Welcome to Diana's Blog

I blog about anything that interests me - my local area, things I've seen or heard on the news, politics and human rights, gardening, arts and crafts, poetry, photographs and general advice.

And, when you've finished reading, don't forget to leave a comment - I love hearing from people

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Wooden Bead Earrings - Cheap Gifts

Ideal Presents.

Affordable hand-crafted unique earrings which I designed myself - they cost under $15 (£10) and are cheap enough for you to buy several pairs as presents.

The Adventures of Tintin: How to Entertain Children

The new Stephen Spielberg film, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, USA release 21 December 2011 has led to a renewed interest in Tintin.

I have done my best to save you precious time by gathering together a variety of Tintin products, and ideas for Christmas presents, including Tintin toys, Tintin games, Tintin books, and even T-shirts and a mug showing Tintin, Tintin Youtube videos, a Tintin Quiz and a Tintin Poll to entertain you.

The Adventues of Tintin - the Secret of the Unicorn

Sunday 27 November 2011

Beswick Figurines - Alice Series: Great Collectable Christmas Presents

You'll love these wonderfully detailed and lovingly created Beswick figurines created in the "Alice" series by master craftsmen which are acollector's delight.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Ataturk - Father of Modern Turkey

To Understand Turkey, You Need to Know About the Founder of Modern Turkey - Ataturk, Turkish General, Politician, Statesman, Humanitarian and Reformer.

Oh, and at the end I have added some beautiful Turkish designs, which you will find on Zazzle - The would be very nostalgic for Turkish people and would also make beautiful and unusual Christmas presents. Zazzle has quite a lot of items which have designs with a Turkish flavour, and you can choose to put most of the designs on different things. Take a look.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Oil Paint versus Pastel Crayons

A debate about the benefits of Oil Paint as opposed to Pastel Crayons.

Lots to look at - pictures by famous artists, arty things to buy as Christmas presents and a Quiz about Art.

Quite entertaining

The Road to Hell by John Parker

 See the full article here: Oil Paint v Pastel Crayons 

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Chicken & Turkey Leftovers: Quick Easy Recipes

After you've had a good meal of roast chicken and vegetables, it can be a bit of a bore knowing what to do with the remnants, and devising meals with the scraps which someone will actually want to eat. I hope this will give you some new ideas and also remind you of things you already knew but haven't put into operation.

I come from a background of great change, and have experienced both wealth and poverty, travelled widely and have lived in several areas of very mixed cultures, ending up in one of the most metropolitan cities of all - London. I have had the opportunity to try many wonderful national and international dishes and, in a city where so many cultures live side-by-side, it is easy to find an enormous range of imported food sitting side-by-side with local produce. As you would expect, this has influenced my style of cooking.

Poppy Seed Pudding - the Story

Explaining how I developed a delicious recipe purely by chance, rescuing a kitchen disaster. You will find it quite fun.

This builds on my recipe web page about Poppy Seed Pudding Diana, but this story page is more of a blog.

Take a look

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Poppy Seed Pudding Diana Recipe - Thanksgiving

Not everyone likes poppy seeds, but if you do, you will love this Poppy Seed Pudding.

It would make a delicious dessert for Thanksgiving dinner.

This pudding recipe evolved in my own kitchen - that's why I named it Poppy Seed Pudding Diana - a delicious and unusual pudding.

I developed a lasting interest in cooking when working in, and helping to run, a restaurant in the 1960's. It wasn't a fancy restaurant, maybe more of a cafe really, where the emphasis was on simple home-style food, and as a result of that experience, I became adept at creating simple easy recipes, using the sort of ingredients you might have around the home,

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Saturday 19 November 2011

I Wrote a Song in My First Song Writing Class

 I Wrote a Complete Song in My First Songwriting Class

I never knew I had it in me, until I wrote a poem years ago about the Fire at Alexandra Palace. It had a chorus, and was very repetative, and people at my poetry group said it had the makings of a good song, and I ought to get it set to music. Of course I never did, and it languished as an unrecognized lyric.

However, a few days ago a friend asked me if I would like to go to a free songwriting class at our local library, and, ever-curious, I went.

First we were asked to do some physical loosening up exercises as a prelude to singing a song.  I was a bit disconcerted, as I consider myself as being useless at singing - one of the reasons I never bothered to continue guitar lessons was because it didn't seem much good if I couldn't sing along to my own strumming.
Anyway, I did the arms above head and down to the ground, wriggle around, blow through your lips like a sperm whale and so forth.

Then we were given an explanation writing a simple song using AAA format. This is, basically, three similar verses or stanzas, no chorus, no complications.

We were shown a song by Bette Midler, "The Rose", which was in this AAA form. Then we sang it, reading the words from the song sheet.  A bit tricky for me really, as I didn't know the tune. However it was pretty easy to pick up, and, although I merely droned without proper singing, I didn't disgrace myself more than averagely.

Then we talked a bit about travelling and were asked to write something ourselves, in class, something personal, maybe about a journey, using some rhymes.

The man next to me (whose name shall not be revealed here) is already a seasoned musician and song writer, but he said he couldn't possibly write something there and then, and preferred to write something at night.  That left five of us, including our teacher, ready to get writing. 

I had something down on paper quick as a flash. I'm used to doing this in poetry group (which I no longer attend) and at home - you get something down in writing, anything, and then you can always go back and polish it up - indeed revision is an essential part of writing poetry.

The man who wasn't writing was chattering away, and said something about throwing a line. This got incorporated into my poem. I was only marginally bothered by this diversion, but my friend, who is also in the poetry group, was well put off, and asked him to desist, as she couldn't concentrate.

I wrote quickly, and finished quarter of an hour before everyone else. Surprisingly, I was the only person to write a complete poem, the others having varying success. Inspiration just came without much head-scratching.  One man could only think of  two lines, another wrote a lot of very existential philosophical stuff, which was clearly going to be the best one of all once he found the words to finish it off, and my friend and the teacher wrote competently but needed to take their pieces home and do work on them.

So that was a good experience.  I managed to find suitable rhymes, and although one or two of the rhymes were rubbish and had to be revised at home, I was reasonably happy with the result. This is what I wrote:
                Travelling to Dover

      As I travelled on the train one rainy morning
      Tired and wet, I couldn’t stop my yawning
      Looked up and saw what surely was a warning
      Hooded eyes that set my heart a-warming

      I turned away and stared into the mist
      But all the while I held a secret wish
      That I’d put out a line and catch this fish
      And he’d be mine forever on a dish

      He moved to sit by me and I moved over
      I sensed that one day soon he’d be my lover
      And give me hell because he was a rover.
           I caught him as the train pulled in to Dover

© Diana Grant                       16th November 2011

Life Happens: Tell A Story About It

Life Happens: Tell A Story About It

A very thought-provoking article - snippets of people's lives, written by alwaysjules who is a playwright and writer.  Her writing skills show through, and her philosophy of life speaks out for itself.

The article is on Squidoo, and she was deservedly awarded a Purple Star for excellence.  

Go and have a look, then come back here to tell everyone what you thought about it

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Snow - by Orhan Pamuk

This book is about a poet, Ka, who is also an investigative journalist. He is stranded in a snowbound small town for an eventful few days to learn about the mysterious suicides of young women who have been obliged under the laws of Secular Turkey to remove their veils. The book is poetic, dreamy, atmospheric, exciting, political, and very informative about the ideological cross-currents in modern Turkey.

I was captivated right from the start by the sheer poetry and competence of the writing, which shone through the sensitive translation by Maureen Feely.

There is a love story interwoven with a tale of political unrest, and an exploration of the contrasting attitudes of secular society in Turkey and Muslim fundamentalists, culminating in violent action.

The viewpoints of the characters are revealed sympathetically and non-judgmentally, giving an insight into the problems of the warring factions in modern Turkey, which, under the auspices of Ataturk, became a secular state in the 1920's.

Monday 14 November 2011

Why Make a Will

If you do not make a Will, your estate will devolve according to the law relating to intestacy (Intestacy means not having a will). The consequence of intestacy is explained below.

The Will disposes broadly speaking of everything which you own. A Will should be carefully worded, as it may affect not only the financial well-being of your family but also its harmony.


An unfair or inadequate Will can create 
lasting grievances.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Blog - Resolutions From Hell and What Happened Next - Glorious Confusion

Developing Goals or Resolutions - My intention is that this will be an ongoing journal of my progress through the peaks and troughs of carrying out my New Year's Resolutions for 2011, and that you will dip in from time to time to wail or rejoice as appropriate. It will be a poignant journey and although I have done my best to keep it light and entertaining, it veers to the heavy side when I discuss the news as we knew it in January, and compare it with the most recent news. Hindsight can play games with our minds.

A positive story of triumph and success, or merely grim treading water whilst I try not to fall by the wayside? I know not.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Climate Change - Copenhagen Convention and Beyond

What Did the Day of Action on 12th December 2009 during the Copenhagen Meeting of World Leaders about Climate Change Achieve ?

The outcome of the Copenhagen Convention 2009, discussion,links to news items, a poll and a debate and even some music