Rhubarb crumble top cake

Thanks  to Tesscol  for  for this  brilliant  recipe!


Serves: 12 

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 250ml soured cream
  • 365g chopped rhubarb
  • Topping
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon


Prep:30min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr15min

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease and flour a 23x33cm cake tin or baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together 250g sugar, bicarb, salt and 250g flour. Stir in the eggs and soured cream until smooth, then fold in the rhubarb. Pour into the prepared dish and spread evenly.
  3. In a smaller bowl, stir together the remaining sugar and butter until smooth. Rub in remaining flour until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cake then dust lightly with cinnamon.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 45 minutes.



She  would not  give in, never  listening  to to the dissenting voices

She  was determined, she would  push  and push. Yes  she had made her choices.

Even when the going was tough  she showed  her will of  steel  and never admitted, enough.

They laughed  at  her  behind  her back , yet  slowly  she found she had made  the crack!


Unfurled and yellow swirls.

Unfurled and yellow swirls.

Then came the day  she moved  out of the dark and up  into the sun

Breathing  in the fresh air  she stretched  and took in the air, her journey just  begun.

Up, up to meet  the sun she was tired  but  not  beaten  she would  make  her goal.

She lets  herself uncurl, throws out  her yellow dress in a graceful swirl, her heart feels whole.

Oh! my goodness she cries  with pride I am free I shall no longer hide.

Happily dancing in the sun and by moonlight  having fun her heart full of pride.


A life  so full could  not last  forever, she did not dwell on that, she was too clever.

Happily  she called to her sisters and brothers  live a full life  waste  not a second ….never.

For  a few weeks  she basked in the sun, washed in fresh rain  then suddenly  her life was done.

I was sad I shed a tear, but in my heart I know  she will be back next year. Too stubborn is she to be gone .

Again and again  she will arise  and shine  and  join in the chorus of the wonderful earth’s song!




Random Acts of Kindness

Welcome to the coffee garden. It’s Paul here as your barista again this week – offering coffee, tea, biscuits and cake as we sit out in the garden and watch the butterflies in the flowers while we chat. Whatever topics tickle your fancy, we’re eager and waiting. I am honored to be tasked with serving you. So have a seat, relax with a cuppa and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Willow, our host and the owner of the garden, will be joining us as well. Oh, yeah, that’s a picture of me up there – I figured if there’s going to be a few of us here, you’ll need to know what I look like so I can get your refills.

I don’t always dress that fancy, but the photo was taken at Queen’s University the last time I graduated – a few years ago. I actually think that was the last photo taken of me. That tie has quite a story. Our team of six had gone to Beijing for a real project to check for a Canadian Cancer Radiation Machine mfg to see of it would be feasible for them to build a plant there. It was quite a trip and we had a fair bit of free time to get into deviltry. Lots of stories there. We had one woman on our team – Shannon (name changed) – and she decided one day to go shopping. She was just a bit of a thing and we’d agreed to go out in pairs when sightseeing, so she chose me as her guardian. I’m pretty easy going (and big – 6’3” and 240 lbs.), so she dragged me down to the market in Beijing – holy crap! Talk about big and busy – miles and miles of booths all jammed together. You can buy anything there and copies of anything. She decided I needed a tie and helped me pick out this one – hand painted silk. It’s still my favorite. Do you have any pieces of clothing with an odd or funny story behind them? Do tell.

Enough about me, how have things been going for you this week? We have been getting some rain in Ottawa which has finally worked out well for me. Some time ago the roof of the building where I lived sprung a leak, but it would only leak during a downpour. This was terribly inconvenient for me – having water pouring into my room through the ceiling. Thankfully the leak, although a big one, stayed away from my bed and desk and was concentrated in the center of the room. Anyway, the landlord kept trying to fix it and failing. Finally, he managed to get it watertight this week and I could breathe a sigh of relief. I’m glad to have that worry off my mind, now it can rain and I can enjoy it.

Do you have any frustrating fix-it stories? Another cuppa and a biscuit while we chat? Speaking of food, here’s one that will amuse you and warm your heart. We spoke last time a little about my dialysis. There’s an elderly Lebanese woman whose schedule is the same as mine so I see her three times a week at the hospital. She’s very cheerful but doesn’t speak any English beyond “Hello” and “Good-bye”. For reasons beyond my understanding, she has taken a shine to me and brings me in freshly cooked Lebanese food about once a week or so.

The range of food is amazing and she packs it into these large size yogurt containers for travel. It is not food with which I am familiar (mostly) but it is very tasty. This week it was stuffed grape leaves (stuffed with lamb and rice) and a bean soup. There was also a container of spiced rice with chicken pieces in it and finally a tub of some kind of Lebanese desert that was very creamy (like pudding) with a chocolate layer on top. It was ambrosia. She also brings in food for two of the staff – an orderly and a nurse. Neither of them wants the food, so being a bachelor, I have volunteered to take it so they slip it to me during the treatment.

I go to dialysis with one of those reusable cloth grocery bags with a snack and a book and headphones, and I come home with it full of home-made Lebanese food. Quite a deal. I think she feels better if she has something to give and it seems if she doesn’t have any home-made food, she has to give something. So I have received such unusual gifts as a bag of raisins, a half dozen of muffins, a container of hand picked raspberries and once, two bags of chips (crisps in England). She seems to delight in feeding us and I’m certainly grateful. I don’t expect it but am sure happy to have it.

Has anyone ever made you a gift and it seemed like a random act of kindness? Or have you had a chance to try some food from a different culture?Thanks for joining us here in the garden for a cuppa and a biscuit. It’s been a blast as always, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. In closing, have you ever wondered how those fancy scented markers get their smell?

I always have, and now,finally an answer:  Have you come across any funny short videos or stories you’d like to share? I look forward to seeing you again next week. Have another cuppa and a treat. Meanwhile Willow will keep the great posts coming.

If we were having coffee I’d ask  you : would you like another  cuppa, or  a biscuit . I’d  tell you I have really  come to enjoy  these chats  and I’d  love  to here  what you would  tell me , If we were having Coffee  Original idea  from  http://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/


If we were having Coffee: Walks, War, Friends and Flowers

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE: I would tell that I have no idea  where  the week  has gone! The  days  have just flown by and all I have  to show for  it  is  an exhausted  look on  my  face. I  just seem to have been chasing  my  tail  all week, (well I would  of if I owned one). Monday  was lovely  because I got  my first  invite  for coffee  with my  daughter in law, her  Mum and of course  the Newbie. We had a  good time  and  the conversation  flowed. The  Newbie  looked  so  smart  in his  striped top  and little  trousers… Babies  are dressed  like little  grown ups  theses  days  gone  is  the matinee Jacket and  the baby grow!

I remember  how we used  to dress our  babies,  we  kept them in  baby grows  until  they  were at  least  eighteen months. Of  course  nothing stands  still and  and  fashion most definitely  waits  for no one, not even a Newbie . Yes  time  marches  on  and  all I can say  is  he looks  very  smart  on  it!

Tuesday  was  housework  after  the gym, got all the floors  down stairs  washed  and buffed   no  mean feat  for  me ! The  weather  is still unusually  hot  for this  time of year  it is unusual  for  this part  of the world  full  stop! Here in England  we are more used  to rain  and low temperatures then more rain. .. Hark  at  me  you  can’t  get  more English  than  moaning  about  the weather.  🙂

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE:  I would  have to say  just how saddened I am  by  the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. Now I do  know  this is  a very  heavy  subject  for our  coffee get together’s  and I have no wish  to ruffle any feathers but I am so distressed  by  the nightly  reports  from the BBC  and ITV  .

I realize  that  Israel needs  to protect  it’s  citizens  from Hamas  bombs  and terrorists yet  it all seems  so David  and Goliath . I am  not qualified  to comment  really   but as always it is the women and  the children  who  are suffering . I realize  the  men are suffering  to   but the the children  have not  asked Hamas  to Bomb  Israel, the children have  not asked Hamas  to build a network  of tunnels  under  their  homes  nor  under  their  schools.

The  children  have not asked Israel to drop leaflets  telling  them where  to go  to  be safe   then  to drop  the bombs  on that place.  The  old have seen it all before, the men and woman  have no choice  but to cope. Trapped  within  Gaza all frontiers  closed  to them. Hamas seem to be using  the innocents   as protection, again  I  say  this is only  what  appears  to the untrained eye  of mine.

Israel  have  huge shields and superior weaponry a  lot  funded  by  rich  countries  who I cannot name  because  again I have no got full command  of the facts .

Why can  we  not live together  in this world, why  can  we not share  and share alike. Why can’t neighbour   not live  with neighbour. I said  all this  to  my  friend  while  we were at  the gym  yesterday  and  she told  me I was an idealist, she smiled  and almost  laughed as if I was a child  who did not understand  what I am saying.

I know  the Israelis have every  right  to live  where  they do , and I realize  if  we were being constantly  fired at  by  the Isle of Wight  we would  fight back. I understand  that the Israelis have backing  from rich  countries , I know they have contacts  with clout. I see  that  their  government is protecting  them well, I understand. I see their  grief  too I grieve  for them.

I also see that the Palestinians are  being hit harder in every way, I see that  Hamas  does  not seem to care  about  them, they appear  to be expendable …. why  , why  does Hamas   not  protect  them…. soon there  may  be no one left  alive  to even claim Gaza.

Again I say I do not fully  understand  the in and outs  , I do not want  to argue  or  hurt  anyone  either   but why, is it always  the innocents  who suffer, all over  the world in every  war zone  it is the same.

I am so far away  and yet I live in fear, I am afraid  of the future I do not want Sharia  law in this country, I do not want  war, I do not want  Russia  or China  to invade  ….. PLEASE PLEASE  COULD  WE NOT  LIVE  TOGETHER IN PEACE. 

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE : I would say, sorry  for getting  so heavy,  and offer  you a biscuit  and  say  we had  better  change  the subject.

We  had friends  round  for dinner  on Thursday evening.  We had steak, yup  good old fashioned  steak! What  did we have with the steak? saute  potatoes,  mushrooms, onions, carrots and peas. Followed  by a special  apple  pie and custard!

It was a special evening   because  we had not seen this couple  for about 10 yrs. Their  eldest lad and our youngest  had  been friends at school and beyond. But  when our lad  moved away  and  as we were all working  we just lost touch as our paths  never crossed.  Well it  may of  stayed that way  had  not the husband  bumped into one of  the couple  while out exercising  the guide dog  he walks twice a week. Well the two men got to chatting as men walking their dogs  do  and after a while it dawned on them both  that  the knew each other.

Long  story short they came round  for dinner  and I think  the meal was a success, well it was all eaten up! We spent the whole time discussing children ( no longer children) weddings, births, jobs retirement  and generally  putting the world to rights!  Oh! if only  world peace were that easy.

Special Old English  Apple  pie!

Special Old English Apple pie!





Bovine Family

Bovine Family


Flowers on  the street

Flowers on the street

The Hanging Basket.

The Hanging Basket.

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE: I would  offer  you some special old English apple  pie, there is just enough left  for you to have a taster ! Like it? well I shall post  the recipe  Monday.  While  we are chatting I  must  tell  you that on Wednesday I had coffee  with a friend  after  we had finished  chatting  and done a little shopping  we headed  back  to her house  and  took Teddy out for a long country walk. Who  is Teddy, well he is  the handsome  chap  up  above  the photo on the right  next to the apple pie. He  belongs  to  my friend’s daughter who was away  with her family  for a little holiday and  my friend was looking after him.

Well we set off down the road across the railway crossing  and off on to a road I had  never noticed  before. The sun was very  hot  but luckily  for us  the trees spread right across the road affording us a canopy  and thus shading our  way. Well what a treasure  trove  this road turned out to be with views  of rolling countryside, a lake with ducks  and ducklings, and a field with a bovine  family resting in the shade. there were two cows with a calf  each and most unusually  a huge bull. You can see him in the photo above  he is the sleepy  brown and white guy  to the front of  the picture  laying  down. He  was huge  and I was very pleased  that there was a sturdy  fence between us  and him!

We had a delightful  walk  and the most  amazing thing  about it  was that  although it was so quiet  and peaceful there nothing but countryside as far as the eye could  see we were in truth never any more  than five minutes  away from the hustle  and bustle  of  our  town!

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE: I would tell you how lovely  our town looks right  now, all the gardens  in bloom  and the roads in town itself  are all decorated  with hanging baskets  and  pots on doorsteps  and even in one of  the streets Allisum  and Roses growing up and out of  the pavement (sidewalk  if  you are American) There is a little picture  of this above  too!

If we were having coffee I’d ask  you : would you like another  cuppa, or  a biscuit . I’d  tell you I have really  come to enjoy  these chats  and I’d  love  to hear  what you would  tell me , If we were having Coffee  Original idea  from  http://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/





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