Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Farewell old friends.

When I was very young I used to have terrible problems going to sleep. I used to think that as soon as I got into bed a vampire would crawl out from under the bed, or would come in through my window, or would be lying in wait in my wardrobe. Initially, my dad let me start off sleeping in his bed (no idea why his bed was not plagued by vampires, but that was the way it worked) When I was asleep he would carry me through to my bed. As I got older and bigger, the carrying a sleeping, dead weight became a problem for my dad, so I had to start the night in my own bed, and those vampires were still lurking about in my head!
How did I overcome this fear? How did I ever get any sleep? Paddington Bear books. I read and re-read my collection of Paddington Bear books and there was something so calming about that little bear from Peru and his marmalade sandwiches , that kept Nosferatu and all his blood sucking chums at bay.
Every stage of my life has a special book or style of book related to it:- Milly Molly Mandy ( gingham dresses and a paper twist of sherbet), What Katie Did Next ( I realised I was not the naughtiest Katie in the world!) The Famous Five ( lashings of ginger beer). Moving on...Animal Farm ( scarey, even before the teacher explained the underlying meaning) Wuthering Heights (I still crave Heathcliffe style romance and passion). More from school- Jane Austin, Dickens, George Orwell. To my bookshelf now- Patricia Corwell, Jodie Picoult, Larsson, Nicci French ....oh and so many more.
I have always been a bit of a book worm (sometimes I get frustrated that work, children in general, keeps me from losing myself in the pages of my latest choice of novel ) and I hoped my children would have the same passion for books that I have.
Computers, mobiles, T.v etc lure our children away from the printed page, but at least at school they would spend time with books- text books, works of literature, poetry etc. But, alas this is now coming to an end. Now in Spain books are being replaced by laptops! My children´s school bags, which used to be back breakingly heavy with books, are now light as a feather as they only contain a notebook style computer.
My girls are delighted and I am devestated. Don´t they spend enough time as it is ruining their eyes and brains with modern technology? What will this new step "forward" in education mean in the future?
beware because in a decade or two all will be wearing super thick glasses, all will be hunchbacked, all will have one enlarged index finger and none will know how to write ( handwriting is pretty dire anyway!).
I know I am old fashioned, and fairly anti- technology (bring back the carrier pigeon!) and at this precise moment I am being a complete hypocrite- typing away on my laptop- but I just don´t understand the need to do away with books? Curling up in bed with a good book replaced by sitting bolt upright with a laptop? Not for me!   )
What better to have with you and your favourite chocolate!

Presidents Hot Chocolate.
Hot chocolate that's good enough for the White House, with both milk and light cream. No fuss with melted chocolate, since it's made with cocoa powder. Give it a whisk for a foamy touch.


•6 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

•6 tbs sugar

•2 1/2 cups milk

•2 1/2 cups light cream

•1/2 tsp vanilla

•Cinnamon, whipped cream and orange zest


Add sugar and cocoa to milk and heat in a saucepan until dissolved. Add the cream, cinnamon and vanilla. Heat until almost boiling. Mix well and serve, topped with whipped cream and a bit of orange zest