You and I , dear blog reader, are very fortunate, we have our sight so we are able to read the printed word - indeed you are reading this post. In the past three years I have had some serious problems with my left eye resulting in several operations which have saved my sight and for that I am very, very grateful. To be unable to read is one of the things I most dread, so when I came upon this piece written on Dovegreyreader's blog it went straight to my heart:
This is all very well for us adults, but it is becoming clear that shortages of qualified personnel, money, or perhaps just plain arrogance, are creating a situation in many mainstream schools where blind children are not taught braille, and those with useful sight are often denied it until their sight has further deteriorated. By this time many of them already hate reading, which is a huge extra strain on them throughout the school day - a stressful time for many children at the best of times.
Without first learning to read words I could not have mastered music through braille notation, which has been the key to my employment for the past 25 years, and my obtaining a degree in music from Cambridge before that. Braille has also been the difference for my husband and me, through such activities as music and chess, between being merely tolerated in the sighted community and being fully accepted, indeed sometimes looked up to, for our contributions.
It has helped me in a variety of voluntary activities, and to instil a love of reading in our two sighted children. I could not run our household efficiently witout it, in every department from cooking to labelling the many reams of paper which have to be filed, and which without braille would all feel identical."
There is an online petitionto ask the government to make the teaching of braille available for all blind and partially sighted people which I have signed - it can be signed by any UK citizens and I sincerely hope you will consider doing so. As tomorrow is World Book Day it seemed particularly appropriate to consider how much the ability to read means to me, rather than to talk about a particular book.
No music on a summers evening at Kenwood this year. Well I can’t say I mind too much, over the past few years the summer concerts have become just big noisy overblown events that we no longer attend.
For 55 years there have been outdoor musical concerts by the lake at Kenwood House, a beautiful neo-classical house on the northern slopes of Hampstead Heath in north
Then, some years ago, English Heritage took over the management of Kenwood House and its grounds. Tents selling various overpriced drinks started appearing on either side of the grassy slope where most people sat and picnicked. The ticket prices went up steeply. The concerts started to have fireworks more frequently. From being concerts of classical or chamber music with the occasional foray into opera or jazz, they became more populist. Last season had, amongst other delights, Art Garfunkel and His Band, Sinatra Under The Stars, The Time of Your Life – The Music of Dirty Dancing, The Four Seasons, Dancing in the Streets - The Music of Motown. Corporate Hospitality tents sprang up to enable businesses to entertain their clients at the concerts. As if that were not enough, the concerts started being advertised very widely, and coach loads of visitors came from as far afield as Guildford and
They have killed what used to be a wonderful summer tradition through sheer greed.
Who says you can’t teach an old ‘dog’ new tricks? A dear friend was celebrating his 60th last weekend, and I was asked to make the birthday cake – specifically a carrot cake. Well, I have made more carrot cakes than I’ve had hot…well, maybe not QUITE that many, but a fair few over the years. I have always used the same tried and trusted carrot cake recipe and I’ve never had any complaints. However, for some perverse reason I decided to abandon my usual recipe and instead to use the recipe I'd read on another blog. Some months ago, Reluctant Nomad posted his carrot cake recipe on his blog, and so I tried it out. All I can say is, it is the BEST. When you read through it, it seems much like any other carrot cake recipe in terms of ingredients etc, but somehow it turns out to be the Űber Carrot Cake of all time. Which is a long-winded way of saying that I am not posting a carrot cake recipe, click on the side bar link to find Reluctant Nomad's blog and check his archive for November 7th 2006 to find his recipe.
But I am posting a recipe for the icing which a birthday cake demands!
CREAM CHEESE ICING
175g cream cheese
175g softened butter
250g icing sugar (sieved)
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
Put all the ingredients into a bowl or food processor and beat/whiz together until smooth and creamy.
Spread over the top of the cake - et voila!