Monday, 11 February 2013

Driving Over Athenian Oranges

Two little orange trees hiding behind trellis on left

Hello dear friend,
Thank you for stopping by today. I thought I would share an aspect of Athens that you may not be aware of: the orange trees that line suburban streets.

Munching breakfast toast and marmalade, the tangy flavour set the wheels of my mind spinning backwards towards my beloved #Athens, where my street was lined with little orange trees – whose fruit was as bitter as a Seville and just as tasty when boiled up with sugar.  

Over the years I watched these trees grow from as tall as me to the height of two men upon each other’s shoulders.  They made their presence felt in a number of ways. In the seasonal sequence I remember that it went this way:

In springtime, the strong sweet fragrance of their waxy white blossoms filled the air. And for me – no allergy sufferer – it was a welcome scent as I walked to the seashore or shops. Often, I would don thick gloves and take secateurs to cut myself a bunch. And once the thorny twigs were safely in vases of water they graced my home for days.  

The trees were thus decked out for weeks, then dark green globes the size of a walnut would appear – but you wouldn’t notice this unless you peered because they were camouflaged against glossy leaves.  For the next couple of months, as the days got hotter and hotter, the fruit would be ripening until even the most oblivious could see the small bright oranges.  

When these fruits fully ripened the trees really made their presence felt. As they released their crop the oranges piled up around them on the pavement or rolled pell-mell into gutters and over the roads. When parking the car it was impossible not to run your tyres over them and the aroma of freshly squashed oranges was mouth-watering as you alighted.

But the trees had one further trick up their green sleeves which I discovered one night… Just falling asleep I heard a loud: thump, thump, thump. The unexpected noise drew me abruptly back from the Land of Nod, out of bed and onto the balcony. As I peered around tall potted plants scouring the empty street the thump, thump, thump came again. Aha. I saw what was happening and it made me chuckle. The nearby big metal wheelie bin was under an orange tree and gusts of wind were cannoning fruit onto its arched top, which magnified the sound in the still night. I went back to bed and quickly fell asleep to the lullaby of thud, thud, thud, thud.

The photo, top left, is the corner of my balcony and behind the trellis you can just about see two of said orange trees. Top right is balcony with plants. Ah, what happy memories…

I read the other day that currently marmalade is losing its popularity in Britain. Market analysts at #Kantar Worldpanel maintain that the nation is favouring other breakfast spreads such as honey, jam and peanut butter instead.  Ah well, sheep dot the adjacent hills of my home but I am not one of them, so…pass the marmalade please. Mmm, scrummy!

Guest Blog

Guest Blogger is my dear friend, Kelly who lives in Lancashire and was kind enough to share her recipe for: 
Leek and Potato Soup


Very straightforward way to get a fan-dabbi-dozi pot of leek and potato soup.

Place 4 pints of water and two veg stock cubes in a large pan

·    slice 5 med size potatoes into chunky pieces
·    slice 1 large leek into quarter inch chunks
·    dice 4 carrots into smallish pieces
·    cut one (or two if you prefer) med onions into quarters
Add all the prepared veg and a single teaspoon of salt if you wish at this stage
Bring to the boil and then immediately turn down to low simmer. Simmer for at least one and a half hours




Comment from Teresa
Thank you again Kelly, can’t wait to try this. It sounds simply delicious! 

One Minute Meditation on Thankfulness
Take a deep breath and close your eyes for a minute and flood your mind with thankfulness. Then say, “Dear Lord I am thankful for:”…and list your personal reasons.

For myself, I am so very happy that the snow has gone! The stark contrast of sunshine on green hills causes me to say:

Dear Lord,
I am thankful for the gift of this day
I am thankful that I can wear far fewer layers of clothing
I am thankful that, if I want to, I can just jump into my car and go wherever I please
I am thankful that, though I have laid the fire in the wood burner, I don’t need to light it until this evening
I am thankful that I took delivery of more logs yesterday -which was a huge relief! []

* Guest Blogger: If you have a few words of encouragement or a veggie recipe you would like to share please contact me on:

I welcome your comments on the above.

Coming next: Guest blog: +Pauline Lewis, ACW member, founder of +Ready Writers in Wales, author and teacher tells us about +Bible Explorer, a course for children aged 10 & 11 which she presents at four primary schools.

Vegan recipe: Leek, Potato & Cannellini Bean Stew. 

PS Don't forget to take a look at my other blog:

Also, for further inspiration check out my website: 

PPS Don't forget to check out my book: 9 Days to Heaven, How to make everlasting meaning of your life - which is a practical guide to joyful living!   You can see the book trailer by clicking on this link: