Saturday, December 02, 2006


Hooray the cot has gone and I am no longer a freecycle virgin. I was going to stick stan's cot on ebay but given that we bought it for just £20 8 years ago and it has happily contained all three kids, I thought it would be better karma to freecycle it. I have long been chasing various great sounding things there, but am always too late, hopefully now my luck will change since I have given something away.

December starts

It's the 2nd of December and the roses are blooming, nasturtiums going strong, geranium flowering for third time this year, not to mention a sunflower in Dot's garden surrounded by a sea of Larkspur. I still haven't planted my broad beans which I absolutely must do today, but am quite glad that I never planted any garlic, I think it would have rotted in the ground by now!
So I started my new job this week and it was truly baptism by fire. First day discovered boss is #**&&$$£!.
Stanley coped with his first week of not much Mum, although he was so shattered by Friday that we didn't get up to much (he wasn't the only one). I am going to have to be far more organised about boring domestic planning so that I can still give the kids decent attention at the end of the day. Getting the meals sorted for the first few days of the week and washing and ironing all done at the weekends - although Michael is going to be finishing early on a Monday so perhaps I can look forward to some of his cooking!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Perfect Sunday

A few pics of a lovely day. Swept up some autumn leaves then had Gavin et al around for roast pork. India was looking lovely and the boys serenaded us with their Mariachi band whilst Gavin and Georgia battled it out in Trivial Pursuit. Some very fine Rioja was drunk too!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

apropo of nothing, but made me laugh!

I think it should say Meditation, but I still love it

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Raff's new bed!

He's done it again, Michael the wonder-builder has made Raff a fabulous new bed. Using the old storage units from our room as a base (which now means an unorthodox approach to clothes storage for us)
and the top half of an IKEA bunk bed, Raff now has a wonderful bed with a 'cave' underneath, which is guarded over by a fearsome dragon. Soon hopefully we will put all of his toys on the shelves, then all of his clothes in his room, so that Stan can have somewhere to put his clothes!!!! It's a never ending circuit of change. Stan is also now looking forward to having Raff's old bed - I just need to flog his cot to make space - Ebay here I come.

Meanwhile my darling is making a whole new built in cupboard for our clothes so that we can have the spare bed back... I am reminded of the amazing dressing room which he constructed for our first flat which was genius!

The DIY skills also had a new outlet in Saturday night when Michael and I indulged our passion for sushi by preparing oursleves a sushi feast. With some really yummy tuna from our local fish man and salmon too, we had sushi rolls, sashimi and Nigiri. I think we may have made a little too much...but I ate most of it and was a truly happy lady (it doesn't take much!) Here's our proud selection

As a footnote to my last post, global warming brought huge benefits yesterday when i picked 2kg of raspberries from one of the fields near us, I finally caught up with the farmer to find out why it hadn't been picked all summer - they are trial varieties apparently - well I think they're all yummy, some are the size of loganberries, so big helpings all round and then 7 jars of free jam - hooray. I hope to get one more picking session in before the cold weather really hits. Stan and I had fun making Sloe vodka last week - I pricked the sloes (7 times each is apparently the tradition) and he popped them into the bottles. It will be ready for Christmas 2007! So we can be self suffcient in jam and vodka, not exactly a balanced diet?

Monday, October 30, 2006

what global warming?

We had friends for lunch yesterday, on an another impossibly warm day and I picked a small bouquet for the table. If the flowers in this don't demonstrate climate change then what does? It's the 30th October, we haven't had the heating on yet, the back door is wide open all day long - yes we are hardier than many but it's really balmy, until the sun goes down. Today Georgia is off school for an inset day so we have been planting crocuses (her) and sweeping up leaves (me) plus I finally got some wallflowers and tulips in the bed by the front door, so it will stop looking so dreadful, plus an old tin bath full of winter pansies. Stan is sleeping and the house is quiet so a chance to catch up with the world of blog.

Life is about to get a whole load more complicated though as last week I was interviewed for a job, which I got! I am going to become a Knowledge Transfer Co-ordinator at the University College for the Creative Arts at Rochester - it will be a long skinny business card I think!! Now I have to begin the search for childcare to fit in with the kids three different days, two different schools and Stan just starting at playgroup!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

autumn colour

A friend who saw the kids and I walking across the fields today said we looked like something out of a lifestyle magazine with our vibrant colours and a thoroughly country look about us. I think the praise for colour should go to the landscape which looked awesome today. My favourite light, super high tide bouncing it everwhere and all of the plants on the turn into autumn.

Stan has a room!

After two weekends shifting furniture around the place (Michael) and planning the decor (me) Stan has his own room, and therefore so does Raff again. I have to admit to being rather over emotional about it all. It seems quite something for Stan to be sleeping all alone for the first time in his life, and the end of babyhood! But since I was the one to push, weedle and nag for it, I can't be too tragic about it. Stan getting a room forms the primary plank of my master plan entitled "get the toys upstairs and reclaim the living room and dining room". So thus far it's looking good. Stan is in love with the idea of his own room and Raff loves the extra space, he has said " please don't let's put any things in here" - I think I may ruin his aspirations to be the next John Pawson when I explain the thing about all the toys coming to live upstairs! Michael now plans a trip to IKEA, ooh lucky us!
We will have been here for 4 years in January and I think it should be my goal to have painted the raw plaster and delightful tester paint patches all over the walls of our bedroom (sickly jade courtesy of previous owners!) which is our current decorative finish. M is going to make built in storage and then I think we should splash out on flooring - crazy! It's amazing to think what the domino effect of doing Stan's room could lead to....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Now we are 8.......

How do you go from this

to this

well via some of these...

Wow, what a beauty. Georgia, you make us sooooooo proud.

On the eve of Georgia's 8th birthday and therefore the 8th anniversay of our lives being transformed forever into one of chaos, love, mewling, bickering, joy and pain (and that was just her birth ha ha!!), it's a good time to reflect a little on what being a parent is all about. Somewhat serendipitously (if that is in fact a word) this week I received from Mum the letters which Granny Creek wrote to her parents, from India, which Rosemary has been typing up. They are facinating, engaging, full of detail and interest , but most strikingly to me, they have revealed how, whilst our methods of parenting and the lifestyles were very different from ours, the funadmental preoccupations of being parents haven't changed in the slightest. One of the funniest passages was,

"We took the family out, and it seemed to grumble and whine all the time. George said we’d better re-christen them “Lollipop”, “Gimme” and “I wanna”, or perhaps the first word should be added to both the second two, then Liza could be called “T’isn’t”. She’s in a beautifully contradictory stage nowadays of self-assertion, so everything anyone says must be the opposite according to her."

This could have been taken from anyone of our recent family scenes and Stanley would be Liza! He is in a stage which can be very trying as he says "T'isn't" or words to that effect to practically anything Raff says, without any malice or indeed having any idea what he is saying, but Raff takes it to heart and so answers a back and a circluar "tis/tisn't" goes on for hours!! We have tried to coach Raff to ignore him, but he does it by saying " Stan, you don't mean it, I'm going to ignore you" to which the reply comes "no you're not" " yes I am " etc etc etc !! aaaagh

To be fair they all bring us so much joy and pleasure as well as a pretty good dollop of frustration, but we wouldn't be without them. I'm getting soppy but there you go.

Here are the boys so they don't feel left out

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Summer Holidays

Well we survived the end of term and as ever the leaving assembly was pretty emotional.

Georgia received her leaving medal and they sang some tear jerking songs and released balloons.
We were very lucky to have both Grannies as Penny was staying with us and Mum was in Throwley for the week so they too shed a tear.

The following day the finished at lunch time and most of the year 2's went to Seasalter
for a final blast together - in fact I think most of the kids who turned up will be at Boughton next year with G but it was good to have a final Ethelbert Road event. As ever the slimey mud proved irrisistable to the kids and many of them ended up looking like swamp monsters.

And now we are into the third week of the holiday and getting ready to set off on Saturday for two weeks camping in Cornwall. A new spot this time just outside St Agnes which Richard and Claire introduced us to last year, speaking of whom we have just returned from the Big Chill with them and Katy and Kev plus many others. It was fantastic and the weather once again held - no Glastonburyesque scenes for us.

Friday, July 14, 2006

End of termitis

Can't believe I haven't posted since Raff's birthday but the last month has passed in a whirl of madness! Mostly school related as the kids have been participating in all of the exciting creative projects which the Summer term allows. They had a fabulous Arts Week the results of which were displayed at their Open Evening the week before last. I was blown away, as ever at the standard of work that the teachers and visiting artists manage to achieve with the children and when one remembers that they are all under 7 it's even more amazing. Raff's fantastic imagination really came to the fore and Georgia's studied approach resulted in a wonderful series of pieces based around relief print making.

On Friday of last week it was the schools annual summer fete, I promised myself I wouldn't go overboard but somehow managed to, making choc brownies, carrot cake and three types of fudge plus organising and running a lemonade stall with Georgia. She has long had an ambition to set up a stall outside our house selling old fashioned lemonade - an idea I think Michael sowed in her mind a couple of years ago. Every now and then she will disappear upstairs and produce signs and price lists with all sorts of marketing ploys - buy one bottle get another half price - free tasters "they're pricelist (sic)". We have never set out the stall because we're not sure that she would every get enough trade, but it occured to me that the fete would be the perfect outlet! So with Mum's cooking skills and Dad's signwriting plus G's enthusiasm - she even roped in friends to help, we finally did it - and sold out in an hour (and that was after I had juiced 40 lemons!!)

Then this week has been showtime with G taking part in a multi-school choir festival on Tues and Weds nights followed by spending a day at her new school yesterday and then a workshop performance by her Drama club alst night PHEW! Amazingly she has slept in on two mornings, so she must be tired!

This weekend I have to fulfil a promise from an auction at our school Valentine BAll, I put up my services to offer a 'stress free dinner party' and some crazy loons paid £350 for me - that doesn't include the ingredients. I have put together the menu and "poor old Michael" has been my guinea pig this week. They are having a goats cheese, tomato and basil roulade, followed by SeaBass on crushed new potatoes, roasted fennel and wilted spinach, and for pud, chocolate pots with almond tuiles and clotted cream!! I'm also doing a few nibbles and created a wonderful canape based on a salad I had for lunch one day this week - cubes of watermelon and feta cheese sprinkled with olive oil and roasted pumkin seeds. YUM! Stress free for them...not me!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Raff is 5!!!!

Where does time go, Raff is 5 and I feel like life has just gone into warpspeed! We had a lovely time with him on the day, gave him a new bike which he was absolutely thrilled about.

Then the party!!! He had requested a 'Hero party' so invitations were duly issued to 7 dear super-hero friends. Raff wanted to be Batman and this was made even more perfect by the arrival of a Batmobile from Dan and Sarah on his birthday! I put together a costume for Stan and he became....SuperStan!!
I was working at Acqua the night before and they were all due at 10.30 (time was set when I thought I would be working the evening after the party!) and didn't get to bed until1 am so the morning was fairly mad with food to be prepared and Michael in charge of the entertainment. Unlike 2 years ago when we practically had a typhoon at the Beach Hut, the weather was scorching and we had a great time - I think the Supers did too! With Tug-of-war, Michael vs all the heroes, pass the parcel and general running around zapping each other I think we can agree with Raff when he said "that was my best party ever".
How could I forget also Michael's amazing "pin the KAPOW on Batman" with wonderful painting only finished half an hour before kick off, speaking of which the kids and I, plus aunty Jo went off to the beach hut in the afternoon and left 'him indoors' indoors to watch the footie, our first trip to the hut this season!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The hurdle

It's finished and I am very proud!! Now I just need to do the whole garden!!

Half Term

Just a few pics and notes about half term which has just finished!! Michael was off all week as he finished at Christchurch and took a well earned break before starting his new job. We had Nick and George and the boys plus Mum, Brian and Clare over for lunch on Bank Holiday Monday and had to eat inside as the weather was cold. Crazy to look back at pictures of Easter when we were basking in warm sunshine, hey ho! Louis and Archie were staying down with Mum in Throwley for a few days so Brian got a lift back to town with N&G and we had a great afternoon with the boys frolicking in the garden before dropping them over to Mum. Louis came with me to collect manure form next door and havng watched me do the first barrow load insisted on doing all of the digging and filling up of the next barrow, he is incredibly strong!!

Tuesday and a previous engagement to go over to see Honey and her tribe! We hadn't seen Ptolemny and Cecily which is crazy as they are now 1. I took loads of pics of them but my @@$!!!?***** camera crashed the computer as they were uploading and wiped all except this one of the twins and Tilly!

Then more fun with the boys who came here for a sleep over, much to G and R's delight! Louis wanted to do more manure shifting but we all went for a walk out to the sea wall so they could scramble about on the fallen straw bales, it was great to see all of the kids having such a great time together, and Archie even volunteered to hold Mouse's lead which was lovely to see as he had been a little nervous of her bounciness!
The last couple of days were quite relaxed although Raff was really under the weather and I got a bug, but the sun has been shining for a few days now and we are all feeling much better. Michael's job started yesterday and I think he has a challenge ahead, but one that he will enjoy.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mistral madness

I thought we had had all this in March but the gale force winds are back and have been all week, the garden is being buffeted 24/7 and it's too exhausting to be outside - notwithstanding the sideways rain that accompanies it! My poor weeping pear is almost horizontal somedays and will need some new staking if it's not to be permanently damaged! As for the Globe Artichokes that I was so proud of last week, I am afraid they will be wrenched from the ground and sent flying across the veg patch - the large garden umbrella went for a short flight today! The irony of the local water supplier applying for a more severe drought order than the current hosepipe ban is somewhat lost on me! Just looked at the forecast for the next two weeks and not a lot looks like changing. Michael may yet be right that we can't really justify the beach hut!

Yesterday I finally go hold of my chestnut poles with which I am going to weave low hurdles around a flower bed- this involved meeting a man in some woods near Ashford, who I had only contacted online so Michael came and chaperoned me! It had been raining torrentially all day and was still going when we arrived so M and all of the kids stayed in the car whilst Mouse and I got totally drenched lugging wood back and forth - never wear jeans in the rain!! We drove home with our booty and I have to say I needed a full change of clothing when we got back, now all I need is a small break in the weather so I can start my crazy project - thankyou honey for indulging my passion for madcap adventures!!

I had a wonderful long walk over towards Abbeyfields at the end of the day and we had the striking lighting you get when there are breaks in the cloud for short periods so everything in the foreground lights up and yet in the backgound the sky is dramatically black as the next wave of weather heads your way. I absolutely must remember to take my camera with me when I take the dog out, because yesterady there was an inspiring scene to be filed in "things I want to paint one day". I took this one on my return and it's pretty good, but not as amazing as it was to the naked eye.