Nannie RaRa is the author of the childrens books 'No more adventures?' and 'Search for the Wibble', both tales of Grandad’s Magic Dust. She is also creator of Counting Creatures – an Android app that teaches children to count using pictures of real creatures. Nannie RaRa enjoys photography and cooking.
The third book in the tales of Grandad’s Magic Dust, Secrets of the Buckle, has been published by Nannie RaRa.
In the previous adventure the grandchildren found the Wibble, an imaginary creature made up by Harvey. The Wibble disappeared as they watched leaving behind the stinger.
While they were searching for the Wibble the grandchildren came across two halves of a buckle. They want to join the two halves together and enlist the help of Great Grandad who explains what they need to do.
They need the stinger from the Wibble to complete their task, but Harvey has lost it – the buzzard took it.
They find the stinger and mend the buckle; but the buckle now has properties they never expected, which leads them onto another adventure.
Secrets of the Buckle is available from Amazon, either as a paperback or an ebook.
It’s time to make a traditional fruit Christmas cake. I have made one with the recipe I have used for years. It is based on the recipe for Christmas cake from the 1972 edition of Good Housekeeping’s Easy-Stages Cook Book.
2 lb 2 oz (1 kg) mixed fruit made up of currants, sultanas, raisins, candied peel
6 oz glacé cherries cut into quarters
10 oz plain flour
1/2 level teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 oz butter – spreadable is easier for mixing
10 oz soft brown sugar
Prepare either an 8 inch or a 9 inch cake tin. The 8 inch will give you a taller cake. Grease the bottom and sides of the tin. Line the tin with greaseproof paper and re-grease. Make a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin and a couple of inches above the height of the tin. Tie in place.
Set the oven to 150 C. This can be cooked in an oven with or without a fan. With a fan reduce the temperature to 140 C.
Put the flour and spices in a bowl and mix together. Add the mixed fruit and cherries, and mix up so that the fruit is not lumped together and is covered in the spiced flour. Leave to one side.
In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mix.
Add the flour, spice and fruit, making sure they are well blended. The final mix should easily drop from the spoon when held above the bowl. If it is too stiff add a little milk.
Don’t forget to make a wish as you do the final mixing. Everyone who helped with the cake should make a wish.
Put the mix into the prepared cake tin, spreading it round evenly using a knife. Make a dip in the centre.
Put the cake into the bottom of the over for about 4 1/2 hours – mine took 4 hours this time. After two hours put a layer of either brown or greaseproof paper over the top to prevent the cake becoming over-browned. Check it is ready by inserting a fine skewer which should look quite clean as it is pulled out. If you are not sure leave it for an extra twenty minutes.
When cooked leave the cake to cool in the tin.
You can add brandy to the cake once it has cooled by pricking the cake all over and slowly pouring two or three tablespoons of brandy over the top. This can be done once the cake has cooled or after a couple of weeks. This can be repeated for a richer flavour.
To store the cake, wrap in greaseproof paper and then either place in an airtight tin or wrap in tinfoil.
The traditional almond paste and icing are added much nearer Christmas.
This year we had three generations making the cake – Nannie, Daughter and Grandson, so there were three Christmas wishes!
After the Arctic Adventures in Greenland our ship headed south to Iceland – a land of green whereas Greenland had been a land of ice.
We saw many whales on the way and as we approached Iceland
there were plenty of birds including the national bird of Iceland – the puffin.
We landed in the north west corner of Iceland at Stykkishólmur. We had a tour of this area of Iceland visiting a cave formed from a lava plume, an extinct volcanic crater and walked along the coast marvelling at the rock formations. All of this was overseen by the Snæfellsjökull glacier. The scenery of mountains, glaciers and lava beds was magnificent.
Here are a few photos to give you a taster of the wonderful day. I want to see more of Iceland.
There is a video on YouTube with more photos of this day in Iceland. You can watch it below:
I recently went on an Arctic Adventure cruising from Longyearbyen in Svalbard to East Greenland National Park and returning via Iceland. What an exciting trip – in the Arctic Circle with continuous daylight for ten days. The weather was perfect – sunny and still with temperatures about 10 – 12 C.
We saw polar bears, whales – fin, minke and humpback – seals, narwhal, musk oxen, little auks, fulmar, Arctic tern, puffins. We went ashore in several places and also out amongst the icebergs in zodiac boats.
Our ship was the hybrid, diesel and electric, eco-friendly Roald Amundsen run by Hurtigruten. The ship was so quiet you could hear the flapping of birds’ wings and their splashes as they ran over the water.
The scenery during the trip was breath-taking. East
Greenland National Park is visited by only a handful of people each year and
when on shore the only sounds were us. You could stand there and drink in the
We spent days on the expedition without seeing another ship or human being – just wonderful nature.
Below are a few photos I took on the trip.
You can see more by following the link to the Greenland 2019 video on YouTube or watching it below.
We then went to Iceland, but that is for another time.