England: “Because it’s Tradition”, we do weird & stupid things.

LONDON:

I always find that State Opening of Parliament fills me with nausea. We have this cringeworthy spectacle for an unelected woman to make a speech in Parliament, a supposed democratic institution. (hello?) Is it just me to thinks this is weird?. The mass media never talk about this. It is like the elephant in the room.

Then I also get annoyed that the soldiers in their bearskin hats are outside Parliament in a 32C heatwave, and are not being allowed to take them off ‘because of tradition’. It is just ‘not good form’ to do that. So soldiers are expected to faint instead. What kind of culture are we in? The class system is plain stupid. What kind of army leaders do we have? What, a ‘real soldier’ doesn’t take his bearskin off? The Queen didn’t seem bothered at all that they were very uncomfortable. Well, she is of a different generation. After all these years, they still make soldiers keep them on. Why don’t soldiers stand up to this nonsense – they are probably court martialled if they do, or bullied.

Even 91-year-olds like the Queen should not be out in a heatwave, on the ‘hottest day of the year’ and the NHS encourages us all to ‘check on their neighbours’ and to keep out of the sun from 11-3pm. Haven’t we forgotten that we are human? In countries like Spain, they have siestas for times like this, but no, we English go ‘out in the Midday Sun’ as the song says. And a lot of the time, we don’t even wear hats either to protect us from the high UV levels, which again, the Government warns us out. Some Brits have second degree burns because they don’t even use any sun protection, unlike people in other hot countries.

What about the emergency services who are inundated with people ignoring Government public health heatwave advice? Why don’t public health warnings apply supposed old people like the Queen? Why couldn’t the Queen just get Prince Charles do her job, at least she wouldn’t be out in the heat getting roasted? No, the Queen has to be out in a heatwave at 91 years old, ‘because it is tradition’, and even then, she’s stubborn enough to be out there during this time because ‘she wants to’.

I understand that the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, has been taken to hospital yet the Queen would appear to be at the State Opening of Parliament, instead of being with him during the day. And, after that, she even went to Ascot in the heatwave. All because she cannot upset ‘tradition’.

Horses should not be racing on the hottest day of the year either, and she is supposed to be a horsewoman. Horse.com advise “Know your horse and signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke can happen anytime your horse is exposed to excessive heat that his body cannot handle. Heatstroke can happen if exercising in hot conditions, but be aware that it can also happen if standing in a hot stall or trailer.” I am at a stables, we keep our horses cool, and none of them have even been out riding in the heat today. The racing industry can be appalling and greedy. The Queen should not be encouraging racing in this weather too. Why not have race times only in the cooler part of the day, or would that ‘not be tradition’? I would rather ‘blow tradition’ than have a sick horse to attend to. I don’t hear anything from the vets at Ascot, maybe they are gagged or are ‘enablers’ of the greedy racing industry in a heatwave, after all, they get a free day out at Ascot.

There comes a point in life that doing the ‘right thing’ is taking the time off work for family reasons, health reasons and animal welfare, this is more important than ‘being on show’. Some traditions are plain stupid, and even more so, in a heatwave. Being a younger generation than most of the old fogies who carry on making these stupid rules, I make my own stamp, by standing up to it and questioning it.

Some people who do ‘challenge things’, actually comes from kids. Recently a academy school banned kids from wearing shorts during a heatweave, so the boys wore skirts as a form of protest and got lots of media coverage. Why can’t boiling soldiers all together, in a band of brothers’. and make a stand, why can’t horse grooms make a stand for their horses? Even the journalists are made to wear suits in a heatwave, ‘for show’, which is ridiculous too. Sometimes were Brits are a bunch of wimps and won’t say boo to a goose!

We have to question our culture, but adults never seem to learn, and that’s a tradition too!

++ Note I am typing this in a library, keeping cool with fans.

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DIY British Sherbet: Review

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I made some sherbet today and I wanted to test it out.

Now, I am an aunt, so ‘I have to do ‘aunt things’ and get into practice for when I need it.

I was inspired by a stall selling sherbet at a Food Fair at Syon Park. They did lots of flavours, including pizza (which I am still working on). This particular recipe is a ‘plain one’ other than a few sprinkles. If you add liquid, like coconut flavouring, there will be a ‘fizzy reaction’. The photo above was when I put flavouring in it, so it is a bit ‘ball’ like but you don’t need to use any flavouring so it will be more powdery looking.

In the UK, sherbet is traditional eaten with a stick of licorice or eaten with the fingers. Nowadays, cooks use it as a topping for ice creams.

INGREDIENTS

Citrus Acid powder (I got this online, but you can apparently get it at pharmacies)

Bicarbonate of Soda

Sprinkles and/or edible glitter (from a cake decoration shop)This adds a little texture and colour if you want it.

Icing Sugar (be generous)

Vintage Sweet Bags (You can get a good range, blue, green, yellow, black and ‘mixed’ on Amazon.

Optional: Licorice sticks from Simpkins on Amazon (not licorice roots) If you can find a good health or candy store, even better as you don’t have to pay for any delivery charge.

Tip: You only need a little citrus acid powder and bicarbonate of soda. The more citrus acid you use, the more ‘sour’ it is.

REVIEW: It is not bad at all.You don’t need to buy sherbet in the shops now, it works! It is fun to have a variety of sprinkles to make it more unique and ‘homemadey’. I would give it a 9/10 and a Gold Star in ‘Aunt Points’

London Review: DIY Orange & Lemons, Lavender & Poppy Seed Natural Hand Lotion

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I made this gorgeous hand lotion this afternoon and I really was pleased with the results.

To make this lotion, I was inspired by the traditional English children’s nursery rhyme and singing game, “Oranges and Lemons” which refers to the bells of several churches, all within or close to the City of London:-

“Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
Chip chop chip chop the last man is dead”

INGREDIENTS (I eyeballed these)

Coconut oil (in solid form (I got mine from Tesco which was under £3) (Avoid being ripped off by specialist health shops)

Shea butter (I always keep some of this in my cupboard)
Grated Lemon Peel
Grated Orange Peel
Lavender Essential Oil
Lemon Essential Oil
Poppy seeds
Lavender Flowers (edible version, I used some lavender tea)
Orange, Tangerine or Mandarin Essential oil
Olive Oil (a nod to the Romans)
Organic Beeswax (from a local farmers’ market)
A silicon soap mould of your choice or you can use the ‘square’ of a milk box

I heated the ingredients up by putting a bowl and saucer as a cover in the microwave for a few minutes (I checked it every so often). Hot oil is dangerous so keep away from small kids.

I then poured the content into a silicon mould, left it to set outside and then put it in the fridge.

Tips: Be more liberal with the beeswax to make the mould harder. Be generous with your grated orange and lemon peel but it needs to be dried so the lotion lasts longer. Try to keep the lotion in the fridge, away from each other.

Suggested uses: As gifts and, even better, as a random act of kindness! Love to hear if you do that….

REVIEW: 9/10 The first time I did this, I forgot the beeswax, which meant a lot of it was used really quickly as it was too soft. This time I used the beeswax and the lotion didn’t fall apart. I also used too much olive oil the first time, so it was a bit oily. This time it was perfect and I didn’t have to use much for it to go a long way. It has a really lovely vintage, summery smell, great for wellbeing too.

Bayeux Tapestry Anniversary: First Ever British Rectangular 50p Coin

To mark the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, the Westminster Collection (http://www.westminstercollection.com) have created a rectangular coin.

The coin is struck from 2.5g of solid 999/1000 Silver. Only 19,500 Silver Coins have ever been made.

Update: 10th October, 2016: There is also another 50p coin to commemorate this: BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/37610910

Great Fire of London – #Londonsburning

I went to watch the republica of buildings that were burned in the Great Fire of London yesterday.

There were thousands of people, but it was such a tiny republica, most of of us didn’t see it when it was being burned.  Some people were climbing up tree, on walls and on roofs. However, it was a good family atmosphere and I personally didn’t see any trouble, although a lot of people left a lot of plastic bottles, and other rubbish on the floor. We took our rubbish home and disposed of it properly.

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