Category: Time

Nowruz Mubarak

Nowruz Mubarak

Pomegranate, Photo by JMorton

Peter and I were out and about today;  we took an uber to go for Peter’s physio at the Royal Free Hospital.

Our Uber driver was really chatty.  After talking about the weather, we told him that it would be the first day of spring tomorrow, 20 March.

He mentioned that it would be an important day for him tomorrow.  In fact he will be taking a few days off beginning tomorrow.

He said it is Persian New Year.

He further elaborated that the first day of the New Year is spent visiting friends and relatives who are older than the visitors.  Parents, older brother, older sister, uncles, aunties, etc.

On the second day, it would be the turn of the younger ones, especially the children, who gets presents, usually money.  So it would be normal to see Iranians handing out fiver or tenner to children during the next few days.

I asked him how to wish someone a Persian New Year.  He said carefully, Nowruz Mubarak.  I repeated it and he was very impressed.  🙂

So wishing you all a Nowruz Mubarak.

He said that a lot of pomegranates will be on offer as well as recipes with saffron.  There will be a lot of sweet things like cakes and biscuits.

He mentioned a funny thing, he said that they even have a version of Santa Clause during the New Year celebration. Interesting!

The family get-together will happen during the weekend for grand eating out or dining in.

He said that in Iran that new year festivities usually last for a good couple of weeks.

Happy Persian New Year to you all!


Nostalgic Trip to Sergio Osmena High School

Nostalgic Trip to Sergio Osmena High School

After buying a new bed at Maypajo early this afternoon, Marilou and I decided to go back for some memory lane trip at the nearby Gagalangin.

Alma, our sister-in-law, asked us several times if we knew where we were going.  Marilou and I confidently replied, “Of course, we know after all for 4 years we went to Osmena!” Smirk, smirk!!! 🙂

Now, we got out and lo and behold!, everything is different, there is now a McDonald where some lovely stationery shops were once located.  Still we walked confidently following a straight path to Osmena.

It was so hot today. Thank goodness for the umbrella Alma insisted we take, at least we had some sort of cover from the punishing sun.

We had been walking more than five minutes when our confidence started to ebb.  We can’t find Osmena High School.

Good thinking Marilou, decided to ask a kind-hearted lady, who said that Osmena HS is located near the market in Bulacan.  We asked her where the old one was?

She pointed to something near a bridge.  My mind must be going as I don’t remember a bridge near our old school.  Anyway we went to a building near the bridge but it did not look or feel like the old Osmena.  We asked someone again and was told that the old building was over there, pointing to some ambulance trucks.

Luckily we met a young man near the ambulance trucks and he pointed to an ongoing huge construction behind him.  He said that was the old Osmena, pointing directly to the signage next to it.  It sure said that the project is for Osmena High School.  He did say that was not true.  This building work is for Torres High School.

If this is the case, then it is coming in full circle.

I was told that Osmena High School was originally created to take in the overflow of students from Torres High School.

Marilou and I were a couple of intrepid alumni, no doubt about that.  We decided to investigate further and look into the new Osmena High School.

We were decidedly surprised to see a well maintained gated building.  Lovely potted plants were hanging in corridors.  There was even an outside auditorium.  A bust of Sergio Osmena prominently displayed in front of the Osmena building.

Though we also noted that the girls’ toilet needed renovation, it was still a far cry from the days when we were young students of Osmena.  We made do with a building with broken windows.  We do not have a gated building with a yard so we did our flag ceremony outside where anyone can see, overlooked by anyone who lived nearby.  We marched round and round the street for our Citizen Army Training (CAT).

We were the poor relation of Torres High then, that can’t be said now.  And yet looking at the rankings of high schools in the Philippines, Torres High School ranks at #88 while Osmena is not in the list of the 220 tops.  🙂  What has happened?!!!

Month: July Heat


Month: July Heat

July is the 7th month of the year.  It has 31 days.

July was named after Julius Caesar.

July’s birthstone is Ruby.

The flower associated to July is the larkspur or Water Lily.

Notable Events in July:

1 July 2009, Britain has become a No Smoking in Public Day.

2 July 1964, Lyndon B Johnson signed the Civil Rights bill creating equal rights in voting, education, public accommodations, union membership and in federally assisted programmes – regardless of race, colour, religion or national origin.

3 July 1954, food rationing in Britain had finally ended after 9 long years.

5 July 1948, The great National Health Service (NHS) was initiated in Britain. Long may it continue!!!!

6 July 1952, The last tram in London finally ceased service!

7 July 2005, Terrorists attacked London transport system during rush hour.  3 suicide bombers  detonated bombs in 3 busy locations, killing 56 people and injuring at least 700.

11 July 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was published.  This novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature a year later.  By the way, it is my most favourite book of all time.

13 July 1985, Live Aid pop concert raised over £50 Million.  I remember this!

17 July 1955, Disneyland opened in America.

19 July 1545, the Mary Rose sank in The Solent, near Portsmouth.

20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon.

21 July 1884, England beat Australia in the first ever test match (cricket).

28 July 1858, fingerprinting was first used as a means of identification.

Cotton Candy Memories

Candy Floss at Hampstead Heath fare, photo by PH Morton

Candy Floss at Hampstead Heath fair, photo by PH Morton

Did you know?

Spun sugar used to be made through a labour-intensive process and therefore, the end product was very expensive and only a few can have it.

It  was in 1897  that a supposed guardian angel of teeth, a dentist, by the name of William Morrison, together with John C Warthon, a confectioner, invented a spun sugar machine to make candy floss readily available to the masses.  Their invention known then as a fairy floss was introduced at the 1907 World Fair, making it an instant best-seller.

In 1921, another dentist invented a similar machine, which he patented as a cotton candy machine.  The name stuck whilst fairy floss gradually morphed to cotton candy.

It is rather ironic that dentists would invent a machine, which produces almost 100 per cent sugar as treat for the young and the young at heart. 🙂

Cotton Candy Memories

When we were young, we always go to church on Sundays.  Sometimes we vary the church where we go to attend mass but there were always the same merchandise and treats that await churchgoers after the mass.

Right outside the church were cotton candy vendors, I love the cotton candy, it was so soft; it melts in the mouth in pure sandy sweetness.  I love its pinkish white turning into darker hue of pink as your teeth bite into a cloud of floss.  I thought then that it made going to church and sitting on an over long mass worthwhile. 🙂

Aside from cotton candy, there were also popcorn.  There was a choice of salty or sweetened and again in pink coloured popcorn.  My sister Marilou would get a sweet one and my brother William would get the salty kind.

Outside the church were also sellers of birds in cages.  I remember begging my parents to get me a bird but they never did.  They said it was cruel to keep the maya bird inside the house.

My youngest brother got to have a helium balloon.  And as the tradition in a Filipino family, it was a share and share alike so we had to share with him our cotton candy and popcorns whilst he won’t allow anyone to touch his balloon but himself alone! He can do whatever he liked as he was bunso (youngest) There was no justice! LOL

A Trip to Museum of Childhood

It was my birthday last 31st of January.  Peter wanted to take me out for the day and I asked him if we could see some dolls.  I know! I was feeling rather nostalgic for my fast disappearing childhood.

Peter researched about a doll museum and he came up with the Victoria & Albert museum of Childhood, in Bethnal Green, East London.

It was a very good choice too.  We were able to indulge in pure nostalgia; a pleasant trip to memory lane.

We saw toys, games and other forms of childhood wonderment at the museum.

Peter can’t believe that he can get up close and personal with Robby the Robot.  His long time hero/friend from one of his all time favourite sci-fi classic movies, Forbidden Planet.  I had to practically prise him away from Robby.  Suddenly I saw a glimpse of Peter the child! 😉  He was obviously remembering some childhood fantasy; Peter even muttered “why are children allowed in the museum!!!”, when a little girl tried to get to know Robby the Robot as well. LOL

The museum also houses a vast, large, gigantic, huge collection of doll house 😉 😉 ;).  I love doll houses but the museum had a wing that is solely for doll houses.  There were really old ones and there were very modern ones.  There were even doll houses in apartment/flat styles.  It made me think that these miniature dolls have better clothes, better furnitures, better food and yes, better houses, ergo better life than real people. 🙁

There are also toys from around the world.

I saw a couple of toys which are now popular worldwide but originated from my home country, the Philippines.  The toys of course are the yoyo and the mancala, which we call sunka in Ilocano.

There were some exquisite dolls from China, Japan and Persia.

Of course a British toy museum would not be complete without everybody’s  seaside entertainment puppetry icon, Punch and Judy.

A Trip to Museum of Childhood

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fish Ball, Bola Bola

bola bola


Fish Ball, Bola Bola

Fish ball or bola-bola is a coming of age staple in the life of every high school student in Tondo, Manila.

A fish ball dipped in spiced garlic vinegar or a sticky sweet and sour sauce is so heavenly that memories were made from it.

To tell the truth, I don’t remember much what I did in high school but I certainly remember the fish ball, how it tasted, how it was so succulent, how one was never enough but had to make do with just the one as budget was constraint by highschooler’s allowance.

Eating a fishball was an absolute feast.  You do not eat it hurriedly, instead one has to taste the sour vinegar as you daintily chew on the small fishball on a skewer.  With closed eyes, you just let yourself go and feel and savour the many flavours that burst a challenge to your taste buds.

It has been so many years, so long ago, and yet I can almost taste fishball now; if I close my eyes I can vividly remember all those recesses and vacant periods  lazing around in front of our school where a stall near a stair opposite the old Osmena High School.  This stall sold the most delicious fish balls I have ever tasted.

I am still trying to find a recipe for fishball bola-bola.  I will post it here as soon as I find one.  Better yet, if anyone knows of the recipe, please add to the comment box below!

I found this recipe in one of my Filipino recipe books.

Fish Ball Recipe:


2 cups flaked fish
4 tbsp flour
2 tbsp milk (to start with)
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp parsley, chopped finely


Combine the flaked fish and flour.

Gradually add the milk. Just add enough for the fish and flour to turn into a soft dough.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chopped parsley.

Give the dough a good stir to incorporate the seasoning and the parsley.

Leave in the fridge for at least an hour for the mixture to harden that it could be made into small balls.

Drop the fish balls into a pan of boiling water. Cook for at least 5 minutes.

Drain and then quickly fry in some vegetable oil until brown all over.

Serve with spiced vinegar or sweet and sour sauce.

Autumn Leaves

As autumn grips us further into its depths, the leaves on trees are changing colours into vibrant pink, red, orange, purple, yellow and brown.

And then they start to fall.

Probably that is why autumn is also called the fall because leaves fall down into the ground. Doh!

There were plenty of fallen leaves that had been blown into our front garden that came from the avenue of trees in our street.

I was going to try to sweep them up today but the weather turned really nasty. It was so blowy and windy; it was not very pleasant to go out so I thought I should postpone my rather industrious idea of leaves clearing for another day,  to a more subdued day – weatherwise.

When we went to take our little Diesel for a walk, Peter and I noticed immediately that the front garden was amazingly clear of the leaves and any other debris.

It was the wind. It blew the leaves away from our garden, yey. And I was  moaning and griping too about the strong wind! huh!

Thank you wind!!!

Speaking of leaves, I remember that we used to play a game when I was still quite young in the Philippines. It was some sort of leaves snap, a matching game.

We would all go gather as many different leaves that we can get in secret and then we would sit around in circle and then try to match each other’s stock of leaves. The one that has the most unmatched leaves wins!

I know!!! It is so exciting!!! 😉 😉 😉 Beats any computer game! LOL

You should see the neighbour’s garden, it was like a swarm of ravenous caterpillars had a proper good feast!

Man-made or rather children-made fall/autumn does happen in the Philippines! LOL

We love the leaves of the gumamela (hibiscus) because you can pulp it and add a bit of water to it and you can have an organic blow bubbles syrup, no need to nick the washing liquid from the kitchen, but then again we do not have washing liquids then, at that time a long, long time ago in the Philippines,  we had bars of soap like Perla, Mr Clean, and Ajax for household cleaning while we used bars of Palmolive, Camay and Safeguard for bathing!  Having said that, it became a common knowledge that the laundry soap, Perla, was the best treatment for acne!  I did try Perla once or twice but thank goodness, I was really never prone to acne!  I can’t tell whether Perla worked but then again, probably it did because I did not get many blemishes! Hmmm

Sorry for this meandering nostalgia, I was supposed to talk about leaves, anyway I tried to youtube search a song about leaves and I was pleasantly surprise with this song by  the brilliant Eric Clapton.  He sings to us a very autumnly song called surprise, surprise ‘Autumn Leaves’

Have a lovely autumn everyone,wherever you may be!

Autumn Leaves

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hymns Sung At The End of School Term

 Hymns Sung At The End of School Term

Hymn Book

                                            Hymn Book

When I was a Secondary (High) School student in the late 1960s and early 70s, my school was a CoE (Church of England).  Hymns sung at the end of school term during  assembly held each morning before classes, where students and teachers would sing a selection of hymns especially the below as a favourite regular.
We sung it quite a few times during my school period, the tune and some of the words became fixed in my memory. Indeed I seem to recall the hymn number in the then version of the hymn book, it was number 736, (near the end of the hymn book).  Today when Jean was researching to blog about best-loved hymns in the UK, we searched and found the hymn now numbered 333 in a hymn book and I guess still sung at terms end.
Reading the words and hearing the hymn .
It brings back memories of school…
Lord, dismiss us with Thy blessing,
Thanks for mercies past receive;
Pardon all, their faults confessing;
Time that’s lost may all retrieve;
May Thy children, may thy children
Ne’er again Thy Spirit grieve.
Bless Thou all our days of leisure;
Help us selfish lures to flee;
Sanctify our every pleasure;
Pure and blameless may it be;
May our gladness,may our gladness
Draw us evermore to thee.
By Thy kindly influence cherish
All the good we here have gained;
May all taint of evil perish
By Thy mightier power restrained;
Seek we ever, seek we ever
Knowledge pure and love unfeigned.
Let Thy father-hand be shielding
All who here shall meet no more;
May their seed-time past be yielding
Year by year a richer store;
Those returning, those returning
Make more faithful than before.

Ode To Autumn – John Keats

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
– Albert Camus

Today is the official first day of autumn or what the Americans from across the pond would call fall.

The verdant and vibrant leaves will soon to turn into various shades from green into  red, pinkish, yellow, golden, brown, etc and then they start to fall and create a sea of beautiful red and golden carpet.

Autumn Leaves by PH Morton

John Keats

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Month: June Many Facets

June Junio Juin Giugno Juni Hunyo

Month: June Many Facets

Did you know?

There is a folklore in Iceland concerning how to delay the ageing process.  Apparently it is believed that one must bathe  in the morning due on the 24th of June.  This presumably have to be done in the nude, very early in the morning. 🙁  brrr cold.

Notable Events on the month of June:

1 June 1946 – Television licence was first issued in Britain for the princely sum £2.00 per annum.
Currently, a colour TV Licence costs £145.50 and a black and white TV Licence costs £49.00.

2 June 1989 – About 100,000 joined the demonstration at Tiananmen Square in China.

6 June 1936 – Gatwick Airport opened for business.

12 June 1667 – first blood transfusion was performed.

12 June 1942 – Anne Frank began her diary.

15 June 1215 – the Magna Carta was signed by King John

18 June 1935, the iconic motor vehicle for the seriously rich, registered their Roll-Royce trademark on this day.

22 June 1847, good to know that our beloved doughnut was first created on this day. 😉

22 June 1907, Northern Line (underground) opened.

27 June 1871, Yen was established as Japan’s currency

%d bloggers like this: