Monday, 27 October 2014

A big behind....

...on this blog!

There's been no more DIY disruptions to report on as our next door neighbours have had a new drive laid so Hubby had been there for some of the digging out prep and helping to load the skip. He really can't sit still.

For me there's been lots of creating recently with knitting and crochet and sewing. BFriendM has a big birthday today and I've made her three handbags to go with the handbag organiser. Couldn't post photos of them before in case she saw and spoilt the surprise.

I was really pleased with them' just wish I was a better photographer ;o)

FriendT had her monthly crafters gathering at the 'busy bungalow' where it's mostly chat and some crafting but lots of swapping knowledge and ideas. Last time I swapped my baby ball pattern with FriendP's scarf pattern (that she designed herself).
I do have 'blocking' issues though as the edges roll even after wet blocking twice (second time in case I hadn't rinsed it enough and added some softener. I've tried steam blocking once before and managed to flatten what I'd knitted completely as I haven't got a decent steam iron so won't do it that way again. I'm really happy using the cheapest acrylic yarn I can find if it's not for clothes, which is probably part of the problem but there must be a solution so any suggestions gratefully received.
Last week also saw me reliving my motorbike terrors, when R went on her maiden ride with Granddad! She used Daughter's crash helmet and bought her own leather jacket off ebay. I waved them off through gritted teeth.
 She loved it! E wants to ride too, so fingers crossed we get another sunny day when she has the time.
Did hear this week that our gardener has finally decided to retire at the end of this year (he's 72) so I guess I'll have to do a bit more out there as Hubby hates the general keeping tidy jobs and only enjoys all the big stuff, whereas my favourite bit out there is just to sit back and admire everyone else's hard work hahahaha
Yesterday we joined BFriendM's family to celebrate her birthday. So special being included as family. Today I'm meeting up with a friend from my youth (yes that long ago) and we managed to find each other on facebook and meet up for the first time nearly four years ago and this is our earliest opportunity to do it again.
My diary seems quite full from now till the end of the year so from a big behind to plenty in-front.....or is that just me!!!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Is no carpet safe? .......

A problem under our bed which turned out to be because the middle caster sits right on the join in the floor boards, so a big dent in the board and a hole in the carpet. Made worse no doubt by small children using the bed as a trampoline.

Furniture moved
Carpet up
Floorboard up
Support struts added
 New floorboard out of the loft
Cut to size (wrong way up)
Cut to size take2
All screwed down
Carpet back
All furniture back
Bed made and final vacuuming and you'd never have known he'd been there!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Constant status material.....

I'd meant to blog this sooner but as I'd actually put all these photos on my facebook page as it happened it seemed like I'd done it already.

I'm talking about last Friday when Daughter rang early to ask if O could come here for the day as he didn't want to go to the HE group they were going to. As we had nothing else planned I said yes and he was thrilled and arrived with wet hair as he'd rushed out of the shower to get here.

We started the day with breakfast (although he'd already had a large breakfast at home) and O wanted to cook pancakes. He's not totally sure about my hob so he did all the batter mixing and sorting out what toppings to have and ordered two thin ones for sugar and lemon juice and a thick one for cream. I couldn't believe he ate the lot. I only had two thin ones :o)

Keep trying to format these photos but they only like being in the middle, think I need a full blogger tutorial. he picked up a large feather from the pot of large feathers (doesn't everyone have one?) and asked if I had ink as he really wanted to do some writing with a quill pen. Well I didn't have ink but he was happy with some thin paint. He wrote his name beautifully and drew some shapes then as it was paint and quite wet he kept folding the paper over to make reflected prints.
Then all too soon that activity came to an end and he tore the paper up, guess he was just happy having done it.
"Grandma, have you some bi-carb and vinegar? I need to show you how to make a volcano." 
After clearing this lot up we went upstairs to brush his hair (he'd arrived with wet hair which was dry now) and spent a while checking out the very large collection of hair brushes I have and putting them in order along the bed of which was the softest and which was the hardest and working out which got out the tangles best and which scratched your head. He also had a major trampoline bounce on my bed doing seat drops over and over. There's another DIY post coming soon that has a direct link to this!
My facebook status then read 'All previous posts were O keeping busy while his chocolate bread was proving'.

As soon as we started making the pancakes O asked if he could also make bread and he wanted to make chocolate bread. He's never actually made bread before so I explained to him that making bread takes a very long time so we need to start it straight after we'd eaten our pancakes and then we'd need to find other things to do while we did all the waiting that was needed. He weighed out the ingredients and did all the mixing and kneading in the Kenwood and we discussed all the processes and why. Then we covered the bowl and left it to prove for an hour "What a whole hour? That is a very long time!" and he checked with me about every ten minutes how much longer to go, then at about 20 minutes to go he set the timer which seemed to relieve him of a big burden.
We'd discussed how he wanted to add the chocolate and he thought the big jar of Nutella would be perfect but wanted to experiment with some having the chocolate inside like he has eaten before and some with it all mixed that's what we did. He let me do the spread and rolled loaf and he mixed the other one in the machine and then did the last kneading by hand. We each chose our tins and lined them (didn't line the sides of the round one which was a big mistake) and O was very keen to get them into the oven but knew he had to wait another hour for them to double in size so reluctantly set the timer again.
They were actually very successful although the mixed in one didn't hold much chocolate flavour. The three of us enjoyed some of each and O proudly took the rest home at the end of the day.
So I cleared up the kitchen yet again from bread making and from lunch. Our window cleaner then arrived and at first O followed him around the upstairs from inside watching him the whole time, then downstairs and then he put on his shoes and headed out and he chatted to our lovely window cleaner for ages, then when our windows were done he came in. 
Next I knew O shoes on, kept running out the front door and in through the back door, shoes off and up the stairs, then down again and out and round and up again over and over for about four or five times. When I went to investigate it turned out that Hubby had him testing all the outside cameras by waving at them then coming in to watch himself on the that is a good way to wear out a five year old :o)

While upstairs O found the bathroom scales and was weighing himself and other stuff, then brought them down and added my two sets of kitchen scales, interested that one was mechanical not digital, then weighed lots of other stuff working out what was too heavy for the kitchen scales and what was too light to register anything on the bathroom scales.

When he was telling me about his big money box that he can't wait to smash once it is full he asked if there were any jobs he could do for money to help fill his money box. I said he could dust and vacuum which is what he did. But O never does anything for long so he got 30p which worked out to a rate of about 5p a minute hahahaha.

He and I sat for a read of a book he'd found on the shelf but didn't remember ever seeing before, but one book was enough sitting still for O. And after that he moved on to building towers with Granddad in bricks to knock down with marbles. Building marble runs with cardboard tubes and then he got out the Jenga by which time both his grandparents were definitely slowing down!

We only had one not so good moment when he threw something he shouldn't have and it narrowly missed hubby and the glass in the door, so hubby shouted at him and he ran out of the room but actually came back very soon after and apologised without being asked to, so we were very proud of him. So a very good day had by all :o)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Theatre: Champions of Magic....

Yes back to our lovely local theatre again, The New Wolsey in Ipswich, but not for a play.
This time was specially for our mini magician O, together with Daughter and R (E away this weekend) a last minute decision and on a very wet Saturday afternoon the perfect place to spend it was at the Champions of Magic show.

Champions Of Magic

Join our award winning team of tricksters, swindlers and cheats for a spectacular night of mystery you'll be trying to work out for a very long time to come.

Audiences will witness mastery of card manipulation, death defying stunts, mind boggling sleight of hand and spectacular illusions from some of the foremost performers in magic include:

Fay Presto - Queen of Close-up

Alex McAleer - Master Mind Reader

Edward Hilsum - Magic’s Latest Sensation

Young & Strange - Grand Illusionists

Champions Of Magic includes 5 world class, award winning entertainers performing everything from stage filling illusions to magic right in the palm of spectators’ hands. Along with a live video feed, fiery pyrotechnics and stunning lighting, the show is an immersive experience in the art of magic.

As Daughter said on our way home, "We watch a lot of magic and how it's done because of O's interest to learn, so we know where to look for the sleight of hand and understand how a lot of the equipment works", but even so I think this stage show had a lot of WOW factor. Fay Presto did a lovely set with a little girl from the audience, with them both just sitting on the front of the stage doing a rope trick. Edward Hilsum wonderfully conjured doves from silk scarves and obviously loves his birds, he also did some really close up coin tricks and had the audience laughing with finger exercises! Young & Strange were a complete contrast with major equipment and lots of silly banter between them. My favourite was Alex McAleer who not only amazed us all with his mind reading tricks but had a really comfortable stage presence and direct use of the audience.

During the interval Alex prepared a trick in the foyer by getting people, including R and O, to fill in cards to seal in envelopes then lock away into a box for a member of the audience to guard until needed and I believe Fay meanwhile was conducting some close up magic up in the bar area.

After the show that had held in a spell our five year old (rest of us too) he insisted on pushing his way through the crowd in the foyer to collect a signed poster and tell Young & Strange "I do magic!"

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Theatre: Private Peaceful....

Private Peaceful, at The New Wolsey Theatre, performed by just one man, Andy Daniel.

By / Michael Morpurgo (Author of War Horse)
Adapted & Directed by / Simon Reade

Private Peaceful relives the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young First World War soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn.

 During the night he looks back at his short but joyful past growing up in rural Devon; his exciting first days at school; the accident in the forest that killed his father; his adventures with Molly, the love of his life; and the battles and injustices of war that brought him to the front line.

Winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year, Private Peaceful is by third Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo. His inspiration came from a visit to Ypres where he was shocked to discover how many young soldiers were court-martialled and shot for cowardice during the First World War.

We went to the matinee of this as the whole week at the Wolsey is a sell out. We were joined by at least two very large and very noisy school groups. This brilliant actor held the stage and his whole audience for the full 1hour 40mins, the children were all quiet. He didn't even break the spell at the interval by not leaving the stage, just laying on his bunk resting.

I found it so powerful and moving that I had to stand to applaud, my friends stood too.

I was also compelled to write a review on the theatre's website and then tweet the actor and the theatre as soon as I got home...
     Today's matinee of Private Peaceful is probably the most powerful performance by a solo actor
     I have ever seen. In fact he wasn't acting he was truly living the part and we all lived it with him!
     Thank you.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

He's at it again.....

Hubby and DIY!
He had now got the carpet up and doors off in the girls' room (used to be Daughter's room but now R & E's room).


The problem
Since building the new kitchen there was always his little nagging thought that the cooker hood was a bit noisier than it should be.

The plan
To take up the carpet and floorboards above the cooker hood and see what can be done.
The solution
To adjust the concertina pipe inside and add some insulation around it to eliminate vibration and muffle the sound.
The result
Definitely a bit quieter extraction, especially if you happen to be in bed while someone else is cooking  ;o)
The bonus
A happy chappy for a little while..............he's off to play with the pond pump filter today!