Life is a Challenge!

By Honeycombebeach


I haven’t seen my friend, Caroline, for sometime, so today was another day to have coffee and a catch-up chat.  We decided to go to a local café/wine bar that we knew did coffee for £1 a cup and as we had quite a while before her hair appointment, and we had lots to chat about, we had two cups of coffee and we both asked for decaffeinated.

After we had finished chatting we asked for the bill and when it came, we saw that it was £11.60 instead of £4.  As Caroline had offered to pay, I called the waitress over because I thought she must have given us someone else’s bill - so when we explained we had only had four coffees, she said that was right, because the offer of £1 per cup had finished about a month ago!  I felt embarrassed because I had suggested we went into this particular place - perhaps we should have just had a glass of wine and made the most of that!  Caroline was very gracious and suggested that I consider the coffee my birthday present!  The awful thing is that the coffee wasn’t even that good, so I don’t think we will be going there again! 

I then met Mr. HCB, who had been to the optician and we went to our favourite Italian restaurant, Fabio’s, for lunch.  We had a lovely time and came away with a Panettone and a bottle of red wine - a gift from the owners - and a very welcome gift it was too.

After that it was a quick visit to see Gill, a friend who is going into hospital tomorrow, because I had made some cards for her to open each day whilst she is in and also one for her husband.  She invited us in for a cuppa but said they had to go out in about an hour because Ted, their Golden Retriever, had to go for physiotherapy at 5 p.m.  

Until very recently, Ted was what is known as a Therapy Dog, and Gill used to take him in once a fortnight when he would spend an hour at the Children’s Unit at the local hospital, giving children the chance to play, stroke and have fun with him just as they would with a pet at home.  Sadly, he had to retire a few weeks ago, as he has arthritis in his back legs.  Before his retirement, a Divisional Director of Nursing for Paediatrics made the following comment: "Behind Santa Claus, I think it's safe to say that Ted is the most popular visitor to the Children's Unit".  I know from what Gill has said that Ted had a tremendous impact and calming effect, not only on the children, who would often lie on the floor with Ted, just stroking and hugging him, but also on anxious or worried parents.  

After another lovely day - I came home and made two more mincemeat cakes that are now cooking and making the kitchen smell very Christmassy.

Our next door neighbour, Lynn, has just come over with a steaming bowl of homemade soup for us - so I told her one of the cakes has her name written on it!

“The smells of Christmas
     are the smells of childhood.”
Richard Paul Evans


150g Butter or margarine
150g Caster or light brown sugar
2 eggs
225g Self Raising Flour
1lb Jar Mincemeat
Tablespoon Rum or Whisky - 
and a small glass for yourself if you so desire!

Heat oven to 160 C/140 Fan/Gas 3
Grease and line an 8" round cake tin or a loaf tin
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat well for 1 minute
until well blended
Turn into prepared tin, smooth top and if desired
     sprinkle flaked almonds on top (I don't bother!)
Bake for about 1 hour 45 minutes until golden brown 
     and shrinking away from sides of tin.
Leave to cool in tin, remove paper and store in an airtight tin.
Might last for a week - 
but it tastes so good, it doesn't last that long in our house!

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