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Nov 10, 2013

A champagne stopper may be the very last thing you consider essential, but in our house we do. I love champagne, but I don't like it to go flat and when we enjoy our takeaway chinese and champagne nights once a week with mum it certainly gets used. So much so that the housing around the sealer has snapped and I need to replace it! The fact that I now need a new champagne stopper made me wonder how many people know about them? You know that very first glass of champagne? The one you carefully poured without the cork popping off or any spilling? There is a knack to opening champagne correctly that my dear father taught me and this little known facet of the sommelier's art has stayed with me always. I don't need a special tool to open my bottle, to date nobody has been hurt by a flying cork and I very rarely spill a drop. I digress.... Why do I need the stopper? Well, the simple reason is that champagne has carbon dioxide from secondary fermentation forced into it under pressure hence the special thick glass bottle and the domed bottom. (Did you know the special bottles and corks were British inventions? Thought not!) Once you have opened your bubbly and carefully poured it drop by precious drop into two or more glasses (carefully because there is so much fizz to settle) that CO2 is no longer under enormous pressure. Like all things confined, the CO2 desperately wants to escape. So, put your champers in the fridge without a cork and it will be flat in short order. The champagne cork is specially shaped to resist accidentally popping off and it is virtually impossible to replace in the bottle. A normal wine stopper will be gradually pushed out by the escaping gas too. (Imagine the little molecules are like prisoners on Death Row when someone has blown a hole in the prison walls... off they scoot!) A champagne stopper is specially designed to confine the gas and maintain the pressure so your bottle of champagne stays bright and bubbly to the very last drop. This little lever action gizmo is easy to use and will last through many, many uses until, as happened in our case, the poor little thing gets trampled underfoot by clumsy feet.... Oh well! Now you know about my little vice! I had better get off to Amazon UK and buy one in time for Champagne Night! Hic!

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Posted: Nov 10, 2013 10:45am
Nov 10, 2013

The Cougar is a Gothic romance novel in the tradition of Mary Shelley or Edgar Allen Poe. I wrote it myself and recently published it on kindle for the first time. At present I am waiting for proof copies for the paperback version. Normally I write on musical subjects and I also love to write poetry, so the world of fiction is a new thing for me. What I wanted to do here was to share my love and enthusiasm for British Columbia and its beautiful scenery in the context of a fun book. It is a novel for adults because of its subject matter, it is not pornographic but it is sexually explicit in places. These scenes are essential to the story in a way that the scenes in Lady Chatterley's Lover are but they are not the be all and end all of the tale. When I wrote this, it was in the context of four decades or reading horror fiction and watching horror movies and my vampires are different. They are not evil killers, nor do they have to kill to survive, but there are some scenes of violence obviously. What I wanted to do here was to tell a different story, to pose some moral questions in a light hearted way and though I hope this is a tale that can be enjoyed without deep thought or struggling with deep concepts it does ask some questions about self-acceptance. For instance, coming out is always hard. As Ash Beckham so eloquently says, there is no harder - there is only hard - and the closet is no place to live. Whether the closet is telling someone you love that you are gay, bankrupt, pregnant, suffering from cancer or even - as in Raffaelo's case - that you are a vampire you are still better out than in. In this novel the characters all have their own closet. Owen can't commit to one woman and doesn't want children, Angela is bisexual and Owen's abuse brings her out of denial, Berenice is over five hundred years old and still in mourning for her dead husband, Ingrid is a transexual woman on the rebound from an unhappy break-up with her ex, Raffaelo is a vampire pretending to be a normal man and these secrets hang heavily between the characters as the story flits from Renaissance Italy to modern British Columbia. Finally, as a poet I wanted to describe some of the things I know and find beautiful in this world. My hope is to have written a story that is certainly dark but is not sickeningly horrific. One that has an ending that will leave more questions in your mind. A tale that adults can enjoy however they identify.... A big ask? Only the reader can tell me. It is available to borrow free if you are an Amazon Prime member or to buy if you prefer.

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Posted: Nov 10, 2013 8:20am
Nov 1, 2013

I am a frequent flyer between London and Vancouver and one thing I can guarantee as a nervous flyer is that I won't sleep on the flight. That is where a good book comes in and one of the very best was The Dalai Lama's Cat which rescued my sanity on the flight last year. Remembering how I easily frightened myself at 37000 feet with The DaVinci Code then many months later I was weirded out by The Lovely Bones, I looked in the bookstore at Heathrow. So many books, so many promotions.... Eventually I decided to take advantage of an offer and buy two. Now the first choice was 50 Shades of Grey simply because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, but then I spotted this beautiful cover "The Dalai Lama's Cat". Now I have to say, had I only been allowed one book, 50 Shades of Gray would have gone back on the shelf. Once a cat gets her claws in me, there is no putting it back, but I was allowed two, so I bought them both. Besides which, I live with a Buddhist who also worships cats, so what choice did I have? Now you might guess that 50 Shades was first on my reading list? Wrong! It would wait. There was a cat story to be had. I started in the departure lounge because I had a long wait and by the time we landed in Vancouver I had read from cover to cover. I don't want to spoil the story by giving away too much, except to say that this is a delightful tale about a very sweet little Himalayan cat who is rescued from almost certain death by the Dalai Lama. The terrified kitten is brought back to the monastery where she becomes a cherished member of the household. During the course of her adventures, we discover much about compassion as the Dalai Lama's Cat reveals her new Buddhist insights from a kitty's point of view. It has some surprises along the way too.... Now having read this charming book on the plane, I insisted my friend in Canada should read it and she loved it too, then bringing back to England for Colin to enjoy. So discovering David Michie's book is part of a series has me planning to restock my slowly depleting bookshelves. The only question is, do I wait until I next fly to Vancouver....

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Posted: Nov 1, 2013 5:17pm
Jul 12, 2013

Did you ever think of visiting Whitby? It is a wonderful seaside resort to visit, but what is there to do in Whitby? What is there to see and where is there to stay in Whitby? I have to tell you that it is one of my very favourite seaside towns in England. The coastline nice and rugged, the sea is beautifully clean, it hosts the Whitby Folk Festival which is well worth a visit if you enjoy folk music and Whitby was the inspiration behind Bram Stoker's Dracula. This connection makes the Yorkshire seaside town a natural home for its own Goth Festival twice each year! It is a little far away for a day trip unless you are fond of starting out in the wee small hours, but I love to stay in the small family run seaside hotels that Whitby boasts. There is truly something for everybody in Whitby, a small Yorkshire fishing port which is easily accessible by train, bus and car. Whitby is obviously most famous in recent years for the Dracula connection and Gothic Festivals, but there is much more to see. In this lens I hope to share some special photos, the memories are personal but we hope to return soon to this special place and I want to share my fondness for Whitby here.... Photos used here, including lens image, are all my own and should not be copied.

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Posted: Jul 12, 2013 11:33am
Jul 5, 2013

Visiting Lake Alouette at Golden Ears Provincial Park If you enjoy hiking, Golden Ears Provincial Park is a must see! Have you ever been to Golden Ears or Lake Alouette? Well, get those hiking boots on and join me at Golden Ears. John Denver's song says "Almost Heaven" - but this isn't West Virginia, it is British Columbia, the Westernmost Province of Canada. BC is an area of temperate rainforest and Golden Ears Park is a fine representative of that rainforest. The smell of clean air and cedar is as near to pure as you can get anywhere near civilization and whenever I visit BC I have to see the Lake! This page is about the lake. Intro photo is me by the goat! Photos in this lens are by myself and Jewels. Used with permission. Please do not copy.

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Posted: Jul 5, 2013 4:38am
Jul 4, 2013

Flying to Meet the Sunrise is my own album. How do you release your own CD? It is actually quite easy to release your own CD. I have just released my first album, Flying To Meet The Sunrise on Tunecore, an independent record label and so could you! The skills you need to release your own CD are surprisingly straightforward. If you are a trained musician with some IT ability you can record and release your own CD by investing in affordable software. The biggest investment in recording a CD is time! I was responsible for writing, arranging, performing and mixing my CD although occasionally I enlisted friends to preview the results. I now move into the harder job of promotion... Here I will tell you a little about what goes into making a record and tell you a few "trade secrets" along the way. Of course, I hope that you will listen to songs from Flying To Meet The Sunrise and come back for more. What is more important, perhaps I can show you how to release your own CD, or just inspire you to try! Image credit is cover of Flying To Meet The Sunrise by Lisa Marie Gabriel.

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Posted: Jul 4, 2013 4:05pm
Jun 4, 2013

Easter music should be joyful - Easter is a time for rejoicing. Not only is it THE major Christian Festival, but it celebrates the arrival of Spring. How do you celebrate the arrival of Spring? Christmas mirrors the old Solstice festivals and the return of light from darkness, day from night. New Life and New Beginnings are the hallmarks of all Spring festivities. Pagan aspects of Easter are apparent in the symbols of Easter egg, Paschal lambs and Easter bunny - rebirth, new birth, the return of the Sun. Whilst dates and historic documents relating to Jesus are scarce to say the least, the early Christians were Romanised Jews and the Roman custom was to assimilate old gods and customs into their way of life. It is no coincidence that the most famous Resurrection of all should be celebrated around the Spring Equinox when Nature herself undergoes rebirth from darkness! It is a time for universal rejoicing! This lens celebrates the music of Easter, both secular and sacred.... Image credits - intro picture created by Photahsiamirabel. Please do not copy.

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Posted: Jun 4, 2013 5:24am
Apr 19, 2013

At lens number 128 I realised how unmanageable my lensography has really become! Now at 251 it is even more so! Hoping to make so BIG changes to it! If it is not practical to carry on, I might just turn it into something else. OK I am being honest here. Confession time! I wasn't on a mission to make the world a better place when I discovered Squidoo but I thought it would be a great way of reaching out to a wider audience. I am a professional musician, teacher, arranger and sometime composer and I wanted to tell folk about what I do. Then I got the squidoo bug big time! .

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Posted: Apr 19, 2013 5:31pm
Apr 18, 2013

Knowing how to keep your cat happy and healthy is vital for all cat lovers. Whether you buy cats or rehome them, you will know it isn't always plain sailing to keep your cat healthy and happy. If people have a problem with their cats, they may easily find help and advice, or they can just enjoy browsing through all the lenses here. Here you can also see links to cat themed gifts, gifts for cats - and some special cat poetry that I wrote myself. All about cats is obviously all about cats, my love for cats, and the part cats play in my life. It is place where cat lovers can share their pages, and it is a resource for all those who are living with cats too! I want to keep my cats healthy and happy and so do you. All about cats is a first call for people with problems or cats with problem people. Plexo modules make it fun, because you can vote for the lenses you most enjoy and add your own too. I know this lens will be fantastic, because cats make us do our best don't they? Please add your cat links to the plexos and I hope that between us all we will everyone purr! Intro image is Study in Lilac, my own photo of Dolcie. Please do not copy! Cat Family 2013 Wall Calendar #MGCAD05 [Calendar] An adorable gift for cat lovers Cat Family 2013 Wall Calendar Wall Calendar is bound to make anyone smile! Persian Cats 2013 Square 12X12 Wall Calendar Persian Cats 2013 Wall Calendar is simply a classic and a perfect Christmas gift for Persian cat lovers! Zen Cat 2013 Wall Calendar The Zen Cat 2013 Wall Calendar has to be the ultimate Christmas gift for mindful cat lovers. If your cat knows the dharma, have fun with this!

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Posted: Apr 18, 2013 5:59am
Feb 16, 2013

Well, it seems I have my wings at last. Did I already bless your lens? An angel is flying your way perhaps.... I finally took the plunge at being a Squid Angel and this will be a diary of my month's tour of duty. I shall list lenses I bless along the way. I am very grateful to all the Angels who have supported me since I started on Squidoo and I will be looking for lenses I think are personally special. So off we go - time to fly! If you have a lens I blessed, add it here. Intro photo by Colin Mason, used with permission here. Please do not copy.

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Posted: Feb 16, 2013 4:17pm

 

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Lisa Gabriel
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