On the 26th of May 1940 Operation Dynamo commenced ~ the Miracle of Dunkirk
History provides many examples of the British Army being asked to operate under appalling handicaps by the politicians responsible for British policy….. Major General Mason-MacFarlane 15 May 1940
In six weeks from May 10th 1940 the Germans invaded western Europe, defeated the then allied, armies and conquered Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. This was the Battle of France.
Because of the supine performance of the Belgians, and subsequent pathetic surrender of most of the French, the British Expeditionary Force, (BEF), found itself beleaguered and cut off from its supply routes, then pushed back into a pocket around the French port of Dunkirk.
The campaign in France and Flanders was lost in Whitehall and in Paris before it ever began….. ~ Montgomery
In stark contrast to the craven Belgian and French generals, who were prone to bursting into tears at times of crisis, the British behaved with courage, fortitude, and stoicism during that most difficult of military operations, a fighting withdrawal while still in contact with a superior enemy.
One cannot belittle the steadfastness of the soldiers of the BEF, their discipline and morale under the most testing circumstances ~ of retreat, uncertainty, and the ever present scourge of the Luftwaffe. ~ Julian Thompson
The BEF fought on as a fantastic plan was hatched to evacuate as much of the army as possible back to England. This evacuation from Dunkirk was given the code name Operation Dynamo.
With the support of the RAF, (Royal Air Force); the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy, and the immortal Little Ships, the bulk of the men and women of the BEF were lifted from the shores of defeated France and brought safely home to England.
All in all, 338,226 British and Allied troops were landed in England from Dunkirk between 27th May and 4 June 1940. 239,555 were lifted from Dunkirk harbour, and 98,671 were plucked directly from the beaches.
Almost all of their equipment was lost, but the men and women of the BEF were rescued, and that allowed Great Britain to fight on, alone against the Nazi scourge.
We shall go on to the end….. we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender….. Churchill
The Army would not return to France in force for another 4 years and 2 days. Without the Miracle of Dunkirk, Britain would have been defeated by the Nazis, and then D-Day ~ Operation Overlord could not have happened on June 6th 1944, and all of Continental Europe would have spent decades under the sadistic boot of Hitler, and then, after Herr Hitler’s inevitable demise, Europe would have suffered that even worse monstrous dictator, Stalin.
This only proves that English determination, steadfastness, stoicism, and sheer bloody-mindedness are better than Gallic passion ~ on a any day of the week.
An Englishman, a Briton, will never surrender to tyranny from Europe.
Coronia, previously HMS Watchful, one of the Little Ships at Dunkirk, currently undergoing restoration in the marina at my home town
one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak
And that’s how to make Planters’ Rum Punch, an Englishman’s preferred drink to go along with a summer barbecue. The strong is Caribbean Dark Rum, (or try Woods 100), and the sour is fresh lime juice. You can guess the rest ~ (simple syrup and iced water).
Well now, this coming Monday, the 28th of May, is Memorial Day in the USA. It’s also the Spring Bank Holiday here in Great Britain. For some of us this is the first real day of summer, more or less ~ although the weather in most of England and America hasn’t been very summery of late.
Particularly in the USA, this coming Monday is the time to clean the cobwebs of that old barbecue, dust down the patio furniture, invite some friends overs, and hang out in the yard eating, drinking, and shooting the
So, for this week’s Food on Friday I’m going to feature stuff that goes well with kicking back outdoors.
I know a very nice American girl who really likes cilantro and lime. So, first to the BBQ this week is Jessica Merchant from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and her blog How Sweet Eats. Jessica has this cool recipe for Cilantro Lime Flank Steak, and while it will only take you 20 minutes to cook in the broiler, you need to start marinading the steak on Sunday. Make plenty and take the leftovers to work on Tuesday, (if there are any leftovers).
Cilantro Lime Flank Steak
From San Diego we have the sunshine girl Averie with her Grilled Steak Kabobs, (funny we call these things kebabs in England). You will want a good top sirloin steak for these rich looking skewers. Again, these will cook very fast on the grill, but you want to allow at least 4 hours for the marinade to work.
Grilled Steak Kabobs
If you don’t like steak, then what about these Honey BBQ Chicken Kabobs from Chungah at Damn Delicious. Again this dish will only take you 20 minutes to cook on the grill, but you need to allow a couple of extra hours for the marinade to do its work. Looks tasty to me.
Honey BBQ Chicken Kabobs
To go with all this meat you’re going to cook on your freshly cleaned BBQ, you’re going to need some salad, and from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower, we have this good looking dish; Avocado Corn Caprese Salad, dressed with a honey balsamic vinaigrette. Looks so delicious and refreshing.
Avocado Corn Caprese Salad
From the Californian White on Rice couple we have a very different Grilled Romaine and Corn Salad, something you can make on your BBQ in under half an hour ~ while you’re grilling your other vegetables too. (If you’re cooking any vegetables…)
Grilled Romaine & Corn Salad
I know that most of you like the recipe collections I feature, and here’s another one. From Olive magazine we have the 32 Best Ever BBQ Recipes to help you enjoy the sunshine this coming Memorial Day. I particularly like this very quick and easy recipe for Miami-Style Blackened Fish Sandwich with Smoked Paprika Mayo ~ ready in just 20 minutes. Me, I’d use salmon, tuna, or swordfish to make a really top-notch blackened fish sandwich.
Miami-Style Blackened Fish Sandwich with Smoked Paprika Mayo
Should you want to make a dessert for your guests, then Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has found us a collection of 9 Crowd-Pleasing Desserts for Your Memorial Day Party. I particularly like the look of this Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe by Cindy Rahe.
Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
And finally this Friday, for those of us who aren’t content just to suck back beers, we have another collection from Wide Open Eats, 20 Best Big Batch Cocktails for Backyard BBQs and Lazy Sundays. As a very practiced consumer of alcoholic beverages I particularly like the look of this Pitcher Hurricane Cocktail. this recipe is to make a gallon of the stuff. Personally I’d just tip in a whole bottle of both dark rum and light rum, (and I’d also miss out the metrosexual umbrellas), but that’s me for you.
Pitcher Hurricane Cocktail
the English version of Memorial Day is observed on Remembrance Sunday, as near as possible to November 11th
It’s a solemn occasion.
If you confidently believe in yourself, you can do anything.
Sometimes our lives can suck, and having a life filled with problems and pain can leach any self-confidence you ever had right out of you. But, without self-confidence we are useless in life. Without self-confidence we become diffident, hesitant, inward-looking, and pretty crappy at everything we might try to do. Without self-confidence we worry, fret, and fail.
In fact, without self-confidence we may not want to do anything at all, just in case it all goes badly wrong. Not doing, not turning up for life, sitting alone and lonely in your own space ~ well that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and destroys whatever vestige of confidence you may have had left.
Remember this truth; To be good at what you do, you first have to do.
Self-confidence is a skill, and like any other skill it can be learned, and relearned. Fear of failure is a skill, stop learning and relearning it.
Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
The road towards true self-confidence has only a few steps along the way.
- Know who you are. Self-awareness is something we should all work at, and the more you work at it, the more you will know your true self. Hey, I know exactly who I am, my name is Jack Collier.
- Be comfortable and happy with who you are ~ and if you’re not happy with yourself, then work at changing yourself to be a better version of you. Lose that weight, exercise and get fitter, spend time on personal grooming, dress well in clothes that flatter you, go back to school….. The only person we can really change is ourselves.
- Be OK with what you do. So your job sucks, and the people at work treat you like shit, so look for a better and better-paid job. You owe no loyalty whatsoever to the people you work for, nor the people you work with. Don’t just quit your job, instead use your time at work and their facilities as assets in your job-search. Better still, start working for yourself. The really successful people in life are never wage-slaves.
- Be cool with where you are heading. You may not even know where you’re going, but go somewhere. The longest journey begins with the first baby steps, and you won’t know if you’re going in the wrong direction if you’re going nowhere. I know where I’m going ~ for a start I’m going to leverage this JackCollier7 blog into a best-selling self-improvement book.
- Do not ever give up after one failure. In fact, do not accept failure. Everybody fails from time to time, mostly because other people aren’t smart enough to see just how good you really are. JK Rowling, the best selling author of the Harry Potter books, was turned down by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury picked up the rights to her first manuscript for just £1,500. Today JK Rowling is worth around $1 billion.
- Remember that nobody will believe in you unless you believe in you. If you don’t believe in yourself, then act like hell and fake self-belief.
- Remember that life is filled with opportunities and choices, never stop looking and learning to find the opportunities that enhance your self-belief, self-confidence, self-worth, and self-empowerment. The more choices you have, the more self-motivated you will become.
You are the Captain of your own ship, and you are the master of your fate, so step up and impress yourself, impress everyone around you, and if they aren’t utterly impressed by the new self-confident you, then move on because it’s their loss, not yours.
Some say that before embarking on anything new, you must first believe that you can do it. And, that you must honestly ask yourself if whatever you’re going to do will work. All I know is that I ask myself if it’s going to be worth it.
always be open, honest, and self-aware
you can’t get to the moon if you don’t try
My muse as always, is Aphrodite. ~ Shakespeare in Love
my goddess of love, sorceress, divine spirit,
you were there when I needed you most,
when I was lonely, miserable and lost,
drifting aimlessly from pillar to post,
you visited in dreams as a ghost,
and as a goddess lifted me up,
for that I shall you worship,
forever, no matter what,
you live in my heart.
Aphrodite, Goddess of Grace and lascivious love of Ares ~ eternally unrequited
To be good at what you do, you first have to do.
For a few years I’ve been feeling unwanted by the life I live, unloved by the world I live in, and disliked by all the Goddesses that there ever were. And then I realised that there were more choices open to me than being a miserable, celibate, unwashed recluse, drinking myself to death in a dirty garret. All I had to do was turn up for Life.
Life is filled with opportunities, we need to make the most of them. ~ Scott Geller
The more choices we have, the richer our life can become.
I have some good choices, and one of those is to be happy.
This song makes me think of doing cool things with someone I feel very happy about today.
There is scarcely anything that will drag you down like debt.
Basically there are two ways we can have more cash to spend on the things we really like, want, and desire ~ one is to go out and get more money, earn it, marry it, inherit it, steal it….
The other way to have more cash to spend on the things we really like is to spend less on ‘essentials’ ~ the things we have to buy to survive.
For if we remember our Dickens and what Mr. Micawber said in David Copperfield, happiness lies in spending less than we earn, and unhappiness lies in spending more than we actually have.
There are some tried and tested ways to spend less on the boring essentials. In my quest for minimalistic living, I have personal, (sometimes very bitter), experience of all of these following ideas:
- Live in a smaller place. Smaller homes cost less to buy, attract lower property taxes, and use less utilities; water, gas, electricity.
- If you can, switch your utilities provider to a better and cheaper company. All utilities companies are money-grabbing vultures, but try to choose the best of a bad lot.
- Drive a smaller car. Smaller cars are less expensive to buy and insure, and in general use much less gas than a bigger car with more weight and a bigger engine. If you buy a classic smaller car, as opposed to the latest model, then you won’t even suffer from depreciation.
- Switch your car insurance to a better and cheaper company.
- Learn some DIY skills. You don’t have to use expensive and useless contractors, car mechanics, cleaners, or gardeners. It’s cheaper and better if you do as much as you can for yourself.
- Cut out impulse purchases. On impulse, too many of us buy too much stuff that we don’t actually need, want, or really like. All that stuff clutters up our home and convinces us that we need to move to a bigger place.
- Don’t marry a sexy trophy wife, (or toy boy), who will also want you to move into a bigger place. A trophy wife, (or toy boy), will end up costing you most of your treasure, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
- Don’t try to buy love. It doesn’t work, it will cost you a fortune, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
- Control your addictions….. booze, drugs, gambling, pornography, casual sex, smoking….. All of these will all cost you just about everything you have, including your self-respect.
- Resist the urge to have the latest and most expensive technologies. You don’t need a huge TV, costly cable, the newest computer, the best tablet, the most expensive iPhone with the most expensive contract.
- Buy whole foods rather than processed, heavily packaged, and generally bad for you costly crap.
- Buy generic brands. Trust me, I’ve been into factories where the expensive labels and generic brands are actually made on the same production line with exactly the same content. Only the packaging is different.
- If you can, then buy in bulk.
- Stop going out to lunch at work, instead take a packed lunch. Those people you go to lunch with are probably boring and certainly aren’t your real friends anyway. And, if you’re an average guy the women you take to lunch are never going to have sex with you, so you’re wasting your time and money.
- Don’t join a gym. Most of the people who have gym membership never go there. For great exercise take a long walk in the sunshine instead.
- Visit thrift stores, and if you find clothes you like, then save money and buy ‘pre-loved’ stuff.
- Don’t give to a big charity. (Have you any idea how much the bosses of the big charities pay themselves? The average pay across the top 100 charities is more than £250,000 a year, plus huge bonuses.)
- Don’t spend all your time drinking in pubs and bars ~ the booze is expensive there, and nobody in your favourite pub is your real friend anyway.
And finally, don’t spend on borrowed money, especially credit cards which all charge usury rates of interest. Credit cards are NOT money. Really, really, really NEVER use a payday lender, which all charge eye-watering criminal rates of interest.
You can probably think of some other money-saving tips of your own. For a month try making a note of what you actually spend your hard-earned on ~ I guarantee that you will be surprised and shocked. Learn what you actually spend your money on, and then you can start to control your finances.
Some say that money can’t buy happiness. And that a fool and his money are soon parted. All I know is that having money makes misery more bearable.
you can take the idea of living in a tiny home to the extreme…..
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
These days ancient English City of York is full of bicycles, churches, tourists, and pubs ~ mostly pubs. And mostly not a lot of Shakespeare.
unless you are a very attractive American woman, don’t ask to taste a load of different beers before you buy a pint.
You can never get away from where you’ve been.
We cannot change the past, we can only change the ways feel think and feel about the past. Most people have brutal, painful, and regrettable memories of their past. Events from the past have created who we are today, and events from the past will affect us today, tomorrow, next week, next year, and maybe until the day we die and beyond…..
Some of us may say that we are OK with the past, that things that happened in our childhood and adolescence do not haunt us at all. But beware, even if you are not aware of it, everything that you have experienced in the past; good, bad, terrible, traumatic, joyful, boring….. is affecting your sub-conscious today.
Nobody, up to and including you and me, is completely at peace with their past. We cannot, and should not, forget the past. Our past creates in us feelings of anxiety, bitterness, disappointment, doubt, guilt, fear, frustration, hurt, regret, rejection, sadness….. and most of us recall and remember the negatives from our past more than we focus on the positives.
Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ Chuck Palahniuk
Some of us try to run away from our past; changing where we live, drifting from one relationship to another, changing jobs, drinking too much, taking drugs, attempting suicide, and metaphorically running away to join the circus. But none of that running away ever works, for wherever we go we take the past with us. (Even if a suicide attempt fails it will most likely do irreparable damage to the body, mind, and spirit.)
For some of us it’s even worse, because we are also affected by the past of someone who is very close to us, and emotions created by someone else’s past are incredibly difficult to deal with. This is doubly so if our ‘friend’ hasn’t themselves fully come to terms with their own past.
To be cool with the past we must first be motivated to deal with the past. We need to understand what really happened in the past, not just some biased half-memories that we use to fuel our negative emotions today. Try to find out what really happened in the past. Be willing to talk about and fully explore issues from the past. Stop pretending that everything from the past is fine, when most likely it isn’t. Acknowledge your true feelings, whether they be loss, hurt, shame, anger…..
You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. ~ Iyanla Vazant.
Depending how deeply the past affects us, we may need help to come to terms with what happened, how it affected us, and who we are today because of the past. Speaking to family and friends may help, you may need to see your doctor or a therapist, you may talk with your priest or spiritual adviser, you may need something like hypnosis, or you may just need to really meditate, read inspirational books, listen to motivational lectures, or just go for a long walk in the sunshine.
With any luck we may find out that the past is better than we feared. But, no matter if the past is better or worse than we think we remember, we cannot move on from something we don’t understand and we refuse to accept.
That’s the past for you. Not only does it come back at the most unexpected and inconvenient times, but it’s set in stone. ~ Jeffery Deaver.
There may well be things from the past that need resolution. This might be very difficult, but the longest journey starts with the first baby-step. Be honest. Be self-aware. Be kind with yourself. Seek to understand yourself. Be kind and understanding towards others. And, give yourself time to heal.
A ship does not sail with yesterday’s wind. ~ Louis L’Amour
Some say that we can become cool with the past by keeping a positive outlook and a strong determination to succeed in finding joy instead of negative emotions. And, that the past only exists in our memories and imagination. All I know is that the past isn’t actually here.
If what you’re doing isn’t working,
then do something else instead.
Sometimes we search for one thing, but discover another.
These are not just weeknight dinners, these are Food on Friday weeknight dinners. These recipes also make great leftovers that you can take to work for lunch.
OK, I know that if you’ve had a busy day at work, the last thing you may feel like doing is cooking a meal for yourself ~ but hey! These are all healthy, tasty, and pretty damn easy recipes.
Go on, cook something, you may just find peace and contentment after a hectic day ~ cooking soothes the mind.
First this week, for those of us who can’t decide between salad and pizza we have this Prosciutto and Balsamic Greens Flatbread from Averie Cooks. San Diego girl Averie says this is both fast and easy ~ it should be ready for you and your special guest in 30 minutes.
Prosciutto and Balsamic Greens Flatbread
Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has found these Chipotle Lime Shrimp Bowls at Foodie Crush. These should be delicious as an easy dinner, or an appitiser, or in a burrito, taco, or lettuce wrap. And just how fabulous does this shrimp bowl look! Foodie Crush also has a collection of 25 Super Healthy Bowl Recipes ~ how cool is that!
Chipotle Lime Shrimp Bowl
Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has found us another quick and easy shrimp and pasta recipe. From Sheryl Julian we have a dish of Spring Shrimp with Peas and Mint ~ sounds and looks delicious.
Spring Shrimp with Peas and Mint
As if we all liked shrimp, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has this 30 minute recipe for Sweet Corn Chimichurri Butter Shrimp with Polenta. If you’re not so keen on polenta you could also make the dish with rice and quinoa. (I love shrimp recipes.)
Sweet Corn Chimichurri Butter Shrimp with Polenta
From Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb I have a 30 minute dish that should be popular with my American friends; Easy Creamy Macaroni and Cheese. Mac and Cheese isn’t so popular in England ~ don’t ask me why….
Easy Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
And now a cool collection from Chungah at Damn Delicious we have her 15 Best Family-Friendly Weeknight Dinners. All of these can be made in 30 minutes or less. Today I’m featuring Spinach Tomato Tortellini Soup, and Chungah says this is the easiest, most comforting soup ~ ever. You should have this on your plate in only 20 minutes, and how great to take to work the following day!
Spinach Tomato Tortellini Soup
Smoky Steak and Mushroom Stroganoff
luckily neither Marmaduke nor I have to actually work for a living these days