New Irish Arts

I was having a poke about on the web and realised someone had posted our appearance on BBC Songs of Praise - it's "Still, my soul be still" - hope you like it. (Since it's from the telly, the words are there so you can sing along with it!)

This was part of the chamber choir and orchestra - I'm looking forward to the big event this summer at the Waterfront when we're part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Bangor Worldwide Missionary Convention. There are still some tickets available for that if you're in Belfast in August!

Ladies of impeccable taste.

Of all the shops, in all the world... how did Angela and Leta end up with the same shirt?! (And I have one just the same in the wardrobe.... though mum bought it for me because I admired hers!)

our latest graduate...

The l'il guy follows in the family tradition! It's the first non-university graduation ceremony I've been at here - though I think they're creeping in and I know they're very common in America.

It was the best entertainment for half an hour - I'm not sure when I last saw my father enjoy something so much and laughter is such good therapy. They trotted in behind the staff to their version of the drill instructor's song from Full Metal Jacket - "we are winners from the start"... and from there we had songs about numbers, colours, shapes, hygiene and a personal statement from each of them about something they'd learnt this year (table manners!).

So having been snowed out of the nativity play at Christmas, and security alerted out of sports day, nothing was keeping me away on Friday. I wouldn't have missed this for the world!

Elderflower cordial

It's that time of year again and for once, I have bottles.... and time.... and there's sunshine (or there was when I made it last weekend) and there was elderflower* a-plenty to be had in the lanes near the village.

I brought some into work with sparkling water to dilute and it went down a treat. It's simple to make;

In a large stainless steel or glass container, soak the following overnight;

  • about 25 heads of elderflower (ideally picked at the end of a sunny day when it's very lemony and fragrant)

  • 3 unwaxed lemons sliced very thinly

  • sugar syrup (2.5 pounds of sugar (don't think about it!) disolved into about 3.5 pints of hot water)

  • 2oz citric acid (Boots generally have it at the pharmacy counter)
After about 24 hours, strain the mix through a seive lined with muslin and pour into sterilised glass bottles with screw top lids. It'll store in a coolish place for at least 6 months, but when I open a bottle, I keep it in the fridge and use it within a month. Gorgeous with sparkling water, ice and a lemon slice. Mmmm.

*Elderflower grows on woody stems, generally shoulder height or above - the stuff that looks the same but grows from the ground on green stems is cow parsley and smells like cat's wee! Not recommended - even with ice and lemon!

puppy love

Thought it was time to revitalise the blog a bit - and this background was very pretty.

Having dabbled again in facebook for work purposes (we were running Wild Week across BBC NI so I had to have a presence), but I've come off it again - it's such an hour-gobbler and life's too short. THIS however, is more like a slightly public diary and I don't need to be so responsive to it so it doesn't faze me as much - and it doesn't steal my days. That said, it's lovely when someone leaves a message.

There've been some lovely days recently - including the Sunday we went to visit friends in the village to meet their new puppy "Yo-Yo".

Call me sentimental, but a four year old boy and a seven week old pup is sort of a marriage made in heaven - one of life's essential pairings - but this was just a visit - l'il guy doesn't have any pets yet.

"Yo-Yo" is a trainee guide dog and my friend's family will have him for 18 months to get him ready for serious training as a visually impaired person's "eyes". Lesson for life? Proverbs 22: 6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it!" (Small, energetic boys... and pups!)