Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The finished product

Ta da! So, what do you think? There is a lid, but it's 'behind her'.
She doesn't look too happy, does she. Oh well, better being individual than a sheep.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Think first

Ok, so whose bright idea was it for Ciara to be a Jack-in-the-Box?

Oh yes, that would be mine then.

"You don't want to be a doll (in the school Christmas Play) Ciara, everyone will be a doll or a fairy. You should be a Jack-in-the-Box. I'll make it."

When, oh when, will I learn not to have any bright ideas.

The tunic is made. So long as it fits over Ciara's head, it'll be fine. Yes, yes, I know. Making it without a pattern or child isn't brave. It's stupid.

Ofcourse, choosing a box that I can't paint on, because I can't paint over the print on it and I can't pick the selotape off, was also pretty dim. So, I've painted a sheet of brown paper to wrap it in.

Pom poms? Yes, simple enough, except I haven't got enough gash wool in the same colour to make pom poms, but that's easily solved, by using tissue paper. Simple.

Then, there's the ruff around the neck. One white pillowcase bites the dust.

Oh, just you wait till you see this creation. Just don't laugh too loudly, I might hear you...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

More growing up

They can cook too!

With the help of daddy, Rhiannon and Aedan have made the children's dinner tonight. Macaroni (well, pasta shells actually) Cheese and Fresh Fruit Salad with Ice Cream. Making a sauce is always a useful skill in the kitchen, it can be a base or accompaniment for so many things. No, they didn't make the ice cream, but maybe one day. Looks great and smells delicious.

Why aren't we having any? My thriftyness always leads to a glut of chicken wings, which the children don't like for some reason, so David and I will have Sticky Wings later, because, as usual, I forgot to get them out of the freezer and they only started to marinate at 4pm, so I'll give them about three hours before I throw them into a hot oven. I've made a cheeky wee tomato, cucumber, chilli and coriander salad for on the side too and David has just requested spicy potato wedges. Ah well, a woman's work...

Oh bless, they're clearing the table and putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Husband may not be completely housetrained, but the children will be if it kills me!

David cooked last night, to be fair, Rabbit with Apples and Cider, just a little introduction to other game for them. They've all tried venison in the past, which they seemed to like and they enjoy duck too. The boys asked to try pigeon, so for Sunday Dinner we are having Pigeon with Cabbage and Bacon, which I'm really looking forward to. The boys will give it a good try, Ciara will at least have a go, Rhiannon may not be so adventurous, but if they just try a little bite, that's enough.

I feel a nice chilled white coming on.

Friday, November 24, 2006

More excitement

That is an utter lie.

It was a very uneventful trip on a train to Inverness for Rhiannon's second appointment at the orthodontist, this time for x-rays. Now, they were exciting! A fine toy to play with the man has. You stand still, holding onto a bar in front of you with your chin on a plate while the machine goes round your head and takes the x-ray. Seconds later, you see the results on a computer screen, ta da!

The upshot of all that is Rhiannon's adult canines are not well placed and to help them come through in the correct place, the baby canines need to be taken out. Oh bum. However, our dentist will do that and we won't have to have another trip to see the nice orthodontist for another year.

By which time, we might, just might, have a new car, which will make the whole experience far easier!

The other excitement came about on our return. Two of my other children, the middle two, Aedan and Ciara, have been awarded 'Starworker of the Week' today, yey! Little stars. They get to pick the film for film night tonight and we are having Toy Story, which we haven't seen for a while.

All in all, a lovely end to a busy week.

Can I sleep now?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Our friends next door are buying a house, so we decided, along with our friends next door the other side, to have a get together before they move. (They're not moving far, just three miles down the road, but they won't be next door anymore and they have been such lovely neighbours.)

We decided to do a meal where we all do a course each, but just stay at the one house rather than moving about. Bev bagged the starter, so I bagged mains and Linda got pud.

Bev did a lovely Roast Parsnip soup with parmesan, it was really delicious. I did Roast Loin of Lamb with tomato and basil sauce and Dauphinoise Potatoes. Must confess, it was lush. Linda did Summer Fruit Tirimasu and I've brought mine home for breakfast!

We had a fantastic evening, superb company and fabulous food. Linda suddenly said, "Hey guys, do you realise it's 3.30am!", at which point, everybody started yawning. We came home around an hour later.

I shall miss Linda and Steve, but I'm looking forward to the house warming party!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Just a little trip

To the orthodontist with Rhiannon. She has what has delicately been described as an overbite. Quite a bit of one, actually. Probably not helped by the fact she has sucked her thumb for nearly eleven years, but has recently stopped, of her own volition.

Anyway, an appointment came through for a visit to the orthodontist today, so I hired a car, (now a car would be useful!) and off we toddled. It was in a place called Culloden, (if you know a little Scottish history, you will probably have heard of it, there was a battle there once) which isn't far, but off the bus route, so a hire car was less complicated. We used to live close by and used a dentist there, but it has changed a little in the last seven years.

The specialist was a lovely chap, who explained everything he found in Rhiannon's mouth very nicely. Or rather, what he didn't find. He didn't find Rhiannon's two upper adult canine teeth, waiting in her gums for when her baby teeth fall out. He's worried they may be far higher than they should be at this stage, which could cause problems with the treatment he'd like to use, or may be even non-existent, which would make her mouth very interesting!

I must admit, I'd thought it a little odd that Aedan has already lost two of his canines that are being replaced already. Even if all children, including siblings are different, there are only eighteen months between them and their mouths have always been entirely different. Rhiannon was eight months when she cut her first tooth, whereas Aedan was eleven weeks! He cut his tooth, got christened and caught chicken pox, started 'solids' and had his first holiday in a caravan, all in the same week. Deepest joy.

The upshot of it is, Rhiannon has another day off school next week, so we can catch a bus to Inverness for an x-ray, to find out exactly is what happening in that dear little mouth of hers.

All this excitement is too much for a girl!

Rhiannon just takes it in her stride, however...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oh and another thing

Have you seen the new M&S clothes advert? The one with Birley Shassy? Caberet singers, ageing or otherwise, really just don't do it for me. (I think Twiggy still looks fabulous, btw.) The thought of Birley doing a rendition of Pink's 'Get This Party Started' is quite horrific, but I actually love this new advert to bits, it really made me smile.

I know, I know small things etc. etc..

One or two bits of stuff

Yet another fancy dress to do! Well, actually, that should be termed costume, as it is for the school Christmas Concert. I seem to be getting off lightly though. As I have four children at the one school, I did wonder what they were going to throw at me by way of costume requests.

Rhiannon and Conall don't know yet what they are going to be.

I must admit to panicking, just a tad, when Aedan said he's going to be a turkey, (!!!) but his teacher is working on that one, thank goodness.

Ciara has to be a toy or an elf. Not much difference between the two... Elf would have been relatively easy, except Mrs Watson wants her elves to wear green tights and we don't have any and I don't want to buy any because green tights will do Ciara's shapely little legs absolutely no favours what-so-ever.

So, she's a toy then. Everybody else is a doll. I don't think Father Christmas gives away just dolls, (and I have a tendancy to want to be different) so I'm thinking of maybe a Jack-in-the-box? Fortunately, just had my Christmas present from my parents delivered, (the obligatory box of wine from Laithwaites) so I have a handy box of a good size that won't get too much in the way of her movement.

Watch this space!

The other thing was Parkinson. I watched Parky last night and I must admit, I haven't done so for a while because I was dissapointed with him for defecting from the Beeb. Not a political thing for me, I just_can't_bear all those commercial breaks interrupting everything, just as you get to an interesting bit!

Any road up, I did and I'm so glad I did! Peter Kay, oh what a funny man. The Bolton accent is enough to have me in stitches, I just loves the sound of it, (I have a thing for strong accents. How I came to marry a Scotsman who is repeatedly mistaken for an Englishman due to his weak accent is beyond me...) but on top of that, he was sooo funny, without swearing and without racism, it was brilliant!

Then there was Take That.

Now, I was not a fan when they made it the first time. I'm not into 'boy bands' and the like. Funny thing was, I heard their new single on the radio the other day and was puzzled by it.

"This isn't Robbie's new single is it? He's only just brought that other one out!" Says I.
"No," says hubblet, "This is Take That's new one."

I think that would go down like a lead balloon, but I do actually like the single, it's just that it's like something Robbie would sing. Strange, but they did perform well.

Then, the great Sir Ian McKellern. (Have I spellt that right? Not sure.) He has just got one of those voices that makes me melt, like Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins and, and, and all those others that I can't think of just now. See, I'm still suffering the after effects of his voice last night!

Oh yes, it was very enjoyable. Maybe I can get over the commercial break thing.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Sitting next to a former govenor of the school, the deputy head holding forth to the school:

FG "There's a village in Scotland somewhere missing their idiot..."

End of an era

Well, the beginning of the end, anyhow.

I've just been to Rhiannon's last class assembly at Primary school. It had a Remembrance theme, which was poignant, as the first funeral of the twelve from Kinloss that died in Afghanistan is due to take place today. The daughter of this young man started nursery and school with Rhiannon.

Rhiannon's year at this primary has been unusual, as there are at least a dozen of them that have gone through the school together, from beginning to end. We have a very transient society, but I'm pleased for Rhiannon that she has been one of the few, it's given them all a good deal of stability which has had an effect across the whole year. Before the end of the summer term, they will spend more time at the Academy, our local 'secondary' school, than at primary.

My baby's all growed up!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I've been hearing a lot of gripes lately about bins and recycling. I understand a new system is being introduced (in North Lincolnshire?) whereby residents are given recycling boxes/bins for items such as paper and tins and other, non-recyclable waste goes into an ordinary bin, garden refuse into another. The recycling boxes are then emptied weekly and the ordinary and garden bins alternate eeks. This idea appears to have caused uproar.

Now, I can't remember when, but at least eighteen months ago, we had this system introduced locally. At the time, we had two green wheelie bins, (because I'm greedy and I pinched one from one of the empty quarters that was about to be demolished) which were both usually full every week. Now, our boxes, one for cardboard and paper, the other for bottles and tins, are emptied weekly and our green and brown bins alternate weeks. The boxes have a perfect capicity for us, even as a family of six, although I do know other families who have requested extra boxes, (but then, they are the types that live on takeaway pizza and drink lots of beer and wine...) our green bin is rarely full and we only ever put out one a fortnight, our brown bin hardly goes out at all. (I don't garden much because of the cat problem, a completely seperate gripe.)

So, it works. It is easy, but then, we have the advantage of being reasonably environmently aware and have always avoided unnecessary packaging and the like. Before this system, David often paid a visit to the local recycling centre to dispose of bottles and cardboard, now it saves him the trip.

Quite handy, considering we don't have a car anymore...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I have just read the editor's letter of the Family Circle for the first time in months, only to discover this is the last ever issue! I'm so upset. I've grown up with this magazine and I've had a subscription for the last couple of years. I've recently cancelled this, oddly enough, but was paid up until the end of the year, so have still received the last few issues. I obviously wasn't getting my monies worth, I wasn't reading it properly, as it turns out, but it was through a healthy eating plan set out in this magazine that I lost two and a half stones two years ago and my recipe file is bulging with their recipes, but no more!

I'm very upset.

(Sad, but true)


The parcel that I waited in for last Friday arrived today, after a second phonecall yesterday, which was lucky, because if I hadn't got David to ring again, we wouldn't have known that his first call "...hadn't been logged" and therefore, I would have been staging a futile wait as my parcel winged it's merry way back from whence it came. Anyway, it's arrived. The children can, once again, wash their hair.

Little man-in-a-van came today, which was nice. I make my order a week in advance, I am quite organised with my menu planning, so when it arrives, I've often forgotten what little treats I've ordered. Some nice little surprises sometimes.

My one query about it all is the plastic carrier bags. I do send them back with the driver to be recycled, but I'm somewhat bewildered by the amount of carrier bags used in the first place. I often have one or two items in one bag that could quite easily take several more. Sometimes I even get things in a bag that don't need to be in one at all, like the four packs of orange juice. These are encased in polythene with a handle attached, (the handle is soooo well attached, you can't get them off.) so simply don't need more packaging. Where's the enviromental awareness in this?

I've had a little fun too, just to brighten my day. I've been filing my posts and giving them labels. What joy!

Monday, November 06, 2006



This may not be a topic of debate you wanted, but I need some advice. Other than, "Just don't do it!" which is tempting.

I flicked a duster around this morning, then threw the vacuum cleaner about a bit, just to look willing. Downstairs toilet, then the bathroom upstairs followed. This was all avoiding the real issue, the kitchen floor.

I despise cleaning the kitchen floor. It is a real cacky colour that never looks clean anyway and fourteen year old linoleum is pretty hard work at the best of times. However, I'd decided it must be my mop that wasn't cleaning properly and that I should make a real effort, getting down on my hands and knees with a bucket and cloth to give it a proper clean. Stupid idea that was! I didn't even have the satisfaction of the floor looking better!

So, now, the question is, is it really my choice of floor cleaner that is the problem, and, if so, what would do the job better? I thought, rather than spend a fortune trying lots of different cleaners, perhaps someone (R and A?) out there might have some ideas. I know you are like me, not big on cleaning, but you might just know of a magic product that helps you get away with this and you might share your secret with me.


The only positive thing I got out of the exercise was exercise. And who wants to do that!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Where's your head at?

From the room next door, I hear Rhiannon shout at one of her siblings.

I tut and think to myself, "I didn't quite catch that, I haven't got my glasses on."


Saturday, November 04, 2006

All change

I'm waiting for David to come back to the farm shop and I'm bored. I need him because there is a spider on the ceiling in our bedroom. I may have got better with the eight legged monsters over recent years, but I still can't bear them on the ceiling.

He's not going to like me. I've sent him there for potatoes. I've just remembered, we need green veg for dinner tonight.

And tomorrow.

I can feel a walk in the fresh air coming on.

Once this spider is gone and I've got some clothes on. I'm used to funny looks, but that's taking it a bit too far...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My hero, Hugh

For those of you unsure of who Hugh might be, it's Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I have just watched the beginning of his new series on Channel Four, River Cottage Treatment, whereby he has five guests stay at River Cottage HQ to reform their eating habits from mass produced to, at the very least, free range (FR) or, at best, organic (O) produce.

Now, he is of course preaching to the converted with me. The vegetables I buy are locally produced and I walk to the farm shop to buy them. We also buy our beef from them, which may not be O, but is beautifully cared for and I know exactly where they have been living and our eggs, which are FR. I buy FR chicken from Tesco, when it is available.

At one point in the programme, Hugh was trying to illustrate that, while buying FR or O is initially expensive, if the carcas is then used to make stock, stripped and vegetables added, you have a minimum of two family meals per bird. One chap commented that this was an old fashioned way of living and the modern family couldn't and wouldn't live this way.

We do!

I've always thought I was old fashioned.

By the end of the programme, three out of the five were converted to buying chicken that had had a good quality life. Excellent!

Two had become vegetarian.

Still less mass produced chicken being consumed.

See, it's that positive thinking again...

(Don't think I could kill my own though.)

I dislike dilemmas intensely

There's been a serious complaint made at school against two boys whom my youngest son, Conall, is friendly with. I have several issues with this.

1. I shouldn't know about it. ( I don't like knowing a secret)

2. Conall has always avoided unpleasant/disruptive children without guidance. He's a very good judge of character and just avoids trouble makers. I know he wouldn't have befriended these two children if they were not nice.

3. The other child involved, (who made the complaint) plays with my eldest daughter, who is her school buddy, and her friends and therefore I have witnesses that there are no problems like this.

4. I know the other child is simply jealous. She wants to play with Conall, they've been friends through two years at nursery and she doesn't want to share him. She is being deliberately devious and manipulative.

5. She is my friend's daughter...

This becomes complicated by my friend's older daughter's behaviour because I think the younger one is now copying her tactics to get what she wants. I don't think my friend will be able to see this, but I don't want these two boys labelled in such an awful way when they have done nothing wrong.

Back to that law again, in the previous post.


Who's law?

I came home from school today, instead of walking straight to the farm shop, because I knew I was expecting a parcel. I decided to wait in until the postman had been.

He duely came and went, putting post through my letter box, but not ringing my doorbell to deliver a parcel.

"Grand", me thinks, "I can go to the farm shop now."

I got home, forty five minutes later, to find a card from a courier through my letter box, announcing that little-man-in-a-van had tried to deliver a parcel, but had returned it to the depot and I now need to make a phone call, (major pet-hate) to request another delivery.