Massive summer party

Nearly 70 Baking Blind co-cooks, family and friends were at my all-time-record biggest party this summer.  Lots of people brought wonderful salads and marvellous puddings to take a bit of the strain and Martin, my favourite pork butcher brought an outstanding hog roast.

Top billing went to the “Gentle Jazz” band of volunteers who play for charity: we managed to contribute over £630 to their “Macmillan Cancer Support”.  Most moving of all was the special song that their leader, Gerray, had written for me.  I had no idea that song sheets had been covertly distributed so that everyone could join in – and there were many sniffles and wet eyes as a result.  Many of us danced under the apple trees, shared a bottle or more and generally had a memorable day under sunny skies.

It was my chance to thank so many people who has supported me and contributed to Baking Blind and winning the Holman prize.  And very special thanks go to brother Martin and friend Alan for managing the logistics plus key supporters Lorna, Karen, Jane and Peter for ensuring that all preparation was on track plus Sam and Hannah for great service on the day.  All I needed to do was waft around and chat with this outstanding group of friends – and it was a rare occasion to have all four of my brothers here together.

If you want a very special band for an event, contact: Gerray Thomas


You can support the Holman adventure too:

Best wishes




Don’t forget to remove the shell!

A comforting hearty soup for cold winter days – you can watch me make this on You Tube

Put the crab shell in to this chowder after adding all the flesh to get maximum flavour.

I get bacon from Greenfield pork ( – they also did a fabulous hog roast for a big party I gave.

I didn’t have any milk so added 2 heaped tablespoons of skimmed milk powder.

If you prefer a chunkier soup, put aside some drained spoonfuls of the cooked mix while liquidising and then return and stir through.

A dash of cream can make this soup even more luxurious – but certainly isn’t essential.

These quantities made over 3 pints/nearly 2 litres of soup

You can find the bread recipe at:

And the Chowder recipe is at:


Penny Melville-Brown OBE

Disability Dynamics ltd

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

Chowder and mini loaves for 2

Chowder and mini loaves for 2



Did you know: English party-goers undaunted by summer weather. Vintage band re-energises vintage rockers. Hog roast and local brasserie delight party gourmets.More dancing - LPSunday’s once-in-a-lifetime, utterly memorable celebration showed that it is the guests and helpers who make a great party, rather than whoever’s giving it.  It was a somewhat belated birthday bash that turned in to a triumph of well-wishers over the weather.

That’s not to say that planning with military precision wasn’t essential: from building a new extension 18 months ago, pre-booking music and food plus lining up all the extra tables and chairs.  But, at the end of the day, it was everyone else who played a part: Sue and Sally helped create the magnificent flower arrangements throughout, brother Martin set up the gazebos and table plans, Karen and Jane sorted all the place settings, Julie made her magical coleslaw and other massed salads while Roger selected the liqueurs – and there were more.

Vintage Jazz band 2 - LPIt was, of course, a typical English summer day: drizzling to start with drips disintegrating table coverings, the wind gusting to lift the gazebos and the prospect of puddling along paths for everyone.  Toni was stalwart in overriding the automatic awning that threatened to rewind at each zephyr-breath and reveal the biggest table to the rain: it would have been damp seats all round.

Someone smiled down on us: the weather cleared and alcohol-fuelled calories increased the temperature.  Fabulous food was delivered to each table courtesy of Larry and his team (Lauro’s Brasserie in Fareham) plus a stupendously succulent hog roast hand carved by Martin (Greenfield Pork).  Even with second and third helpings, the left-overs went to good homes.

3 hand jivers - SCThere was no stopping multi-generational foot stompers from pounding the lawn in to submission when the Vintage Sounds band ( turned up the volume – Elvis would have been proud.  Jiving under the ancient apple trees was only slightly hazardous if you could avoid the low branches!  And “We’ll meet again” turned us in to a joyous group interlinked by hands, shared rhythm by foot but rather less harmony by voice.  Three rousing encores and we collapsed for night-caps and fireworks.

Birthday cake - SCWhat a day of revels –the first guests arrived at 1400 and the last left just before midnight.  We slept well but everything was cleared the following morning – and now the house is full of the scent of lilies from all the table arrangements.  There’s still a pile of gifts and cards to open – just need a sighted-someone to help.

It was a wonderful day – and it wouldn’t have been so magical without the warmth and gusto of everyone.  And we raised over £800 for the band’s charity: Macmillan Cancer support.