nobody really knows how halloween originated, but since the 19C , 31st october has acquired a reputation as a night on which witches, ghosts and fairies are especially active. in the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church made 1st November a church holiday to honour all the saints. although it was a joyous holiday it was also the eve of All Souls Day, so in Medieval times it became customary to pray for the dead on this date.

another name for All Saints Day is ‘All Hallows‘ (hallow is an archaic English word for ‘saint’). the festival began on All Hallows Eve, the last night of October.halloween comes from all hallow even, the eve(night before) All Hallows Day.  therefore halloween is the eve of all saints day.

its pumpkin season, so why not try and cook something different using pumpkin.  to be honest, i have only ever bought them for halloween, but this recipe looks so delicious, i am going to give it a go.

baked pumpkin

happy halloween – now that the kids are more grown up, i miss all the build up to making costumes……



a couple of years ago, we went to the opening of openhouse, which was held in the bt tower – right at the very top where the revolving restaurant used to be.  Unfortunately no restaurant now, which is such a big shame, but the outer circumference section with the glass windows still revolves – quite slowly, but its still noticeable.  what an amazing view watching the sun set and seeing the whole of london change into twinkling darkness.   you must try and get to see some of the many buildings that have will open their doors this weekend – unfortunately you had to apply in advance by ballot for the bt tower, but its worth a try for next year.    apparently congress house, just behind tottenham court road is worth a visit and there is hardly a queue or the royal college of physicians in regents park – have a look at the list, there are always lots of interesting buildings open that are usually closed to the public.   take a look at openhouse junior too, these buildings are more aimed for younger children and cater for them with lots of activities to keep them occupied.

kings cross natural pool

cannot believe the changes to kings cross, each month that i visit there are more and more buildings going up and events happening.  last night robert and i went to investigate the new pond club – a temporary art installation that you can swim in!  its open in the day and i am pondering whether i am daring enough to brave the cold!  you can climb up to the nearby viewing point and take a peak!  there is also the wonderful skip garden – a portable garden that uses the available land between the building sites and cranes of kings cross -it produces fruit and vegetables that are used in the skip kitchen cafe – definitely on my list of things to do.  there are so many new restaurants around granary square,  caravan, the greek larder, the grain store and the newly opened dishoom.  couldn’t believe the queue in the pouring rain for dishoom. we ate one course at the grain store, which has a very strange menu, very vegetable based, but to be honest it felt like an airport or department store restaurant, nothing very special.

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courses for further education

its that time of year when you start to think about what courses to do – but if you leave it too late, they will be full.  i just tried to sign back onto my morning life class at the working mens college and its already got a wait list – fortunately there is an afternoon session, but Janet Unwin is so popular, you find that all her sessions get filled quickly – there are some students who have been attending her classes for over 30 years!  now i know why they are so brilliant – it does take lots of practice and believe me, you definitely get better.  i have gone one term a year for the last 4 years and my drawings have definitely improved – if only i could find the time to do all the 3 terms a year…….

i have also re- signed onto my piano class at city lit – a friend recommended it to me -i have now done 3 years, and it definitely pushes you to practice – partly because you are forced to keep up with the other students in your class and the fact that you have paid for 10 classes also encourages you not to waste the money.  surprisingly its very affordable and just goes to show what a brilliant education system we have in place for adults of any age to pursue any course that they may to participate in – i look at the courses on offer at city lit and am overwhelmed, it is an amazing college.


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cycles fireworks and madonnas

so in less than one week we have had cycles, madonnas and fireworks in our streets of vejer – it truly is a festive and active town;  the last nights of vejer ended with the final of the flamenco dancers, a procession through the streets with the statue of the madonna and a midnight finale of fireworks, which we watched from our roof terrace.   the next morning the fair with its bumper cars and popcorn stands were gone and the barriers for la vuelta – spain’s biggest cycle event – were erected.  robert found us a good spot to watch the tens of cyclists arriving into town for that days last stage – at the top of the steep winding hill – which meant that they were a little bit more spaced out and at a speed that we could actually see them.  i never thought that i would ever be so excited seeing so many fit men in lycra!

letters live

had a really enjoyable evening at the freemason’s hall in covent garden with the final night of letters live – an evening of different artists reading letters – there were letters from Elvis Presley, Ted Hughes, the last letter from Kurt Cobain to his wife and charmingly a series of letters written by an english soldier, made a prisoner of war to his friend – which became a correspondence of love and getting to know someone – and in fact they did marry once he became free. there were letters that were inspiring, funny, poignant and sad – but a reminder of how letter writing was our only form of correspondence years ago and is sadly a dying art..  letters live was performed by a wonderful array of artists from Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliet Stephenson, Toby Jones  to Kylie Minogue and Tom Odell,   apparently each night was different, so next time its on, you must book tickets – its a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

what was really stunning was seeing inside the beautiful art deco interior of the freemason’s hall – if you dont manage to see it at an event, its sometimes open during open house week.