Friday, 17 December 2010

We are still alive!!

Hi everyone, just to let you know we are ok! - Im at work, doing this in my lunch as we are waiting for our new tv/broadband/phone to be connected hopefully next Monday.

A bit of news..

Douglas was given a new tablet for yet another problem he has ticked off from the new diseases/conditions left in his medical dictionary that he hasnt used yet, and it caused a mighty reaction on one foot, bringing him out in a very nasty itchy and sore rash. Walking was very painful for several weeks.

Im glad to say the rash has now gone (he stopped the tablet that caused it) and hes fine now.

We had a lovely day out in York at the Christmas Market with colleagues from his work. I "drove" Douglas in a wheelchair that we hired from Shopmobility, due to the above. We arrived back at home about 6pm, absolutley exhausted but very happy!

I applied for a new job at work, but didnt get to interview stage.. I need more practice at doing applications the way "they" want them :-)

The cats had their "Cativersary" on the 15th December.. this marks 4 years of their life with us!! They are a gift that keeps giving and giving (as long as we feed them, and tell them how much we love them every day!)

Douglas had a good works lunch out, going to a local pasta place and having steak.. it was a nice surprise and a big treat when a wealthy colleague decided to pay for the lot!!

In the new year Im moving teams at work. Ive done Waste Carriers stuff for three years now, and because I want to be developed (hence the application for a job one step higher than I am now) the Management have decided that they would play musical chairs with some of us. Im moving to the team that deals with all the emails the Environment Agency get.. which can be long and complicated at times!!

Well, happy Solstice/Yule/Xmas/New Year to you all,

I hope to be back online soon to post some photos!

Anna xx

Monday, 1 November 2010

Halloween Weekend Part 4 more photos

Last lot of photos!

The Devil came to dinner.. and he ate vegetable soup!
(Maddys father!)

Marthas friend Maddy apple bobbing

Amy looking angelic

Halloween Weekend Part 3 Extra photos!

These are general photos of the weekend.. each with a little caption below them!

Firstly, this is a photo of Billy with Amy behind him. I think Billy is saying
"What on earth is this monster doing in my bedroom?"
He looks quite alarmed! lol. He dosnt like kids much :-D

This is Martha and her friend Maddy looking Very scary!

Carlo borrowed my mask.. I think he looks great! His eyes look beady black. whohoooo!

Leo just after bobbing for apple peices! I wouldnt like to meet him on a dark night :-)

Halloweeen Weekend Part 2

We arranged with my brother Thomas to hijack his house and have a Halloween party there, with Loony, little Amy and his kids.

We went shopping in the morning and purchased sausage rolls, indian mini bites, crisps, dips, carrots, and a few other party goodies. Earlier that day I made apple crumble to take with us too.

Amy was going as a fairy.. you can see her getting into her lovely little costume here.

By abut 5pm, we were all in our costumes faces painted, raring to go, so we packed all of our goodies (annoyingly we forgot the apple crumbles) and went of to the other side of town.

Amy went as a fairy, Loonie painted her face green, and had a wonderful witches hat, I went in my blue evening dress with a green and brown face, I put my green cape on and my leaf mask when we went out! Douglas did his face with white paint, with blood smeared on (paint again) he had medical "greens" with blood spatters on that looked quite gorey!

We drove down Thomases driveway to be greeted by a very scary zombie in a dinner jacket and bow tie, weilding two blood covered axes!! When we got into the house, the same scary monster was seen trying to kill a pumpkin. I must say he was making a pretty good job of it! lol!

The Zombie (aka Thomas) and the scary fanged Martha Monster

Carlo the Killer (in my green mask!)

Leo the Lurch

Even my mum joined in, by borrowing Loonies hat! I think it suited her very well (No Mother, Im not saying you are a wicked witch.. as you must know by now, most witches are not wicked!! lol)

More photos coming soon!!

Halloween Weekend, Part 1

Our friend Leonie (aka Loonie) and her daughter (very nearly 3 now) came to stay for a long weeekend. Amy is sweet. Shes chatty and funny, and loves to try and do things for herself.

On Friday Douglas wasnt feeling very well during the day, but rallied round in the evening enough for a trip out to a buffet place near us called Flaming Dragon - mainly serving Chinese food, but with Brazillian roast and Teppan Yaki. The Brazillian bit just seems to be various meat done on a BBQ but the Teppan Yaki is great. There are dishes of raw ingredients.. meat, noodles and vegetables. You choose exactly what you want, and its cooked for you as you wait with soya sauce on etc.

We all had a good time.. as the photos below will tell you!

On Saturday, we went up to Walkley for a Give and Take Event that Sheffield Freegle were organising on a little patch of green land. The covenant on it says it shall remain undeveloped as long as there is at least one community event held on it each year, so Sheffield Freegle, Madame Zucchini (an entertainer who makes veg soup!) and a power company, with lots of energy saving info) all had stalls.

All of the volunteers had their photos taken with our trophy from the Sheffield Telegraph Environment Awards, which was great. I took a fishing rod I used to use as a hair scrunchie holder years ago, and took away a brand new lap/cushion tray which was great!

Having said our hellos and goodbyes, Douglas, Loonie, Amy and I headed up to Meadowhell as Loonie wanted some clothes for her little one.

Meadowhell was.. frankly hell. It was incredibly busy. We had borrowed a wheelchair for Loonie, as she has M.E. and gets tired walking very far, and a push chair for Amy.

Amy decided she would walk most of the way, whilst I pushed the pushchair that became a shopping and bag carrier. Douglas had the hard work pushing Loonie who is not thin by any manner of means. Towards the end, Ds job got harder as Amy sat on her mums lap.

We were all glad to get back home. I was exhausted, so fell into bed for a while, and Douglas collapsed on the settee for a bit. I think Loonie had a nap too!

We had a peaceful evening, chatting about plans for the next day. (Sunday blog coming soon)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Award Winners!

Last Wednesday evening, some of Sheffield Freegle went to a posh hotel in town to the Sheffield Telegraph Environment Award ceremony.

We were up for "best recycling group" . It was all very posh. We had a speech from the editor of the newspaper, then another by a "Look North" weatherman who presented each award along with someone from various businesses that sponsored the award.

We were sat at large round tables, and served a meal before the awards were given out. I had a (weird) terrine of mixed peppers to start with, then for mains the menu said some kind of vegetable thing in pastry and mushroom sauce. I had already said no mushrooms please ( I don't like them at all!). The waiters came out saying "special diet" with two plates of the most insipid risotto Ive ever seen! My friend, and one of the group owners, Eliese, cannot have much dairy, but like me, when she saw this plate of stodge, she decided to have the strudel thing.

The strudel thing was weird but edible.. it was vegetable cous cous wrapped in pasty sitting on top of mashed potato with a few sad looking vegetables next to it. We had a very strange apple "jus" aka gravy with it.

Desert wasn't much better.. it was a dark chocolate and orange lump on a slightly soggy biscuit. Eliese had melon, a much nicer plateful!

The awards started.. our category, best recycler, was very near the bottom of the list.. it was quite nerve wracking waiting!

Our turn came.. they introduced Heely City Farm, then Sheffield Freegle.. we sat on the edge of our seats.. and the winner was......... SHEFFIELD FREEGLE!!! WOOOOT!

The three owners went up to get the award, then Adam got interviewed afterwards. I will try and find the clip and put a link to it in due course.

After the awards had been given out, there were still lots of people milling around the hall, so Eliese (on the left in the picture below) and I went round giving everyone our promotional bookmarks out, inviting them to join our group ;-) very cheeky but many people seemed genuinely pleased with the idea, and promised to join!

Anna xx

From the left.. Eliese Freegle Finegan, Adam Recycle Renison, Tracy Recycle Renison.. and me!

Desmond week 2

It all seems quite a long time ago now, but I attended the second session of the Desmond course, which was mainly about food choices.

The main bit I remember (and was useful to me) was a practical activity involving moving a lot of different foods into three categories.. good, not so good and naughty. As expected, most of the nice things were in the naughty section, but the course does not ban any food.. just says be aware of them, eat less of them, and do some extra phyiscal activity to compensate for them!

I did learn a few tips, such as if you are frying food, a vegetable oil is better than olive (Olive oil is better in salads) , and that marge is better for you than butter, and foods rich in Omega 3 as it helps combat the affects of cholestrol in the body.

Here are a few pictures from the course.

So... what next?

Im trying to eat smaller portions, Im eating less chocolate, and trying to do a bit more physical activity, and taking my diabetic pills much more regularly as I know how they help me, even if I cant feel any changes.

I didnt find the 2nd week any thing like so interesting as the first, but then I know what I should and shouldnt be eating, and what has fat in it etc.

Overall, I think its a great course, and I wish Id gone on it much earlier, and I wish my GP Practice encouraged people to go on that, instead of trying to flog them £300 worth of hypnotism from a private practioner!! (Yes, one of my practice nurses really did this)

More soon from a most interesting week!

Anna xxx

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Whats this? A new man in my life? (nooo one is enough lol) A new neighbour?

No!! you are all wrong! DESMOND stands for...

Ongoing and
Newly Diagnosed

So.. on Saturday morning I went to the first half of a DESMOND course, because about a year ago I was diagnosed as having Type 2 Diabetes. When I was first diagnosed, I was very shocked, and very upset. The nurse dumped a handful of leaflets into my arms, and a prescription for some tablets, and that was that.

I read some of the leaflets, but as Douglas was already diagnosed with diabetes, I didnt really read further, and that was the limit of my education until someone mentioned that there was a course I could go on (the someone was definatley NOT my practice nurse or GP!!)

I didnt think I would get much out of the course, but I thought I'd go along anyway just in case.

There were about 10 of us in the group, lead by a specialist Diabetes nurse, and a practice nurse with a special interest in the subject.

After a chat about how the course was organised, and that it wasnt in a lecture format.. more working with knowledge we had as a group, putting it in order, and learning bits to add to it.

Each person said who they were, how long they had been diagnosed, what there symptoms were etc, which in itself was very interesting. We also put down any burning questions we had, so they can be dealt with during the two mornings the course spanned over.

Firstly we looked at what Type 2 diabetes was, and a very simple model, explaining that they key that unlocks the "door" allowing insulin to be used in our bloodstream does not work very well, and sometimes the "lock" itself is rusty as well.

If you look very carefully, you can see a key and a lock sitting on or close to the pancreas where insulin is produced. The parts were magnetic, so they were placed on as each one was discussed.

Various symptoms that the group had discussed were explained which was very interesting, then towards the end we played the "Sugar" game (oops wait.. did I say game? its an exercise! lol)

The nurses put items on the table, and we as a group had to put sugar lumps near each product to say how many lumps of sugar each one had in it. Again this was a very simplified exercise, but eye opening.. Things that say "low fat" often have a higher sugar content to make them taste nice!

Next Saturday, we will be talking a lot more abut diet, and physical activity (known to many of us as exercise!). We will be setting ourselves an individual target.. one thing to help us manage our diabetes better!

Lucozade is LOADED with sugar, as is the carton of concentrated orange juice!

So.. week one of DESMOND done.. It was very interesting, well paced, dealt with worries and anxieties and I really enjoyed it!

Please come back next week for the next exciting episode of .......

Anna goes Desmonding :-D

Monday, 4 October 2010

The Family Spirit

On Sunday Douglas and I were invited over to my parents for lunch. The menu was roast chicken with all the trimmings (roast potatoes, parsnips, and veg) so I made some mini nut roasts as my chicken replacement.

I looked at my parents photos of their recent trip to Germany and France.. there are some really beautiful ones! My father defiantly has an artistic eye for pictures.

We had a really good meal. My younger brother and his 3 kids were also there, so it was a busy table full of Cosshams (and the honorary Cossham, Douglas) lol. It all went well, even Carlo, aged 6 who first of all announced that he wasn't hungry, managed to polish off a large portion, and then several extra chipolata sausages, followed by blackberry and apple crumble and ice cream!!

After lunch, my mum suggested a game of Monopoly, which we used to play quite frequently as kids, although my memory of playing was that the game took forever, and normally ended up with one or more kid in tears because they hadn't won!

Mum, Thomas, Carlo (assisting) and Leo

My mother tells me that when I was small I didn't have a competitive bone in my body, and that I was always happy when someone else won. Ok back to the main story :-)

My dad, Carlo and Martha had fun building (then destroying) marble shoots made out of the wooden bricks that have kept generations of Cosshams happy, whilst the rest of us rolled our dice and counted our money.

Slowly, my husband, my mother and my nephew were all bankrupted by either me, or my angelic baby brother, and left the game.

Douglas and my mum still solvent at this stage

My cards.. doing pretty well.

So then there were two. After managing to land then buy several properties that were owned by the bank, I had a whole row of properties with houses and hotels on. My brothers fate was sealed, and soon enough, he landed on one of my hotels, and that was that.

I will gloss over the near tantrum he had when he realised that he had been crushed by his most beloved, generous, kind but now horribly competitive older sister and just say that I went home with a very evil grin on my face, which strangely has come back again just now :-D

Ok.. there was a bit of a discrepancy over what happens when a player mortgages all his properties.. does the player whose rent needs to be paid got them, or do they just go back to the bank, so he might have had a teensey weensy point in his frustration, but the grin remains!!

Sweet Victory! Notice correlation between hotels and my properties :-D

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Badgers need your help

This is a quote directly from the RSPCA website. Please read and sign the petition.

The (UK) government has announced that it may undertake a badger cull in some areas of England as part of a package of measures to control the disease of bovine TB in cattle. Defra Minister, Jim Paice MP has announced that a consultation will be carried out in September.

Scientific evidence suggests that the culling of badgers may have a limited benefit on the disease within the culled area and in surrounding areas outside the cull it may, at least initially, increase the disease in cattle. We also have concerns on how culling might be carried out.

An injectable TB vaccine for badgers was licensed for use in March and we are dismayed that the Government has announced it is only going to vaccinate badgers against bovine TB in a limited area of Gloucestershire, rather than six areas in Staffordshire, Herefordshire/Worcestershire and Devon as was originally planned. It is currently not clear what alternative plans the government might have to utilize the vaccine.

We also want to see a continuation of improved cattle measures, including pre- and post-movement testing, husbandry and biosecurity.

Please sign our petition to let the government know you are against culling.

If you would like to write to your MP to express your views on this issue, please click here

Thank you for giving animals a voice.


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A Freegle Ceilidh!

A few months ago, one of the women in my choir approached me to suggest that Sheffield Freegle team up with her folk band to organise a ceilidh (folk/barn dance). Her band (The Well Dressed Band)

The WDB are holding a series of Ceilidhs, each with a different community partner, to raise awareness of the different causes (great idea!!). The first in the series was Abundance, we were second and I dont know who is coming next, but I know they are booked!

Two of my fellow moderators were as keen as I was to do this, so on Sunday we arrived at the hall early to put up banners, spread chairs and a few tables around, and generally get organised.

Douglas came too of course, so that made 4 of us. Before the event, I was unsure if just the four of us could cope (having never organised this sort of thing before) , so I asked my older brother if he could possibly come down from York and join us, which he did.

The evening went very well, the hall filled up with people and the dancing began. The band were very good, and the caller, Pete Coe who started with nice easy dances (to lull the beginners into a false sense of security ? haha!) then as the evening wore on, he introduced a few more difficult dances, but by then the dancers could cope with that :-) Not only is he a good caller, but hes quite a funny man, so it was enjoyable both dancing and listening to his jokes.

At 8.30, half way through the dance, we had a break. I had to get up on the stage and explain what Freegle was all about, and to encourage people to join Sheffield Freegle. That was a bit scary, but aparantley I did ok.

We had advertised that we would like people to bring a home made dish of food to share with everyone else, so by the time everyone had arrived, we had a wonderful feast laid out. There were salads, home made breads, pies, toasted seeds and all sorts, not forgetting some lovely cakes for afters! (Sairahs chocolate and beetroot cake was really nice, and that surprised me since I have a hate hate relationship with the evil red veg!)

The dancing went on until 10.30, by which time Eliese, Sairah and I had finished most of the washing up from the feast. Douglas and John stayed in the hall for the 2nd half of the dance, acting as security against any stray curious youths that fancied coming in to see what they could pinch - its a rather rough area!

John left at about 10pm to catch a train home to York, and the rest of us tidied up the hall, put things away, packed our car, took Eliese home, and got back to ours by about 11.30pm which is a very late night for us!

Everyone had a good evening, we handed out quite a lot of leaflets, so hopefully we will get some more people joining as a result!

Needless to say that Douglas and I were very tired the next day!!!! zzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Laurieston Hall. Sunday 5th September (last day)

********* Please start on Thursdays post if you have not read the rest yet **********

Breakfast duty this morning, so I started early by sweeping the floor in the hall area.. After last nights bonfire and people tracking grass through, so it looked much better when I had done!

Ali Burns came to do the second workshop with us and took us through a newish song of hers that has quite a difficult alto part! Her songs are lovely - she tries her best to give each part a nice tune to sing whilst putting them all together to create a lovely overall sound.

Ali Burns in action

After lunch, I would have liked to go see the red kites being fed, but no one who had transport wanted to go. Instead, I and a German/Irish girl spent the afternoon with one of the residents, a lady called Marion who taught us how to 'drop spin' that's spinning wool using a spindle that you suspend from the wool you slowly tease out and spin into thread then wind a little round the spindle and keep going. I had a great time and managed to spin a yard or so of rather bumpy length!

My first attempt at drop spinning!

Basket with wool and a drop spindle in

Tea was at 6.30 as usual. The tables had been re-arranged into a u shape so we could have a 'banquet' for our last evening. We all dressed up. Some from the dressing up collection in the sunny room, some like me in their own stuff. I wore my lovely mediaeval blue dress, my new green cape and my new 'green goddess' mask I purchased earlier in the summer. Everyone looked marvellous.. Some very funny!

Who could it be?

Some strange costumes!

For tea we had baked potato wedges, some kind of bake with tomatoes on the top, green beans, a mushroom sauce (yuk) and some odd thing with ?hot beetroot in it (double yuk!!) oh, we also had roast peppers that were nice.

I finished off my bottle of wine (It's taken me all three nights to drink it.. Not too bad!)
Dessert was some lovely chocolate biscuits and ice cream.
After a gap, final night festivities began in the billard room. We all sat round on sofas and chairs and played pass the parcel. When the music stopped, the forfit was for someone to think of a song that fitted the theme on the note. We sang all sorts.. Themes ranged from travel, to political all the way to mythological, the latter being a part rendition of Puff the Magic Dragon! The prize in the middle was a bar of soap!!

Voca Loca, our sister choir from Belfast (not Dublin, sorry Curlybap, whoever you are, who pointed this out to me) sang two lovely songs, then Body of sound sang two of theirs.

Next came a drama! We had a very creative rendition of The Quangle Wangles Hat!

The final organised event of the night was a team game. Three teams were each given a song to sing, and given a style in which to sing it. I formed part of the audience/judging panel!

The first team had to sing nursery rhymes in the style of the winning volley ball team .. It got worse and funnier as the teams went on!!!

By the time prizes had been awarded ( one to each team, of course) it was 11.15pm so I decided to finish packing, shower then sleep. I'm sure that singing went on well into the night but I was tired.

It was a wonderful weekend.

It took us about 5 hours to get back home.. we left at about midday after a rather tearful parting from our friends and the beautiful hall.

I was sad to leave, but very happy to be back home with my lovely Douglas and my lovely puddies.

Laurieston Hall. Saturday 4th September

I woke early and had a shower, then went back to bed to read until breakfast at 8. I went out along the drive to call Douglas, tried both landline and mobile with no response. I sent him a text to find out what he's up to.

Our singing workshop was held by Ali Burns. We have sung quite a few of her songs before so it was great to have her teach us a few of her newest peices.

Lunch was a varied menu. Most had cauliflower soup, the cooks made a small batch of courgette and veg soup for me and 3 others. There was a tomato tart, green salad, ?devilled eggs and some brown scones to have as well. I wasn't terribly keen on the soup, but the tomato tart was lovely so had enough to eat.

I found myself sitting on the same table as the cooks, so I was able to question one about yesterdays peanut sauce.. I now have the basic recipe!

After lunch there were various things going on, I plumped for a lesson in onion plaiting! This will help the onions to keep over the winter, to feed yet other guests.

Brigitte, from Voca Loca plaits. The Hall can be seen in the background.

Onions, all plaited, ready for storage.

In the evening, we sat round a bonfire, and the sauna was lit. We sat round the fire, singing songs, watching and listening to the women who had a sauna. Some of them got into the very cold pond. The water, that comes via the surrounding hills, the stream, through the hydro power unit into the pond is incredibly cold.. there were quite a few shreiks as people got in!!

As before, I went to bed with songs singing round my head.

Laurieston Hall. Friday 3rd Sept

Woke at 6am, had promised to phone Douglas to make sure he was awake. I had to wander out of the building down the track a little as the house has a lead lined roof!

The morning was beautiful, mist still hanging around, the end of the Dawn chorus, and a bat busy having breakfast in and out of the trees. D was already awake but it was nice to have a chat.

Breakfast here starts at 8. I had no problem getting some more shuteye until then.. It must be the country air!

Breakfast itself was good.. Home made bread, milk and yoghurt from lauieston cows, fruit, and museli. I did my first duty.. Washing up and cleaning the kitchen- it's great to be able to help!

Doing our warmups before singing

We sang till 1pm, having a break to sit in the sun in the garden. It was so nice out that having collected my lunch ( leftover pizza, jacket pot, leftover carrot salad) I went out and ate at a grockel bench and chatted to a resident who has lived here 30 years.. People truly love this place and life style.

Morning Break

I had a rest then we set off on a singing walk, stopping to sing woody songs to the forest, babbling brook and watery songs to the stream, then laky songs to- and then IN the Loch!!

I was very brave.. After a few other girls had stripped off and got in, I followed. It took me quite a while to pluck up the courage to fully immerse myself swim as it was so cold, but was very pleased I did!

One or two women got up onto a platform floating a little way out in the Loch, and after a bit of sunbathing more women joined in, and soon there were about seven of them, naked as the day they were born, all doing a circle dance on the tiny raft. It was very funny!

I didn't stay in the water long, not wanting my extremities to freeze, but i stayed in long enough to swim round the platform and find a bit of slightly warmer water that had the sun on it. Having got dressed again we walked back to the house and warmed up.

Tea was stir fry veg and rice with a delicious peanut sauce. Even though I don't like peanut butter, I do like Satay sauce, so it was another enjoyable meal. Pudding was a rough but tasty blackberry and apple crumble with custard. Nom!

I wasn't feeling well ( tummy was playing up) so I went to bed after tea. I set my alarm for 9pm to catch a bit of circle dancing which was lovely. We then spent an hour or so doing a "show and tell" I took a lollipop stick Martha gave me years ago.. She had decorated it and written 'friendship stick' on it :-) I enjoyed hearing about the lovely objects other people had brought.

After we had shown/shared our objects, singing started again. I stayed for a while before Heading back to bed. I went to sleep with tunes going round my head, it was lovely.

Laurieston Hall. Thursday 2 Sept

With my darling husbands blessing, I booked a place on a little holiday with my choir (Body of Sound, or BOS for short) to sing and have a nice weekend with an Irish choir from Belfast (Sister choir, you could say) called Voca Loca.

I kept a diary of my doings, and I thought I would share it with you!


Set off from Sheff at about 11am, piled into a minibus with 10 others. The trip was about Six hours, which included one long lunch break and one short pit stop just outside Dumfries.

Lauieston hall is an old not terribly stately home, (the current building is Victorian) about 26 people live here full time as part of a co-operative. They pay rent and do two and a half days work for the house.. Looking after the crops, animals and house. There is also a business side.. Groups like our choir come and stay through the year. Some of the residents work for the business side.. cooking, cleaning, organsing and playing host to each group.

We arrived here at about five- it was so good to un-concetina after a long journey. I have a room to my own .. Requested due to my snoring and not wanting to disturb Anyones sleep!!!

My room turned out to be huge with enough beds for about 8 people! I unpacked and had a shower (just a dribble of hot water but enough to freshen up). The rest of the group went to the local loch for a swim, so I read and chatted to a couple of the staff and a friendly resident dog. I hear there is a resident cat - a Ginger Tom called Percy who is friendly until he's had enough.. then he bites!!

Evening meal was at 6.30. It consisted of a gorgeous pizza (a special non mushroom one had been made for two of us) a delicious carrot salad and a green salad. Dessert was chocolate cake topped with icing and walnuts, a large bowl of whipped cream was also served.

We spent a while relaxing in the large hall which has sofas and a lovely open fire. Dora the dog was much in evidence enjoying the attention.

We gathered in a large room- Bos and a choir from n. Ireland called 'Voca Loca' I think this makes about 40 of us! We sang many simple songs, mainly rounds, starting with

Asalam asalam
A le cum asalam

It is from the Koran and means peace be with you.. It was beautiful. By ten I was falling asleep, singing at the same time. By this time, everyone had gathered and eaten so we went round introducing ourselves. I shall never remember all these names!!

After signing up for some jobs, I trundled up to bed, read for a bit and zonked out.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


Dear Friends, Family, Fans etc...

Recently I have been getting a lot of spam posts, and its annoying me.

I have altered my settings so you have to type some of those letters before your post will be accepted. I'm really sorry about this!

Anna xxx


Security is working!

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Today Douglas was not feeling on top form, so he had a quiet day at home, whilst I went over to my younger brothers, and after a few games of swingbat and a nice chat, we walked down to the local swimming pool that has flumes, waves and a river rapid with his two sons, Carlo and Leo. Martha was away for the day with friends.

I took this picture just before we left. A few weeks ago, we found out that like his Uncle, Carlo is a big Spongebob fan, so we found him this colourful T Shirt on e-Bay.

When we got back from swimming, Carlo came up to me and told me he wanted to tell me how much he loved his new T-shirt, and Thank you Very much :-)

Kids can be so sweet sometimes!! lol!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Curry means Money

A few weeks ago, my team from work went to Heely City Farm to create some fencing for a paddock.

We saw what good work they do with inner city kids, the general public and adults with learning disabilities, and decided it would be great to raise some money for them.

Being a lover of a good curry, I suggested it would be a good fund raiser to make lunch for anyone in our office. My friend Robyn said she would be happy to help. We decided to hold our curry day at the same time as a "dress down day" also being held for the farm.

We got loads of orders from our colleagues.. I think about 30 people ordered in all!

On Tuesday, I spent most of my evening peeling, slicing and frying a very large bag of onions (with a large amount of garlic in too!).

On Wednesday lunch, I went to the local wholesalers and purchased large amounts of rice, naan bread and mango chutney...

After work I went back and purchased 50 chicken thighs! Douglas and I spent all of Wednesday evening giving the curry its first cook. I was a bit worried as it didnt smell right, but Douglas reassured me all would be well.

On Thursday evening, after a day in the fridge, the curry was ready for its final cook. The house filled with such a great smell.. I knew everything was going to be fine :-)

Robyn spent the evening making a huge vat of lentil dhall, which was our veggie option.

Another member of our team, Arshid, who used to be a chef in an indian restaurant kindly made us 70 veggie samosas (even kinder if you stop to consider that its Ramadan!)

The big day arrived and I was very excited. I managed to get all three vats of curry into the fridge, then Robyn managed to put her dhall in too, which was great.

We started serving at 11.45, then it was non stop until at about 1.15 our last customer arrived! We worked very well as a team, which was just as well since at times we had a queue of 5 hungry diners!! Everyone was most complimentary about the food, and some were very kind and washed their plates up so we could re-use them.

By 2.30 we were exhausted, all the food had gone, and we had cleared up the tremendous mess in the kitchen. I think the kitchen looked better than it had before by the time we finished :-) You can see how red I have gone with the heat, and that was just heating up pre cooked food. I think I would melt in a real kitchen lol!

After the final customers had paid and we had taken the cost of the food out of the takings, we had made about £85.00 for our chairty.. we were very proud of this!!!!!!!!

After such a busy day, and a few sleepless nights worrying about how this would go, I was glad to go home and collapse into bed for an hour and a half.

I would do it again.. but not for another year I think :-D

Friday, 6 August 2010

Summer Holiday

Time flies!

I have been gently reminded that I have a blog (thank you DAIL lol) and that I really need to reassure my readers that Douglas and I are still alive.

well....... good news!

Douglas and I are still alive and kicking!!

Last week we went on our mini summer holiday up North to our usual destination of Pagan Camp, held in a couple of fields near Ripon.

As usual, rather than camping, we found a B&B fairly close to the site. I had told Douglas that it was a pretty standard B&B, but as a little surprise for him, I had booked a really rather nice looking place.... and booked into one of their best rooms!!!

The Old Coach House, North Stainley is a really lovely, and very superior B&B, with very friendly owners, nice breakfasts and very comfy beds. Our delux room had a bed about a mile wide, a really lovely powerful shower above a decent sized bath. Douglas particularly liked the old wooden beam in the ceiling.

We spent most of the weekend with our friends from the Pagan security firm, the Dagda (named after an Irish God) whom we have known for years.

Whilst on camp, photos are only allowed with the permission of all who appear in them.

Sadly, even in this day and age, many Pagans are not "out" and if their friends/family/employers found out, it would cause a lot of upset, so I only have one photo to share with you.. and thats one of a mysterious Green Woman who appeared on camp. You might be able to work out who she is.. but there are no prizes for doing so! (Photo will appear tonight)

Whilst on camp, I offered to be taxi driver for some people who wanted to go to the supermarket. He, a tall skinny morose fellow with a leather hat sat in the front, his girlfriend, one of the Dagda, sat in the back.

As you do, we got chatting, and I found out he came from Leicester where I spent much of my childhood. I enquired what area, then as I lived there too, I enquired what street, then the penny dropped.. he said "you are Anna Cossham, aren't you?" My jaw dropped as I realised that this "stranger" sitting next to me was someone in my class at junoir school.. and his younger brother was my younger brothers best friend for some years!

Small world, innit?

I didn't like this boy very much at school (he was always getting into trouble) and discovered that lepoards (and some school mates) dont change their spots!!!

Monday, 19 July 2010


Hello blog readers, I am pleased do say that Douglas and I are both feeling much better :-) Thank you for those who sent sympathy, love etc. We appreciate it!

I've had a busy day looking after the little monsters (neice and nephews) so its great to relax for a while.

Here are the promised photos of the Street Choir festival.

This photo was taken on the steps of City Hall, Sheffield on the Saturday of the Street Choir Festival. It was lovely to see so many people just soaking up the sun and atmosphere, and enjoying each others company.

Looking through the programme of events. Later that day people were paddling in this fountain as it go so hot!

This is hundreds of people watching me and hundreds of singers, standing (and sweltering) on the steps of city hall waiting to sing some songs we had practiced. If you look carefully, you can see all the singers reflected in the mirrored doors of the building in the background. It was a great feeling to be one of many, singing to many!

I have saved the best till last! After our mass sing, each of the 35 choirs went off to do their own bit of busking. This is my choir, Body of Sound singing in the Winter Gardens, a wonderful glorified green house with attached art gallery.