A busy week!
This week John was supposed to be writing the blog, but he's been a bit snowed under and so it's my turn again. Actually, I'm quite pleased as this week is a busy week in London (and around the UK), so there's quite a lot to tell you about. In fact, this is going to stretch to two blogs! (oh, and Ana Paula - Paul has promised to write a blog too and show you some photos of the cruise he went on!)
OK, let's start at the end of October. As you know, 31st October is Halloween. In recent years, the American tradition of "trick or treat" has caught on in the UK. Children dress up and go door-to-door collecting sweets from their neighbours. Although most of them will dress up as witches, wizards, monsters and other scary things, there's always someone who would rather be a fairy! Of course, young children are not allowed to go around the streets by themselves, so their parents go with them. Some parents go even dress up too....here's my friend Claire:
Another Halloween tradition, again from America, is carving pumpkins in to faces. A candle is put inside and the effect is really spooky!
Of course, the problem then is, what do you do with all the flesh you've scooped out? Well here's a really simple recipe for pumpkin soup:
For 4 people:
400g of pumpkin flesh, cut in to chunks
1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 a large onion, peeled and chopped
3/4 of a litre of hot vegetable stock
Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for 10 minutes. It should be soft, but not brown.
Add the pumpkin and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.
Put the soup in to a food processor, and blend until smooth.
Put the soup in to a clean pan, heat gently and add salt and pepper as needed. Add more stock or water if the soup is too thick. Enjoy!
Does anyone else have recipes for pumpkins?
Unlike Olfa, we don't do anything special in England to mark 1st November. Our next event in this busy week is Bonfire Night on 5th November. In November 1605, some Roman Catholics plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I, by putting barrels of gunpowder in the cellars.
Guy Fawkes was the man in charge of guarding the gunpowder and lighting the fuse. On the 5th November, some soldiers discovered Fawkes hiding under the Houses of Parliament and he was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. It's now a tradition that before the official opening of Parliament each year, the cellars are searched! To mark the fact that he had survived, the King ordered everyone to celebrate with bonfires: and the tradition has continued. There is a children's rhyme about the event:
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
If you want to know more about this story, look here
When I was a child, it was common to see children standing on the streets with a "guy" in an old pram. The "guy" was made of old clothes, stuffed with newspapers to make it look like a body and it had a mask of Guy Fawkes instead of a head. Children would ask people for a "penny for the guy". The money they collected was then spent on fireworks (or sweets!) and the guy was burned on the bonfire on 5th November. Nowadays, children aren't allowed to buy fireworks and most people go to big, organised firework displays rather than having a bonfire in their back garden. One of the big London displays is at Crystal Palace (if you've been following this blog, you'll have heard of Crystal Palace before!) and that is where I went on 5th November. I went with some of the Rangers, as one of them was celebrating her 18th birthday. We had to dress up warmly - November in England can be very cold
There were hundreds and hundreds of people there, enjoying the food stalls (chips, burgers, chips, fish, chips, doughnuts...oh, and chips) and the funfair rides.
There were also lots of stalls where you could win prizes (usually soft toys) by throwing balls in to a bucket or darts at a board or just by picking a ticket with a lucky number
And, of course, the evening finished with a huge firework display which lasted for 20 minutes
Of course, fireworks never look as good in photos and I can't begin to tell you how noisy it was. When the rockets exploded, the ground under your feet shook! A good way to celebrate your 18th birthday, don't you think? In the UK, your two "special" birthdays are your 18th and 21st. Is it the same in your country? And how do you celebrate?
That's about it for this blog, but there are two more big events coming up over the weekend: the Lord Mayor's Show in London and Remembrance Sunday: I'll write about these in my next blog.
Until then, take care
snowed under: to be really busy
to catch on: to become popular
Houses of Parliament : the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the House of Commons and House of Lords
treason:: the crime of betraying your country
soft toys: teddy bears and animals made of fabric and stuffed with soft material
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