of course, good strong cuppas! Retire the evening away in front of a cozy fireplace, tucked under shared covers with a good book in hand and nothing but the tick-tocks of some old grandfather clock the crackle of the fire. Snowing outside would be ideal too. Yes, that sounds just about perfect, really. Ahhhh. Oh, and of course, filling my tartan covered hot water bottle and snuggling down under a soft white quilt and fresh laundered cotton sheets, intertwined through to the early morning light.

(You don't want much, do you? LOL)

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Oh, well, I am quite good at that really. Ha. One such time was back in uni when I was always having to work a lot (graveyards shifts) whilst going to school full time. I was constantly exhausted and, with dreaming a lot anyway, often dreamed I was working or going to school too! No rest or time off. One morning, whilst walking outside, right in front of the cafeteria windows, I suddenly had this sensation I was actually dreaming! I thought, "Whoa. Lucid dreaming! Hey, that means I can do anything I want, right? I just have to believe it hard enough!" Convinced, remembering going to bed and not waking up, I wanted to fly and be just like Superman! With one arm and fist outstretched upward, I jumped high, ready to take off! But, umm, no! Of course that didn't happen -- just the inevitable thud back down to hard concrete a micro second later. Haha. Well, "silly, of course," -- I wasn't trying hard enough! Dreams can be so convincing, you know! So, what did I do? I proceeded to unload my heavy backpack ...lightening my load, right there in front of all the gathered students. This time I properly assumed my Superman pose, lowed myself down on bended knee and jumped up as high as I could, to rocket up, up and away! Half way in the air though, just as I was about to start my curve back down, I remembered, with horror, actually, in fact, waking up earlier.! Oh no! This was NO dream! UGH! "Quick! Improvise! Make do!" As my thud hit the pavement, I started to quickly, stretch out my limbs and jog on the spot, punching the air and such, like I was doing some morning Rocky makeover! Yeap, great, that! LOL. The faces aghast around me, let me tell you! But, oh so fun to tell and re-animate at gatherings all these years later. Hahahaha.

(Quite dangerous for you to go to sleep, I imagine! LOL)

. . . . now for the really brave go for this question I was recently dared to ask!

If you awoke to discover you had changed gender what would be the first and second things you would do?

Well, of course, I'd try to go back to sleep, realising I was having another one of those weird dreams again (LOL), before I might do anything really dumb! Perhaps I'd then resist this dilemma about wanting to go out and look great in some glamorous black cocktail dress yet, definitely NOT wanting to draw the attention of other men so that would be a problem! OK, in all altered reality, I suspect I'd want to experience feeling a baby kicking inside me during the last trimester or perhaps breast feeding my cherished infant. Yes, that would be incredibly miraculous really, wouldn't it?

(I think I would prefer to decline that experience . . . . but it is indeed a wonderful experience for the ladies I would imagine)

Your turn to ask me a question if you wish.

OK, a question for you:
What, if any provisions do you have for how to take care of your blog should you ever unexpectedly die or be rendered unable to continue? Do you want it to remain up there for an eternity until the internet is no more or would you want it duly shut down, buried with you, so to speak? Hmmm...

What a morbid question LOL. Well I have not as yet included a provision for it in my last will and testament! LOL. This is an interesting question which I have never considered. I knew a lovely blogging lady called Renee who died recently, sadly. Her blog, Circling My Head , is now continued by her daughter - so in a way Renee's blog lives on.

I think mine will lie in 'suspended animation' in it's present form and will probably be forgotten after a while. But one day I hope to include some of my stories and experiences in a book . . . and in that sense some of it may live on. Now you have mentioned it I must make some sort of contingency plans to get the roasts, simmering in my oven and in progress, posted if the grim reaper were to knock unexpectedly at my door. I will put on my famous thinking hat to solve this problem - it never fails me!

Well that concludes the interview and once again thank you Mmm for appearing on The Sunday Roast.

Today's Sunday Roast with Hot Toast And Jam is the 128th in
a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world __________________________________________________

This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Want Some More Church Notice Bloomers?

Oh! I see you were rather amused by my Church Notice Gaffs on my previous post (see HERE). Well I liked them anyway!!! LOL

So I have some more for you.
Bless you my children!
For our Easter service we have asked Mrs Lewis to come to the front of the Church and lay an egg on the altar.
The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs Julius Belzer
We are having some restoration work in the church over the next four weeks which means that the font could be at the front or the back of the Church. Therefore babies could be baptised at both ends.

Sorry, I thought there were more . . . but do not despair for I have some true ecclesiastical stories and experiences of 'men of the cloth' whom I know. It is a fact that ALL Catholic Priests possess two wonderful qualities, particularly Irish Priests:

1. They all can drink most people under the table, including me!
2. They all have a great sense of humour.

A newly appointed Canon, who is a good friend, informed us that he had been recently appointed Canon from his former position of Parish Priest. He remarked that he hoped he would not be 'fired' and he would rather be 'shot'.
Joke from a Canon (chap above):
A religion teacher was teaching 5-6 year olds and asked the children this question, "Where is God?" expecting an infant equivalent of He's everywhere, the divine characteristic of Omnipresence. A little girl put up her hand and said, "Please Miss, He's in the toilet!" "Oh! why do you answer that, Jane?" "Because, Miss, whenever my granny tries to go there she always finds the door locked and says, 'God, he's still in there again!' "
Another Canon addressed us during a sermon and said an elderly lady stopped him in the street last week and informed him she thought he'd died 3 years ago. He was rather surprised to hear her say, "I have been praying for your soul every day for the last three years". The Canon replied, "Why thank you! I'm so glad I have a large credit in my spiritual bank account but I do not intend to make a withdrawal just yet!"
A friend of mine once rang his wife at 2am and said, "I'm OK love, I'm playing chess with a vicar!" "Oh yes!" she said, "pull the other one!"
Another priest, this time an Irish one, once drank me under the table, much to the surprise of my wife, Mrs Bluelights, who chastised me the next day for my 'wayward behaviour' LOL. My little boy, as he was then, overheard her reprimand. The next time he saw the priest with us he piped out, "Mummy said you gave Daddy far too much to drink the other night!" Oh! I could have fallen into the biggest hole to escape embarrassment. The priest replied that I should have put more water in my whiskey. I noticed he didn't!
We know a Priest called Father Gunning who is rather apprehensive of promotion to Canon Gunning, but it is almost certain he will be. Let's hope he doesn't get too 'fired up' about it.
And finally I have posted a year ago that my cousin owned a famous racehorse called "What's Up Boys" who won some notable horse races and came second in our 2002 Grand National . . . . .and nearly won it having been just 'pipped at the post by Bindaree. Our local Parish Priest, the one who drank me under the table, was a betting man (for his sins) and was astonished to hear it was my charismatic cousin who owned such a famous horse.
When I told him my cousin owned this horse, which he knew and admired, I was promoted instantly straight to the summit of his social and spiritual hierarchical pyramid of 'important people', surpassing even the Bishop. There I was residing right up there alongside Cardinals, eclipsing a fair number of canonised Saints, just below in rank to his holiness the Pope himself! And I wasn't even a Catholic!

He asked me to let him know every time "What's Up Boys?" was running, for RJ would ring me prior to each occasion, advising whether to put my shirt on it or show cautious restraint. The Priest and I devised a sort of sign language to convey the latest appraisal of betting form. At the start of each Sunday Mass, when the altar boys led the procession down the Aisle, followed by the Priest, he would turn round to me and mouth mime, "What's Up Boys?" I would nod or shake my head and by agreed semaphore language would advise the time it was running next Saturday, and convey the risk assessment ranging from a thumbs up to a frown meaning, "Don't put the church collection on it!" By this time the procession had progressed to the altar without him, he eventually noticed and had to run to catch up, making the excuse for this delay to make a sign of the cross over my head, followed by those immortal words, "Bless you my son!", so all could hear this special attention for the worst sinner in the entire congregation! My, it was embarrassing! When the horse died I was dropped like a stone and demoted to 'ordinary status', never again enjoying my VIP treatment. LOL

The full story can be seen HERE as a prelude to my most popular post where all the then known bloggers took part in my 2009 Grand National shown HERE.

And finally, you may sense I am very much better and I am pleased to report for the first time I feel really well with near normal legs and feet - hooray!