Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Rained off, rained on and scared....

Saturday we'd arranged for me to go with Daughter to Cambridge for the Festival of Ideas. Daughter was a participant with the Tudor musicians and dancers. R and E were being Tudors too and M had said he would have O at home as he would have D as well, however, he then had to work so I said I'd go with and while the Tudors were entertaining for 2 hours in the afternoon I'd hopefully find enough to entertain O and D. We woke that morning to yukky weather, rainy, cold and grey and as the morning progressed it got worse and we even saw some hail. So after a few text and phone calls between Daughter and I we decided that she will go (she won't let people down) and I'd childcare at home in the warm and dry. Hubby was out for the day and not surprisingly the girls wanted to stay here too so it was me and four children. At the last moment it turns out M wasn't working so he came too. I had thought of a few fun things to entertain but it seemed that all the 3 older children wanted to do was be on the computers upstairs with M on his too. O was downstairs with me but I couldn't get him off daddy's ipad playing his games. So I did little more than catering and waiting in case they wanted something.

Saturday ended with some conflict and upset and E asked to sleep over so her and I could do something on Sunday together. So after we were up, washed, dressed and had breakfast we headed out. Unfortunately we were restricted on time as I had a supermarket delivery booked for early afternoon. I had found online that there was a small craft market on for a few hours and it was right near the huge new Next store that E was keen to have a look around. But first we needed to blow some cobwebs away by an outside walk and we decided on the prom at Felixstowe (anywhere that was woods or fields would be far too muddy after all yesterday's rain). We set off with it a bit chilly and a breeze and a little sunshine too.....sunshine didn't even last the 20 minute journey and we parked with the wipers going! We decided to still get out and have a walk and got back to the car just over half an hour later quite chilly and soggy, but rosy cheeked and glad we had. Then to the craft market of only about 8 or 9 stalls and very few customers so we felt sorry for them and spent some money with two of the sellers. Then into Next where E took the lead and inspected everything (she really loves shopping) while I followed. We confirmed how much clothing allowance she had left and she chose four items to try on and bought two of them. I love that this 10 year old knows her own mind, knows what she likes and what suits her, can budget and even considers value for money <proud grandma moment>! We got home and finished our late lunch just in time as my shopping arrived, so together we put it all away. When Daughter and R arrived on their way home from R's dancing competition we were told that R had done really well and with a new partner. They had done about 6 different dances and reached 5th in one dance and 6th in another (I think) <another proud grandma moment>.

Monday Daughter, R, E, O and I went to Hollow Tree Farm and met Daughter's friend and her little boy there too. Every year they decorate up the farm and lay on some extra activities all Halloween based. It's a lot of fun and a great day with the bonus of sunshine keeping us warm. The girls wanted to move a lot faster than the little boys so I went ahead with them and as the farm isn't huge we all met up various times. The girls and I did our final lap and decided we'd finished so out of the gate across the car park and then I text Daughter to say we were waiting for them in the cafe....that's when she rang me to say they had lost O so the three of us got permission to go back in and join the search. We knew he couldn't be far and the whole place was full of parents with young children so if he was crying and alone someone would intervene but it's sooooo scary to not have sight of your three year old and we were all relieved when he was found right the other side of the farm and mother and sobbing son were reunited. Turns out he wasn't sobbing because he'd been lost as he knew exactly where he was and were he was going...he was sobbing because he'd been found and brought back as he'd wanted to catch up with grandma!!!!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Winter draws on...

That title is another of my mum's little sayings that always made us giggle, but I don't think anyone these days would call knickers 'drawers' so maybe nobody would get the pun. But it makes me think of mum and smile so that's all that matters really :)

The last few days have been all fog and drizzle and although not cold yet it definitely feels like winter is on the way and I need to think of indoors, snuggle down, fun things to do both for me and for when the children are here and getting a bit shut-in crazy.

Nothing knitting or sewing just now, so need a new project?
Got loads of books waiting to be read at times when I'm sitting all alone (and hubby doesn't come in and put the TV on).
I've got a scrap-collage rainbow box half done, to be getting on with too.

For screen time if I have a child on one-to-one, maybe I'll have a look through BBC Bitesize with them.
I've also started a monthly ideas and challenge list that we can all take part in. I've done it in a sort of lap-book folder style, with a top sheet that can list what we have done and has space underneath to stick photo evidence or more detail.

There is usually a reasonable amount of baking done so hopefully my freezer will benefit and if it's not a wet winter there will still be lots of outdoor days.

Meanwhile there will be Christmas to plan for but first I've a Halloween menu to come up with.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Excuse me for butting in....

Sometimes when I'm reading blogs I'm never sure if it's polite or not to comment. Of course there are the few blogs of people I know well and that's just like having a conversation with them...but then there are the blogs you have picked up along the way and then I can feel like the lonely person at a party, eavesdropping on a group having a great chat and should I or shouldn't I push myself forward to join in?

Strangers can be friends we haven't met yet, so they say! And of course if you've written words that are published in a public domain then you obviously want readers and responses, right? So I have and the authors always seemed pleased that I have. But what about friends of my friends, would they feel I was muscling in on their friendships? Oh the moral dilemmas!!! Guess I'm making far too much of this eh?

So for me this space is often just a diary so I remember, sometimes it's more like a letter to a friend but always it hopes to welcome you when you pop in and say hello.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Time flies.....

It's true that time is so relative to what and how we feel about our actions. This week I met up with my old work friends and still find it hard to believe that I took forced redundancy three and a half years ago, although it usually feels like I've been a lady of leisure all my life as I love this lifestyle and can barely remember the daily ritual of alarm clocks and office routines.

There's an art exhibition coming up and stuck for ideas of something new to put in I decided to unframe a previous pastel and improve it. I used to sign my paintings with my initials and year, and this one is 19 years old, that surprised me, hopefully I've improved my techniques since then and improved it to something others will enjoy and may even purchase ;-)

I'm now thinking about printing up a monthly "challenge" chart for me, the children and anyone else that may want to join in. Sometimes I feel like time has disappeared and what have I achieved, so I think I'll list things to give me/us a nudge. When I've thought it through a little more and come up with a plan I'll blog this space!

And yesterday was finally to the dental appointment I've waited a month for, how long that month has seemed, painful tooth and two lots of antibiotics needed and now the tooth is out. Let's hope the healing time just whizzes by.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Under attack....

Had a day out with Daughter and O on Friday after dropping the girls off at a 5 hour big science workshop, it was too far to drive home and back again.

The weather was not good for any outdoor pursuits, it had been raining for at least 12 hours and many places would be really muddy. So we headed into Woodbridge. After a little mooch we stopped for a coffee. O just loves his 'baby chino' and also chose a huge slice of chocolate cake!  I said I would share it with him but he was not giving any of it up without a fight. Small note here of gratitude that Daughter had wet wipes in her bag as I was sitting next to flying chocolate cake wearing a bright yellow mac, should have known better eh?

After coffee we did more mooching, shoe shop where O nearly got some new boots but he didn't want them as they were not brightly coloured, book shop where O bought a book, charity shop and a lot of window shopping too. Then all of a sudden Daughter felt unwell, she looked exhausted and said she could just lie on the pavement and go to sleep  :-(
We decided to stop for lunch. Daughter could barely eat half of her sandwich and of course O was still full from his cake and totally entertained by his new book so he ate little, I ate all mine but felt I had to apologise to the waitress when I paid in case they thought there was something wrong with the food.

We headed straight back to the car and left Daughter there to hopefully have a sleep while O and I spent an hour in the nearby park. At the end of the carpark near the park gate there is a paneled wall that has been painted on, must have been a mural painting project of some time ago as lots of the paint is now flaking but we both enjoyed looking at it all on the way in and out of the park.

Couldn't leave Daughter any longer as we had to collect the girls, so we went back to the car with O taking a lovely golden leaf as a present for mummy. Collected the girls then dropped E at choir on our way back.  Daughter went straight home to bed and hubby then took over E's transport needs for the evening.

Saturday lunchtime I suddenly started to feel unwell, my stomach wouldn't stop gurgling and rumbling and I couldn't eat anything. I had the total shivers and ended up under a pile of blankets. Headache and my legs were has someone declared germ warfare? Hope you are fighting fit.....but best stay on guard!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Grape success.....

We have two grape vines in our garden, they are both dessert grapes one white and one black. They always produce lots of fruit that taste delicious, unfortunately for those of us totally spoilt by supermarket big fat juicy seedless varieties my homegrown seem so tiny and so full of seeds that they are a real bother to cook with and far too many to eat so most years they get given away.

This year after talking to a neighbour who makes grape jelly in her pressure cooker every year I had another go. My neighbour said she hates the very labour intensive prep of picking the grapes off the stalks so she does just a small amount at a time as they ripen then freezes them ready for when needed. What a great idea, so that's what I did. Freezing also kills off any little bugs I hadn't noticed so felt happier doing it that way too.....or is that just spider cryogenics!!!

I used 2kilo of fruit, half and half black and white grapes plus added a couple of apples for the extra pectin. Straining the pulp down to the clear liquid was a very sticky and messy process and I seemed to use every utensil in my kitchen - got it sorted eventually so will be much easier next time.

And eventually 2 pints of clear juice produced 6 full jars of jelly and a good third in a jar for sampling.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Hunting the house.......

I know it's only a bit of paper but losing anything I know I had is always so much bigger!
I used to be so organised and so meticulous about storing stuff, admittedly storing far too much stuff as I'm a total hoarder. However if you wanted something I would always know if I had it or not and exactly where it was!  Seems not any more!

Last year our art group was invited to join a local exhibition. I was the organisers point of contact and was sent all the relevant paperwork by email. I printed and copied enough for all our members and spares and added a covering letter offering to submit our forms and payments together and to get all our paintings checked in and out at the appropriate times. I listed everything they need to do like labelling and wrapping.........and mostly it all worked just fine.

This year it's happening again and the organisers haven't left me much time to sort out my members so the easiest for me would be to adjust the dates on last year's letter but could I find it, no I could not. I hunted on every computer and memory stick, I'd typed it out so why wasn't it saved somewhere?  I hunted through all my bags and boxes that I would use for art looking for the spare paper copies which would also save me lots of printer ink as most of the pages are the same......but couldn't find them either.

So with little time left I typed up another covering letter and decided I needed 20 copies of it and each of the three pages I had on the email. That entailed using a combination of the three rescued and repaired printers, the running out of ink on the easiest one (almost having to empty the cupboard to discover no spare black cartridge), the running out of paper on the one on the shelf high enough for me to need the toddler step out of the bathroom, and having to wait for hubby to get home to sort out the settings on the third because that's on a shelf too high for me even with the step, and finally needing to use the scanner too. I'm so glad I don't work in an office anymore!

Handed out the forms Thursday evening and now fingers crossed it all goes to plan and someone sells something.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Wrong year for the plague....

Poor Daughter wanted a fun five days as a tudor playing her new Rauchefife and eating pottage, however, various unwell people have changed plans for her and us. Firstly R was unwell so stayed behind, then O was unwell so Daughter brought him home Saturday stayed the night then she went back early morning leaving O behind, R had also decided not to go at all, with us sharing the children's entertainment with M.

Yesterday we held our monthly coffee morning. I love it that our neighbours are enjoying the chat and keep coming. There were 10 of us round the table this time. One couple were just back from a Canadian holiday, there was sharing of hats and scarf patterns for putting into charity boxes, and a quick lesson on jam making for the tiny grapes we get on the vine in our garden, and everyone wanted an update on A next door who has broken his pelvis and is housebound for the next couple of months.

Unfortunately for M he had been unwell overnight and got a doctor's appointment for early afternoon, so after our coffee morning guests had gone we collected the children and brought them back here. Having finally got O's tudor coat dry after dinner hubby reunited him with his mum at Kentwell (did I mention it's an hours drive from here) and R decided to sleep here instead of going home. Such a shame there was nothing good on tv for our evening relax and R didn't want to play a game so we watched her choice which was Sponge Bob x1, Finneas and Ferb x2 and Simpsons x2   :{

I was first up this morning but not till 8:30am and there was already a txt on my phone from Daughter saying that O had the runs and she would need to bring him home. Camping at Kentwell is definitely not the place to be with an unwell three year old :( So Daughter with O arrived here and together with R Hubby and me we had breakfast and following many games later by lunch. O was really pleased to have R to play with and did some pool playing and den building together, he also got granddad tennis playing and got me setting up and packing away his painting session and boardgame playing. Daughter headed back to Kentwell disappointed to have missed a whole day and back to E who is loving it there, and as M is still unwell both children are sleeping here, this is the first time for O. He's asleep now after a long story downstairs from granddad and another story from me upstairs........keeping everything crossed!!!

There is no record of a plague in East Anglia during 1556 but without being able to run home to the warm and dry and modern medicine you can understand how they would have suffered and spread germs.