Monthly Archives: January 2012

Three and a half giraffes later

We are grateful for the massive interest in Lily’s Giraffe Bread letter as a result of the new viral impact this week and Sainsbury’s launch of Giraffe Bread earlier today.

We are not making personal profit from this story, but if it has touched you and you are considering buying some real Giraffe Bread (real Giraffes not included), please also consider making a small donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee, so that more children can eat. So many children, particularly in East Africa, are right now facing another day with no food. Let’s make this a real good news story. You could do it right now through Paypal and quote the DEC email address to donate:


Update 1st Feb I have discovered today that DEC’s East Africa Appeal has just closed, so you can no longer text the word DEC to 70000 to donate £5. But you can still donate towards their appeal for future emergencies, or you could give to the work in East Africa by donating to one of their member charities feeding people there right now, such as Tear Fund.

Thank  you for taking an interest, and thank you for making a difference.


Having a Giraffe

This has all got very silly. I still find it funny that people are forwarding and promoting this story in all kinds of ways. It divides people into several responses.

1) There is no way a child that age could do that.

2) How cute/sweet/adorable.

3) Chris King is a hero who should be knighted/promoted/extolled beyond even twitter and facebook. He seems a top bloke.

4) What a great PR strategy this appears to have been (we wish our company had thought of it).

5) What is a £?

6) How mean that Sainsbury’s should only send a £3 voucher.

7) How kind of Sainsbury’s to send a £3 voucher.

8) What is £3 in dollars/euros/baht?

9) What is Sainsbury’s?

10) Where can I get a Sainsbury’s? Next time I am in the United Kingdom I want to buy one.

11) What is tiger bread?

12) If there are no giraffes in it, we cannot call it giraffe bread, under EU trading directive.

The Huffington Post (UK) believe Sainsbury’s ought to rename it Giraffe Bread. My father believes they should sponsor a Giraffe in a wildlife sanctuary or zoo, preferably called Lily. Wikipedia briefly mentioned the story (under Tiger Bread), but the story apparently needs verifying. A number of other blogs around the world have written up the story now, mostly in the heart-warming category, but an Italian Magazine has capitalised on the marketing side too. The Sun now has a page on the internet also telling the story: Little Lily probes Sainsburys about tiger bread and I was obliged to spend 30p checking whether she was in print today (no, just online). Facebook has a page dedicated to hero-worshipping Chris King, gaining huge popularity today. From this I have learnt today that Chris, like Lily, is about to start nursery school, on placement as a trainee teacher. He will make a great teacher in my opinion if he is a natural at getting on to the children’s level. Perhaps the most bizarre twist is the analysis done by Laurence Borel which tries to trace how the story went viral.

My friend from university who originally posted the pictures to Twitter makes some insightful comments at the end of that analysis. Facebook couldn’t forward photos in quite the same way as Twitter back in June.

There is a serious side to all this humour too. We love our daughter and do not want to exploit her or cause her distress. She finds the story funny at the moment, but hasn’t got much time for it. Without protecting her, she could end up in a situation like this:

… which won’t be happening on my watch. £3 is quite enough really to make a whole lot of people smile.

When our son gets a little older though, perhaps he ought to send a letter to Ferrari…

Marmalade Bee

On Saturday I made my annual batch of Marmalade. I can now call it annual as I also made some last year. In fact, being new to the craft of Marmalading last year, I took photos of much of the process. I had in mind to write a silly book about it complete with illustrations by my daughter. I did not. There was too much to do.

Until… this week.

You need to know that Sunday was our nephew Eden’s dedication day, and therefore time for another tradition to continue. As each of our nephews and niece turned one and were christened/dedicated, I have written a short book for the occasion. None are really worthy of publication, and Marmalade Bee comes with a warning. The material is really not suitable for one-year-olds who are not versed in cooking, eating marmalade or honey, or spotting hymenoptera-related cheesy jokes.

Still, it is probably just about good enough to include here.

Most bees love making honey.

They put all their honey

in the honey bank.

Life is all




It’s what gives bees their buzz.

Marmalade Bee is

a bit different from most other bees.

Marmalade Bee just loves oranges.

Big, orange, juicy oranges.

Orange juice – Yum.

Orange pie – Yum.

Even barbecued orange with orange on top.

One day Marmalade Bee had an idea.

She didn’t drone on about it.

Marmalade Bee just decided she

could not make any more honey.

Instead, she collected

some oranges,

a couple of lemons,

a lot of sugar and

some empty honey jars.

She took all the peel off the oranges.

She cut some of the peel into tiny pieces.

She put the rest into a cloth

and cooked it in water for a long time.

Nobody knew what she was doing!

Can you guess?

At the right time, Marmalade Bee

took out the cloth

and measured the juice.

She added just the right amount of sugar.

She was a very busy bee.

The sugar soon disappeared.

The mixture smelt yummy.

Marmalade Bee made it very hot.


Be careful Marmalade Bee!

All the other bees started dancing.

They wanted to know what it was;

they had never smelt anything like it.

Marmalade Bee smiled.

She took her clean honey jars.

When it was soft like wax,

Marmalade Bee stopped cooking.

She stirred it and put it carefully into jars.

She tried not to spill any.

All the other bees were buzzing.

What was going to happen next?

All the jars were sealed.

Marmalade Bee was very pleased.

She had found the perfect orange recipe.

She never had to make honey again

and her mixture was the bee’s knees.

It was really very yummy on toast too.

‘What will you call it?’

All the other bees asked.


Said Marmalade Bee.

‘…I don’t know.’

‘Orange you glad

We are here to help’

The bees said,

And they called it


A Canadian Christmas

I have just been watching the time lapse video of Vancouver City (a couple of posts below) and realised that I can now identify most of the locations on it. Vancouver is beautiful. Even in the rain and even with jetlag Vancouver is beautiful. According to the video it can be a lot more beautiful, but I was grateful to be there and to get a feel for the place and for Canada.

I have learnt a lot about Canada. From a retired firefighter (with experience of helping at 911) I learnt about the education and political systems, building regulations, salaries and tax incentives while we flew somewhere in Santa’s airspace. At Vancouver’s stunning airport on arrival I learnt that for all the directives on importing food, seeds, imaginary animals and non-sensible goods of any description, it is actually ridiculously easy to bring in Christmas cake (2kg, iced), Christmas puddings (2, Cognac-laced), chocolate (rather a large amount, Cadburys), secret gifts from other people which I had not personally wrapped (a significant number, hidden) and clothing for wet weather (enough, just).

I did not bring any gifts for the cat my sister was minding. I hope she (the cat) would not mind. She (again, the cat) is known as Gorgeous, except at my sister’s where she is known as Betty, a far more aesthetically appropriate moniker. She is what is called a Cornish Rex. Somebody, at some point in Canada’s history (they have history as well as geography) for reasons not released to the public, imported a Cornish Rex and Got It Through Security. Let me show you a Good picture of Betty:

Now don’t go thinking she’s actually quite nice. She doesn’t have fur. What you are seeing is a thin fleece. She doesn’t have muscle either, which may explain her utter clumsiness. She also smells (sometimes deliberately, I believe), has a need to show her ears at close range, dig her ‘never been clipped’ claws into your best trousers and crawl on faces at night time. The solution to this is to not share a room with her. My poor sister, giving her bedroom for my stay had to endure Betty’s charms each night and for this I am truly grateful.

I am also truly grateful for my lightning tour of Vancouver and Environs. Considering we had 4 days, an evening and a half day, we did pretty well. The best weather was on my arrival, and I saw Rocky Mountains (several) in pink in the setting sun, as I squinted past several people with peepholes on the plane. After that we had rain, but apparently this is normal December behaviour for the weather there.

We visited key parts of the city, popped into some lovely shops, got our nails done, had proper sushi, admired totem poles and went on buses which looked like trams (as well as a sky train which turned out to be an underground, a greyhound which turned out to be a coach and a water taxi which was neither water nor a taxi).

I learnt that Canadians always have time for you, are even more obsessed with Michael Buble than the man himself is and have a passion for adverts featuring solutions to mucus and phlegm. They have pretty leaves printed into the concrete paths, clocks powered by steam and black squirrels who don’t stay still for photos. There are hummingbirds, homeless people and hummers.

My sister works in film (post-production editing things) and so we went to see a film she had worked on called Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows which was thrilling for me (especially as it was the first time I saw my sister’s name on the credits while sitting next to her) but for my sister and her work friend it was a big exercise in finding the editing mistakes and blaming ‘comp’. I felt utterly unqualified to comment, but enjoyed the story and the fun of it all.

On Christmas Eve, badly in need of some snow, we travelled up to Whistler, which is made of slush and nice shops, with a big mountain or two behind which come in handy for skiing and that sort of thing. If you are looking for normal socks you will not find them in Whistler. However, you can get a lovely steak or lobster, before taking a gondola up one mountain and then another across to the other mountain.

There are a huge number of families with young children in Whistler, some with gloves on, many who can ski well. There are also many many trees adorned with little lights. In Canada they do it properly (on the whole). Lots and lots of little lights, no flashing on and off, one colour at a time. Very pretty.

On Christmas Day we skyped home, visited a local church after my sister opened her presents and then she made a roast Turkey crown dinner, which was very tasty. Mum spent the past few months making her a quilt. It tells the story of my sister’s life so far and meant sourcing parts from old clothes, places she’d lived in and even printing some photos. The cat was, quite clearly, not allowed near the quilt.

Boxing Day meant (for reasons I cannot remember) braving the largest shopping mall we could think of and later going to a Canucks Ice Hockey match at the Rogers Arena. We got tickets from one of my sister’s colleagues. The match involves three periods of 20 minutes, and took from 7:00 until about 9:30. There was a bit of Ice Hockey, a lot of entertainment, and many more calories. Thankfully the Canucks (and We Are All Canucks I now realise) beat the Edmonton Oilers something in the region of 5-3. They did this by means of violence, skating skill, twins and breaking a lot of sticks and part of the perspex safety wall. Every time the Canucks scored the crowd went wild for a sensible period of time and rubbed the fact in very loudly with music and humour. Every time the Oilers scored the scoreboard registered the fact politely enough.

After very little sleep that night we visited Granville Island the next morning, which is as middle-class a wharf as you are likely to find in Vancouver and full of interesting looking shops, breweries and eateries. Having eaten our fill of local Bison at something like a bistro we took a zip car to the airport. I did not enjoy the travel home, but I did greatly enjoy meeting my husband at Heathrow and each of the children back at home. They had all had lots of fun together and with grandparents and since then we’ve done some fun things together while I try and get my body back into UK o’clock.

Bye for now Canada. Next time I’m bringing the family!