C H A L L E N G E – Try this “family-famed” fail – Velvet Cola Cake

6 Dec

We had moved up into the hills over our rural town (111 m (c.364 ft.) altitude),
to a station at c.330m (c. 1,1246 ft.) altitude.

The station is ringed (approximately); the arrow points to where our cottage was.

The station is ringed (approximately; the arrow points to where our cottage was.

It was a heck of a steep gravelled road uphill, but the cottage was great. Beside the road ran a stream, from which I could collect watercress. In some of the station’s paddocks we could collect mushrooms – buckets and buckets of them. Around the cottage in the fields were huge limestone boulders, and a patch of native bush which the station owner was replanting and tidying. And the gravel drive from which we turned off to our cottage carried on to the shearing shed and holding yards. A great early life for the first toddler.


The cookery book

The cookery book

With my favourite cooking book, and my fist toddler, I decided to try the recipe named in the title. I knew I had to let the cola go ‘flat’ before starting, but eventually the batter was in the cake pan and in the oven. Toddler and I pottered around washing up the bits and bobs we’d used, with him climbing down from the step stool periodically to look into the oven. When I heard a tentative “O-o-o-oh,” I figured it was time to see what he was seeing.

Hoh boy! Cake batter erupting up and out over the cake pan rim, dripping down through the oven racks and piling up in peaks on the oven floor.
The oven was switched off, and I did my best to console unhappy toddler who’d realised there’s be no nice cake.
But you know what? Once the oven was cold, and I lifted out the pans and tasted what was left, it tasted delish.

So off came the oven door, and toddler and I sat at the oven reaching in and snatching off the driblets and piles of batter, and it was like sharing a bowl of sweet snack food! He learned really early the difference between stalactites and stalagmites (the former have to hold ‘tight’ or they’ll fall, the latter ‘might’ grow up to the roof).

I figured out what had happened…– being c. 900 ft.+ higher, things boil at a lower temperature than down in the town. Even jam could boil madly and never reach setting temperature!

So… my challenge is, for You to have a go at this recipe. Tell me what I need to know: just how ‘flat’ does the ‘flat’ cola have to be?

THE Recipe

THE Recipe






6 Dec

To be sung to the tune of the song Biko by Peter Gabriel, with thanks and apologies to composer and performer, and honour to human rights martyr Stephen Biko.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -
Back in seventy seven, – I first learned about Sijo. (14)
A form of po’try from Korea; I thought I’d give it a go. (16)

Oh sijo, sijo, o-oh write sijo, sijo.
Oh sijo, sijo, o-oh write sijo, sijo.

Constructed in three sentences, divided into two lines. (15)
The beauty of the Sijo is, it doesn’t have to rhyme. (14)

Oh sijo, sijo, o-oh write sijo, sijo.
Oh sijo, sijo, o-oh write sijo, sijo

Syllable counts aren’t rigid, for any sentences you write. (15)
Fourteen, fifteen or sixteen – whatever you choose is alright. (15)

Oh sijo, sijo, o-oh write sijo.
Oh sijo, sijo, o-oh write sijo, sijo.
[repeat refrain to fadeout]
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -
Underlined vowels above are where to place the stressed (accented) beat to fit the music. That one hyphen shows where the singer “holds” or waits for the next beat.
Following is in the actual Sijo form.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -
Back in seventy seven -
I first learned about Sijo. (14)
A poetry form from Korea;
I thought I’d give it a go. (16)
Constructed in three sentences,
divided into two lines. (15)

Syllable counts aren’t rigid,
for any sentences you write. (15)
Fourteen, fifteen or sixteen -
whatever you choose is alright. (15)
The beauty of the Sijo is
it doesn’t have to rhyme. (14)

If Dickens had such an editor…

4 Dec

An Extreme Tale

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
When was the last time that sentence accurately described your life?

Sorry, not what was wanted, but I could Not resist giving you summat to chuckle at…


Book: “Tell, Don’t Show”

3 Dec

A review of a load-lightening book just read…

Tell, Don't Show!Tell, Don’t Show! by James Lofquist

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So there we are, in November, NaNo’ing away and “pow”–we write a beautifully descriptive “Show” and by the time we’ve finished that–we’ve “lost the plot”.
Am I right? ‘Fess up–it happens.
Okay, I’ll ‘fess up–it happened to me. And as my creative flow subsided to a trickle, I spent d-a-a-a-ys trying to remember that fantastic plot point that was supposed to follow.
In the time spent in “showing” my reader the scenery, I’d lost track of the action.
IF ONLY I had known the “Tell” was OK in a first draft.
But after three years studying creative writing, ‘show, don’t tell’ was well and truly under my skin.
No more – I have got rid of that premise, and fully adopted LOFQUIST’s concept.
As should you, the Booker Prize author washing dishes while awaiting discovery.
Enjoy the new freedom!

View all my reviews

Brain Haiku – too late for competition, dammit

21 Nov

Too late to enter, I read the brief for a haiku competition, to be written about the brain. Sat and threw together more than the required one or two, went to the Submissions page, decided before proceeding to read the “rules”, and found it had closed on the 14th (give or take a few).

SO annoyed. Why had the page not been updated? The “rules” were buried behind a link at the foot of the page – you know, down there below the guts of it, where hardly anyone ever looks.

Anyway, not wanting to waste all that hard work (nah, quick and dirty, really) … here they are.


The problem with society today is … nobody drinks from the skulls of their enemies anymore. (source unknown)

Memory and links,
internal data storage -
my real computer.        *

Synapses firing -
data stored in my brain,
secure in my skull.


Knowledge turns into
information – bits, bytes in
read-write memory.     *


From deep in my brain
unrequested memories
enter my day dreams.

imagination freed from
external constraints.     *

In my skull, my brain’s
internal data storage -
read-write memory.

Reading memory -
information data lines
recall stored data        *

The asterisk? These haiku wouldn’t have made any progress through the competition. You can tell me why, yeh?


Ready, Set, Dash!

24 Oct

Ready, Set, Dash!
Have no mercy on your keyboard for ten minutes as you give us your most unfiltered self.
Edit later, or publish as-is…

Mucked up my own earnings today, by allowing myself to ” volunteer” to bring work home and charge less. Only after I started did I realize how freaking HUGe the task is. Got to website, find list of their subsidiaries, open a spreadsheet , head up each field, then pop back and forth between the two, copy n pasting invifidual bits of info from one into the other..
And remembering to Save as you go.
I forgot to save and worked for an hour. Sixteen identities each with eighteen spreadsheet cells to be filled where the info was available, and I’m going flat tach to get as much done as quick As I can…
And the puter decides I’m going too fast and “hang on there Lynne while I catch up.”
One frozen app, a forced restart and -shut! No data left since the last save.
Check the auto save recovery file – it’s the same.

What’s worse? I was using the household server, not my own laptop, as I cannot remember my own password and as I have the Adnisitrator account on the lappie, I have no me to call,on to help.

Then there was the issue of why the new earbud phones weren’t working with my Android. Hubby persists in changing settings and changing them back, getting more and more cross as it has him beat.
While he was away gettin DD to word I found the setting and fixed it.
So at least I had One success this evening. Now I’m writing this on my iPad while I’m s’posed to be watching motorcycle racing wiv hubby (cos we Nove like motor cycle racing). But this ain’t getting that laptop back, nor the contract work done. S O Dear some days are just sackful, aren’t they.
It’s a message form God (not a mission for God) to take things slow. Too good at dropping myself into the brown stuff, me. I keep piling up,the work and the wonder why I get tetchy and wobbly with stress! Well, d’uh!
OMG that racetrack is ankle deep in eater! The race has race has been stopped. Oh hang on – that happened a while ago. Now the tracks dried out they’re waving a green Flag ready to restart. That’s more like it.
Hey I’ve just realized something cool. The iPad is fixing my punctuation as I go. I haven’t hit an apostrophe, comma or full-stop yet! Oh well done iPad! Hang on – I have hit the odd comma and the hyphen. Oo and the full stop. And after a full,stop it starts the Nast word with a capital anyway MSWord can.t do that. Checking timer… Bak soon

Think I went over the ten. Darned timer doesn’t beep if you’re using another app. And I thnk I wrote that last time, somehow



Obvious now, isn’t it, that my typing is ‘off’.

Re that laptop password…after hubby (household network admin) had tried all sorts of tricks while I washed the dishes, I walked to the lappie as he used his puter to search for ‘how-to’ online. And without even thinking about it, I logged on with my usual password, letting my fingers do the thinking instead of my head. ZAP! I’m in!.

anyone want me to edit the 10-min quick write so you can really get it?

Hi, old pal – long time no see!

23 Oct

My imaginary friend – singular? Oh, no – I had lots of them.

In my imaginary conversations (which in fact were spoken out loud to myself) I talked non-stop. Their complete replies came to me in the brief time for me to draw breath to speak to them again. This made me the family chatter-box – non-stop talker, me.

When I related to my Mum or Dad what my friend of the day and I had done, where we’d gone, what we’d done or seen, I’d be called a fibber, and sometimes growled for it if the story told about places where my imaginary friend and I had been with my elder sister, or things we had seen her do or heard her say.

I genuinely lived those imaginary moments as if they were real. I had my own world in which all was real to me.

The friends I remember readily were in fact other children who at school I never got to play with – they were younger or older than I. But in my five to six-year old “imaginary reality”, we were equals. I also had imaginary friendships with Peer Gynt, children from the Selfish Giant’s garden, and other radio children’s stories’ characters. But ‘playing’ with these was not as often nor as absorbing as playing with imaginary school friends, as the former had the game all scripted of course.

So – Today I meet John and Christine – the two red- (no, ginger-) -haired twins from the younger class. He’s now in a top position in education but I have no idea how Christine’s life turned out. I would have to admit to them, they were the inspiration for my life-long desire to have red hair. So much so that I confess freely to one and all that I sometimes get my hair coloured. They also were the trigger for me deciding Lucille Ball was worth watching on the tele in later years, and I’ve always said how I’ve wanted her hair colour. (“Hubby fit” time whenever I mention this.)

I meet again Richard, and have to ask him exactly why he rammed me up against one of the giant oak trees in the school yard while we were playing Bull Rush. (In my imaginary world, I had later rammed hin into the oak, and slapped him silly. Hearing me talk about it had Mum telephoning his parents to apologise for me, and after they talked to Richard, they called back and put her straight. (“You mustn’t tell fibs.”)

I again meet Paul, and have to tell him how much I liked the little needle book he had given me as a birthday gift – even though I had known it was one of his mother’s, and had no use for it, except to inspire imaginary conversations with him about mending his shirts and sewing table cloths. I’d also tell him about copying it to make a new one of my own when I really had to sew for myself.

I meet Diana, and tell her I always thought she was an absolute traitor to the feminist cause when she “threw” the race against (sp?) Milanian just so she could marry him. What a waste of her talent.

I meet Christopher Robin and all his forest friends, and show Owl my collection of owl ornaments, and tell him how I used his “Happy Birthday” message on the classroom blackboard for every one of my younger pupils’ birthdays.

I meet Me Bogeywomp, and tell him how much fun it was to play with him and Us Wild-Garage, You Long-Nose-Snog and all, creating new creatures in our shared world while “being” Susan (character sharing my elder sister’s name), and how hard I have searched all my life for copies of the book: one to own for myself and one for my sister.

Yep, imaginary friends in childhood are wonderful. They inspire imagination and creativity. They let a youngster put a story together, to make sense of how they feel about real life events (like being slammed into an oak tree). Every child should be allowed one at least.


A response to Daily Post :: Imaginary Friend

Many of us as young children had imaginary friends. If your imaginary friend grew up alongside you, what would his/her/its life be like today?

HarsH ReaLiTy

My goal with this blog is to offend everyone in the world at least once with my words… so no one has a reason to have a heightened sense of themselves. We are all ignorant, we are all found wanting, we are all bad people sometimes.



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