Sunday, 25 April 2010


So many questions in this house.

What keeps the floor up upstairs?

How does the sky stay there?

What would happen if the sun didn't come out?

Are there really aliens?

Where does the water go when it goes down the sink?

How do those plants grow in the water?

Why can the cockerel live with the chickens and Louis share a bed with Annie, but Merlin can't live with Sandy?

And other such gems!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

And yet more news......

Two posts in one day eh?!! Actually in one evening!!!! So please scroll down to catch up with everything else we have been up to!
On Bank Holiday Monday we went to Kelmarsh Country Fair. We had intended to take the two dogs but as I woke up feeling a little under the weather, throat wise, i decided against it. Which was probably just as well really.
There was so much to see.
The working dog arena was obviously very interesting especially the chap with the working cocker spaniels. He had two little ten week old puppies that he was teaching to fetch and then a few just over a year old (about Louis' age) that were doing so brilliantly, it made Louis look unruly!!! Which he isn't. It's just that he is a family pet, not a working dog, but it showed that he has the potential to be a good gun dog if we so wished, as he has all the good characteistics that th eman was talking about.
My favourite part of the show was the rope worker, John Kemp. He was amazing! The stuff he made was brilliant and he was really funny too. The sign outside his tent said,'John Kemp, ropeworker and complete knotter'!!!!
And he was! I just wondered how many people walked past his tent, or even went into it without recognising it as a joke!
He was making net bags while we were there, and he some lovely canvas pokes on display that he made. They were £15 and he said they took him about 45 mins or so to make. Brilliant. He had rope dog leads, table mats, floor mats and he also makes knives.
But the best thing he made? It was a fabulous canvas bucket with a wooden base. The stitching was just so perfect and it was just so beautifully made. He said it took him a day to make one of those, and so for obvious reasons were not for sale unless you had LOTS of money to burn! Which we do not. So I am trying to convince him to do me a tutorial!!!!
Next door to him was a wood turner making bowls, which was equally as fascinating but not as entertaining! He had some lovely bits for sale, but I have a Jonathan and a Rob, and so will not buy one until I am sure I cannot make a bowl maker out of one of them!!
There were birds of prey and an unusual animal stand. David was enthralled by the Boa Constrictor, scorpion, hissing cockroaches and the gecko. We spent a long while there while he asked questions. My favourite there? The pygmy goats of course!!!
The day inspired a few books from the library last week....
Knots and ropework
Long netting and net making
Lost crafts
Kids costumes
Renewable always!!

The knots and ropework is of course interesting, but it wasn't the one that I really wanted. Why is it that all the books I want are never in the library? Only available on Amazon or the like? Typical, but some things to have a go at never the less.
The bags book has some interesing ideas for bags. No canvas pokes or buckets LOL None in there that I would actually make but a few ideas I could poach for my own designs. I like the knitted bags but I am not sure about their longevity for little boys!! So I have ideas for using old this space!
The kids costumes was full of fairy outfits and pirates, furry animal costumes and nativity play robes. Which is about the only bit (bizarrely!!) that was of any use!!!

I'm halfway through a pair of socks, I have just finished a bag for granny like the one I made for Eve and I have made another waldorf first doll for a friend whose first baby was born last Thursday.
I bought the material for David's wizarding robe a few weeks ago now and hadn't got around to starting it. Its a little scary! I had the idea. Drew up some rough plans and got excited, as it seemed a fairly simple concept. Then I bought the material and reality kicked in!!!
The plans look like this.....

But I eventually took the plunge after reading the kids costumes book. I made a pattern from the wallpaper that Will uses on his easel for painting, and just went for it!!! I cut out the material, pinned it together and tacked it. And then Tom fetched this down from the loft!

It isn't perfect. It isn't quite finished (button and badge to go) but it does resemble a robe and I am secretly very pleased with it. Well, maybe not so secretly now!!!!
I'll try to post a photo as soon as I finish it and can get David to model for me!!

William has been painting while tea was cooking.....

It's Annie!!!! Can you tell?

And I say while tea was cooking, but actually it was Jonathan who cooked tea in the end. He wanted sausages and I hate frying.


Tom is away at the moment. He left on Friday night last week to go to Holland with Explorers. They are cycling across the country on their own, with their leaders driving support vehicles and meeting them at each checkpoint!!! They have to gather information along th eway from various places to put together a presentation when they get back. It is part of their Explorer belt wawrd. So exciting and a wonderful opportunity. He had to get some sponsors to help fund the trip and a fair amount of that came from his off road forum friends. We had some Euros left over from a holiday to France in 2004 and so he had some spending money too!
I am keeping up with their progress on twitter and hope to plot a map with his route to show that younger ones where he has been. I might try to post it on here if I can!!!
David had a different swimming teacher last week. A young man. David was very apprehensive at first as he had not had a male teacher before, but he soon got used to him and had the best lesson ever in the end!!! He has been struggling with his butterfly stroke for a good few months now. He just can't seem to get it right. This young man obviously explained it differently, and in one lesson he had pretty much got it!!!!
I was thrilled and David was buzzing afterwards! I spoke to the young man to thank him and he said that David was a natural at butterfly, and that he should know, because he's a flyer!!! It took me a few moments to work out what that meant, but eventually the penny droppped!! So needless to say, David would like to change teachers now. Progress is being made, folks, progress is being made.

Some of the things we have been up to!!

So here we have the first little mushrooms appearing on the surface of the compost in our mushroom kit.

Now, for someone who does not really like to eat mushrooms, at all, I have got ridiculously excited over these. I love fungi of all sorts as this post will remind you. I like nothing more than to go on a fungi spotting walk in the woods in autumn. I even fancy the idea of being able to identify the edible ones and cook them. But eat them? Oh no, not me! I'll leave that to Rob, David and Will.

This envelope arrived in the post earlier this week from the BBC Dig In website. Just after we had finished sowing all the seeds in the garden and the seedlings starting to come up in the 'greenhouse'!! Still, I daresay we'll find room for some more! I've never been one to say no to a freebie, and there is talk of a seedling swap going on with our HE group, so......

This is Will making soup in the garden, making the most of the sunny weather we have been having. Off and on!!!

Rob and I bought this in a charity shop before christmas and as luck would have it, Will disturbed an ants nest in the garden on Saturday, so we hurriedly collected as many as possible and put it together.

And this is the activity after only a few days!!!

Such busy little creatures, aren't they. Will and David have been fascinated by them, and as they are currently living in th ekitchen, we are all interested in their progress!

And this is the beautiful chicken pie that I made the other day without using any kind of recipe!! I just used some pre cooked chicken, some frozen peas and some gravy, and voila!! It very closely resembles a frozen chicken pie that used to be Jonathan's favourite a few years ago, and so it could be called a success!! Despite there being a little too much pastry!

This is Humphrey.... one of the cockerels that came from our friends house the other weekend. It is his friend, Sid vicious that is in the pie!!!! He was despatched by our own Jonny boy and myself not long after they arrived here. Our first. Humphrey is currently in remand. Or death row. Not really sure which. I quite like him. He has a pleasant disposition and is very handsome. Just far too big to be let loose on our girls. I am hoping that another friend of ours will want him, as he lost his over the winter to the fox. We shall see.

And here is Annie, sleeping with her head in the dog bowls! I think it is because the sun is shining there so they are warm, but it could be that she has a one track mind!!!!

This is one of the sheep we saw on the way down to the allotment the other day. Sun shining, lambs and daffodils. What could be more spring like?

And this is us on the way there. Well, it is Jonathan pushing Will and Annie in the wheelbarrow, and Tom carrying the tray of chitted potatoes!!

William's cress head.

and William with Charlie in his sling! Will's own idea just a little help from mum to get it to sit right!

There is more to catch up on, but I've got to do tea, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow now.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

So much to blog about but...

not in the mood. Sorry!

I just had to post this

"Nothing has a stronger influence on children, than the unlived lives of their parents"

Carl Jung

I 'stole' it from this blog. I hope she won't mind. I just found it so absolutely, completely and utterly TRUE!!!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

OH YES!!!!!

Please read this press release, and breathe easy, for now xx

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Its been a whirlwind of a week!!

It starts with the ending of our auction on Ebay for my beautiful VW Passat on Saturday. The highest bids were much more than we had anticiapted and so it made the sale a little less painful. I did love that car so.
Three very tall polish chaps came to collect it on Sunday, after we had taken Kim home and had a walk along the canal. Why do they always come 'en masse'? I find it quite unnerving, especially as Tom was not around and they seemed to be trying to haggle. Ugh. Rob went off with them for a test drive...a test drive? If they wanted a test drive they should have come and viewed it before the auction ended!! Don't they know you bid to buy and not to view? The car was as described, us being honest folks and the deal was eventually completed.
And that after the clocks went forward and we were all feeling a little out of sorts!!!
Monday we had some HE friends over and managed to get out for a walk despite the rain. They brought with them a magnificent cockeral called Charlie which we were going to rehome for possible breeding purposes and this.....

I have wanted a stock pot like this for ages and my friend found one at her local swap shop. Luckily the lid wasn't the right size for her one, so she passed it on to me!!!! Yay!!!! It was put into service the very next day with vegetable soup. Yum!

Tuesday was spent knitting these...
a seed stitch face cloth...

and a soap sack...

for my friends birthday the following day!!

David had a creative moment and drew this....

We'd been listening to Raymond Briggs' 'The Man' and I think the whole fairy description sparked it off!
Then Wednesday was a little more hectic. I went swimming with a friend at a local private pool....very nice!! I went back to hers for a very civilised cup of tea and a chin wag, child free!!!!
Then when I got home we realised that the 'moon buggy' had not only run out of Tax that day but of MOT the day before and we needed to do something about it desperately!!! The local garage was all booked up until after easter so we thought about alternatives. My suggestion was to look for a Discovery a little sooner than we had planned, rather than spend the money and energy on a car that I really did not like!!!!!!
And as usual, fate had a hand in our life. A disco that we had been watching on Ebay was due to finish that afternoon, and as Rob was looking at it with Tom, Tom realised that it was osmeone he knew from his off roading forum!! So we called him, struck a deal and arranged to pick it up later!!
Rob and Tom whizzed off into town to get some money (that we don't really have!!!) to top up the money from the Passat deal, and we were in business!!!!
Tom and I went off to fetch it that evening. And here it is....

A vehicle worthy of the title 'Survival Family Vehicle'. I have nicknamed it Disco Diva because of the lights, but really I am just so pleased to have it, I don't care what it is called!!!

Thursday saw us out and about in the new car going to the woods with the dog, and then in the evening I went out with a couple of friends to the cinema.
Tom finished his IGCSE English assignment whilst babysitting for my firnds children that night and I think he has made a fabulous job of the creative writing task. This is a boy who has not done ANY thing of the sort for about 4 years!!!! Lets just hope the momentum keeps up for the other 9 assignments!!!!!
Yesterday, saw the sale of our Moon Buggy! Rob listed it on Ebay the night before and by 9 o'clock we had a call from someone local who wanted to have a look. By lunchtime had been paid for and taken away! Fastest sale ever!!!! Thank god it has gone. I really did not like that car, not one little bit, despite it being so very reliable and spacious inside. It was ugly and annoying. I am so glad it has found a new home.
William talked to granny for over an hour on the webcam while I made a start on the boys Easter eggs. A slow process but I just can't bring myself to spend that much money on such a small amount of chocolate and such a HUGE amount of packaging!! Goes against the grain somewhat.
And here are the doggies asleep TOGETHER on the sofa last night!!!

This is following about an hour of play fighting during which I wasn't sure if I should have been intervening or not!!!

This is Will's house and garden, with garage that he made all by himself the other day...

and this is David's spider made from Lego..

And today? I'm off to take Tom to Kim's and then to collect a lonely chicken from a friend that has lost her others to a dog and then on to another friend's to pick up some unwanted cockerals before he goes on holiday later on. Jon has an exciting afternoon ahead of him!!! They are very large Buff Orpingtons and are, unfortunately destined for dinner.
I also have to go down the field to feed the sheep and check on them. Their owner is away on holiday and we are looking after the girls that are due to lamb sometime next week he thinks!!!

All go here!!!