Thursday, January 9, 2014

Who Am I?

This was the second blog I ever wrote in 2008, I hope you enjoy it.

IotaWell, I'm a Canadian and have lived here since 1975 becoming a Canadian in 1978; however I started life as a mewling infant in Cheshire, England. They gave me World War II for my first birthday - you can work out for yourself how ancient I am. After that war, my parents went to live in the South of England and we eventually moved onto a Thames Barge called Iota. It was a wonderful craft. They were built to carry goods up and down England's rivers, in particular the Thames which flows through London, and someone got the idea of converting them into residences.

They had flat bottoms so could go into the shallowest of places and had Leeboardleeboards on either side to prevent them drifting in the wrong direction. Most had a mainsail, topsail and foresail. Some had a mizzen sail too, aft (at the back) and were operated by a man and a boy although I knew at least one married couple who operated one for many years. This was an incredible place to live. We had fitted carpets and a fridge - not that many appliances available in those days. I remember the fridge was a pain in the butt as it was propane fired and had to be kept level. Keeping a fridge level on a boat of any kind is difficult. I remember lots of problems and swearing about that fridge although I was only about 9 or so at the time.

My father loved to sail so we took Iota to France, Holland and Belgium on many occasions. This was how I learned to love food and how my mother learned to be a gourmet cook. When she first got married she literally couldn't boil an egg. There was a family story about my father picking her up from work to go
somewhere, they went to his place so he could change, and he asked her to make a bacon sandwich whilst he was getting ready. He returned to find her in tears because she hadn't a clue how to do so. Considering what a wonderful cook she became, this always seemed funny to us. My father was also a very good cook, I suppose he taught my mother a lot about food, and, lucky me, my husband is also a good cook. What more could I want?

Because of the war, we moved around a lot as my father was in the Air Force. I went to 9 different schools, so maybe that's where I got my taste for travel. I always disliked school. Guess I was a poor student. I have the distinction of having been to one of the same schools as Princess Di. Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk, England. Some several years apart of course.  

Going back to Iota, I discovered a few years ago that she was allowed to "break up" and fall apart. How sad, she had been a great home for us for a number of years. My father sailed her from Kent, where we lived, to Lincolnshire where he had got a job as a civilian teaching young men in the Air Force how to fly. It was quite a trip for the barge, they were never meant to do such sailing, nor were they meant to cross the English Channel or the North Sea, but Iota did. He sailed her back to Kent again when we went back there to live. We went through some hair raising weather on that trip in particular. I was a bit young to appreciate it all at the time, I was busy reading adventure stories. I was a great reader. My father was frustrated when I appeared on deck in the middle of a storm and complained I had run out of adventure books. His comment was "For f*****'s sake, you are living an adventure".

I just got this recipe in my inbox and I happen to have some rotisserie chicken to be used.

Asian Chicken Salad

Asian chicken-salad
Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
Use a rotisserie chicken to make dinner prep a breeze in this delicious, Asian-inspired main-dish chicken salad.

Cooking Light DECEMBER 2009
  • Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 (5-ounce) package Japanese curly noodles (chucka soba), crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese mustard
  • 1 teaspoon bottled ground fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
  • 4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup jarred fresh orange sections, drained
1. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds; sauté 1 minute. Add noodles; sauté 3 minutes or until almonds and noodles are toasted. Set aside.
2. Combine soy sauce and next 6 ingredients (through chile paste) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cabbages, chicken, and cilantro; toss gently to coat. Top with oranges and almond mixture.

Have a great day


  1. What a great childhood, well, post-war I guess. I grew up eating southern US staples, Biscuts & Gravy, fried chicken, every kind of pork you can imagine, and tons of veggies, mostly grown by someone in the family.

  2. Of course we were on rations for many years after the war. Very skimpy amounts of foods for a long time although apparently Brits were healthier than anyone else at the time. Nowadays the UK has similar obesity problems to the ones we have over here.

  3. It is great to get to know a bit more about your life, Jo. Your father made me smile. Your childhood sounds quite exciting. I can't imagine living in a boat but it must be great. Dragon hugs!

  4. Actually at the time I didn't enjoy it. Looking back, that's such a pity.

    Grandmother dragon hugs back at yer.

  5. As you know Jo, there are still some Thames Barges operating here in the South East. We took a daytrip on the Greta from Whitstable a while back and it was so peaceful when out at sea and under sail. Thankfully there are enough enthusiasts around to keep them seaworthy. Such a shame the Iota wasn't one of the restorations.

  6. I remember your talking about the Greta. Do they still have the Thames Barge race, that used to take place yearly at one time.