Michael Schumacher

When I saw yesterday, on FB, that Schumacher had another accident, this time skying I was shocked and I hope he will recover as always. I remember when he had the accident in 1999, I was watching the race and I told my mother it was Schumacher’s car before it was announced. He had a broken leg and it took time to recover, but he returned that F1 year.

He had other accidents and he recovered from all. Hopefully he will be back on his feet soon. And, hopefully, on the 3rd Jan, he will be able to hear his birthday wishes as every year.

I remember the first race I’ve seen, in 1998 (28 June, I had to search the exact date). It was a Sunday afternoon and I had nothing else to do, unlikely, but I’m glad it happened.

Only by chance I’ve seen the race that already started. It was amazing, I loved everything, the speed of the race, the cars and the winner: Michael Schumacher. After this race, at Magny Cours, I watched from the beginning the one at Silvertone. Schumacher won again, the race was again very interesting and I found everything exciting.

After that, I watched all the other races, never missed one. I start learning about F1 cars and their engines and brakes and chassis and fuel. It was so interesting. I’ve learned the regulations and the points and some F1 history. I was watching Italian TV for the qualifications on Fridays and, as I understand the language, I watched the following discussions after the laps were over. I’ve read F1 magazines.

I was member in a small Michael Schumacher fan club and I was corresponding with a few other members. I even named my first dog Schumy and that was actually very accurate as he was such a speedy runner.

In 2005, with all the regulation changes, I’ve stopped watching the races. It was unfair to Ferrari and I saw no point in having a set of tyres for the entire race. I felt F1 lacked the sparkle it had a few years before.

MOSI

This weekend we went to MOSI, the Science Museum in Manchester. After time&money wasted at Thinktank in Birmingham I had very low expectations and the fact that it was free (we were asked for a voluntary donation) made a difference.

After visiting it, I can say the two museums can’t be compared. MOSI is very interesting and huge, as the displays are in 5 different buildings. The coffee shop is nice and the brownies are exquisite.m_01

We had to register our cards here, by taking a picture and select 5 interests. It is funny and everybody enjoys it.
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The textile section was the 1st one we’ve visited. We were already familiarized with this machines, we saw them last month at Quarry Bank Mill.
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This is the portrait of Charles Machintosh, Scottish chemist that invented the waterproof fabric.
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We’ve heard about William Perkin in a TV show on BBC2, Science Britannica. He was the one that invented mauve, the 1st dye, while he was trying to produce quinine.
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Thistledown Coat, made by Adrian Bannon. This one is the largest from a series of 17 coats, made between 1990s and 2005.
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Another interesting display in the fabric section is this one. The dresses are made only to be displayed, as they are too fragile to wear. The design is made with slices of real fruits.
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This machine was making a tornado. It was in the experiment section of the museum. There were very interesting exhibits there. We didn’t have time to play with all, so we’ll have to visit it again.
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We went to the special exhibition “Brains – the mind as matter”. I think it’s nice, but not very interesting for me, as I already knew almost everything that was on display.

This pre-victorian building is the oldest railway building in the world.
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Cereal box from 60s, same design as today.
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Very interesting use of recycled materials.
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Engine built by Henry Royce in 1904. This engine was fitted on the 2nd Royce car and shown to Charles Rolls in Manchester on 4 May 1904. This lead to the setting up of Rolls-Royce.
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Electric blue, the fastest milk float in the world.
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Vegetarian Christmas

This is what we’ve prepared for this year’s Christmas. Hubby had 2 additional dishes with meat, but I didn’t show them here. Hubby insisted on the Romanian dishes, as he likes them. I preferred the other ones, less traditional.

These are blue cheese canapes. The base is shop bought, filled with a mixture of Stilton with soft cheese and double cream. They were exquisite and so easy to make. vc_01

Deviled eggs, made with the usual recipe, mayo and mustard.
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Roasted baby plum tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and herbs.
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Mushrooms with homemade mayo and picked gherkins.
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As I love cheese, it can’t be a Christmas day without a cheese plate: spiced cedar, extra mature cedar, cedar with cramberries, mozzarella, cedar with apricots and feta.
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Aubergine rolls, stuffed with mini vegetarian sausages. I wasn’t that impressed with those sausages, it was the 1st time I’ve tried them.
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Baked Camembert with homemade red onion and wine chutney.
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After the starters we’ve enjoyed a roasted potatoes and garlic soup. Another dish that I’ve tried for the 1st time, but I’m very happy with it. Lovely texture and tastes great.
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The next dish is a Romanian classic, dolmades in pickled cabbage leafs. It is served with polenta and sour cream. Usually they are made with mince meat (pork or mixture of pork and beef), but I made them vegetarian, with soy instead of meat.
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Grilled halloumi with sweet potatoes chips and baked Brussels sprouts.
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Cozonac, a traditional Romanian desert similar to a french fruit loaf.
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The sweet bread is made with eggs, milk and sugar. The way I make it is from a family tradition, passed from my great-grandmother to my mother and then to me. A part of the dough is mixed with cacao, unlike the most common recipes. The loaf is filled with walnuts and Turkish delight.
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Christmas pudding, shop bought. I was very happy with it. But the cream is homemade, from double cream with a hint of Bailey’s.
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Two different types of mince pies. I wanted to make them myself, but as I would have to buy the mincemeat from the store, it was pointless to make them at home. I found the iced ones a little too sweet. Hopefully, next year I’ll have more time to cook and I’ll try my 1st batch of mincepies with homemade mincemeat.
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Puff pastry filled with homemade chocolate cream and whipped cream. Lovely and very easy to make.
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Fruit cake, very rich and lovely. As it was 3 months matured, I think next year I’ll give it a go and make it myself.
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Quarry Bank Mill

Yesterday we went to Quarry Bank Mill, near Manchester. Hubby forgot to take the camera, so he took pictures with the phone.

I was very impressed with the mill, it was even better than expected. The staff were very helpful, they showed us how different things worked. 20131128_125514

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This is the apprentice house. We had a guided tour and it was lovely. The guide told us a lot of interesting facts about the life the workers used to have in the mill. We’ve heard some details about The mill and it sounds very interesting.

In this house used to live 90 apprentices and the superintendent with his wife. The apprentices were mostly orphan girls, taken from when they were 9 years old and forced to work until they reached 18 or sometimes 21. In one bedroom there were 60 girls and they had to work for 12 hours/day for 6 days/week so they could earn their keeping.

But, if they wanted to, they could work overtime and get some money after the contract was finished. Even if it sounds awful, the life in the mill was better than in other places.
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Home for 2 years

I’ve moved many times until now. Before my 6th birthday I moved 3 times, but I was so little it didn’t actually matter.

At 22 I moved with my boyfriend (now hubby) in a small town near Bucharest… at 23 we moved in Bucharest… at 24 we moved again in another small town near Bucharest, after the wedding. I though we were settled, but it turned out that after a few years we’ve made a radical change and we moved to UK.

So 2 years ago, at 29, I arrived in Liverpool. It was the 1st time I was in UK and I wasn’t sure I would like it. We’ve stayed for 6 months in Liverpool and we moved to Wirral, a few minutes away from L’pool. Now I’m sure I’ll live my life here, in the UK, even if we’ll move again in another city.

I’m in love with the British weather… I’m sure it sounds strange, but for me it’s not too cold nor too hot. I’m not even bothered if it’s raining. In the city it’s not muddy and if we go for walks in muddy places… I’m the proud owner of 2 wellies (one of them has butterflies!!).

I love the food, cheddar is my favorite type of cheese… I think I’ve eaten cheddar every day for the last 2 years, so… I’m a huge fan. My life as a vegetarian is easier here, having the “V” on the labels. Some types of cheese or deserts aren’t vegetarian, but it’s not a problem, as I can easily see the ones that are. Also there are so many choices, I couldn’t be more happier.

The desserts are great, I was never too found of syrupy deserts (traditional in Romania), so scones, fruit cakes, cupcakes, lime/lemon tarts and cheesecakes are perfect for me. I think my favorite desert is sticky toffee pudding, but I’m in love with chocolate lava cake too.

I love the way most Brits think. The fact that many of them get involved in different organizations, helping the parks, the stray dogs, butterflies, rats, cats, rabbits, ponies, the homeless, the abused women, people with cancer and even different landmarks, like Williamson tunnels.

I like their politeness. In 2 years I got used to smile at people on the street or at the cashier in supermarket. I like the fact so many are active at 70-80, going to restaurants/pubs, holidays. And I’m a monarchist :)

I’m even found of the TV programs! Considering a few months ago we bought our 1st TV that is something interesting. I’m sure I’m not in the target market for the shows I’m watching, but they are really interesting. Masterchef and Great British bake off are lovely and I even bought an agenda to write down everything I want to remember.

Also, I’m very keen in Coast and Countryfile. I watch Time team and other building/buying shows, like Location, location, location and Grand Designs.

I’m also very happy with the camping sites that are available here. Next year I’m sure I can convince hubby to have another camping trip.

Self catering cottages are also great, especially for us, with Festus. We’ve already rented 2 for next year, when we’ll go to fairs. This kind of holiday accommodation is perfect for us, having a place where we can leave Festus alone for a few hours is great. Also, having a kitchen is great. After staying on 4″ heels for 9-10 hours, I don’t have any desire to go to a restaurant to eat. I’d rather snuggle on the sofa with a ready meal and, maybe, a glass of wine.

All this (and a few other things) makes me feel that I’m already at home. It’s not perfect, but nowhere is perfect.

Speke Hall

I’ve been so busy in October and November, that I didn’t have time to write anything. We had a lot of events, a “creepy” house for Halloween, hubby’s birthday and my birthday and we’ve changed the car.

Now, that finally things are starting to settle down, I have more time to post on my blog and on Festus’s blog.

This weekend we’ve visited Speke Hall. For my birthday I’ve received a membership to National Trust. I’m very happy with it, we have an additional reason to go on day trips or to visit an interesting place for a few hours.sp_01

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This is the original victorian wallpaper.
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The great hall with it’s original Tudor fireplace. It looks lovely with the Christmas decorations.
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I would love to have my breakfast in a similar setting.
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On the paneled wall is depicted the story of the family that built Speke Hall.
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The rose garden should look lovely in the summer.
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The maze, seen from outside.
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Here is the restaurant. We had a coffee and Wet Nelly, a Liverpool speciality. I really enjoyed it. Hubby wasn’t that keen on it, as he prefers more syrupy cakes.
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The airport is so close that we saw a few airplanes leaving.
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