Pumpkin tales and other stories …

It’s been a little longer than usual between blogs, thought I would give you all a break from my ramblings, plus it has been the school holidays and we have been in the UK and then we have had some very lovely friends over to stay. We are settled back in to the new term and are hurtling towards Christmas at the rate of knots; I know how on earth did that happen?? One minute it’s Easter, you sneeze and the next it’s out with the advent calendars and you can’t move in the supermarkets for Christmas chocs and decorations! Time does seem to be rushing by though doesn’t it? I think because our lifestyles move at a faster pace than they did 20 years ago it does indeed feel like it is going by quicker. Mind due I was listening to Pick of the Pops last week (thank goodness that we can get BBC Radio here) and it was 1990 – that wasn’t long ago I thought to myself – it was 27 years ago!! How in the name of nearly three decades did that happen! Am I alone in thinking that the late 80s and 90s were only a couple of years ago?

We are celebrating all things Autumnal here at the moment and in particular Halloween – it took me back – (nostalgic remembrance, me, never) to the Halloweens that I enjoyed when I was younger and the fact that I cannot remember when I was really small ever seeing pumpkins in the shops in North Wales? Perhaps there were, but I don’t recall and instead my poor Dad would diligently carve for me every year a lantern out of a swede – yes I know, a swede, how he scooped one of those without the onset of extreme RSI, I don’t know, but they were always bloody good and I had one every year without fail. To be honest it could have been the same one each year, fashioned as a shrunken head on its 5th outing, because they are sturdy veg!  The pumpkins over here are different and definitely smaller than those in the UK, and a lot harder to carved and not as hollow as they are in the UK – and guess what, they are a lot more expensive too! I was looking at adverts for Asda proffering their 5 for a £1 and Halloween snacks for ridiculous prices and wising that I had filled a suitcase with a stash of trick or treat goodies the week before!

Not a swede in sight !
pumpkins 2
The finished articles by the more talented members of the household – mine was too woeful to publish …

We have enjoyed a mid week day off  this week– schools shut for All Saints Day. Our public holidays in the UK are always worked out to the nearest Monday, but they are celebrated here on whatever day they fall. They also differ from Canton (county) to Canton so what is celebrated in the Canton of Zug, which is a Catholic Canton may not be celebrated in Zurich which is a Protestant Canton. Also, and this is something that had completely missed me, all the shops were closed, this is something that is virtually unheard of now in the UK, except for Christmas Day. This left me stuck and we trekked off in search of a COOP that was open, these tend to be in train stations and airports, we didn’t have to go as far as the airport and I wasn’t alone in forgetting either not judging by the length of the queue!

I have also started baking again, dusted off the old trusty Kitchen Aid. With google translate in hand, I headed off to the supermarket to decipher all the many versions of flour – they don’t seem to have self- raising here and no baking powder etc. I was also working to an American recipe so everything was in cups, which was fortuitous because I had forgotten to bring kitchen scales (adds to Christmas list). I got there in the end and the result was choc banana bread (making use of some bananas that were on the turn) got a thumbs up from the team so all was good, I will be knocking up some lemon drizzle next week – whoop!

banana bread
Bake off!


So when I’m not pulverising pumpkins, what else have I been up to?

What I’m dipping in to: I have had several books on the go for a while, I love to pick books up at the airport and took advantage of a buy one get one half price at WH Smiths. So I am currently reading ‘What Happened’ (a question that surely half the world has been asking) by Hilary Rodham Clinton – great book so far, thought provoking and one which I think I will be looking in to further because I love American politics.  A really easy read was ‘Arrowood’ by Laura McHugh,  about the disappearance of twins from a small closeknit town, ten years previously – I had guessed the ending so that was a little disappointing, but a good ‘flight book’. My book club book is ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’ by Nina George, I am just about to start reading that, so will report back. Once I have read that I will be starting on ‘Death Message’ by Kate London set in 1987 after the Great Storm (remember Michael Fish) wow that was 30 years ago!

Reading in the Autumn sun

What I’m looking forward to: Murder on the Orient Express – as a lifelong Agatha Christie fan I cannot wait for this, I had hoped that it would be out here the same time as the UK, but it is a week later so I will have to wait a little longer. I truly hope that it doesn’t disappoint, with such a stellar cast it shouldn’t!

We are also looking forward to welcoming some other friends in the next few weekends and also celebrating some birthdays, so a busy few weeks to come.

What I have discovered:  Some twerp has taken it upon themselves to bring Dynasty back!!! What’s all this about and why do we never leave anything as it was – I also see that they have brought back Porridge (what would Ronnie Barker say) Leave it alone, let us remember things as they were and not ‘rebooted’; (that’s also been added to my ‘words that get on my pip’ list along with ‘hack’,  lifestyle hack, shopping hack, washing up sodding hack. Who makes these words up? Anyway I have gone off topic and semi ranty). Dynasty was a fav of mine (used to love watching with my Mum on a Friday eve) it wasn’t in the running for Oscar worthy performances, but neither did it purport to being so, it was hammy something that it excelled at. The costumes in particular  were great, who remembers the shoulder pads? the bitches, Alexis being the biggest and the blinkin best! I hear that it is going to be a modern version of similar stories and characters; I fear it will be as awful as it sounds …..

Let’s remember it as it was …

A trip back down memory lane; Grange Hill! Disapproved of by parents – which made it even more attractive. Great likeable characters that everyone still remembers from Tucker and Gripper to Zammo and Gonch. I think I went to secondary school expecting it to be exactly like that (and parts of it were). Great story lines and I think most people my age can sing some of the ‘Just say no’ song and can’t see anyone called Roland without saying ‘I want to help you Roland’ (perhaps that’s just me). I think this deserves a trip down memory lane and if they try and ‘reboot’ this I will be getting a coach up and heading off to picket the BBC, who is with me?

grange hill
I once sat behind Gonch in a cinema


Well that’s me for another week. Thanks again for reading

Sarah-Jane xx



  1. It’s Agatha Christie week here in Puerto de la Cruz this week. She stayed here for a while. I think of you and Cathy each time we walk past her orchid garden house, it’s lovely.


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