Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween fly past.....

Traditions are the things we always do and look forward to doing, some of which are totally unique to me and mine, especially Halloween which I started doing my way so my children had the fun and the treats without door knocking which I've often thought of as begging with menace!

However, things change and this year Son had booked for him and Hubby to have a Brands Hatch rally event as a belated father's day present.

Daughter had told me there was an amazing event happening in Colchester that they were going to. So we bought some sweets for our local trick or treaters (I don't object to others for knocking just don't like mine doing it) and planned for a home alone day.

Son and Hubby left at 7am and by 11:30am they were on their way home having had a great time. So I told them to shop for lunch on the way back (about a two hour drive).

Meanwhile Daughter had asked if I would mind having R as she was full of cold and had a bad headache so was disappointed not to go to the Halloween event but couldn't cope. Hubby picked her up on their way back and the first thing she did was find our spooky decorations and spent quite a while sticking ghosts and spider webs to the windows and doors, these are homemade bits the children have made over the years and saved on the top shelf in a paper carrier bag, more special than anything bought!

Then another phone call from Daughter to say O was crying and insisted that she phone grandma because he didn't want to miss our usual Halloween, which can't happen anywhere else! And during that conversation E said she really didn't want to go without her siblings, so both costumed they came here instead.

Daughter brought dinner and before they came R and I rushed round to find the black sheet/tablecloth and candles and skull, cobwebs and spiders. Son shot out to Asda for more sweets and special drinks and toffee apples. 

After dinner we headed out to our dark garden with torches and looked up to see if there were any witches flying on their way to a party (we're on the flight path you know) and because broomsticks don't have shopping baskets or boots we usually find those greedy witches are carrying far too much party food and often drop some on the grass which we are happy to collect up! 

That's a mini carved sharon fruit as they'd run out of pumpkins lol. 
Traditions restored and life is normal :-)

Friday, 23 October 2015

Theatre: Flare Path......

Presented by The Original Theatre Company at The New Wolsey Theatre
     An epic wartime romance by celebrated playwright Terence Rattigan, from the producers behind the hit touring productions Birdsong and Three Men In A Boat.
     Based on Rattigan’s experiences as a tail gunner during World War II, Flare Path paints an evocative portrait of life in wartime Britain for the RAF bomber crews, their wives and sweethearts, who were left awaiting their return.
     Set in 1942 against a backdrop of heartache and quiet bravery, Flare Path tells the story of former actress Patricia, the wife of RAF pilot Teddy, as their marriage is tested to the limits by the surprise arrival of Patricia’s ex‐lover and Hollywood idol Peter Kyle.
      An unexpected and dangerous mission over Germany puts Patricia at the centre of an emotional conflict as unpredictable as the war in the skies.
     Combining highly charged drama with a truly authentic taste of the fear, camaraderie and passion experienced by the men and women who fought to save their country, their families and each other.
     With heart tugging, human emotion, Flare Path opens an unforgettable window into a pivotal moment in our history.

It was excellent. Most of the cast were actors we recognised from various tv dramas. They were all very suited to their characters. The stories of these people at war and in complicated relationships were so easily related to the stories our parents had actually lived through. We were all moved by it and enjoyed it a lot.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Photos never lie......

....well that's a lie for a start!

Mmmmm you might think, she's made a yummy bread pudding!

However after two and a half hours in the oven it's still soggy in the middle, so I cut and scooped portions onto a baking tray and they went back for another 45 mins and the middles of those still haven't dried out! Crikey if I'd just put a pan of water in for that long I'm sure it would have all evaporated.

So what's gone wrong?

I used to make bread pudding a lot and mostly it was a chuck unmeasured ingredients in and out came afternoon tea, but this time I used an online recipe. I thawed my frozen bread crusts (hate waste and useful frozen for breadcrumbs too), there was double the amount the recipe called for so I doubled everything else. My only other change was the water I soaked the bread in was made into tea first as that was always the way I used to do it and it adds a good flavour.

So, any suggestions for very soggy pudding before it hits the bin?

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The jury is out......

Last week and this week we've mostly been available for childcare because Daughter was called for jury service. She knew when to turn up on day one and we made lots of arrangements but it didn't all go to plan. Some of the time we had children here, sometimes just O, sometimes Hubby took Daughter to the court and she finished lunchtime and sometimes she wasn't needed in at all. She did get one case to sit in on. One day I'd arranged to go into town shopping with the children but O wanted to stay home with Granddad, the girls didn't need me to shop with them so we arranged where to meet when done and then Daughter finished early so meet me in town and I stopped shopping to spend time in the coffee shop together. That was her last day. She said apart from all the waiting around she enjoyed the experience and found it interesting. Hubby had done jury service twice, but I've never been called.

The other main news for me this week is good news. My last CT scan (only 3 weeks ago) showed up something on my left kidney (my only remaining kidney) that the consultant was concerned about. He recommended a biopsy which has to be put to the consultants' committee meeting and they decided that because "kidneys are famous for moving when poked" (their words) it would be tricky because the something they needed to get a bit of is very small. So I was sent for a full MRI Scan first. As you can imagine I've been more than a bit worried! Apparently they all discuss the scan images at the committee meeting too! I got a phone call followed by a letter to say the scan has very clearly shown it to be a renal cyst and no treatment is necessary YAAY!  Follow up blood test and appointment in six months and next routine CT scan in a year!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Spain holiday - September/October 2015......

BfriendM now owns an apartment on the Costa del Sol so with her partner, friendsT&F, Hubby and I we've had a holiday together there.
Thank you BfriendM for arranging all our flights and transfers and providing great accommodation

Sunday 27th - went to bed early (about 10:30pm (early for me lol)) last night with a definite head cold, what bad timing!  A very early start with the alarm going off at 2am and away by 2:30am to give us plenty of time as Hubby had looked up road stuff and there were ongoing overnight road works on our route, but actually they must have finished and we sailed through and got to the airport with about an hour to spare which allowed a very welcome first coffee. When the desk opened we got in the queue and the others met us there before we got to the front so we grabbed friendsT&F case and checked them both in together. We arrived at Malaga Airport and our transfer driver introduced himself as Kenny with a middle name Roger so we won't forget Kenny Rogers haha. Hubby and I both liked BfriendM's apartment immediately we saw it. It's on the fifth floor (very top) so has fantastic views from the balcony,

but only feels like second floor from street level as it goes down as well as up and not too many stairs. It's gated so feels very safe and the grounds and pool are maintained beautifully.  My five companions all embraced the Spanish style by taking a siesta but I really can't do the daytime nap thing so a relax outside with lots of water, tissues, cough sweets and my book. That evening we walked down to the beach - I say 'down' as it's down stairs to street level which is still the top of the hill, so down the gentle roadway which is a huge sweep round or the shortcut which is a very steep rubble slope on an unmade plot, they left it up to me each time which way depending on how my knees were. We stopped at George's Bar first and they have free WiFi   :-)
At the beach restaurant I had paella my Spanish favourite meal.  When we got back there were a few more drinks then there was the pumping up of the air bed ceremony to make up a bed in the lounge for T&F and they shared the wardrobe space in our room. I think we got to bed about 1:30am.

Monday 28th - awake just before 6am but couldn't get back to sleep, can't do anything without pockets full of tissues and continuously sipping water. We walked down to the restaurant that advertises English Cooked Breakfast and that's what we all had about 11am-ish then to the bus stop. BfriendM wasn't feeling well so we left her and P there and we walked up to the taxi rank and sent a taxi to get them them and take them back home while we went to the supermarket. Hubby had carried the heavy beer yesterday so friendF carried the water pack today. We all relaxed sitting around while BfriendM slept but that made the men restless so they went out for a walk. FriendT and I had a good old natter which was lovely. Rested and fully hydrated again BfriendM felt better and arranged to meet the men at the bus stop to try again. We went into Fuengarola and M&P left us for a while to go and buy a washing machine (the handle had broken off her's the last time she was here) and they caught up with us at a bar by the beach having successfully bought and arranged delivery for Thursday including removal of the old one, not easy with language and time restrictions and her apartment being up on the fifth floor! After that was a lovely roam around the shops as they were all opening up after siesta time.

We decided to have an early dinner at a beach restaurant they know for sardines mmmm. Back on the bus and into Dave's Bar so the men could play pool and the girls could meet the handbag seller again to haggle and buy.
Back to the apartment and all the nibbles came out with the drinks (well we had had an early dinner). So lovely sitting out on the balcony late at night.

Tuesday 29th - I'd slept really well till about 2am when the lorries outside were emptying the big recycle bins so thought I'd go to the loo, I was just going into the bathroom in the dark as friendF opened his door and he jumped right out of his skin! Very funny! Six of us and one bathroom hasn't been a problem so far but it does take time. So now all up, showered, lots of tea and some toast and ready to head out by 11:30 hahaha. Bus to Fuengarola change bus to Mijas.

Lots and lots of shops to wander. Tapas for a late lunch. Italian dinner. Ended the night at George's Bar to meet the handbag seller again and he sold another three  (Hubby thinks they are mad). Then the lightning started and the thunder so we drank up and made our way home as it started to rain, we got a little wet but thankfully we just got through the front door as the heavens truly opened, lucky eh? We then stayed up till the early hours storm watching (any excuse lol).

Wednesday 30th - Think my cold is on its way out but now have a very irritating cough! First stop was to the breakfast cafe (although it was nearly lunchtime) then we went to the beach and walked the boardwalk to La Cala which is only about 2.5km and it felt like about 28°C but thankfully with a bit of a breeze.
There was a beer stop of course and later a very welcome icecream stop in a lovely shady square. We took the bus back so they all could late siesta before heading out for the evening. Fuengarola by bus to Moochers Jazz Bar which is up Fish Alley (think that might be a local nickname). Singer who apparently had been with Eddison Lighthouse many years ago, he was good and then the owners wife joined him (she had been our waitress) and sang Annie Lennox style and they were brilliant. All up and dancing and all got very drunk ('cept me) so two taxis home as the buses finished at 11pm. There was more drinking before bed about 2:30am.

Thursday 1st - First thing F said was "I hate you for not drinking because you can't know how rough I feel" hahaha I've no sympathy when it's self inflicted! We had to stay at the apartment for the washing machine being delivered. It was an excellent delivery, two men carried up the machine, plumbed it in, carried the old one down together with all the packaging, paperwork signed and away within about 15 minutes!  We decided to stay by the pool for a while, I had to move to the shade, Hubby got bored quickly and went back up F had a proper swim said it was bracing, T had a quick swim said it was freezing and M dipped her toe and declared it too cold so I didn't bother lol. P went for a walk to hunt for some plant babies he could take home. Another siesta and more reading for me, then P left as he had to go back to Moochers as he'd left his bag there. For our evening meal we tried a beach restaurant none of them had been to before.
Very attentive waiter. Free appetiser thing, free bread rolls and we finished with a free limoncello shot!

Friday 2nd - unfortunately woke to find that BfriendM had been ill all night. She thinks the clams she had last night had been off! Having made an effort to use up food before the last day there was just a croissant each for breakfast. We took today's bus in the opposite direction to every other day and got off at Marbella. We wandered round the old town which Hubby and I hadn't seen when we were there about 12 years ago. Stopped in a pretty square and had lunch after a little shopping (as afternoon everything is closed for siesta).

We've had a bit of hassle with the gate keys but after a bit of back and forth discovered the locksmith won't be open again till Monday so M will have to sort it next time she comes. Dinner tonight was in La Plaza, which had to be booked in advance as it's so popular because of the live music. The singer was really good doing Frank Sinatra,   Michael Buble, Dean Martin etc. Nobody drank much and although it could have been an early night because of leaving in the morning we were having fun so stayed till the end and got to bed just after midnight.

Saturday 3rd - alarm was set for 6:30am, six of us through the bathroom, beds stripped, air bed deflated and our transfer taxi arrived in good time. airport and flight home.
It's been a great week :-)