Category: Time

Autumn is here!

Autumn leaf, photo by PH Morton

Autumn is here!

Yesterday was the last day of the summer. We have had a glorious one this year.

And today, it is the first day of autumn, which is heralded by a great pouring of cold rain, almost all day long.

As autumn progresses there will be a lot of falling leaves from various shades of orange, brown and red.

UK parks, gardens, roads, and open spaces will be garland with these beautiful leaves that would be gloriously aesthetic at first but would soon enough turn into a slippery sorry mess.

Autumn though has a charm of its own.  It is harvest time.  Time to bring in the harvest from the garden.




Friday Tidbits:

The great Charles Dickens was born on a Friday and consider Friday as his lucky day.

Many sailors of today’s modern world of navigation and satellite still refuse to start sail on Fridays.

There was this urban legend regarding sailing of Friday:

Sometime in the 19th century, the Royal Navy attempted to finally dispel the old superstition among sailors that beginning a voyage on a Friday was certain to bring bad luck. To demonstrate the falseness of this belief, they decided to commission a ship named HMS Friday. Her keel was laid on a Friday, she was launched on a Friday, and she set sail on her maiden voyage on Friday the 13th, under the command of a Captain James Friday. She was never seen or heard from again.

They said that there was never a ship called HMS Friday nor a Captain James Friday in the Royal Navy.  What if they did exist and the story did happen?  What if it was not an urban legend at all?!!! It would not be in the Royal Navy’s best interest to admit it, would it?!!!  I can smell a 19th-century conspiracy.  LMAO!!!

According to an article by Paul Clarke at eFinancialCareers, the best day to apply for a job is on a Friday when there is less competition, as many job seekers would have slunk off ready for the weekends.  Get your CV in first thing on a Friday.


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 longtime 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 dollhouse 😉 😉 ;).  I love dollhouses 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 furniture, 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.

%d bloggers like this: