Holiday………. Race The Train Fever….. Sun ….. No I’m in Scotland

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Hi,

I’m on a bit of a holiday so just a little note to let my followers know that I won’t be posting as much for a while, though I might be tempted to join in the writing #BlogBattle and I will be replying to comments so do feel free to chat. The good news is my mum is doing wonderfully well after her operation, she’s some lady, in her seventies and as feisty as ever! We’re getting our orders, tee hee, she’s a laugh. I think she even had the nurses at her beck and call, sounds like they treated her like royalty!

My journey started off terribly badly I did a crazy thing I turned up at the wrong station! In my defence I’ve never done this before, this was a first. I went to Waterbeach (our nearest station) instead of Cambridge. A few days prior to travel I had picked up my tickets from the ticket machine at Waterbeach, and somehow had it in my head that I was travelling from Waterbeach. So my husband had to try to beat the train! A racing challenge, just up his street! He drove me to the next station on the route, it was a hair-raising drive. I really thought there was no way he could do it but amazingly he did and with a few minutes to spare! Luckily the train was running two minutes late and we’d left the house in good time. Phew!!!!

The train journey was lively to say the least we had the cast of one of the shows on our carriage and they were a boisterous lot, you could tell they were actors, they liked to be noticed. I’ve never heard a bunch of people laugh so much. At one point we arrived at a place called Northallerton in North Yorkshire and they queried whether this fairy tale sounding town existed, I reckon they thought it was some sort of Narnialand.

On arrival I decided to walk through Princess Street gardens to get a feeling for Festival Fever, boy it was busy, luckily I just have one small piece of luggage with me.  I arrived at my bus stop, and guess what, wonder of wonders my mother in law was standing there apparently waiting for a bus! What are the odds of that? Amazing. Anyway we had a brief chat and then she had to dash off to find her bus, she was at the wrong stop, apparently all the buses are a bit confusing at the moment with the Festival being on.

So I’m up in Edinburgh, sans enfants and sans husband, I intend on catching up with old friends, maybe visiting the cat café in Stockbridge, going to the Book Festival, and the dance and drama events at the International Festival, and the Art galleries if I get a chance. I shall be going out with my dad for Chinese lunch, visiting my mother-in-law, catching up with my brother and generally eating too much. Yum….

I’ll be helping out with mum, cooking, and generally doing my Florence Nightingale bit. You can see why blogging has to take a back seat. Hope my mum will be able to join us out and about towards the end of next week. Unfortunately it is dreadfully busy in Edinburgh at the moment, with all the excitement of the Festivals, the town is packed so it is not very easy to manoeuvre around if you’ve just had an operation. So we will have a duty to try to keep her in, to ensure she rests, no easy task for a lady who is always so full of energy. Let the battle commence…..

I’ve packed  a couple of books to catch up on, a bit of holiday reading. My current read is  The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, which is a rich descriptive read inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, I’m really enjoying this. As well as this I intend to read The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan. “A dramatic tale of love, loss and betrayal in Provincial China, told with directness and deep feeling.” Mail on Sunday.

If I finish these two there are a wealth of detective novels in my mum and dad’s house so I don’t think I will be short of reading material, and of course I’m sure I’ll pick up some new novels at the Book Festival. How exciting!!! I love Edinburgh, me home from home, only slight gripe it’s so cold here, I don’t think I’ll be needing that sun hat and shades, a woolly hat would be more useful.

Anyway Happy Holidays, hope if you are going anywhere nice you have a wonderful time.

Bye for now.

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

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My Friday Post: The Kitchen God and His Forgiving Wife

 

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 I’ve been doing some background research for my second children’s novel which is set at the time of Chinese New Year, so I’m dedicating this post to The Kitchen God, also known as the Stove GodZao Jun, Zao Shen, or Zhang Lang.

The Kitchen God watches over families and records their behaviour, good or otherwise, so beware!

Each year during Chinese New Year the Kitchen God reports back to the Jade Emperor of Heaven, Yu Huang, about how well the family members have conducted themselves throughout the year.   A paper picture of the Kitchen God is hung in a prominent location in the kitchen. The family have a thank you dinner in which a bowl of sticky rice is placed in front of the Kitchen God. It is believed that if the Kitchen God’s mouth is full of sticky glutinous rice, he will not be able to speak out about the family’s wrongdoings. Others give glutinous rice balls served in sugar soup and brown sugar bars as a bribe for the Kitchen God to say favorable things about the family.

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Sweet Glutinous Rice Cake

 

After the thank you dinner, the picture of the Kitchen God is burned and thereby sent back to heaven. A new picture of the Kitchen God is hung in the kitchen after the start of the Chinese New Year festivities.

The story of the Kitchen God is an interesting one, to begin with he’s just an ordinary mortal, Zhang Lang, a wayward fellow who has an affair with a younger more attractive woman. The heavens aren’t impressed by his behaviour so as a punishment he’s struck blind, and his young lover leaves him. In a nutshell his forgiving wife takes him back, as he seems guilty for his wrong-doings, and he is so remorseful for his adultery, that he throws himself onto the fire.  All very dramatic! Well, that’s one of the stories anyway, there are several spins on it, but this one sounds the one I’d be inclined towards accepting.

The picture below is a statue of  the Kitchen God and his wife in a temple in Chenghu, China.

 

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Statues of the Kitchen God in a temple, Chenghu.

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Asia/China/Sichuan_Sheng/Chengdu-1023458/Things_To_Do-Chengdu-Wenshu_Temple-BR-1.html

 

He’s represented here in a clock. The hands of time, ticking away from one Chinese New Year to another, so watch out, be good! Don’t be greedy!

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Here he is with some of the Chinese New Year signs. I’m a bit confused by the duck. I didn’t think a duck is one of the Chinese signs, (maybe he just waddled in,) though the rooster, pig and dog are. Anybody can clarify the duck’s role for me? Is he just visiting?

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He’s looking very splendid here watching over some food.

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I think the Kitchen God has found out that someone’s been badly behaved! Look at those eyes! No getting past them!

 

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Before I disappear into the kitchen to do my impersonation of a domestic goddess let me share with you a book that I discovered today while typing up this blog post.

Guess what, the book has The Kitchen God in the title, and he’s joined by his significant other!

The Kitchen God’s Wife, by Amy Tan.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Winnie and Helen have kept each other’s worst secrets for more than fifty years. Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose everything. And Winnie angrily determines that she must be the one to tell her daughter, Pearl, about the past—including the terible truth even Helen does not know. And so begins Winnie’s story of her life on a small island outside Shanghai in the 1920s, and other places in China during World War II, and traces the happy and desperate events tha led to Winnie’s coming to America in 1949.  

 

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Happy Friday. Be good! Eat lots of yummy food! Enjoy your weekend.

Oh, if you’ve read The Kitchen God’s Wife, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

 

 

Links:

http://fengshui.about.com/od/use-of-feng-shui-cures/qt/Kitchen-God-Feng-Shui.htm

https://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-food-of-chinese-new-year/

https://marshmallow92.wordpress.com/special-food-serving/chinese-new-year/

 

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