To Die For!

We were soaked to the skin in Wimbledon today, picking up

There are not many things I take seriously, but HOT SAUCE is one of them! So I was stoked to find a guy selling hot sauce that that knocked my socks off. The guy’s website is here:

https://caseyskitchen.co.uk/

The hot sauce that was to die for…..TO……DIE…..FOR!!!…..:

https://caseyskitchen.co.uk/ols/products/caribbean-mango-chilli-sauce

And it looks like there is more:

https://www.instagram.com/caseyshotkitchen/

Manic Monday

There has been one question that we have asked over and over again during the past month:

“DO YOU HAVE ANY LATERAL FLOW TESTS?”

For months we have been able to order lateral flow tests from our suppliers, that is the same suppliers that deliver usually twice a day (once on Saturdays) our order of prescription medicines, devices, dressings etc. The size of our daily order/delivery of dispensary stock can vary. If we have a lot of prescriptions for a lot of medications that we do not have at hand on our shelves – the order is bigger. I guess the average is two-four boxes, but sometimes we have a delivery of six or more boxes of medicines etc.

When we ordered a carton of lateral flow tests (which has around 56 smaller boxes each containing 7 lateral flow tests) it would be brought by the same supplier bringing the dispensary order, and for most of the year, that carton would last around three or four days.

blue and white box on brown wooden table

Until December. As the demand increased, we found that one carton of 56 test kits was not lasting a day. So we tried to order more cartons. Our suppliers explained we were not allowed to order more than one carton a day, because there is not space in the delivery vans to accommodate more than one box per pharmacy. We understood that. Do you think our customers could understand that?

There was no shortage of lateral flow tests waiting in warehouses, but unless they find another way of transporting them (during a time we know there is a shortage of drivers) the logistics of supplying enough boxes to meet a demand caused partly by people just wanting to test before seeing family during the holidays, and partly by a media ignited wave of panic – it made it seem like a crisis. A crisis it was not.

Then the media started reporting that there was a national shortage of lateral flow tests and that no pharmacies had any. That was not accurate. But it did seem to start a wave of panic (just like the paracetamol crisis, alcohol gel crisis, toilet paper crisis, and the fuel crisis) and now we found even more people rushing in to ask for lateral flow tests. Now one carton was only lasting an hour.

We told our customers about the gov.uk web page for ordering kits to be delivered to your home address. They told us there were none available. I have found that a few times myself, but I have been still able to order test kits for me and my family by being patient and persistent. I understood from official sources that again there was no shortage of test kits, but the logistics of getting them delivered was a challenge. All year the Royal Mail have been delivering them. But during December, probably the busiest time of year for the Royal Mail, the demand exceeded the capacity. I saw news reports saying that other delivery companies were going to help out with this challenge (even though they are probably working extra hours during December as well).

So….we did something that we don’t really like to do….but it seemed to be the most sensible option. We put up signs that read:

Do you think that worked? If I had a penny for every time someone had approached the counter and said, “I saw the sign, but I was wondering if you do actually have any test kits?” I would be a wealthy man.

Why would we do that? Do you think we are twisted? The sign disappears for an hour a day when we do have tests, and our customers come in and take one, and then presumably send a WhatsApp message to everyone they know, because we have a sudden rush that clear us out within an hour. Then the sign goes back up on the counter until our delivery the next day.

Yes….it is a crazy time for Pharmacy teams. Trying to keep up with prescriptions when we spend so much time on the counter responding to enquiries about lateral flow tests has been bizarre. I am hoping it settles now that the holidays are out of the way. In the meantime, I just ordered a box from the gov.uk web page. So if you really need tests kits, please try to order them online to be delivered to your home. Most pharmacies will be closed today.

My Life’s A Circus

I am going to try to start 2022 the way I mean to go on. So, here is my first post for Jim Adam’s Song Lyric Sunday for this year. One of the words in this week’s theme is “circus”, so I have picked an awesome singer – Emile Sandé.

This song is called “Clown” and I read it was all about when she was trying to get signed up for a record deal. She has said this song is about not letting others judge you or treat you like an idiot.

Song credits: Emile Sandé and Shahid Khan.

I guess it's funnier from where you're standing
'Cause from over here I missed the joke
Clear the way for my crash landing
I've done it again
Another number for your notes

I'd be smiling if I wasn't so desperate
I'd be patient if I had the time
I could stop and answer all of your questions
As soon as I find out
How I can move from the back of the line

I'll be your clown
Behind the glass
Go 'head and laugh
'Cause it's funny
I would too if I saw me
I'll be your clown
On your favourite channel
My life's a circus circus
Round in circles
Selling out tonight

I'd be less angry if it was my decision
And the money was just rolling in
If I had more than my ambition
I'll have time for 'Please'
I'll have time for 'Thank you'
As soon as I win

I'll be your clown
Behind the glass
Go 'head and laugh
'Cause it's funny
I would too if I saw me
I'll be your clown
On your favourite channel
My life's a circus circus
Round in circles
Selling out tonight

From a distance my choice is simple
From a distance I can entertain
So you can see me
I put make-up on my face
But there's no way you can feel it
From so far away

I'll be your clown
Behind the glass
Go 'head and laugh
'Cause it's funny
I would too if I saw me
I'll be your clown
On your favourite channel
My life's a circus circus
Round in circles
I'm selling out tonight

One Year On WordPress

I have seen other bloggers publish posts to share that they have passed an anniversary on WordPress, so now it’s my turn. One year ago, 1st January 2021, I started this site.

I am proud of my site, and the different features I included for many months. During the National Lockdown I managed to write a lot. Since things have been opening up since the summer, I have been busy. Work has been intense and I want to see family and friends and make up for lost time.

But the one year anniversary notice from WordPress is a great reason to make a resolution to be more regular with writing.

Thanks for all the awesome bloggers who make WordPress welcoming.

Wednesday Writer – Val Portelli

I have missed my blog. I am hoping to spend more time during the autumn and winter nights ahead working on new posts. Of all the regular features I have built into my website, it’s The WEDNESDAY WRITER Series that I loved the most. Every Wednesday I was publishing an interview with a brilliant WordPress blogger. It’s been a great honour to be able to feature so many great bloggers.

Well last weekend, I had some time to chill and catch up on some of the posts I had in my drafts folder. The one I really wanted to concentrate on was an interview with the fabulous Val Portelli, writer and creator of the website Voinks.

Val sent me her answers to the WEDNESDAY WRITER interview questions ages ago, just as I was taking a break from my blog because work was exhausting and I needed to spend some time catching up with family after the Pandemic lockdowns. So this post is long overdue!

HI VAL. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU?
I’ll start with black coffee, no sugar, please, but if we’re still chatting later this evening, a whisky and lemonade would be nice. No ice. Thanks.

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR BLOGGING NAME AND THE NAME OF YOUR SITE PLEASE.
I’ve actually got two blogs. The main one was originally under the pen name ‘Voinks’ which I used for my books, but I changed it recently to ‘Val’s Tales,’ to tie in with my audio project.

The other one has been rather neglected, but ‘Quirky Unicorn Books’ was set up as the publishing site for my own books, and to showcase the works of other Indie authors.

WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?  
When my first book was published in 2013, my niece insisted I needed a social media presence so I set up a Facebook account, and then a blog. Initially it was intended as a site to shout ‘Buy my books’ but morphed into a place to post my short stories. From there it became somewhere to discuss writing and the joys and tribulations of being an author, and ended up as a mish-mash of whatever grabs my attention.

This is the latest of at least six books that Val has published and are available on Amazon and other sites:


WHICH IS THE MOST POPULAR POST ON YOUR SITE?
I have absolutely no idea. 😀

I’m sure there’s a way to find the stats, but since WordPress changed everything to blocks, I find it much more difficult to navigate. It’s not helped by the fact that since the changeover it’s developed a glitch which suddenly decides I’m not authorised to post. There’s no apparent reason, and half an hour later the gremlins will let me carry on again. Every response is valued but if I did find which was the most popular, I’d probably be quite surprised.

I looked over your posts Val, and based on “likes” alone, this one seemed to be the most popular post so far:

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?
Reading other people’s blogs, and receiving lovely comments on my own.

FOOD THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?
Chocolate…

Val, I am going to slide your whisky and lemonade over along with the chocolates.

…a party table full of nibbles waiting to be shared….

…in fact anything except eggs, (unless they’re the Easter variety.)

IF I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU FLOWERS AS A THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME INTERVIEW, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
I love all flowers with perhaps a particular fondness for roses, carnations and lilies.


Sunflowers make me smile and wild flowers or tiny rockery plants are delightful, even cyber flowers are lovely.
I saw on one of your other interviews the reason for this question, and have a feeling the shop you mentioned might be fairly close to where I live. Now my interest is piqued to know if I’m right.

I live in South London Val – and I work around fifteen minutes from where I live. Sometimes I have to go to other branches of our pharmacy chain when they are short-staffed. Whichever route I go, I get to pass my favourite florists, and they always make me smile.

DO YOU HAVE A SONG? ONE THAT FITS YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR LIFE?

It would depend on my mood. Late night music might be ‘Tomorrow is a long time’ by Elvis, one of his less well-known ones but thought-provoking lyrics.

I love Rock and Roll, and it might be a cliché but Happy by Pharrell Williams always starts me smiling.


DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IN LIFE?
It’s good to have a plan but life can throw curve balls to completely change the destination.
This was brought home to me about nine years ago after a freak accident, so for now I’m content to follow the yellow brick road and see where I end up.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT YOUR BLOG TO TELL THE WORLD?
There are so many interesting people in blogland, and even if you never meet them, strong, supportive relationships can be built. Storytelling is universal, whatever your life style, culture, age group, ethnicity or background.

As Spike Milligan so aptly said ‘Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu’. When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.’ I guess my message could be summed up by ‘Read, respond, smile and share.’

Thanks, Jacob. I’ve really enjoyed being your guest and answering your unusual questions.

_______________

Thank you Val! I loved your answers to the interview questions. Sorry you had to wait so long for me to get back to my blog. It’s been such a privilege to feature you.

http://www.Voinks.Wordpress.com

https://author.to/ValPortelli

http://www.facebook.com/ValsTales/

http://www.goodreads.com/wwwgoodreadscomVal_Portelli

https://www.instagram.com/vals_tales

That’s The Way

I am still trying to find some regular time to get back into the swing of things with blogging. Now that we have started flu vaccinations as well as all the other work we have to do, my hours have increased and I am hardly ever home. But today is a day of rest for me. My parents have gone away and so I am chilling out and trying to catch up on sleep and my washing. Later on I am going to try to spend a couple of hours updating my blog and scheduling some new posts.

I have been reading other blogs in my spare time and I noticed what some of you are doing with Spotify – Lady Lewis and Pinkette gave me the idea of putting together my own Spotify playlist for all my Song Lyric Sunday picks over the course of 2021. So here it is:

Maybe I picked an obvious song choice for today’s theme – a tribute to Fandango, the blogger behind This, That And The Other. But this is a deserving song. It had international success and was top of the charts in many lands. It was popular on the radio, but even more popular in night clubs.

This is KC And The Sunshine Band, with “That’s The Way (I Like It)”.

Credits: Harry Wayne Casey, Richard Finch

Do do do do do do do do do
Do do do do do do do do do
Do do do do do do do do do
Do do do do do do do do do

Oh, that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh

When you take me by the hand
Tell me I'm your lovin' man
When you give me all your love
And do it, babe, the very best you can

Oh, that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh

When I get to be in your arms
When we're all, all alone
When you whisper sweet in my ear
When you turn, turn me on

Oh, that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh

Babe
Babe
(That's the way, uh-huh)
(That's the way, uh-huh)
Babe
Babe
(That's the way, uh-huh)
(That's the way, uh-huh)

That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh

Do do do do do do do do do
Do do do do do do do do do
Do do do do do do do do do
Do do do do do do do do do

Oh, that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh
That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh

Getting Back On Track

I don’t know where time has gone over the past few months. Well, yeah I do. Since things have been opening up, we have been going here and there, doing this and that. Life has been busy man. Work is bust – now we have the flu season ahead so it is going to be hectic.

When I started this blog on 1st January 2021, I had an idea, a vision. I was pleased with what I was doing, but it became important to see friends and family, and to go places, have holidays and weekends in different parts of England and Wales.

I have no regrets. Life is for living. But I do have a lot I want to create – I want to get back to the blog. I reckon during the autumn and winter I will be indoors more and keen to put posts together. Meanwhile, I am still putting all my ideas into drafts, so I can come back to them and work on them later.

What Does Love Mean To You?

Did you see my Choco-Coconut Rum Banoffee pie in this year’s Great Bloggers’ Bake Off? We are waiting now to find out the results of the Bake Off.

But after all of the baking posts had been published last night, there was something amazing to round off the weekend – an enormous patchwork of collaborations from over a hundred people who were asked the question in the title of this post.

If you want to read one thing that is going to lift your heart today…read this post, published by Caramel:

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2021/08/23/the-great-bloggers-patchwork-of-love/

THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ PATCHWORK OF LOVE

Ride Into The Danger Zone

I am loving the theme Jim has picked for today’s Song Lyric Sunday and the songs that have already been picked by other bloggers.

But I am going for an obvious choice. The first word in Jim’s theme is “danger”. It has to be Kenny Loggins “Highway To The Danger Zone”, a song I love.

On a serious note, we’ve been watching the news all morning, and literally, my gut is gripped with terror on behalf of people in Kabul. I don’t think this can possibly turn out to be a pretty situation. Right now, there is a lot of talk about a peaceful transition of power. Really?

Maybe it’s because of all the prophecies about religion, politics, a false cry of peace, a greater tribulation than has ever been seen before that the hairs are standing up on the back of my neck. I know that the end result will be an end to all the terrible things that happen in this world, and a new start for mankind and this earth – but I am terrified for people who are suffer because of the turbulence in this current state of affairs.

War, violence, you would have thought that by now mankind would have learnt their lesson. I can’t remember feeling this kind of fear inside for the sake of millions of people I have never even met before.

I’m gonna stop there, because it is stressing me out just thinking about it all. I’m so glad for my family and the good things in the world, the good people in the world.

Anyway…here is the song I picked…”Highway To The Danger Zone”.

Credits: Giorgio Moroder and Thomas Ross Whitlock

Revvin' up your engine
Listen to her howlin' roar
Metal under tension
Beggin' you to touch and go

Highway to the danger zone
Ride into the danger zone

Headin' into twilight
Spreadin' out her wings tonight
She got you jumpin' off the deck
And shovin' into overdrive

Highway to the danger zone
I'll take you
Right into the danger zone

They never say "Hello" to you
Until you get it on the red-line overload
You'll never know what you can do
Until you get it up as high as you can go

Out along the edge
Is always where I burn to be
The further on the edge
The hotter the intensity

Highway to the danger zone
I'm gonna take you
Right into the danger zone
Highway to the danger zone
Ride into the danger zone

Highway to the danger zone
I'm gonna take you
Right into the danger zone
Highway to the danger zone
Ride into the danger zone

Highway to the danger zone
I'm gonna take you
Right into the danger zone
Highway to the danger zone
Ride into the danger zone

Highway to the danger zone
I'm gonna take you
Right into the danger zone

Crème De La Crème

If you read my previous posts….

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BASE

IT’S WHAT’S ON THE INSUDE THAT COUNTS

…then you will know that this weekend was dominated by one event – the family team effort into creating a winning entry for The 2021 Great Bloggers’ Bake Off. It was an epic event, full of drama, but we came up with a champion submission.

Are you ready for Part Three of the saga? The part with all the drama!

The recipe – the recipe that almost floored us – is on the BBC website:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/chocolate-coconut-banoffee-pie

Our next task was to make the coconut cream. We put the tin of coconut milk into a little milk man and heated it to almost a simmer.

We then whisked together the egg yolks, caster sugar, the plain flour and the cornflour. Next we poured the hot coconut milk over while whisking continuously.

After the whisking, we tipped the mixture back into the pan and warmed it gently, until it had thickened and was smooth and glossy. The we turned off the heat and added the Malibu. We allowed the coconut and rum milk mix to cool with a sheet of cling film laid directly on the surface.

So, everything was going just fine up to this point. But then…..the next stage was a complete disaster:

When the coconut cream has gone cold, scrape into a bowl with the double cream and beat until just thick enough to hold a peak.

Now you tell me….how long does it take to beat cream until it is thick enough to hold a peak. Because my dear mum whisked that mix for almost an hour and it was still as runny as it started out.

It was only then that we started to read the comments that other people had left at the bottom of the recipe. My jaw dropped. Had we been hoodwinked? Totally hooked by the appealing photo at the top of the recipe, I had convinced my whole family to help me make this surely champion coco-choco banoffee pie for the BAKE OFF. But now….we were facing disaster.

So Mum told me to go to the local shops and buy some more double cream. I did exactly that. Mum whisked it up (and it was whipped up in less that a minute) along with the Malibu.

Then it was my honour to try to finish off by using a piping bag to create little splodges of cream on top (I think we could have just have spooned it on and spread it out, but I wanted to make the effort) and a dusting of cocoa power.

After the almost coconut cream disaster, we had come up with a solution – and it was worth it!! This was amazing. The best dessert we have had all year.

This is entry for The 2021 Great Bloggers’ Bake Off. If you would like to take part, send your baking photos to:

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Click the image below to find out more from Caramel’s site:

Thinking and Searching

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