Coconut Flour Muffins

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I had a pumpkin that was rapidly approaching its ‘best by’ date so I pureed it through the food mill and then looked for recipes to consume the product (being – allegedly – summer, I wasn’t leaning towards soups) I also had a bag of coconut that was had yet to contribute meaningfully to my Green Journey. This recipe from Small Footprint Family helped solve part of my problem…

The Makin’s

  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground mace or pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of sifted coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

The Making

Blend together the eggs, coconut oil, pumpkin puree, sweetener, cinnamon, mace, salt and vanilla.

Add the coconut flour and baking powder and blend into a batter until there are no lumps.

Pour the batter into greased muffin cups.

Decorate the muffin tops with a pecan or shredded coconut. I skipped this because I was in a hurry.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Insights

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Tasted OK.

Would have tasted better with a topping.

A bit heavy for my liking but my last exploration with coconut flour had a similar effect – I’m not sure if that is inherent in that sort of flour of if it’s just me..

No Cheese Cheese Cake #2

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My original intention for the ‘welcome back, firefighter‘ dessert had been to create two different ones but the logistics of that just didn’t pan out that Tuesday bake night…The filling had left me with quite an amount of greek yogurt and condensed milk _ which I don’t normally use that often – still to consume…

My selection for my second no cheese cheesecake was the New World Raw Blueberry Cheesecake slice but it didn’t use any of the greek yogurt of condensed milk that I still needed to burn up. I thought that this mousse from La Cocina Mexicana de Pily woulld make a good topping.

The base

  • ¾ cup (100 g) raw cashews
  • 1 cup (100 g) ground almonds
  • ½ cup (70 g) raisins
  • 2 cups (160 g) desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Grease a 20 cm x 30 cm slice tin and line with non-stick baking paper.I couldn’t find a slice tin and hand to make do with this:

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I worried all day that the base would disintegrate into a crumbly disaster when we served it up but it set hard and strong.

Place the cashews in a food processor and pulse in bursts until they turn into a fine, sandy, flour-like consistency, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl often.

When ready, add the ground almonds and pulse to combine. Add the raisins and pulse until lightly blended. Add the desiccated coconut and pulse again.

Lastly, add the coconut oil, blending until well combined.

Press the mixture into the prepared tin in an even layer.

Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up.

The filling

  • ¼ cup (35 g) raw cashews
  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup (70 g) frozen blueberries, defrosted
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted

 

Place the cashews in the food processor. Pulse in bursts until the nuts turn into a fine, sandy, flour-like consistency.

Add all the remaining ingredients except the coconut oil, and pulse again until combined.

Add the coconut oil and blend until well combined. Pour the mixture over the base.

The topping

  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cups hot water
  • 300mls of greek yoghurt
  • 100 grams condensed milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Puree the yogurt, condensed milk, and vanilla extract in a blender until smooth. I reduced the quantities of these items proportion to the amount of yogurt that was leftover.
Dissolve the gelatin in the hot water. I forgot to reduce these ingredients as I did the others so the amount of gelatin was about four times what it should have been. The topping was thus a tab rubbery but still tasted alright.
Add this to the blender and puree again.

Place in the refrigerator overnight to set. Once set, it will keep for 4–5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Cut into slices when ready to serve.

The topping not used

The mousse recipe included a berry topping to be poured over the top but I was a bit rushed on Wednesday afternoon before fire training and didn’t get it done…next time…

  • 300 grams mixed berries
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • water (as needed)

Puree the berries, sugar, and water in the blender until smooth.

Pour over the top just before serving…

‘No Cheese’ Cheese Cake #1

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Our brigade is a foodie brigade. A couple of weeks ago one of our firefighters returned from her (successful) recruit firefighter course.  Dessert was my contribution to her welcome back .

I’m more savoury that sweet and while I like traditional cheesecake, only in small amounts: the overall cream cheese effect is too heavy and cloying for my taste…I also like the idea of a base that is a little closer to the raw materials  than ground up biscuits…that’s just like a bit of a Green Journey principle…

Googling provide a range of opportunities for a less cheesy cheesecake but nothing quite what I was after in a single recipe so this is a combination from two sources: the base is the coconut macaroon crust from Two Peas and Their Pod, and the filling is from A Baking Girl.

The base

  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

Spray a 10 inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. I heavily greased the tray, especially the base and still the base stuck quite a bit. Next I will line it with oven paper.

Stir together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla extract, and salt until combined.

Add in the coconut and mix well. I bought a single bag of desiccated coconut – don’t normally have this in the pantry as I tend towards threaded and chunked coconut – but didn’t quite get the maths right and had to top this up with the meal leftover from my almond coconut milk.

Press coconut mixture into prepared pie pan. I was aiming for about a 5mm thickness and this left about a cup of base mix leftover – I knocked this into the sink and that was the end of that but next time I would press any leftover base into cookies and bake alongside the cheesecake.

One of the recipes I looked at during my research phase recommended prebaking the base for 5 minutes before adding the filling so I did this.

The filling

  • 2 cups fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used ‘bad’ white sugar to eat into the remaining stock in the pantry)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean (seeds scraped out) or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

Combine the eggs, sugar, yogurt and vanilla in a food processor. I think that this is where the leftover yolk from the base went as well.

Blend until smooth, then add the cornstarch and salt and blend again.

Pour the filling over the base and bake for 35 minutes.

When the cheesecake is done, it will still be jiggly in the centre but will have a “done” look to it. The edges of the cake will start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Make sure you don’t over-bake.

Let it cool then chill for 2-3 hours in the fridge before releasing the springform.

The topping

  • 1/2 cup of cream, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar (this worked to edge the edge off the cream taste but next time I would probably double it and/or add half a vanilla bean to add more of a flavour counterpoint to the filling and the base.

The filling set to a degree that the sliced strawberry topping would not stick to it. The sole purpose of the cream was to provide a layer for the strawberries to sink into slightly.

I’m keen to try this again with non-dairy yogurt to further de-dairy-ise it; it is wheat-free for those who have a genuine gluten issue; and, of course, to use an alternate sugar source once the last of the white is gone…

DIY Butter

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Part of my Green Journey has been working to reduce the number of processing steps between me and the raw materials of my diet…In many on my experiments, I have been using alternatives to staples like butter but, sometimes, nothing butters like butter…

Growing up, strawberries and cream was a Sunday dinner treat but the risk always was that we would be a little too enthusiastic with the beating and the cream would become butter. This was the first time that I set out deliberately to take cream as far as it would go…like many such ventures, the doing was a lot easier than the thinking about the doing prior…

The recipe I used I found, like most, via Google, this one on Stuff, it is so simple. I bought a litre of cream because I thought that there would be more loss than there was – that litre made me a good 250 grams of butter and, if I hadn’t accidentally spilled it all, an easy 250mls of buttermilk (know you know where that comes from)  .

As you can see from the Stuff article, the process is dead easy: beat the cream with an electric mixer – a hand one won’t cut it once it starts to thicken up – until it is thick and lumpy, then beat it some more. Drain off the buttermilk – without spilling it! – and, using your hands knead some fresh chilled water through the butter to rinse out the rest of the buttermilk. Strain the water out through some cheese cloth or voile et voila, your own homemade butter…

I actually made way too much for my needs, I just wanted to try it in my stock [insert your vege here] cake recipe but had made so much that I had to keep using it before it went off…next time I’ll probably only use a quarter litre of cream and just make enough for a the menu at hand…

Looks like butter, tastes butter, butters like butter, can’t beat it, it is butter…

 

 

If I could…

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On the trail to Oturere Hut

…what would I say to any one venturing into Tongariro National Park for a day walk or an overnighter..? I had been thinking about writing something like this after my Brutal post yesterday but this comment on my Carry a Big Stick post from my last excursion up Mt Ngauruhoe pretty much made the decision for me (thanks, Rob!)…

I would start with the weather. I would say to only check the Metservice forecast for Tongariro National Park. There may be other sites and apps that may tell you want to want to hear but only Metservice has trained meteorologists in the analytical loop. The Metservice forecast for the park is only for five days: three in detail for Whakapapa Village at 1135m and Red Crater at 1868m; the last two days in outline.

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Snow in December

Updates are issued each day around 7-30AM and around midday: each update may be quite different from the forecast it replaces. Do not expect the actual weather to always conform to the letter of the forecast. In the end it is your decision to carry on: if you think the conditions are taking you outside your comfort zone (perhaps too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet, too slippery i.e. icy, too cloudy, etc) stop and think about what you are doing and review your options…

The weather here is very changeable so sometimes even the five day forecast is subject the swings of extreme: unlike the South Island which has long mountain ranges that keep the weather pattern relatively stable, our weather can not only switch just like that but can also manifest itself as radically different micro-climates in close proximity to each other..a couple of years back, two inches of hail were dumped at Mangatepopo without even darkening the blue skies over Whakapapa Village…

Regardless of the forecast, be prepared for four season in one day: a good thermal layer and a good wind- and rain-proof layer, gloves and beanie but also sun hat, sunglasses and sunblock; good walking shoes or boots – not jandals or heels; enough water, at least 1.5 litres, for the day and enough food for the day: good snacky energy food…

So what if something happens…?

In New Zealand, cell phone coverage generally follows the highways : Tongariro National Park is sandwiched between four highways and enjoys reasonable but NOT PERFECT coverage – a lot may depend on the specific model of phone and your service provider – if you need assistance, for example, you are lost, injured or assisting someone else, dial 111 and ask for Police – in New Zealand, the Police are responsible for all off-road rescues. Even if it is an injury: if you are off the road, ask for the Police!!

Three safety questions

Regardless of whether you are going out for a day or overnight, there are three questions you need to ask yourself:

Does someone I trust know what my detailed plans are? Contrary to some myths, this does not have to be someone in New Zealand. It is better that it is someone you trust at home than some bloke you met the night before in the backpackers.

Does this person know when they should expect to hear from me next? Ideally this would be no later than the night you finish the walk. If your trusted person is overseas, be very clear about whose time zone it is that you will contact them.

Does this person know what to do if I do not contact them when they expect and they cannot contact me? If they are in New Zealand, they should dial 111, ask for police and say that they have  a friend or family member in Tongariro National Park on the XXXX walk, that you did not contact them when expected and that they are unable to contact them. Information that it is good for your trusted person to have ready to pass onto the Police:

Your DOC booking number if you are booked into one of the huts or campsites. If you are just on a day walk, where are you staying that night?

Your car registration number. This allows Police to check cars parked around the Park and also to check to see if you may have left the Park and then been involved in an accident somewhere else.

Your cell number – written out not just as a number in an address book: for when the Police ask for the number.

Your Personal Locator Beacon ID number, if you have one. If you do not, especially if travelling on your own, a PLB can be rented for about $10 from various locations around the Park.

Any medical issue you or anyone in your group may have that may have affected your ability to complete the walk and/or that may be useful for a search party to know.

It is quite important that your trusted person does not fall into the trap of ‘Oh, I’ll just give it another couple of hours’ or ‘I’m sure they’re OK, I’ll call in the morning‘. If they do not hear from you when they expect to and cannot contact you they should make the call.

If your trusted person does not speak good English, it is a good idea for you or them to write down what they want to say in English so they can just read it out (www.translate.com is your friend)

If you are the trusted person for someone, don’t waste time playing amateur detective trying to find someone. Under New Zealand law, companies and agencies cannot release information on who may be booked with them or not. All you are doing is wasting time – call the Police and let them do this.

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New Zealand is a beautiful place and we all want everyone to come here to enjoy it but…

We don’t close things if they might be unsafe: we rely on visitors to make informed decisions against their own experience and equipment. If in doubt don’t…

Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook or hear in the backpackers about what is or is not doable…

Take responsibility for your safety and that of your friends and family…

Have a Plan B…and C and probably D…

There is no view worth a free helicopter ride…

 

Brutal

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My temporary office/shelter at Soda Springs, about 1200m ASL

A few weeks back, work was pretty slow, so i decided to go for a walk up to Red Crater to check the ground conditions: even though the rest of the country might have been enjoying Spring, Tongariro weather is always changeable  and even now, almost into December, the forecast promises gale force winds and snow to low levels…

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The original forecast for my day in the Park looked quite nice but turned for the worse overnight…I almost gave it a miss but decided to go up to see how many people also decided to ventured into the mess…I’m always interested to learn where our visitors get their information from and what decision process they apply (or perhaps not) when deciding to venture out into the Park when the weather is less than its best.

The first leg up to Soda Springs was quite pleasant, drizzly but not really cold and just a light wind. I made good time as they were only a very few people on the trail – a stark change from the ant farm of a decent weather day…a few hundred metres short of the Springs, there was a distinct temperature gradient and the light drizzle changed into a quite brutal sleet shower: not pleasant at all. It was clearly snowing further up and I didn’t see much point pressing on…

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A guided group preparing to head further up the trail – going with a guide in these conditions adds an extra layer of safety

A group of three that I had passed on my way up stopped for a chat. They had checked the forecast before departing but were unaware that the first morning update comes though about 7-30. The previous forecast had been for nicer weather and improving as the day progressed: the guy leading them had fixated on this improvement and was expecting this ti happen as they worked their way up the Crossing. One of the girls only had a light jacket and was only wearing tight-fitting track pants: it wasn’t hard to see the early signs of hypothermia…dragging feet, slurred speech, diminished motor control…. I suggested that perhaps they might to turn back and get her dried off and warmed up…

I walked back with them to make sure they made it back alright. The guy, Eric, was quite a good bloke and we chatted on that walk back: Chinese he had attended high School in Hamilton and had considered himself reasonably experienced in the New Zealand bush: many weekends he and his fellow boarders had been dispatched  on bush tramps and walks. He was quite annoyed that no one at the lodge they were staying at had warned them about the weather or told them to wait until the morning update before checking the weather.

As we descended towards Mangatepopo car park, and away from tat temperature gradient, the weather warmed up and Eric’s friend improved along the way. Misinformation about conditions and hazards in Tongariro National Park is common. Where information does exist it is more often of a tourism promotion ‘ happy happy joy joy’nature and less of the simple easy to understand bullet points that should be shaping visitor expectations from the time they first consider visiting New Zealand.

All’s well that ends well and Eric and his friends came in the next day to say thank you for the assist.That notwithstanding, there have been some gnarly rescues in this area of the Park, most of of which have been caused by the rescuees aspirations getting a head of their capabilities…

Come visit but be safe…

Volunteer | The Daily Post

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My new happy place

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Source: Volunteer | The Daily Post

Never volunteer. That’s like one the the greatest military truisms – ever. And one of the wrongest. Nothing risked, nothing gained. My experience always was that something good generally came from volunteering – being volunteered, perhaps not so much…

I’m starting on a new volunteer adventure. The Fire Service was never something I really considered before…I travelled so much in my Army, then Air Force lives that I would have been unlikely to have been able to meet the training commitments but really, my head wasn’t really in that space. Most of my post-infantry career was in TTI roles (Top Two Inch) , thinking jobs, often working on my own, solo…not really the team environment from way back then.

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Way back then…

My lifestyle changes over the past year have changed my ‘headspace’…an Outdoor First Aid course brought back all those Band 4 Medical memories and encouraged me onto the Pre Hospital Emergency Care course in September and that team working environment showed just how much I missed team work. On top of that, I needed some place to keep up those PHEC skills..

A friend joined another local brigade and I followed her progress…mid-winter, the local brigade delivered a recruiting pitch to our Business Association meeting and, although I wasn’t ready then, that sowed a seed that took root post-PHEC. I went down one training night and, in half an hour,  I was helping a firefighter into a hazsubs ‘carrot suit’…

Training is officially two hours every Wednesday night but that’s the minimum…National Park 281 is only a small brigade but most members work odd hours and days so there are usually ad hoc training sessions throughout the week. For recruits like me, there is also a lot of study and training – just getting on top of the language is a mission – to be signed off before the week-long recruit firefighter course at the National Training Centre in Rotorua…with a little luck and a few more people falling off the wait-list I may get on the January course…

So volunteering…it’s a bit more than a couple of hours a week and a bit of study…lifestyles need to change: a pager can go off anytime so little things like ‘cap, shirt, Bata Bullets, need to be more prescribed and practiced; parking the truck pointing up the driveway saves a few seconds…many of us live in Raurimu, a time-consuming 5km north of the station: we don’t have the critical mass or number of calls to justify standing watches…

Small team, good team…hard training, good training…repetitive training, even better…

 

All Aboard!!

 

When I was growing up, we’d look out our dining room window and see the smoke from the steam engine on the railway line out to the Oamaru stone quarry at Weston. Once, earlier, this line ran all the way out to the coal mine at Ngapara. Sadly most of New Zealand secondary railway network is long defunct with the rails ripped up and recycles for their steel. Some of the routes are still accessible as cycle-ways – which is cool – but few of the actual lines still exist.

One exception to the rip it up model is the line that runs from Taumarunui on the Central Plateau to Stratford on the Taranaki Plain. Withdrawn from railway service in the late 90s due to the high number of derailments, it somehow escaped being stripped for its steel. Now, once again, you can ride those rails…

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Based in Taumarunui (opposite the New World), Forgotten World Adventures has taken a  30 year lease on the line, and runs daily trips between Okahukura and Stratford and points in between…

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The journey starts with a short (10 minute) bus ride from the Forgotten World base to the rail head at Okahukura. It would be nice to be able to start the ride from Taumarunui itself – the rail yard is only a few hundred metres from the office – but in addition to obvious issues sharing the main trunk line with the ‘big kids’ the railway bridge that connected the side line to the main trunk was removed a couple of year ago to make more room for over-height loads on State Highway 4.

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Every rail journey starts with tickets…these ones are big and flash and great souvenirs…we only did the first leg to Matiere but the full day “21 tunnel” runs through to (the former Republic of) Whangamomona…and with the ticket cones the safety brief…

The carts operate under the normal Land Transport rules…imagine them as little cars…so…

No alcohol.

Seat belts are mandatory as are car seats for small children.

Don’t dismount the cart unless your guide has OK’d it: there’s not much clearance off the side of the track in many places and there are loads of bridges, drains and trenches alongside the tracks.

Maintain a 3-4 cart space between carts – while steering is not negotiable, you do control the speed and the brakes and it’s uncool to rear-end the cart in front.

Attach bags and cameras and the like to you or the cart: if it goes over the side it’s most likely not going to be recoverable.

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The day wasn’t that tidy but this is a great activity for those less than stellar days…the valleys are narrow enough that even quite low cloud doesn’t really obstruct the views. The carts are open but even on a quite wet day like this, we didn’t need to drop down the plastic sides. Each cart has blankets but again, even on this damp day we’d weren’t tempted…the speed of the cart isn’t enough to generate a cold draft…

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There are five tunnels on this leg: most short like this one but the longest is a mile-long S under a hill: very dark inside!!! And a testament to the land navigation skills of the builders who had no GPS, lasers or even decent maps _just an excellent sense of where they were and where they were going…

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90 minutes brought us to Matiere and lunch…

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…in the community hall…

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…with strong links to its past…

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Couldn’t fault lunch at all!! Hot soup, fresh bread buns, home-baked fruit slice and caramel crunch and juicy fresh mandarins with tea and coffee for those who wish….

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Meantime, the the ground crew is busy outside: very ingenious and so well-balanced that one person can turn the carts…

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And then we were homeward bound…funny, after lunch we didn’t seem to be going as fast…dscf0572

…tunnels…dscf0578

…bridges…dscf0627

…the occasional curiosity…dscf0621

…sometimes almost like trundling through someone’s garden…dscf0632

Carts range from two seats to six but next time we’ll be in for a pedal:

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Much appreciated to the team at Forgotten World Adventures for hosting us and providing a great day of travel, entertainment and fine food…

Forgotten World Facebook                               Forgotten World TripAdvisor

Morning | The Daily Post

For this week’s photo challenge, publish a new post with an image that means morning to you.

Source: Morning | The Daily Post

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Fresh and clean now after the rain…” Is that from War of the Worlds..?

A crisp sunny morning after a night of rain, everything does feel fresh and clean…a spider’s labour framed in dewdrops…time to start the day…

Share Your World – 2016 Week 36

I sincerely hope you enjoy my questions for this week and find the questions interesting enough to play along.   You don’t think a lot about these questions, unless of course it is FUN for you.  Simply dream and just let loose, or you let your alter ego answer if you want.   Have a fabulous week everyone!! With your answers, please remember we are in the Share Your World world which may not always match our reality.

If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it?  (You can always sell the yacht later)

I’m sorry but I’d be boring…it would be simply The Boat, not even anything wannabe-ish cool like Das Boote…I thought about this when Lotteries NZ used have the Big Wednesday draw that included a boat, rather a flash one, as part of the prize package. It always turned me off more than tempted me to buy a ticket…I mean, some guy just drops a boat off in front of your garage and drives off…what? Gee, thanks, all right..maybe I could put the chickens in it…then it would be The Coop: would that be better…?

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…but my parents used to have a yacht…

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best?  (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey) Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be? 

The analysis here pretty much mirrors my take on each of the dwarf’s personal attributes – I’ve included the link just for those readers who have not yet explored the deeper darker recesses of my mind – and I would have to opt for Grumpy, the protective one who tends to act when he senses a need for action…doesn’t mean for one second that he’s right, just that he sees a need for action when his protective gene goes off…

An 8th dwarf..? Do I sense the subtle stench of sequelitis…? The 8th dwarf already has a name and it’s Snow White…clearly she’s assimilated into the dwarf hive and sees herself as part of it…blonde or otherwise, if the other dwarves called her anything behind her back it would probably be Ditzy…

Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack to your life?

The Mummer’s Dance. I first heard this as an Erich Kunzel cover. I misread the CD cover and always thought that it was from the soundtrack of Prince of Eqypt until my younger daughter corrected me during one of our music nights a couple of years ago…Regardless, it has become of of those soundtrack tunes that is always running in the back of my mind ready to burst to the surface in unguarded moments…

Many years ago, TVNZ adapted Dusty Springfield’s I Only Want to Be With You as a promotion for TV2. The first version of this that I owned was on the Vonda Shepard soundtrack from Ally McBeal…hence the version above…

They always played it just before Babylon 5 screened and I came to associate that catchy tune with the B5 ethos and culture…the last best hope…do the right thing…sacrifice…dedicate…go the extra mile…fighting the good fight…II Timothy 4-7…and who personified those more than Susan Ivanova

…as above, Grumpy with the over-active protective gene…

…and this is what started it all, the original TV2 promo clip…

Complete this sentence:  I like watching…

Amsterdam Nov 13-013.JPG…people…sitting outside with a good hot coffee, watching, wondering, imagining their back stories…why is that one hurrying? Why does that one appear happy, sad, flustered, angry…?

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’m grateful that I listed to my muse and committed to the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care course at Hillary Outdoors last week. I wasn’t sure at all that getting back into this world would be a good thing for me. Muse said it would be and that I should just do it…right again, Muse. like usual…

I enjoyed the pre-course study, getting in, exploring and researching. I loved the course – I’d already done some stuff with Henry and Budgie from  Peak Safety before so no worries there but on any course, you’re never quite sure about the course itself until Day One. This course rocked…an eclectic group, for sure, but one that jelled really well, lots of laughs and good to train with…for me the mark of any course is whether I want to repeat it and I would do PHEC again tomorrow, even as a consolidation…

I was worried that my previous training might be out of date or too narrow: while some things have changed and some of the new technologies are sci-fi compared to what we used to have, a good ninety percent was still relevant after I dusted off a lot of cobwebs…so where to from here..? Not sure…I’m wondering whether the local Fire Brigade would be a good venue or whether there’d be more and better experience getting into the eventing circuit…? Lots of questions…

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If only firies still had engines as cool as this…

I baked for the course and am also grateful that went down well; and this this time my orange cake worked, although my banana peel cake wasn’t as deep or as rich the the previous one – not sure if that is down to subbing out the butter with coconut oil, or maybe the peels were not as well pureed as last time..?

Looking forward to next week? I’ve ordered one of these:

…and expect it to be delivered Monday or Tuesday. I’m on a seven day roster next week but hope to get some simple experimentation underway on a couple of nights…just simple stuff to get the basic principles under my hat. Maybe I’ll start by just making my porridge with it each morning and it looks like it can operate as a super-slow cooker so maybe it’ll be time for another round of beets and rice..?