In Castle Coop, a tiny English village where nothing happens, what does everyone do? Read on and meet amongst others, the Agent and the Chairman of the Village Hall who barbecue, Bossy Brown Owl, Lord and Lady Eftie Nudge who are frightfully grand, Sir Plym and Lady Egality who throw fabulous parties, Trev the Rev who cares faithfully for all his parishioners, gardening guru, Lady Lohmann Brown, Col Pyncheon and Lady Sebright who love watching Foyle's War and Lady Liberty who has just cycled to Paris..

The Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off!

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Castle Coop Life | 2 comments

The Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off!


The Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off!

On Saturday, Castle Coop will be a hive of activity.  All the villagers were asked weeks ago by Sir Plym to save the date for the Autumn Clear- Up and Barbecue


Lord and Lady Eftie Nudge were to have waved the flag to start the Clear-Up officially at 10.30am but unfortunately they have taken the Bentley on a vintage car rally in Bavaria and so won’t be able to attend.


Ld & Lady Nudge in Bavaria

Everyone else has promised to bring their rakes, strimmers and wheelbarrows; by Saturday lunchtime all the old summer growth which is making the village look so messy, will be cut back and tidied and the churchyard, the verges and the hedgerows should be in immaculate order ready for the winter… Hurrah!

2014-10-23 10.28.11


No-one is really thinking about the Clear-Up however because immediately after it, inspired by the Great British Bake-Off , we’re going to hold our own exciting cooking contest: The Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off ! 

Although we won’t have  Mary Berry to preside over it or the G.B.B.O’s sumptuous marquee, we will have contestants and a prize!

The Blue and the Red Corners:

Sir Burford Brown & Sir Plym will be barbecuing in the Blue (Gas) corner and the Chairman of the Village Hall & the Agent will be barbecuing in the Red (Charcoal) corner.

Ever since an Ox and Moose Friday night session back in September when Sir Burford Brown (who only moved into Castle Coop during the summer) dared to lecture the Agent and the Chairman of the Village Hall about the superior qualities of a quick, clean, gas barbecue over its ‘messy & slow’ – what??? charcoal counterpart,  there have been two rival camps in Castle Coop. Both the pro-gas and the pro-charcoal factions have been tireless in their campaigns to canvass support for their cause.

The C.C.B.S.O. Trophy:

Everyone involved in the Autumn Clear-Up will be asked to test out sausages and burgers cooked by both the Reds & the Blues in carefully monitored conditions.  A democratic vote will decide which barbecue method we all think produces the most delicious results and Trev the Rev will then present the victors with  a magnificent Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off Trophy.

N.B. Strong views as to gas v. charcoal barbecues expressed by the readership of TAH will be read out by Trev the Rev on Saturday.


 The magnificent trophy which Lady Egality has just bought online:

Smoke Off trophy













Yours getting ready for an epic smoke- off,

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One Lovely Blog Award

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Castle Coop Life | 4 comments

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award!






What a thrill!
Dear, kind, lovely Emma Gray  has passed on  a One Lovely Blog Award to all of us here at The Awesome Hen Editorial Office!
onelovelyblogaward 2
Emma is a Tory staffer at Westminster and a novelist and we met online via Twitter (@emsie1979) when she tweeted a link to her blog, emmajgrey.blogspot.co.uk .
She’d written a fabulous post about a friend who was about to Pedal2Paris too in aid of the Royal British Legion!
Thank you Emma so much for such a kind thought.
 LLH Over the Moon PLAIN
One requirement of the One Lovely Blog Award is to share 7 things about us all.
One Lovely Blog Award Rules

 Item 1

Almost everybody at The Awesome Hen plays Botticelli except for the Agent who refuses to do so.  I am  fanatical about it and will play at the drop of a hat. It is a game of skill with lots of tension thrown in  -unless you play with Lady Sebright or Brown Owl.
For those of you who don’t play Botticelli, I warmly urge you to study the rules immediately and become a new convert.

 My sister (another aficionada) & I discovered by chance that if you choose Dr. Crippen as your famous Botticelli person, you invariably win the game. I don’t know why this is so but it’s a pretty sure thing. N.B. if you choose Florence Nightingale, Lady Gaga or Nelson Mandela, you’ll lose. Every time.
 Florence Nightingale








The best place for playing Botticelli is anywhere one’s opponents are completely captive. A carefully chosen location ensures  no-one can just drift away claiming that there’s a spot of vacuum cleaning that just has to be done. A stationary chair-lift stuck on its way up to the top of the ski slope fits the bill perfectly.

Chair-lift Botticelli

The absolute instant my opponent tells me the letter their famous person’s name begins with, every single famous person I’ve ever heard of flies out of my head. Even on ‘C’ names, when Churchill or Eric Clapton ought to be fairly obvious. IMO this gives the game the required element of exciting panic which is necessary for the game’s  A* ranking as I have to bluff like mad until I can think of someone to ask about.

Item 2.

Lady Sebright was a ballet dancer in her youth. Whenever she chooses a famous person, Lady Egality and I have to put ourselves through hoops trying not to guess the answer too soon as we pretty well know in advance  it will be either Margot Fonteyn, Nureyev, Anna Pavlova or Darcy Bussell.


Item 3.

The Chairman of the Village Hall  prefers WW1 British generals to ballet dancers. If you should ever find yourself playing Botticelli with him, you may be sure he’s thinking of General Kitchener if chooses a ‘K’. I once told him my famous person began with an ‘H’ and he was absolutely incredulous when he found out that I was thinking of Thomas Hardy and not Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. If the C. of the V.H. feels on a roll, there a good chance he may throw a French or American general into the mix just to keep us on our toes.

Item 4.

Right now, Colonel Pyncheon is anxiously waiting for the first frost so that he can nip out and pick a bucketful of frosted sloes with which to begin making this autumn’s ‘Sloe Glow’. Hurrah! We all depend on him like mad to do this for…it is a truth universally acknowledged in Castle Coop that if one has  a hip flask full of sloe glow to hand when playing Botticelli, it improves the chances of dreaming up devious indirect questions enormously.

hip flask 1

Item 5.

Wikipedia states in black and white (& bits of red) that ” The game takes its name from the famous person having to be at least as famous as Sandro Botticelli, who is also the answer to the archetypal question, “Did you paint a picture of Venus rising?”, referring to his painting The Birth of Venus.”

In Brown Owl’s opinion, this is ‘ just Wikipedia being silly Gloria dear, and  it’s extremely sheepish of you to want to fall in with this vulgar modern obsession with celebrity status’.  As she always insists we all choose someone who lives in Castle Coop, the selection field is narrowed somewhat and Botticelli games played with Brown Owl are very short indeed.

Item 6.

The Agent refuses point-blank to play Botticelli with me which is a source of sorrow. Our views about Botticelli are not compatible.


Item 7.

If any reader would care to play online Botticelli with me, I should be thrilled! I’ve thought of someone already whose name begins with M or perhaps you’d like to start? Please let me know immediately if you’d like to play!


The most important & best requirement of  the award is to highlight those whose Blogs I admire and enjoy.

I should like to pass on the One Lovely Blog Award

onelovelyblogaward 2

to each of these fab Bloggers below.  All  have given me heaps of pleasure reading their blogs as well as much valued support to all of us in Castle Coop. I urge you to click over to the websites of these lovely bloggers if you haven’t discovered them for yourselves already!


British Detectives (@BritDectives) British Detectives

Jo Sandelson (@josandelson) Heirraising

KateVowles (@KateVowles) The Globetrotting Guitarist

Lisa Jarmin (@LisaJarmin) How to be a Domestic Disgrace

Mrs Nige (@Mrsnige) Thinking of You and Me:




 Yours  longing for someone to offer to play #Botticelli  (@ladylibertyhen)  – no selections to be based on Castle Coop villagers, WW1 generals or ballet dancers please,

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen…

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Castle Coop Life, Lady Liberty's Quest for Health and Fitness; the triumph of hope over experience. | 12 comments

Mad Dogs and Englishmen…

Mad Dogs and Englishmen…







Early this afternoon, as it was such a beautiful sunshiny autumn day,

I decided to go for a relaxing spin on my bike.

Relaxing? LOL.



llh on bike ride 1allh on bike ride 2allh on bike ride 3allh on bike ride 7allh on bike ride 8allh on bike ride 9allh on bike ride 5allh on bike ride 6allh on bike ride 7allh on bike ride 4allh on bike ride 2allh on bike ride 1a









































































































Yours remembering with heartfelt nostalgia, our lovely summer when bike rides were so much more straightforward,

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International Friday Night Foyle’s War Club News! -Hurrah!

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 in Castle Coop Life, The International Friday Night Foyle's War Club | 2 comments

International Friday Night Foyle’s War Club News! -Hurrah!
Honeysuckle Weeks as Sam and Michael Kitchen as Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

© Rex Features / ITV

Honeysuckle & Michael Kitchen in ‘Foyle’s War’

Inspired by real events in the early Cold War, the new series will see Foyle (Kitchen) immersed in the dangerous world of espionage in his role as a Senior Intelligence Officer for MI5.

Honeysuckle Weeks will reprise her role of Foyle’s trusted ally Samantha Stewart, while thriller writer Anthony Horowitz will again script the new episodes.

The new Foyle’s War will explore the power of American and German industrialists and a major blight of post war Britain – the Black Market.

“We are delighted to see the return of Foyle’s War to ITV,” said ITV’s Head of Drama Series, Jane Hudson.

“Anthony Horowitz has written three outstanding episodes and the audience are in for a real treat. This series also gives us the chance to take the shoot to one of the jewels of the North West, Liverpool.”

The three feature-length episodes will shoot in Liverpool, doubling for post-war London, with transmission planned for 2015.”


Just to refresh the mind and remind one how exciting it is watching DCS Foyle raise his eyebrow while cutting to the chase, here is a trailer from 2013 for the eighth series of Foyle’s War :



“In his role as a Senior Intelligence Officer for the secret service-MI5 Foyle continues to be immersed in the dangerous world of espionage at a time in our country’s history when political and foreign governmental relationships were delicately balanced.

Honeysuckle Weeks also returns to her role as Samantha Stewart, Foyle’s trusted associate and ally who successfully navigates the shadowy world of intelligence and assists her former boss as he seeks to uncover the truth of the cases he investigates.

With each episode scripted by Anthony, he will explore powerful American and German industrialists, the latter from the chemical giant I G Farben, accused of fuelling Hitler’s War Machine, and reflect on the tangled web of promises to the Jews to create a state of Israel in British Palestine. The major blight of post war Britain, the Black Market, will also feature with the focus on some of the darkest secrets from operations conducted by the British secret service during WW2.”

Source: www.crimespreemag.com


I gather that the new episodes are to air on British TV (on ITV) between January  & April 2015. Hurrah! They will be the sugar in the medicine of being cold for months & months. I must go and round up the actual members of the Friday Night Foyle’s War Club so we can plan our reunion meeting!

Don’t forget, if you would like to join us – The Graf (Chairman), Lady Egality (Treasurer), Col. Pyncheon, Lady Sebright & me (Secretary) watching the new series, sign up to be a virtual member of The International Friday Night Foyle’s War Club!

Yours excitedly,

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Green Juice!

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Castle Coop Life, Lady Liberty's Quest for Health and Fitness; the triumph of hope over experience. | 8 comments

Green Juice!

Green Juice!


The Agent, my dear partner in Life, has been behaving in a most peculiar fashion recently. I can’t think what has come over him. Every now and then I catch him giving me surreptitious odd looks and when we were at the supermarket this morning, he suggested I should stay in the car even though the shopping list was massive. I’m getting quite worried about him and feel guilty that I’ve been too busy to find out what’s wrong.


A busy week:

Since I returned from pedalling to Paris, I’ve been researching nutritious juices and smoothies. It’s been absolutely fascinating. There are several web-sites devoted to whizzed-up vegetables and their health benefits; from them and from books, I’ve gleaned all sorts of amazing facts about green juice, vegetables, vitamins and nutrients.

LLH reading abut nutrientsJust look at all this info!


Apparently broccoli has as much calcium as milk, lots of fibre and vitamin C  and is a nutrient powerhouse. Wow!

Source: Innocent smoothie recipe book,



Cucumbers are another powerhouse. They “re-hydrate , cleanse, tone and wash away toxins, strengthening hair & nails and are anti- inflammatory all at the same time”.  Multi-tasking!

Source: Carey Kingsbury who blogs  at myjuicecleanse.com .



“The health benefits of celery are more than just lowering blood pressure. They also contain at least eight families of anti-cancer compounds to combat cancer”.

Source: Sara Ding of ‘Juicing for Health’   Hurrah!


Ms. Kingsbury & Ms Ding are mines of information about juicing and nutrients.



“Spinach juice contains 3.1 mg of iron per 3.5 oz. serving, which is quite high for a non-animal-based food. Having healthy iron intake promotes blood health and prevents anemia. A 3.5 oz. serving of spinach juice offers 51 mg of phosphorus. This high amount of phosphorus is a particularly valuable spinach juice benefit because … phosphorus supports strong bones and teeth and promotes kidney health.” Magic!

source: www.ehow.com


Green juice recipe:

After thoroughly enjoying myself all week, experimenting with juicing different combinations of the above,

making green juice



I am delighted to report that, should you wish to try a recipe for green juice,

a large cupful of spinach

a very small piece of celery

2 green apples

a small bit of ginger root
small bunch of parsley
a few broccoli florets
1 cucumber

all juiced up together, make a delicious and extremely healthful drink.


magic green juice 1


Warning: IMO, adding too much celery just makes one long for a Bloody Mary.


Something is definitely wrong:

I do wish I knew what is the matter with The Agent but I shall try & find out over supper. Having drunk several glasses of green juice this week, I feel absolutely terrific & yet he’s just asked me if I think I could be at all bilious. What on earth has prompted that? I wonder if he’s worrying that he’s coming down with flu.

Perhaps I should book him an appointment to see the doctor just to be on the safe side.

green hen 2




















Yours wishing I knew what is wrong,

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Xtending my Efforts!

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Lady Liberty's Quest for Health and Fitness; the triumph of hope over experience. | 2 comments

Xtending my Efforts!

Xtending my Efforts!


Determined not to fall off the Keep Fit & Stretchy straight and narrow, I have been very busy xtending my efforts.


Xtend Barre Workout:

I gather that Xtend barre promotes grace and flexibility and will strengthen and lengthen in an exciting new way! Here is the instructor, Ms. Andrea Rogers, looking very graceful and flexible and also rather strong and long.



I can’t wait to be just like Ms. Rogers! I can’t wait to be strong and long. I can’t wait to have a chiselled body!

ballet xtend barre 2


Here I am in the same pose:

Xtend Barre efforts



Looking this picture (and I’m trying to be objective), it doesn’t seem as though I’ve xtended in quite the same impressive way as Ms. Rogers. I can’t see many signs of much lengthening, strengthening and chiselling going on, let alone grace and flexibility. Actually, I just seem round.

Yours, feeling rather dejected,

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Pedal2Paris was AWESOME!

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014 in Castle Coop Life, Lady Liberty Pedals to Paris! She made it! | 16 comments

Pedal2Paris was AWESOME!







The Route!

View Pedal to Paris in a larger map





Wreaths were laid to commemorate those who died:

Pedal2Paris wreaths

and funds raised to support for those who survive:

RBL cause





(youtube video source: The Royal British Legion) 






TAH donations 5








Pedal2Paris crew 1

 (photo credit: Dave Hayward)







pedaltoparis luggage 1


 (photo credit: Dave Hayward):


(Youtube video source: British Forces News)






They welcomed us with ceremonies at their war memorials in Calais:

P2P Calais war memorial


P2P Abbeyville


P2P Beauvais

 and at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris:

P2P tomb of unknow soldier 1


  (photo credits: Dave Hayward)

with bunting in Auchy la Montagne

Pedal2Paris, Auchy la Montagne1

and with a feature article written by Monique Biéri the ‘Courrier Picard ‘ at Poix de Picardie:

Pedal2Paris article1







both before:

Pedal2Paris good luck cards1

and afterwards:


Peda2Paris flowers




W. L. S.






both in his youth:


and in his old age:








Yours feeling absolutely thrilled to have been part of The Royal British Legion’s Pedal2Paris ride, 2014,

Pedal2Paris 2014 1

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Pedal2Paris Day 4!

Posted by on Sep 7, 2014 in Castle Coop Life, Lady Liberty Pedals to Paris! She made it! | 2 comments

Pedal2Paris Day 4!




Pedal2Paris Day 4!


Day 4: Beauvais to Paris (100.8km)

taken from the  P2P itinerary – The Royal British Legion.

Enjoy the mounting sense of anticipation as you leave Beauvais for the final stretch to Paris. After lunch, you will merge together into one massive peloton for your triumphant entry into Paris.

From the outskirts of the city, Paris police accompany you, sirens blaring, as you wind through city streets to your final destination. Your first view of the Arc de Triomphe as you turn the corner is a magical moment that you will never forget. We are the only bike ride other than the Tour de France that the roads around the Arc are closed fo and cycling around this iconic monument with 300 cyclists is thrilling end to your exhilarating, unforgettable adventure.

But it’s not quite over yet. Before celebrations begin you will, as a group, parade up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the iconic Arc. During a poignant ceremony, cycling becomes secondary for a few minutes as we remember all those in our Armed Forces who are away from home serving their country – some of them in difficult and dangerous surroundings. What better way to “Stand shoulder to shoulder with all who Serve”?.

But the evening is all about celebration as we toast your fantastic achievement! As your bike heads back to London, you travel by coach to your hotel and a final celebratory dinner together, hosted by The Royal British Legion.

 Day 4 – 7.00am breakfast 7.30pm coach pick up from hotels Departures at 8.30am…
Day 4 – Beauvais to Menucourt
34.9 mi – about 1 hour 4 mins
Day 4 – 11.40am -12.30pm lunch; 1.00pm All leave together for Paris
Day 4 Menucourt to Paris
26.9 mi – about 1 hour 13 mins
Day 4 3.24pm Arrive Arc de Triomphe 3.25-4.00pm Celebration and medal presentations 4.30pm Remembrance Ceremony at Arc de Triomphe 5.00pm Depart Arc de Triomphe 5.25pm ARrive at Hôtel National des Inv…


Pedal2Paris Map Day 4

and here are the very last hills for our trip:

Pedal2Paris Day 4 hills




Yours thrilled to bits to be in Paris! 

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Pedal2Paris Day 3!

Posted by on Sep 6, 2014 in Castle Coop Life, Lady Liberty Pedals to Paris! She made it! | 0 comments

Pedal2Paris Day 3!




Pedal2Paris Day 3!


Information taken from: P2P itinerary – The Royal British Legion.

Day 3: Abbeville to Beauvais (106.9km)

Following a rousing send-off from the people of Abbeville, we continue our cycling by heading south through the Somme region.

The Somme is remembered for the terrible battles of the First World War and the beautiful countryside is studded with cemeteries and other poignant reminders of the thousands of men who lost their lives. You will continue through the Oise Region of Picardie and in the afternoon there will be a special reception at the small village of Auchy La Montagne, where each year the villagers give us a wonderful welcome in thanks for their liberation by British Forces in the Second World War.

The day ends with a ceremony at the war memorial in Beauvais followed by a drinks reception at the Fire Station, before coaches take you to your hotels.


 Day 3 – 7.00am breakfast in hotels 7.40am coach from Cap Hornu 8.00am coaches from Ibis and Mecure hotels 8.45am War Memorial ceremonyDepartures at 9.00am, 9.45am and 10.00am
Day 3 – Abbeville to Poix de Picardie
30.1 mi – about 1 hour 2 mins
Poix de Picardie
Day 3 – arrive 11.55am-12.35pm for lunch Departures at 1.00pm, 1.30pm and 1.45pm
Day 3 – Poix de Picardie to Auchy la Montagne
24.5 mi – about 46 mins
Auchy la Montagne
Day 3 – 3.00-3.40pm Arrive Auchy la Montagne, regroup and drinks 4.30 pm depart in one group
Day 3 – Auchy la Montagne to Beauvais
11.5 mi – about 20 mins
Day 3 – 5.30pm arrive Beauvais War Memorial for ceremony 6.10pm arrive fire station for bike storage and coaches to hotel.


Peda2Paris Map Day 3


Here is the map for the hills:

Pedal2Paris Day 3 hills




Yours with only one more day to go until PARIS!!!

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Pedal2Paris Day 2!

Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in Castle Coop Life, Lady Liberty Pedals to Paris! She made it! | 2 comments

Pedal2Paris Day 2!

Pedal2Paris Day 2!


Information taken from: P2P itinerary – The Royal British Legion.


Day 2: Calais to Abbeville (120.9km)

A moving ceremony at the Calais War Memorial begins our first day in France. After laying a wreath of Remembrance, set off south-west through the beautiful undulating fields and open countryside of the Pas de Calais region. Cycling is the national sport of France and you’ll receive a warm welcome with locals cheering and waving you on your way.

Rolling road-closures and our fleet of support vehicles make sure you need stop for no-one as you cycle to ancient Desevres for lunch. You’ll then pass through the picturesque villages of Roussent and Crécy-en-Ponthieu. Our final leg of the day will bring you to the stunning town of  Abbeville, which lies on the River Somme. Abbeville suffered badly in a German air raid in WW2 but its beautiful Flemish-style architecture is still in evidence.


Calais Town Hall
Day 2 – 7.00am Breakfast in hotels 7.30am Coach pick-up from hotels to Town Hall
and bike storage 8.30am War Memorial ceremony; Departures at 9.00am, 9.45am and 10.00am
Day 2 – Calais to Desvres
29.1 mi – about 57 mins
Day 2 Lunch 11.15 – 11.50am Departure at 12.30, 1.15 and 1.30pm
Day 2 – Desvres to Roussent
28.2 mi – about 51 mins
Day 2 – 2.35 to 3.21pm
Day 2 – Roussent to Crècy-en-Ponthieu
14.6 mi – about 37 mins
Crècy-en-Ponthieu pit stop
Crècy-en-Ponthieu to Abbeville
13.8 mi – about 32 mins
Day 2 – 6.05pm arrive in Abbeville – bike storage and coaches to hotels

Pedal2Paris Map Day 2


and this is what the hills will be like:

Pedal2Paris Day 2 hills



Yours very pro the ‘plain sailing bits’,

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