Archive for December, 2013

Merry Christmas to All!

I don’t normally like e-cards but this one is just so perfect …..



English Humour - Fatty in a Strop.


Merry Christmas!

There’s Dumplings ….. and There’s Chinese Dumplings …. .

Don’t you just love dumplings?  Made with self-raising flour, suet and water, they taste so good but, if you’re like me and get weighed every day, there’s a limit to how often you can enjoy these little treasures.

Well, if you are like me, Chinese dumplings could be an amazing find.

I saw it on Saturday morning television.  These dumplings are simply plain flour and water.  You need to measure your flour as capacity (fluid measure) so as to get exactly half that amount in water (I measured what read as 300 ml. of flour and 150 ml. of water) and then simply mix them together to form a pastry-like substance.

The idea s to cut off strips of pastry to shape into little balls (a little smaller than golf balls) in the palm of your hand.  Now flatten the ball and roll it out very thinly, until (their recommendation) it is so thin that you can almost read a newspaper through it.  I was a little nervous, so rolled out my pastry until it was the same thickness as for making pies or pasties.

You place some kind of mixture into the middle of these rounds and then bring the edges together to seal up like a pasty.  My mixture (I was only experimenting!) consisted of the meat from one cooked pork chop, which I cut into small pieces, finely-cut onion and garlic, a little finely-cut lemon rind, twenty or so halved sultanas, a teaspoon of curry paste (to persuade my husband that trying something different could be a good experience ….) and a teaspoon of soy sauce, just to add a little liquid. This made eight Chinese dumplings but, had I rolled the pastry out thinly, the same mixture might have made as many as twenty smaller and thinner versions.

These little treasures are then dropped into a saucepan of boiling water and boiled for about fifteen to twenty minutes.  Alternatively, I could have placed them in a frying pan of boiling water which reached only halfway up the dumplings, so placing the lid on the pan created a steaming effect as well.

And they’re ready to eat.                                       Chinese Dumplings

I didn’t serve them with anything flash, as it was purely an experiment but I have to say that, the day after, I am still excited by the flavour.  And with no fat added!  I think I might make a stir-fry to go with them, the next time they’re on the menu.

As the traditional dumpling mixture can also be baked in the oven, I don’t know how these fat-less dumplings will fair there but I am most certainly going to find out.

Over to you …..

Nelson Mandela and the ‘Fake’ Interpreter … .

So, was the interpreter fake?

I doubt it.

Maybe he wasn’t sufficiently qualified but fake, no.

And I’ll tell you why I think this.

I saw the clip on TV, where the black gentleman was signing and, yes, I did think, he doesn’t seem to be translating much of what is being said, but still.

I studied and practised British sign language (BSL) for twenty years.  I reached stage III and now let me clarify this:-

Stage I – five year old talk, when compared to a spoken language.

Stage II – like an ‘O’ level or a GCSE.

Stage III – like an ‘A’ level (so, now you’re talking, if you’ll excuse the pun).

Stages IV + + get you up to a qualified interpreter etc..

Sign language became an education option in the late eighties (I was there in 1986) and, at that stage, people with stage I (me included) thought they were ready to take off.  Two or three years later, stage II arrived (I was there) and then students realised how basic stage I was.  Stage III arrived many years later (around 1998 and, yes, I was there), success making the candidate feel really good about themselves (include me in on that).

With stage II, one is able to communicate in colleges of education, giving deaf people that fair access to education courses.  However, in the deaf community, people started to get a little, shall I say ‘uppity’, wanting stage III for absolutely everything, when stage II really was a good level to carry out that work.  I’m not talking court cases but I am talking everyday needs. Complaints about a signer not being good enough became an issue (been there), even when the signer (adequate stage II) was doing a good job.

So, the gentleman on TV for the Nelson Mandela translation.  Okay, maybe he should have realised that such an international viewing should have had someone with a higher level of signing communication.  As sign language is not only national but also has regional differences, who am I to say he was a fake?  What I will say is he looked professional, his style was definitely signing and not miming and, yes, I could see the possibility of ‘foreign to me’ signs in there.

Poor lad.  Don’t give up.  Keep going, get more practice but remember to stay more within the everyday area of affairs than in international situations.  As a stage III signer, I doubt I would have accepted that same work, as criticism was bound to happen.

If I’m wrong about the gentleman, my account of signing in the deaf world is still as I have described.  As I said, I’ve been there, done it ….. .

Sign language is a beautiful and very full language but not all deaf people have an ‘A’ level (i.e. BSL stage III).  The same as for speakers of English: the everyday person speaks the language without holding a certificate.  I sometimes read books which, even with a very good standard of English, I need a dictionary beside me to work out some of the words, some where much simpler words would have said the same thing …. .

Hmm ….. I’ve said enough, I think … .

And the Almost Immediate Reply to my E-Mail Was …..

Regarding my last posting about losing my rag, the reply I received was:-

‘Please note that in order to make changes on a policy, we require you to have been habitually resident in the UK for greater than 12 months’.

Oh, dear.  With less than twelve months to go on the policy in question, what does that mean?  Is it a lose-lose situation?

Still … .