Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ethereal Beauty >> Wordless Wednesday

Iceland volcaNO eruption, again! Thanks, God I'd been back

When I tuned in to BBC1 yesterday morning the first thing I heard was that another Iceland volcano eruption has suspended flights for fear of ash cloud. Throughout the whole day, the station gave updates on flight disruptions and related news. Me thought, Boy was I ever grateful! I had already been affected last year and even if I'm no longer in the work force now, I wouldn't have wanted to get stuck again.

On my birthday last year, I, together with my husband and my sister-in-law, flew to Sicily to see the Artichoke Festival in their city. That same day, Eyjafjallajokull, an Icelandic volcano, erupted and scattered ash clouds in Europe causing flight disruptions later that day. Luckily we had landed a few hours before news of inbound and outbound UK flight suspensions broke out.

I may not have been seriously affected when I got stuck last year as I was staying in my sister-in-law's house and there was no need for additional accommodation cost. But many were stuck in their hotels and at the airports all over the world and, definitely, I wouldn't want more people to go through the same hardships those people had.

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Monday, 23 May 2011

Another loophole in the UK state welfare

Upon arrival at London Stansted on Saturday, the supposedly "doom's day", my husband picked up a free daily that I didn't get to read until this morning. I had to unpack our luggage and do other house chores after coming back from a 9-day holiday in Sicily, Italy.

Anyway, what caught my most interest was about the Romanian gypsies who register themselves as self-employed by selling Big Issue magazines and are therefore given National Insurance numbers which, then, entitle them to claim benefits and build mansions back in their home country. The article, entitled, "Benefits Boulevard: Gypsies' gaudy mansions built in Romania... with YOUR money", by Sue Reid, tells how these people perform their modus operandi in a rather subtle kind of deception. There seems to have nothing illegal with what they are doing but this is absolutely a kick in the teeth.

I have worked in a winery, a playground, a hospital ward, and an office earning a meagre pittance. All on a temporary basis which means if I was on a sick leave I wouldn't get paid. And this story of fraudulent people abusing the benefit system is highly intolerable for me.

Is the UK government incompetent and inefficient in dealing with this issue? This is not the first time someone has abused the system. But they never seem to learn.

Image from
Article from

Sunday, 22 May 2011

After holidaying, what's awaiting?

Tasty Greetings from Sicily

I just got back to the UK after a 9-day holiday in sunny Sicily. While there, I didn't have ample time to go online and so my blogs had to be un-updated all this time. But nevertheless, I enjoyed every bit of the sun and the fantastic Sicilian foods like arancini, cavagna, home-made pickled artichokes and olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and many more.

Back in Sicily, I almost didn't want to come back to the UK--at least to enjoy a bit more of the warm sun kisses on my skin--but somehow it's nice to be back home. :)

Well, good times are over! Back to reality. I've got four luggage to unpack, four rooms to clear, re-organize and clean, laundry to fold and on top of that I've got at least two blogs to update, hundreds of emails to read and thousand more junk mails to delete. But I can't be bothered. I am too exhausted. I'm going to bed and do them all tomorrow.

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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Can you live without money?

Seriously? Here in the UK? You gotta be kidding me!

But here's a man, Mark Boyle, who's been living freeconomic lifestyle for a couple of years now. There's a yahoo group which used to be called freecycle but is now changed to freegle where people give away their unwanted stuff and it's where he got a caravan for a house for  and he parks it in a farm for free in exchange of his labour. I for one have gotten loads of free stuff from the site, from TV to bed, tables and chairs, plants, and even a piano if I wanted to but I don't have a space in my house. Furthermore, He gets around on his bike and he plants his or barter for food. He goes on a holiday and sleep in other people's couches for free accommodation. The internet is a fantastic place to find free stuff.

Seriously, living a life like that is a remarkable feat, I must say, especially if you live in the UK. This is home for Mark Boyle and so there is no need to pay for visa for example. But I believe that what he is trying to prove is that money is not a necessity for existence. I have heard time and again people say that "the best things in life are free". I concur to this. People work for money chasing their dreams or even a mere want. But in real essence they only provide transient satisfaction. When you can't sleep at night, your gadgets can't help--that sort of thing. I could ramble on and on but I think it's better to let your sound judgement on the matter come to play.

Here's book on amazon where you can read the whole story.


Monday, 9 May 2011

Aubergine with Chilli and Garlic

Ever since I came to the UK and married an Italian stallion, I have been learning to make pasta dishes. 
Today's recipe is Aubergine with Chilli and Garlic from the book Pasta, Every Way for Every Day by Eric Treuille and Anna Del Conte. It's a great book with easy to make recipes like this one. It tastes fantastic and my husband loved it. He's Sicilian so if he liked what I made I'm very flattered. You can buy this book from Amazon and even if it's a used book, it doesn't matter. The content hasn't changed a bit. :D

Oh by the way, this is my entry for MellowYellowBadge. If you want to participate, check out Drowsey Monkey.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Norwich Canaries back to Premier League

It's been quite a festive season for the Canaries for two years in a row. On the 2nd of May this year they made a comeback to the Premier League after winning 1-0 against Portsmouth. After being relegated from Championship League in 2009 which they dubbed as shameful, they actually sprang up even higher and came up as champions for League 1. Back to Championship League for 2010-2011, their recent winning against Portsmouth is another cause for an even bigger celebration than last year.

I still recall vividly how Castle Meadow and St. Stephen St were packed when they paraded last year as the champions for League 1. Back then, a colleague told me that he wasn't at all excited about it because they were actually losers the year before. So it wasn't even necessary to celebrate. But looking back now, I think it was all worth it.

Anyway, what does being in the Premier League entail? So much more excitement and economic boost for Norwich City not to mention the team will get at least "£90m even if they last only one season in the elite league"*. Hurray for the Canaries! Way to go!

*David Cuffley, 2011. Canaries have to back my Premier plans -- Lambert. Norwich Evening News, 7 May p.47a.