Saturday, 30 January 2016

Just an Update

Phew, finally I feel better, and so does T, so we've taken the chance to get out as much as possible, singly or together, cycling or walking.

One day we went to the outskirts of London to where the huge Crossrail project is underway at Abbey Wood. Crossrail is going to improve London's transport system from West to East, involving many new stations.  The areas around the new stations are expected to be transformed, although methinks it will take a long time for Abbey Wood to develop anything resembling "metro chic."


But it has a lot going for it. Just up the hill from the station are the remains of medieval Lesnes Abbey, now being done up with a Heritage Lottery Grant, and then the ancient woodland begins.   Although it was wintry, walking along these muddy tracks felt like being in the countryside. 


A few miles of woodland walking later we arrived in Plumstead, another forgotten place. Most people who don't live near it have no idea which bit of London it's in, but it is basically somewhere near Woolwich.   By this time we wanted a cup of tea, and spotted this - "Tony's Cafe,"  next to a kebab shop near Plumstead Common. It looked cheerful but downmarket. 

Once inside, we found it was no longer the workman's cafe it resembled but a piece of pure hipsterville.  We had some delicious tea and clementine cake, and if it had been dinner time we'd have stayed and tried some of the interesting food but since it wasn't dinner time, we decided to come back another time and give it a try.  The owners were almost insanely enthusiastic about their work, but Plumstead also has some way to go before becoming anything resembling "chic".  


Another day we took the train out to Charlton - another area about which most people (except fans of Charlton Athletic Football Club) say "Where???" 


We walked through a preserved chalk pit which is famous for its geological strata and fossils, and gives a glimpse of what a countrified place Charlton was a hundred years ago. Then we made our way round to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. 

It's a fantastic museum, even if you aren't that interested in the sea.  I fell in love with the ships' figureheads - here are some of the ones on display.  How I wish ships still had these. I once interviewed a very old man who remembered the London docklands in the early 1920s when some of the ships still had them, and he said how exotic it seemed looking up at the battered figureheads and knowing they'd faced all the oceans of the world. . 


Many figureheads have stories - some exciting, some dramatic, some rather sad.  This beautiful example, from the Victorian yacht "Sunbeam," is a portrait of Constance Brassey, daughter of the boat's owner, who died in 1873 at the age of four. Her father sailed the yacht all round the world. 


I really adored a mural in the museum by the 1940s-50s artist Alan Sorrell, it's so colourful and full of life and fun.   I can only show a tiny bitt here, where a seal*  is about to have a cup of tea spilt over it.  *(oops, I mean a shark! Thanks, Tabor and Graham!)


This museum deserves a whole post to itself, which I can't give it here - but I'll just add that we went to see its current exhibition about Samuel Pepys, the famous and very frank diarist who recorded the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London and knew just about everyone worth knowing in the days of Charles II. 

One of the things that caught my eye in the show was this pair of men's gloves, which would originally have been trimmed with brightly coloured ribbons.  They were quite preposterous.  Admittedly they were wedding gloves...., 


and the "look" in those Restoration days was pretty preposterous too, as you might agree  ....


 We made our way home past the tea-clipper "Cutty Sark," overlooking the glittering river.  It has been extensively renovated after a fire and the floodlighting showed off the intricacy of the rigging. 


Another day we went to Regents Park to see the exhibition that's mostly about some of the books which belonged to the Elizabethan magician and polymath, Dr. John  Dee.    Dr. Dee  has fascinated people for years and several well known books have been written about him, including The Queen's Conjuror and Peter Ackroyd's The House of Dr. Dee. . He seems to have been prodigiously intelligent, but since he lived in an era when magic was taken for granted, he might be thought to have rather wasted his talents on things which we now know not to be true, like alchemy and the casting of spells. 

Most of the books on show in this exhibition were actually stolen from him, but that bad behaviour meant that many of them were preserved, since many years later, they were bequeathed to the Royal College of Physicians,  which is mounting this show.  The College has also got hold of some other things which relate to Dr. Dee and his magical crystal somehow gripped my imagination.  

Recently we had Japanese friends over, and they love beer,  so we went to several pubs and also had a tour of the Fullers Brewery in South-West London, at Chiswick.  It's a good tour which offers the chance to taste 10 different beers. I am a very light drinker so that meant about 10 sips of beer for me!  

  After, we walked along the river and it looked very strange. The weather has been so warm in England that many Spring flowers are out in peoples' gardens, and it looks and feels all wrong.  The weeping willow is usually one of the first trees to come out, and flowers are never normally seen until it is showing at least a haze of green.  


Even weirder are the roses against bare winter branches. Roses are definitely a sign of summer, and yet these are not all withered remnants of last year, as you can see.


There have been various family events too.  Today it was the twins' second birthday party, an exhausting affair for everyone, including them, although they all enjoyed it.  

 And now I have a busy couple of months coming up and am looking forward to being able to relax in the Spring.... the real Spring, I mean. Though I get worried that at the present rate, Spring will all have all taken place by the time the calendar says it should be arriving. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Lumiere London

The "Lumiere" festival of lights has come to London!  And of course we wanted to go and see it.   But, "due to maintenance work," both our tube lines are out of action this weekend. Buses are very crowded and some are also on diversion, so it is no easy task to get into the centre.

At first we moaned about the incompetence of ... well, someone. Whoever organises these things.  "How stupid to put on a festival when so many people won't be able to get there... how disappointing.... bet nobody goes to it ...."

When we reached Piccadilly Circus, however...


we found ourselves in the most enormous crowds I have seen since the Millennium.   Luckily they were extremely good natured, but even so you can imagine how it felt being in the middle of this.

It soon became clear that the event organisers had vastly underestimated the numbers who would turn up to see these fantastic light installations.    Thank goodness so many trains were not running, is all I can say!

The installations are all over the city, and we didn't even see half of them, so we hope to return tonight (see below),  However, even if we don't see the rest, it was worth going in just for Les Lumineoles, below, in Piccadilly.



This installation of huge creatures, a cross between fish and spaceships, was created by the French company Porte Par Le Vent   When you're actually there beneath them, they seem awfully large, and they do look alive. The music that accompanies them (not clear on my video, sadly) enhanced the unearthly atmosphere.

Actually, the creatures are kites. I spotted one of the operators.


My second favourite installation, in Regent Street, was Keyframes, by the French group LAPS. This video is part of a much longer musical show, in which these little figures can be anything from ballet dancers to computer games.  Here, as the music suggests, they are being a computer game.



Onlookers absolutely loved this one.  It was so dark that I couldn't get good pictures of their enchanted faces, but this is typical.  I could feel a huge smile over my own face, too.



In St. James' Square, illuminated human figures sat on top of buildings or floated amongst the trees.


This is how they looked a little closer up.  As you walked towards them, they seemed to be moving against the dark sky. 


This installation was called "The Time Travellers", and it's by Cedric le Bourgne - check out the amazing bird picture on his website, here.  If you notice a certain French slant to the names, I think it might be because France seems to go in for light installations. We've often seen Son et Lumiere presentations on visits to France, and I think they have them in other places too. But this festival is a first for London.

It was all but impossible to get through the four small gates into St James' Square at first, but the crowds were good natured and formed themselves into the traditional tube train queuing routine - walk on the right - and in the end everyone managed to squeeze into the more spacious park through the narrow little gates. And what a relief it was to get inside. Then, all you had to do was get out afterwards....

I don't think the organisers can have been expecting anything like this number of spectators, because little thought seemed to have been given to finding sensible and practical places to site some of the installations.  We wanted to see Deepa Man-Kler's "Neon Dogs", but it was at ground floor level in a shop window past which ran a none-too-wide pavement.  What with people trying to see the installation, or walk past on the pavement, and not get knocked off into the traffic, this ended up as another one we simply couldn't manage to see.

Apparently the installations at Kings Cross had to be switched off last night because of overcrowding.    T and I want to see them though, so we might get along early this evening. I don't know how we will get to Kings Cross without the tube. There aren't any buses going there from here.  Perhaps we will drive to a tube station on a line that IS open - if you can park. Or maybe we should just walk - it is walkable (just).

Today, I'm trying to get the details of a trip to Iceland sorted out.  Iceland in February might not be everyone's cup of tea but it sounds as if my trip will be very interesting, although very short.  Hope the bug has gone by then.  T and I can't believe how it is lingering. If it wasn't both of us we would start to wonder if there was something wrong with our immune systems, but it is much better than it was a couple of weeks ago, and for that I am grateful.



Sunday, 3 January 2016

Happy New Year!


Happy new year!

Sorry if I haven't visited you lately -  we've all picked up a bug which started by plaguing the twins. They then passed it on as their noses dripped over everyone.  You mix 'n' match runny nose, eye infection, ear ache, sinus problem, severe headache, cough, diarrhoea - just try each of them for a day or two - and are we having fun yet??   It's not so very terrible,  but you feel tired and ill all the time. It seems to run for a couple of weeks so we're probably near the end of it by now.

Just before Christmas I travelled up to York with T and young S. to research a travel article. It is one of my favourite cities and I was glad it also suited S, who is now well into teenagerhood.  I'd planned to do a post about it before Christmas but just after we got back, York was flooded. So I'll write the article - and do another post - a little bit later.

Still, I'll share a few images of our time at York Minster, which as far as I can tell, has not been flooded.   We climbed to the top of the tower via a narrow spiral staircase, with wind booming around us in the most dramatic way. There was, as you can see above,  a fine view of the old city lit up by sunshine, spread around us.  I do find huge medieval cathedrals amazing.  S. thought so too, and wanted to spend hours looking around the Minster, including the crypt exhibition of how the tower nearly fell down 50 years ago, And, of course, we could not miss the chance to climb to the top

It's astonishing what skill and dedication it took to create these huge cathedrals. Imagine those who built it, people who lived in thatched mud cottages, and used ox-drawn carts and hand tools, looking around the cathedral with satisfaction sometime between 1361 and 1405 when the choir below was built. Imagine designing, building and erecting that towering stonework beyond...   



Or making and fitting the stained glass...


It's great. And more about York later. 

This bug didn't hit us till Boxing Day, and if I was a bit tired at Christmas itself, it didn't matter since G did all the cooking and K hosted everyone at her place.  On the 29th December, we went to St. Pauls Cathedral to see a vintage fire-engine drive-by. It was commemorating those who died in the huge blitz that devastated the area 75 years ago, but famously left St Pauls standing.  A few old people I've spoken with actually remember this event.  One of our relatives went there the next day because her dad worked nearby and he was checking to see if his office had been destroyed (it had). Another old guy recalls how freezing cold it was, with everything rimed with ice.... 


Now, St. Pauls looks good...



The rebuilding around it includes the old Temple Bar gate (below). This had stood near the cathedral for many years when but when it started causing traffic jams in the 1870s, Henry Meux, a wealthy brewer, took it to his country estate and rebuilt it as an ornament.   There, it mouldered for over 100 years until it was brought back to London and re-erected in 2004.  It is now a pedestrian arch only.


We waited about an hour in the freezing cold to see the fire appliances. They eventually trundled along, bells clanging, brass and bumpers glittering, all staffed by firemen in vintage uniforms.  It was strangely touching to see how small they were. Those who fought the bombs so bravely with such inadequate equipment deserve to be remembered, too.  So thanks to the volunteers who keep these old engines going.





So - two very different cathedrals in one week.   I really like to be reminded about the fortitude and inspiration that caused them to be built in the first place - a good thought for the New Year.  

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Happy Christmas! and Højt Fra Træets Grønne Top, Housing and Malta ...


Oh, oh, Christmas nearly here!!  I'm really looking forward to it as all the family will be here this year.  But K, T and I have also been spending a lot of time thinking and writing about the Housing Bill,     We have close relatives who will be affected  but also I think it will be  bad for London and Londoners, even if they are not in social housing.  (Yeah, festive, eh?)

Politics is in mess and I'm not much of a practical activist.  But far reaching legislation shouldn't be sneaked in over Christmas, it just seems dishonest. So I've decided to attend a demonstration outside Parliament at 1 PM on 5 January. It's only the second demo I have ever attended.

The first was when millions of people asked Tony Blair not to invade Iraq. An amazing experience being in such a massive crowd of people filling every available space in the street.  Here's one of the photos I took at the time, the Strand was so packed you really had to walk at the same speed as everyone else, and it stretched like this for over a mile.


 So peaceful, so many people from all walks of life


But it didn't do any good, as we know.  So I doubt that me, rent-a-crowd and a few others hanging around outside Parliament on Jan 5th will have much effect either!

Despite spending time on this, I'm really enjoying the run up to Christmas and this year I have a Danish Christmas carol running through my mind.  A friend who died a few weeks ago, after an unbelievably cruel illness, was  Danish,  and on her last Christmas Eve, we visited them. We ate traditional pork and red cabbage, and her family in Denmark skyped to show they were walking round their Christmas tree singing a Danish carol that I recognised.

Wow! The carol was  "Højt Fra Træets Grønne Top"  and hearing it pulled me right back to my teenage years in Malta, where I was friends with a girl called Marianne. At Christmas, Marianne told me that her Danish mum got them all to walk around their Christmas tree,


holding hands and singing this carol. I thought that was a nice idea, and in our cool ironic teenage way we got to play that carol quite often when Christmas approached.

So watching Skype in London of people in Bornholm, I was REALLY thinking about Marianne's villa in Malta, with all the amazing Maltese Christmas cribs and decorations and churches... (not my photo, sorry it's all blurry)


....with bougainvillea growing all the walls, the Mediterranean sun shining down outside, with December roses blooming in the garden,and Danish flags all over the place...

Thinking of my friend, I think of the carol and I think of Marianne and me and Malta all those years ago, and so it goes back....

 I wish you a good holiday season, wherever you are and whatever your traditions, and hope you will enjoy this amateur film of Højt Fra Træets Grønne Top, when the kids look just as baffled as they always do when expected to join in some tradition, and the pastor is keenest of all.

Merry Christmas!



Saturday, 5 December 2015

Camden Gothick



London's weather continues dark, and nights are drawing in more, but there are rewards.   Jon, who writes a wonderful quirky blog from Tennessee, has sometimes posted about the Victorian night-painter Atkinson Grimshaw but I don't recollect that Grimshaw ever applied his gothic skills to St. Pancras, above. It is one of the Borough of Camden's architectural gems, which we passed on the way back from the Old Queens Head in Islington.  He should have painted it, I thought, as I snapped this photo though the windscreen.

We'd met N. at the Old Queens Head to see the folk guitarist Martin Simpson. It is a very popular pub with lots of atmosphere, but if I said the decor of the Bell was weird in my last post, it was nothing on the Old Queen's Head. It is like a stage set, and represents a decaying Victorian hostelry, I suppose, though parts of this fireplace look hundreds of years older.  Note the antler chandelier.


The gig was up a flight of battered narrow stairs, apparently papered with the remains of old and hideous wallpaper, plastered over and peeling off.  Then N. pointed out that the design included the Gherkin office building (top left) and someone being mugged.  The paper is new. 
:)


Martin Simpson is a phenomenal folk guitarist and wonderful raconteur. Although I am not a particular fan of the type of music he sings, I enjoyed the evening a lot, and the gig was packed.  The Green Note (in the picture) which presented him, is actually a small music venue in Camden Town, which features many original and interesting singers.  


It is in Parkway, and coincidentally that area is right by the locations of two movies I also saw. Parkway adjoins Gloucester Crescent, the setting for  "The Lady with The Van" (an amazing Oscar-worthy performance from Maggie Smith). It's based on a true story of how a homeless woman parked her derelict van in Alan Bennett (the playwright)'s front garden in 1974  and stayed for 15 years. It is a touching, clever film with stunning sets and costumes.

I have a friend who used to live in Gloucester Crescent and she said that they all tried to be sympathetic to her, but the smell and fuss was sometimes hard to deal with - and when the film company moved their old van into the same driveway, there was initially a frisson of panic amongst the residents who remembered her!

The other movie, "Amy," was a documentary partly filmed in Inverness St, which runs into Gloucester Crescent.  It chillingly conveys how destructive fame can be.    Tony Bennett said in the film that she should have been cherished, to help her blossom as one of the world's great jazz singers - but as we know, that didn't happen, and she was exploited instead.

I thought my daughter, who watched the movie with me, had seemed a bit emotional during the film. After, she told me that when she was a teenager she'd hung out with Amy and several other people who appeared in the film, including Amy's boyfriend/husband, at the Good Mixer pub.  If she mentioned them then, I hadn't known, probably because Amy was just another singer in those days. 


   She said Amy was unpretentious and fun, but she mixed with some screwed up people. She said she once asked Amy's boyfriend if he thought he was a psychopath.  Not because of what ultimately happened with Amy, (that was still in the future.)  He said "Yes, I think I'm probably a psychopath." Hm.  

Anyway, seeing these faces from her youth in such a harrowing film had shaken her up. 



It got me thinking.  I had quite an interesting youth but somehow never managed to mix with anyone who became well known - not even the lady in the van, in the days when she was there and I used to live just 10 minutes walk from Gloucester Crescent myself!   

What about you? 

Monday, 30 November 2015

In The Dark

The days are so short now that it sometimes that it is dark or twilight most of the time.  So this post will show no daylight....

Last week was a quiet one because on my way to a committee meeting I managed to REALLY twist the bad foot. I couldn't put it to the ground and T. had to come and rescue me from the tube station. It recovered reasonably fast but then I stubbed the toe of the other foot. No, not on purpose. So I had to stay inside for one day and for the rest of the week I have been in some pain.

But these things happen and I managed to do a scheduled talk at the London Fortean Society on Thursday.  I used to hate and fear public speaking - and I still have to read from a script - but I've kind of got used to it now and usually choose places with nice friendly audiences so I don't need to worry even if I do make a total mess of it.   I like Forteans. They believe some crazy things but that is the point, really -  and they're lots of fun to talk with and listen to. We had some interesting conversations after and in the pub.  


The pub is The Bell in Middlesex St., near Aldgate, towards the old centre of London. It used to be a bit of an old boozer but it has now reinvented itself as a cosy traditional space where people meet their friends, play games and relax.  It's definitely hipster, (not everyone's taste, but it is mine) its decor is interesting and somewhat weird (even creepy in parts), the staff are friendly, and the beer is good.  One of London's more distinctive pubs. 


Next day I visited V and admired her latest collection of objects gathered from the Thames foreshore. These can be from any period over the last 2000 years or more, thrown up by the river at certain spots at certain times of day.  I loved this clay pipe bowl with a little dog at the bottom. (this is a detail)  This one probably dates from Victorian days.  I took pictures as V is a great one for throwing things away and is minded to throw her collection back into the Thames soon.


And talking of unexpected finds, on Thanksgiving Day, T. discovered a George III penny he had never seen before (nor had I) It was stuffed in a crack at the bottom of an old cupboard which was in our flat when we moved in.  I don't know how old it is but I'd estimate the cupboard dates from about 1900.   Perhaps its original owner had an out of date 1806 penny which they bored a hole through and  hung round their neck for luck. Whatever. Anyway, by the time it was minted, George III had already played his part in giving Americans a chance to celebrate on 26 November, 209 years later! 


And as yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, it was time to decorate Christmas trees.   We haven't put ours up yet, but K and F were quicker off the mark.  This ornament was created by our friend Marjorie, from Chicago.  She stitched a beautiful set of Alice in Wonderland character ornaments so that the whole family had one.  


I'd like to say the twins helped to decorate the tree, but actually they took the ornaments off as fast as they possibly could, in order to examine them, run away and hide them or pull them apart. The tree has ended up with most of its decorations at the very top, out of reach of small hands.  


Also managed to get down to SW London to see my colleague and friend Tim' in his opera group's revival of the once-very-popular French opera "Mignon" by Ambroise Thomas. It's almost forgotten now but it was hugely popular from about 1870 onwards until it fell well and truly out of fashion.    The opera group, Sussex Opera, likes to revive forgotten gems. The company is amateur but uses professional principals, and they're really very good.   What's more they love every minute of what they do. Mostly they perform in Sussex but this was their one London night of the year. 
 


For some reason they decided to set the opera in the 1930s - perhaps in order to avoid having having all those crinolines around - but it is really a most charming piece and due for a revival. Tim sent me a link to a Youtube clip of the 12 year old Julie Andrews performing one of the arias. I thought I'd share it if only so you can see what a prodigy she was.  (And, to be honest, to marvel at her extraordinary accent, one which has completely disappeared in England today.  Even the Queen doesn't talk like that any more)!


And despite the short dark days, there are more beautiful sunsets to see. 



Sunday, 22 November 2015

Toy Story, Cake and More.


I know it's winter when the setting sun reflects of the windows of these particular houses in that particular way.  It just doesn't happen in the summer.

The last three days neither of us have got out much because both T and I have had different things wrong - me a mysterious pain and swelling of my foot arch, and him with nerve pain from a tooth. I think they're improving now but in the light of what's been happening in Paris and elsewhere in the world we are not in the mood for complaining about them.

While feeling rather confined to home, we've been cleaning and clearing.   I thoroughly washed the head of this stuffed bird which Littlest A loves sucking the head of. It's just the right size to fit in his mouth. Here it is after washing.



T. has been clearing out his office so lots of eBaying, chucking out and donating to charity shops. Today after we'd dumped our bags of treasures in the British Heart Foundation I spotted a Thomas the Tank Engine toy which I thought Littlest A might like.


He's very keen on his board book of Thomas, even though he doesn't understand a word of it, so I got the engine - it was only £1.

But even with new batteries it didn't work. It just sat there doing nothing, so T decided to take it to bits, because he had spotted something interesting about it.... can you see it, below?


I would never have noticed it, but T didn't work all those years in the BBC without being able to recognise a microphone.  It's the round hole at the bottom.

Once he'd dismantled the train, he discovered that the microphone activates Thomas when you whistle nearby. Very ingenious. T put it together again, and it worked perfectly.  It probably once had a Fat Controller's Whistle but that's long gone... but.....

Littlest A's other favourite thing is this recorder


And it works perfectly at controlling Thomas!

So now the toys are waiting for Littlest A's next visit.


We went to our next door neighbour's house, to attend her daughter's one-girl craft sale. The WHOLE living room was full of stuff Amelia has made.   I know she is clever with her hands but she must have done nothing else except knit and sew for months.  It's all in aid of raising money to volunteer at the charity Elephant-Human Relations Aid in Namibia. I had never heard of it but apparently a lot of people from her school have gone and she says it does great work persuading subsistence farmers not to kill elephants -  which of course are encroaching on their land.


So I bought a couple of Christmas tree decorations which will now remind me of elephants (and Amelia). I discovered that among the other neighbours who had visited her craft sale that day, Littlest A had also turned up with his mother and had taken a great liking to one the stuffed animals. Apparently they put a lead on it and let him drag it around.  (I didn't dare ask if he had sucked its head.)

Before the tooth/foot pain got too bad we went to Hungerford, Berkshire to pick up our "new" (or, rather, new-to-us) car from the dealers we have used for years. They've gone to a lot of trouble to find this car for us, exactly the same as the old car except several years newer, and very low mileage.  In a rare burst of sun I was impressed by the way the raindrops on it were all lit up almost as parts of it were studded with Swarovski diamonds.


It was really nice seeing Hungerford again. My late parents lived there for many years.  We always go to look at the weird and wonderful antiques and curiosities in the Hungerford Arcade on the High Street. We know from experience that the Rafters Cafe there does very good smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toast for a very reasonable price.


The cafe really is in the rafters, as you can see from the photo below. The Arcade is all one building now, but it used to be a kind of medieval market, and courtyards and other spaces were roofed in over the centuries.  The layout of the cafe is a bit odd, being built around a hefty old staircase clearly hewn from tree trunks some centuries ago. It also has great big beams running across the floor, which they do mark very clearly, but, well, shall we say they are "interesting" to navigate when going to order at the counter?


There are many other good antique businesses in Hungerford, but we like The Arcade best partly  because of its cafe, partly because of its junkshop section (selling curiosities that often need a bit of work) and perhaps mainly because of its books. There are so many treasures here at low prices -  if you can face sorting through them. Here is just one corner. And if you are reasonably tall, and haven't tripped over the beams on the floor in the Rafters, you can get hit on the head by the beams on the ceiling here. 


Went to see my mum and dad's old house and it's had a big porch built on it and an extension. I was so sad to think that they were no longer there, but I was also glad to see their house taking on a new lease of life. 

Finally, Nadezda, whose amazing Russian garden I always admire, has asked for the recipe for the carrot cake I mentioned in my last blog post.  It is adapted from one in the original Crank's Cook Book. I made a few small adaptations. The main change is that I used soft dark brown sugar for the icing, which gave the icing a caramel taste.


CAKE
Carrots, 175g 
Eggs 2
Vegetable oil 75ml 
Brown Sugar 100g
Wholemeal self raising flour 100g (I used half white and half brown plain flour, adding a teaspoon (5 ml) of baking powder instead)
Ground cinnamon 1 tsp (5 ml)
Ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml)
Desiccated coconut 50g
rind of one orange, grated
Raisins 50g
Shelled chopped walnuts 50g.

Grease and line a 18 cm (7 inch) cake tin. Finely grate the carrots. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and creamy. Whisk the oil in slowly, then add the remaining ingredients and mix together to combine evenly. Spoon the mixture in the prepared tin. Level the surface and bake in the oven at 190 C (375 F, Gas Mark 5) for 20-25 minutes till firm to the touch and golden brown. Cool on a wire tray and spread with icing (frosting) when cold. 

ICING
Butter or margarine, 40g
Pale brown sugar 75g (I used dark)
Grated rind of 1/2 orange if liked
Shelled walnuts to decorate

As cakes go it is a "healthy" one and like so many recipes in that old cook book, it is really good and always seems popular with visitors. 

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