Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Infidel's Cemetery

I first heard about this fascinatingly-named place in a crime novel set in the Peak District. (To my shame, I cannot now remember the title but the author was Stephen Booth). As a lot of local towns, villages & landmarks were either used or still recognisable from their literary counterparts, I was intrigued by the mention of an old disused graveyard on a road I frequently travelled between Wardlow and Ashford in the Water.
Research on the Ordnance Survey maps showed that, indeed, there was a plot of land marked as "burial ground", not far from the well-known beauty spot Monsal Head. Even knowing of its existence and approximate location it was very hard to spot, and on a narrow country road not easy to park up and explore on foot.
Today, however, many happy circumstances combined. I had time to spare, my camera with me, and a nice sunny day. I was able to find a field entrance to park in not too far away so I now have photographs of this forlorn and desolate last resting place.
The easy-to-miss entrance
Once through the hole in the wall, the sign reads "Thieves will be Prosecuted "

Inside the graveyard, the graves are very overgrown -- just now it is easy to see where stones and graves have been but once the brambles grow in a few weeks it will be difficult to walk around. Gravestones that are still standing lean at crazy angles and are covered in ivy.
Despite it's name, this small burial ground is not for infidels, but was used by local Baptists from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. When some of the epitaphs were recorded, it was noted that none were biblical or made any reference to God or Jesus Christ and so it was given its exotic name. According to some stories, the graveyard is haunted by a man dressed completely in black and a woman in grey who flits between the tombstones. Neither were in evidence in the bright sunshine, but I can well imagine that on a dark misty night it could be a very spooky place!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Making Whoopie!!

According to the newspapers & TV, the craze for cupcakes is over. No longer will people be eating these very pretty to look at but often over-sweet confections.

So, you may ask, how should I satisfy those cakey cravings?

The answer is -- the whoopie pie!!

Despite its name, the whoopie is not a pie - no pastry is involved at all. It consists of two cakey-biscuity rounds, sandwiched together with buttercream.

As I was on the lookout for new items to add to my Farmer's Market Stall, I decided to give them a try this weekend. They sold pretty well -- many people having seen them on TV during the week and so recognised the name.

The recipe said it made 6 large (ie cereal-bowl sized) whoopies. I decided to make them a bit smaller, so I got 9 whoopies about 3 - 4 inches out of the mixture:

the unbaked mixture

they spread a bit in the oven -- next time I might use some of my jumbo muffin cases to keep them nice and round!

However, once sandwiched with buttercream, they didn't look too bad! And tasted even better !:)

My first batch followed the recipe and so were a chocolate "pie" with vanilla buttercream, but they lend themselves well to many combinations of flavours. I am thinking of a lavender pie with lemon buttercream for the summer -- or maybe strawberries & cream for the Wimbledon fortnight!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Milestones 2

Another milestone reached is my 3rd Etsyversary -- 3 years since I opened my first shop on Etsy! Overall it is a reasonable success - although, as in real-life, sales are variable. I have just had a flurry of Easter sales, but it had been pretty quiet since Christmas.

I had hoped to reach 500 sales around the same time -- but stuck a few sales short. I am now on 493, so I am sure it won't be long before the magic figure rolls around.

Opening on Etsy was certainly the start of quite an on-line "empire" -- I now have 4 shops plus my own website and between them all I have at least one package to post most days :). Ironically, the least successfull is my craft shop, Marmaladytoo - as I had originally joined Etsy in order to sell my crafts! I have also got accounts on various other selling venues (Folksy, Coriandr, MyeHive) in order to reserve my name - though I have not yet set up shops on these sites.

Find my shops here: for baked goods & preserves for crafts for destash supplies & vintage items for baking supplies

and of course my own site:

Milestones 1

Several milestones have been reached or approached over the last few days!
Last Sunday, our Lizzie reached the "grown-up" age of 30!! Wherever did all those years go? She celebrated with a nights clubbing in Manchester on the Saturday night -- and also managed for all her various friends not to fall out with each other! (for those in the know -- this is quite a feat as there is usually at least one member of the group not talking to another one - so maybe they are all growing up after all ;) ) On the day itself was a much more sedate celebration -- a meal at an Italian restaurant for about 20 of her friends & colleagues.

Her present from us (apart from the chocolate cake!) was this superb bag from etsy seller redrubyrose:

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Mrs Beeton

One of my Christmas presents was an early edition of Mrs Beeton's Family Cookery. This is a fascinating read, as it gives an insight into the daily life & meals of the average income family pre-First World War. The book assumes that the household has a cook and one maid, so the "Lady of the House" has some supervisory and hands-on duties concerned with the running of the house.
The recipes are arranged in alphabetical order of main ingredient or name of the dish and cover quite a range of international dishes as well as plain basic British cooking. Some will be well worth trying out but others I do not fancy!
One recipe that I cannot imagine anyone eating with relish is this idea for left-over sprouts:

Brussel Sprouts Saland
Ingredients: Cooked Brussel Sprouts, salad dressing, beetroot
Method: Toss the sprouts lightly in a little salad dressing, pile in a salad bowl and decorate with beetroot.

Thursday, 31 December 2009

My poor neglected blog

Oh dear!

I havent blogged since February!! How do I sum up 10 months in a a few minutes?

The most important change to our lives has been the redundancy/retirement of Peter. He had not been enjoying the travelling over to the office near the airport, so when his team of 4 had to be reduced he volunteered to take redundancy. At nearly 60 he did not expect to find another job near to home (and hasn't actually been looking all that hard!) so has had a lot of spare time to spend on his railway, taking long walks etc. It has taken a little while to get used to him being home all the time, but we are getting a routine sorted out now.

My marketing has continued -- we still do markets at Buxton, Bakewell, Whaley Bridge and have added Castleton to our monthly schedule. Takings have been variable - some surprisingly good markets and some very disappointing ones too. Here's hoping next year will see improvement all round. Sales on Etsy have also been variable -- very few during the summer but quite a rush during December -- in one week I spent about £100 just on postage!!

On-line sales have been boosted by the opening of a 4th Etsy shop -- MarmaladySupplies -- for baking disposables such as cake tin liners, muffin cases etc which has worked quite well. I have also taken the plunge and launched my own website --so I am now a dot!! -- . This was with the aim of selling my edibles in sterling -- but the vast majority of sales (averaging 1 or 2 a week) have been of my baking supplies.

There have been a few family events during the year too. In March my 86 year old father was taken suddenly into hospital with kidney failure and we were warned that at his age the outcome might not be good. After 3 long weeks of his grumbles he was fit enough to return home, and with his medication re-jigged has been fitter than for quite a while. His dementia however continues apace and he is still easily tired by any mental or physical effort. We are due for another round of hospital visits shortly as he has now been diagnosed with prostrate cancer - we will find out how serious it is at his next appointment in mid-january.

In July my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a family party. Not many people reach this milestone - so it is a shame that Dad can't remember it!

My mother's youngest sister, Hilary, had been unhappy in her rented house in Romiley for a while so we were pleased to find a nice flat in Chapel for her. The move was difficult as she has the family failing of being a hoarder - decided what to part with was hard!

Lizzie surprised us in November by announcing she was off to Australia for 6 weeks over Christmas -- a holiday she is thoroughly enjoying. She is due home at the beginning of next week - the time seems to have gone very quickly.

I think that brings me up-to-date on the milestones of the year. Have just looked over my goals for 2009:

to lose some weight and keep it off -- well I am finishing the year about 2 lb lighter, - my max weight loss was about 10 lb

to be more organised generally -- ummm fail I think!

not to fret over things & people I cant change but concentrate on things that can be improved -- think this one has been reasonably successfull

My goals for 2010? probably similar to last years -- with the hope of more success!

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Clutter abounds in our house and time has come (others would say is way over-due) that action must be taken!

According I took a table at the Girls Brigade Table-top sale yeserday.Unfortunately, although I did make some sales, the majority of the takings were from marmalade & cakes. And what space was liberated was more than taken up by the boxes of railway magazines that somehow made their way into the house from a railway exhibition!

However, all is not yet lost in the de-cluttering stakes. I have now opened a third etsy shop, MarmaladyAllsorts for my de-stash supplies & vintage items. Imagine my delight when I actually sold a cup & saucer this morning! A small start, but a start non the less! I hope to be adding stock regularly!