Sunday, 30 June 2013

The long sleepover - part 5...

Yay I managed to buy a bun net, how happy that has made me, I've studied you tube tutorials and had a successful first attempt practice on R which she approved, now I'm fully equipped to send R off to her dance exam Sunday looking good with her hair in the recommend bun at the back :-)

Thursday was finally getting round to the couple of science experiments she had mentioned  last week...

Making clouds (not very successful)

Sucking an egg into a bottle (moderately successful)

Make water rise up inside a jar (totally successful)

Then it was time to shower and hair wash and pack an overnight bag for a sleepover at her friend's house. Ha ha does that count as a double sleepover?

R was brought back after her dance lesson which she does with this same friend so her mum was happy to take them both. Thought she might get here hungry so had saved her a dinner for just in case and she was really pleased about that.

Up early again Saturday and off to the last drama group for this term. The end of term play was very funny and very well acted. Both Hubby and M came too and really enjoyed it. It was the Fairy Tale Bafta Awards night and the cast were all traditional fairy tale characters, R was the big bad wolf.

The rest of the day was a bit of ipoding and bike riding for R, picture sorting, laundry sorting and housework for me and picture hanging, pond maintenance and bike mechanic for Hubby. Hubby and R ended their day with one of their special curry nights out at the Indian Restaurant. I really hate curry !!!

Sunday morning and another "out of bed and get ready" day.  This time R had the dance exam, she was doing the jive.

She said it wasn't her best jive but she thinks it was more than good enough for a pass.

A little bit of relax time at home as I'd already gathered all our temporary lodger's things together and put them in the car, then it was off to collect M and the four if us went out for a yummy carvery Sunday dinner.

Hubby bought the drinks and dinners and M bought the desserts (I did resist my own dessert but asked for an extra spoon *wink*) so thank you to both it was lovely. Then we took M home and deposited R and all her stuff there too. I think she is back here next weekend as the others are all back at Kentwell as I've been told the final weekend is the best.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The long sleepover - part 4.....

When M said he was in London on Monday leaving home at 7:30am and then Daughter said they were heading back to Kentwell at 7:00am I thought I'd do us all a favour and collect R Sunday evening. So glad I did as R enjoyed a long lie in :)
Actually she needed to catch up on a bit of a late night as she was missing her mum and needed extra cuddles.

Late start for us Monday but I was keen to get out and do something. So straight after lunch we went to Stonham Barns, which has an owl and birds of prey sanctuary plus meerkats and a garden centre and a few other shops. We got there just in time for the birds flight and talk display followed by feeding time and a talk with the meerkats.

Yes that last picture does have some of Hubby's finger over the lens, a common enhancement of his with his phone camera!

Tuesday was an up and out start (not too early) for R's drum kit lesson. I could sit on a comfy sofa just outside the room she was playing in so a bit of a read and lots of listening to her drumming which sounded good to me.

From there we had a bit of a shopping trip to hunt down "the right" black plimsoles (her sister had borrowed them for her concert Sunday and we couldn't find them) for her drama costume needed on Saturday and we had to buy white socks for the dance competition on Sunday. Thankfully we got both. Lunch then out again to Asda as R realised we didn't have any of the hair stuff needed for her dance competition, she has to have her hair in a bun and it has to be round a bun-doughnut......thank heavens for you-tube tutorials :-)

Out again in time for us to collect D from school (M had timing issues) then we took D and R to meet M for Computer Club. Hubby then collected M and R after club and took M home and R also went in to find some PJs (remembered she needed some for her sleepover  at her friend's on Thursday) then Hubby came home with the PJs but no R.......she'd had another homesick wobble and just had to sleep there :-(

Thankfully M didn't need to go to London today after all so even though our alarm went off at 7am and Hubby was prepared to go and collect R and drop M at the station at 7:30am he saw M's email just in time, phew. We'll collect R after lunch and try to get some hair bun making practice in before she goes to bowling with Hubby for the evening.

Monday, 24 June 2013

We did you proud....

Oh SisterM how I miss you. We gathered around you yesterday for your stone setting and it is still so hard to believe that you left nearly a year ago. I think you would have been pleased to see just how many people were there, of course it helps that we are a biggish family and most of us were there, but add to that extended family of loyal cousins and your close friends and magistrate friends and schule friends and your favourite retired Rabbi and the new Rabbi too....we made an impressive crowd!

The woodland area you chose is really growing around you well, so different from a year ago when it was a newly consecrated field. Although I know it's not my place to complain it did bring out some uncomfortable allergies in two of your children and me and maybe others but we soon got over it.

I almost heard you giggle when I first saw your plaque and asked your husband what the four Hebrew letters at the bottom mean and when he said they were an abbreviation of a much longer blessing I replied "So just like she did on her texting lol" :-)

I'm sure you're watching them all anyway but wanted to tell you that your children and their families are doing ok and looking after their dad all the time, but of course they know there'd be thunder and lightning if they didn't.

So come visit me in my dreams any time you fancy a chat.
Love you always xxx

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The long sleepover - part 3.....

Wednesday R woke really sprightly even though she was still filling bins everywhere with used tissues. She had been spending lots of time skyping with M, sharing cartoon ideas and general nonsense chatting I think, however he was working in London on Wednesday so when Chris arrived she washed and dressed at super speed and went outside to do gardening with him. She also appointed herself guardian of the cherry tree and not only scared any birds off that dared to land but also climbed right up into the tree and picked a bowl full of ripe cherries that hadn't been pecked at yet.

As it was a lovely sunny and warm day out came the hula hoops and poi and R spent ages practicing her skills and even tried to teach me some basic poi moves but I was worse than useless, I was dangerous! Hubby and R popped down to Toys-R-Us to buy better hoops than we have (R has used professional hoops at circus camp) but they didn't have any   :-(

That evening Hubby took R with him to his league bowling night and I went out with my friends as usual.

Thursday I suggested a trip out to the RSPB site at Minsmere but R said she really wanted a bike ride with Granddad (embarrassed to admit I can't ride a bike) so as that would give her some fresh air and exercise I shut down the Minsmere internet page. However by the time she eventually got washed and dressed it was lunchtime and then raining!!! So a lot of faffing around and finally focused on checking out her ice-cube experiment that she started last Sunday and forgot about, that also included a "what happens if we freeze an egg, separate yolk from white and also mixed?"

This all held her interest for only about 10mins and I couldn't get her to form predictions or conclusions! In fact she hasn't looked since they've frozen.

The evening could have been a disaster as we were all quite tired but there didn't seem to be anything suitable for us all on tv to just slob in front of (hundreds of channels and very little ever appeals). Eventually on Sky+ on demand movies Hubby found the Robin Williams film Flubber and R hadn't seen it already yay :-)

Friday was non-stop by comparison to previous days. Of course it was the first day R had managed to stay asleep and I had to wake her! 40mins away we took her to an art lesson. She was there two hours so Hubby and I went for a mooch round the shops in Bury St Edmunds. Home for lunch, then R baked a victoria sponge to take home to M as he'd asked for one in an earlier skype conversation. After that, and because the weather was perfect, she persuaded Granddad to take her on their postponed bike ride. This left her just enough time to jam, butter icing and icing sugar dust her sponge and save it in a tin ready for tomorrow then we rushed out to the car again and headed to Kesgrave for her dance lessons.

A late fish and chips dinner was about all I had energy for :-)

And finally to this morning when yet again I had to wake her up, always makes me feel mean. Then across town for Drama. She's there for an hour and a half so I enjoyed a good read of my book while waiting. Then I took her back to her house as M is there and Daughter is coming home this evening, as Hubby and I are busy Sunday and we will pick her up again Sunday night when we get back.

I'm missing her already!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The long sleepover, part 2....

Tuesday and R was full of cold, poor thing. It was a bit of a nothing day for her by choice as she had read out to me about four different science experiments she wanted to do but never actually got round to doing any of them. She did make the rhubarb crumble which wasn't too labour intensive as the rhubarb had been pulled, washed, chopped and cooked on Sunday. The rest of the day seemed to be mainly on the ipod in a skype conversation with M or on minecraft.

4:30pm till 6pm she had Creative Computing Club led by M, but as she had finished her part of the project she spent a lot of that time on minecraft too!

I have to say this cold has given her a really good appetite, she's eating loads which is unusual for her as she can be more of a grazer than a meal eater.

And for the rest of us yesterday, it was an early start as Hubby had phoned in a fault on the solar panels system and the electrician was coming at 7:30am. The loft ladder opens into my bedroom so I had to be up. R and I were in our dressing gowns hiding in the lounge when he arrived and Hubby took him up into the loft. He was a huge bloke but thankfully made it through the loft hatch although only just.

I ran the dishwasher once and the washing machine twice making good use of our free energy (I'm sure the novelty will wear off very soon). The sun was shining and it was quite warm outside but humid so the washing didn't really dry well and it's pouring with rain this morning, so it will be clothes horses upstairs and underwear in the airing cupboard again.

Monday, 17 June 2013

The long sleepover, part 1.....

Granddaughter R has moved in with us while Daughter with E and O are being Tudors again at Kentwell Hall. This time D has joined them for the first time, he is a page. E is in the wool shed I think and Daughter and O are musicians again with the common folk dancers (think they are actually called something else but I've forgotten).

R didn't want to Tudor again so is living with us. So far she has created two games using Minecraft, one was based on the game "Tipping Point" but using pigs and a cow as the bonus prize. Sunday was her baking session and we ended up with a huge victoria sandwich sponge plus 24 chocolate and coconut fairy cakes. I've also a full list of her activities to get her to and today was archery which she really enjoyed.

Only downside is today she feels like she has the beginning of a cold so not feeling 100%. Hope that passes soon.

Perhaps at the end of her stay I'll get her to write a guest post of what it's really like living with her grandparents, could be an eye-opener eh lol.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Bring on the sunshine...

Here is the before...

And here is the after...

Yes we've had solar panels fitted yesterday and they come to connect them up today.
Hopefully I'll be reporting on lots of money saved.

After Hubby did all the research our next door neighbour signed up for them too, then went on holiday last Saturday with the parting words to Hubby of "If you can get it all sorted while we're away that would be good" he was joking of course! However the first surveyor came Tuesday to see that the roof is structurally sound, he approved both houses. The second surveyor came Wednesday to check the energy efficiency of the property which entitles us to the government payments for the electricity we sell back to the grid, he did both houses. The panel fitters did both houses at the same time too of course.  So as our neighboursP&A are due home late this afternoon and the electricians are due this morning his wish will be granted, usually we just feed his fish ha ha ha.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

A Game of Golf - theatre.....

This was another very funny play in the Intimate Exchanges series at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester. This was the third for me, I believe there are eight in the whole series. I actually had to forfeit going to one of FriendM's excellent dinner parties for this, but it was worth it.


“The temptation to come back for more is irresistible”
The Guardian
Farcical comings and goings on a golf course leave Miles up to his neck in a bunker trying to figure out whether to give his beleaguered marriage one last shot, in this final laugh-out-loud instalment.
A Game of Golf is part of Intimate Exchanges, a series of plays by Alan Ayckbourn, in which just two actors play every single character exploring how even the tiniest, careless choices we make in our lives can have enormous consequences.
It’s the ultimate theatrical game of love and chance, and an absolute comic delight. We’ve chosen the four funniest and most poignant plays in the series to be part of our 2013 season, so whether you’re only able to join us for a single episode, or like thousands of people who’ve seen Intimate Exchanges over the years you find that you have to know what ‘Fate’ has in store next for Ayckbourn’s wonderful cast of characters, and decide to join us for two, three or all four instalments, you can be sure of an experience packed full of razor wit and lightning costume changes!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Praise where it's deserved....

We are all usually very vocal when something isn't right or someone has let us down but often forget to highlight or acknowledge when things go according to plan or better.

This morning I needed both blood tests and x-rays and I was in and out of the hospital in an hour, which included walking all those corridors to find where we needed to be. So efficient (we were there early so short queues) and all the staff were so pleasant and smiley.

It's nothing major, just that I actually needed another prescription for some anti-inflammatory painkillers and that needed a GP appointment.  My first problem was discovering that our surgery has just changed their appointment system and the new system had only been in practice for one day so some poor explaining by the receptionist and confusion for me. When I did get my appointment I was really pleased to see my favourite GP back, don't think I've seen her for about five years as she left and now thankfully has come back.

DrM is really lovely, really listens and I totally have faith in her,  which is such a big part of a patients relationship with their doctor. The only downside is she is very thorough and often requests further testing, my bloods form was requesting for 8 things to be tested and the x-ray was on my right knee which she thinks might be arthritis.

Results are a week away but today I want to say thank you to my GP, to those in Haematology and the Phlebotomist that took my blood (I don't give it easily), to the x-ray department and the Radiographer that took pictures of my knee and to the three separate people who asked if we needed directions while we were corridor walking, thank you.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Mood swings...

Bit of a mixed day moods wise yesterday with everyone. It was D's 11th birthday and as they had a busy morning they were all coming here after lunch.

Midday Hubby walked down to Asda as his SERV mates were part of the community event there, he was only going to be an hour but was actually gone three hours.

D seemed very pleased with his present and the money in his card needed spending immediately so M walked down with D, R and E in their new matching tshirts to Asda to find Granddad and spend money. M had been on a training course in the morning which had put him in a bad mood and he and E kept arguing.  O was a bit cross he got left behind but consoled himself with the ipad. In fact the afternoon seemed dominated by screen time for the big three too, mainly Mine Craft I think.

M said he was exhausted and took himself upstairs to bed. When O got bored he took himself outside with a magnifying glass to look for bugs and when R got bored she found some experiments in her new book (bargain from a stall outside Asda), How to Fossilise Your Hamster and Other Experiments.

First was coating an egg in soot from a candle flame then putting the black egg in water and it looks silver.

This was followed by the creating static to make water bend trick.

After that she tried to extract the iron from cornflakes but we think my magnets were not strong enough.

When I went in to prepare dinner I'm not sure where my head was because I put the hot saucepan full of bubbling cheese sauce onto a plastic chopping board, when Daughter questioned what I'd done it was too late, I lifted the pan and the plastic lifted like very stringy cheese!!! Apparently I'd also burnt the sauce on the inside which Hubby informed me later was "a buggar to scrub clean".

Dinner followed without too much trouble except O wasn't hungry (he'd had an ongoing caramellow shortbread thing he'd been eating on and off since their cafe birthday breakfast) then there wasn't quite enough dessert to satisfy everyone but there was birthday cake to follow so I don't think anyone left hungry.

By the time we'd cleared the table (and the egg that R had used which got broken by O) the children had got really rowdy in the lounge, play fighting and throwing cushions (thankfully my orchid pot plant came to no real harm). So with a lot of effort by Daughter to get them all to collect up their stuff and get shoes on they were eventually packed into the car. Lots more noise outside as O didn't want to be strapped in and D was sent back to thank us properly for his birthday presents and E was cross as she had meant to ask if she could sleep over but hadn't and I then said it wasn't a convenient night anyway.

They drove off, we cleared up, sigh!

Friday, 7 June 2013

A legal high....

Ha ha ha don't think drop out youth with greasy hair and ripped jeans, this is Hubby I'm talking about!

The four men had arranged a ten-pin bowling night and us girls (plus D who is a non-bowling man) met at the truck stop for a carvery dinner especially to celebrate H's birthday and the men joined us there afterwards.

After eating we moved from restaurant area to the bar and the band on stage were Road Runner. We have seen them before and especially the base player Vernon who is now in four different bands and is a bit of a giggly/pervy/flirty odd ball. He always comes to chat and joke during every interval.

When the men joined us and the band took a break FriendM and I went out to my car and brought in the birthday cupcakes she had bought and with just one candle we sang happy birthday to H.

I was driving so Hubby was drinking and I don't know what they put in the beer but Hubby was up and fast dancing with us which is a rare event and even made the other men feel a bit guilty and get up and dance too.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The worst direct sales customer.....

...that's me :)

Hubby is now looking again into the viability of us having solar panels installed.
So when an unsolicited call came last Friday he told them he was interested but busy and to ring again Monday afternoon....they rang again Monday morning in the middle of our coffee morning grrrr, anyway Hubby made an appointment for someone to call round Tuesday at 2pm.

Not long after an early Tuesday call to confirm the appointment I answered another call from a different person within the same company. She checked that I was Mrs.X and asked to speak to Mr.X but I said he wasn't available so she said "Well I'm phoning as he suddenly cancelled your 10am appointment because YOU were taken into hospital and I need to rebook an appointment with him......but as you are obviously not in hospital can you tell me why he was just making an excuse? As you must realise we have already sent out our salesman and paid him!"

I pointed out to this person that I know for a fact that my husband wouldn't lie to her or anyone else and if I had been rushed to hospital this morning phoning us shortly after he cancelled would be the most inappropriate time to expect him to rebook. I suggested she had contacted the wrong customer and that I would check with my husband and he would ring her back. She kept insisting that she would ring us and eventually she gave me her name and phone number. I wasn't warming to this company!  While I was passing on the conversation to Hubby she phoned back, giggling and apologising that she did have the wrong customer and to ignore our previous phonecall and Gary is still coming at 2pm.

So Gary arrived and we sat down and he started his patter with a list of what he was going to tell us later so Hubby stopped him and explained that we already knew quite a bit and that's when Gary said that maybe I wouldn't know quite as much as my husband so he would explain more for my benefit.  I then stopped him and said what we were really interested in was the price and if it was way above what we were willing to pay we could save his time by saying so took him more than 2 hours before he would give us an actual price, and yes it was way above what we were willing to pay. He used all the common direct sales tactics of product placement, government incentives, discounts for taking part in their feedback scheme and further discounts for signing up quickly. We finally got rid of him and said he would have an answer before the end of the week.

Hubby had met and chatted to another company while he was at the Suffolk Show, so he rang them and Karl arrived this afternoon.  His first question to us was how much did we know already and then he told us the price answered all our questions and actually went outside to measure up and then suggest the best system and size to suit our needs. He wasn't even here long enough for us to offer him a cup of tea!

Karl's solution was half the cost of Gary's and included as much product and with the same guarantees! Bit of a no brainer!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The History Boys - theatre....

We all thoroughly enjoyed this one :)


“A priceless evening of entertainment”
East Anglian Daily Times
“An evening’s entertainment doesn’t get much better”
Colchester Gazette
“An accomplished and beautifully observed production”
The Public Reviews
Alan Bennett’s hilariously funny and exceptionally moving semi-autobiographical play set the theatre-world alight when it premiered in 2004, going on to be a smash-hit in both the West End and on Broadway, collecting Olivier and Tony awards for Best New Play and Best Play respectively.
The History Boys charts the fortunes of an unruly bunch of bright sixth form boys at the fictional Cutlers’ Grammar School in the early 1980s, where, under the guidance of maverick ‘old-school’ English teacher, Hector, and Irwin, the shrewd young supply teacher brought in by their ambitious headmaster to fast-track the boys to success, they each set out to secure themselves a coveted place at Oxford or Cambridge.
It’s a compelling exploration of both the anarchy of adolescence and the very purpose of education itself, but it’s also a wonderful feel-good evening, shot through with Alan Bennett’s masterful wit and abundant humanity – quite simply a must-see.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

A people day....

FriendsN&T called in yesterday morning for coffee, we don't see them very often so it was a good catch-up natter. N is slowly recovering from surgery but looked really well I'm pleased to say. They were off in their camper-van for a weekend relax, hope it gets a bit warmer for them.

After lunch my nails technician arrived and so did NeighbourC to have her nails done too, and the three if us chatted non stop for a couple of hours. C left dark purple fingered and mine are a light lilacy-pink shimmer (my only girlyness).

After dinner Hubby and I settled down in front of the tele, then he got called out (he is an emergency volunteer blood runner for SERV). I had a lovely long phone call from our son with a full update but mainly so I could keep him company for a hands-free short part of his drive back from Liverpool to Colchester.

While I was on the phone I got a text from NieceL which said "are you home", which usually means she wants a chat, so I replied "on the phone to son, will ring you when I'm done" but she text back "ok but are you home" and when I said "yes" it came back instantly "see you in a minute"! She lives more than an hours drive away so lots of scenarios went through my head, did she have a problem and needed a big cuddle from her auntie, did her sonD persuade her to let him drive her car here as he's just passed his test......but what I hadn't even considered was the ambulance suddenly pulling up onto my drive! Her husbandJ is a mechanic for the ambulance service and he had to deliver one and then collect one somewhere near here to take back and brought my niece and planned to stop here for a quick cuppa.

I wonder what all my neighbours thought seeing an ambulance on the drive for more than an hour. I know hubby was a bit surprised when he arrived back on his motorbike (I had text him a warning but he hadn't seen it in time).

Also the tricky bit today is there are three couples all trying to meet up for lunch and we are having great difficulty finding a day that fits in all our three diaries,  so many emails it's very funny.