Sunday, 27 July 2008

Camping in the Back Garden

We did it last night...put the little three man tent up at the top of the garden, and all piled in. The children unfortunately were too excited to sleep though and kept getting out which was annoying after the first ten cute attempts. Finally, they slept, and we chilled, chatted and drank beer in our little camp at the top of the garden. I managed to make some lanterns out of old jam jars, wire and some candles and dotted these around.

It felt really magical, but also slightly like a night at a proper camp site, bar the fire, and friends. We then popped into our own bathroom to get ready for bed, then squeezed in the tent with the kids. And it was a bit of a squeeze. I woke up in the middle of the night to a sort of bashing and shuffling noise, and realised it must be the wild badgers. Was tempted to get out and have a look but realised they probably really are quite wild.

Then we woke up to the sound of bird song, well mostly sea gull but it was still delightful...

Course now the little one is so grumpy as she hasn't had enough sleep, she's just flung herself on her daddy crying 'cos he tried to move the car; 'No, Daddy, no, no Daddy'. Me; 'Come and sit with Mummy', 'No, not you! Just want Daddy!' and so on. Until the neighbours curtains start twitching anyway when we hide indoors as still wearing stripy pyjamas.

Anyway here's our garden...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Milk Snobbery and Politics therein

Am just back from lovely new Costa Coffee concession in Tesco's. Good coffee, nice cakes, and comfy sofa's. It should have been perfect but was lacking a serious element of coffee shops for me. It did not serve semi skimmed milk. And even McDonalds has semi skimmed milk these days. My friend K pointed out that they just have skimmed milk for the adults and full fat for the kids at home, so maybe it is me who is out of date. But...even then, if the full fat milk is to go in hot drinks (which it is) it should be semi skimmed, to be healthier for the adults.

Skimmed milk is lovely in tea, but too thin for a well balanced coffee, so what does one do? I asked the staff why, and they said it was company policy which milks to serve, on an area by area basis. I'm afraid I then suggested they thought Est Sussex was so chavy we only drink full fat milk, or even that we ordinarily drink full fat milk.

As a new - ish resident to East Sussex I find this quite offensive, although I do accept that Hastings in particular has a larger than usual population of smoking pregnant teenage mums waiting at bus stops. Also I guess a slightly larger then usual population of people drinking lager out of cans, or worse that bitter with tartan on it.

Anyway, have used the power of the internet to plead with Costa to change their milk policy here...oh, and don't even think about goats/non-dairy/anything else available in Hastings. Think they might have started to call me Down From London/Southern Snob if I'd even broached the subject.

So what do you think, am I justified in my pursuit of a decent coffee with milk? Or wrongly trying to change a cultural East Sussex issue to London - ify it?

Monday, 21 July 2008

Does one take pies?

Whilst standing in the very long queue in the Co-op in next town over on Saturday I found myself wondering whether the cashier ate pies for lunch. He was very jolly, and looked like he might, but was far from overweight, and in fact quite good looking. I then caught myself thinking oh, I could never go out with someone who ate pies. Course, not bothered about whether said pie eaters would go out with me.

Then my sheer short term memory loss remembered how lovely husband and mine's romance blossomed over pasties, marmite on toast and coffee. When we first got together, as students we lived in the West Country and would often emerge bleary eyed and romantic (possibly) out of bed to walk to the local shop to buy pasties for breakfast. In our defence they were at least locally produced delicious Cornish pasties, but still, not sure its quite cycling for some pain et buerre ou un croissant is it?

We were quite thin, which was probably all the walking to shops for pasties, and even more shamefully for Pot Noodles. A pot noodle, with sliced bread was considered a good lunch. Can't really remember what we used to eat for dinner, but kind of remember pasta being important. Oh, and frozen peas, which, alongside marmite have been my staple diet now for over twenty years. Even now I almost get withdrawal symptoms if I go over two days without them.

So I do love pasties, and pies, and even more so the men who eat them. So Mr Cashier in Co-op consider this an apology please, Pie eating is a Good Thing, when combined with walking.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Buzzy Birthdays

I'm proud of my ultra organisational skills today, have sent invitations out for Ol's fifth birthday in September already. Largely, because nursery ended, forever, for him yesterday and I don't have the contact details for all his friends so had to organise it before the summer. Stressed myself out though thinking about it, well doing it at the same time, as having Jem's third birthday party this Saturday. Need to bake, decorate and plan for that! and lovely husband's birthday on Tuesday.

Thought I might implode with organisation. That, and meal planning for eight people, cooking, cleaning, buying groceries, oh, and just getting dressed. Am absolutely looking forward to next week when school ends, and might well have a Duvet Day all day! Could lie on sofa, watch Juno, eat some chocolate, drink some Coke, and veg. For a whole day. Might have to pretend to students that I am ill, otherwise will seem like laziest mummy in world. Can't wait.

Oh, and off to nursery disco tonight, to say bye to all lovely staff, and they really are lovely, from Ol, and to have a dance. Am almost guaranteed to cry as its all signs of increasing independence of five year olds, and how he's growing up. Partly moved by pride of how lovely he is, and partly because I miss my little baby Ol. Might cry again in a minute.

Monday, 14 July 2008

How does my house work?

I've had this conversation with many people lately, largely as I get stuck in one train of thought and keep coming back to it, so somehow make them ask me...hopefully my answer is not not as boring as the time someone made the mistake of asking me at a party what exactly is was I did at work (as a NHS commissioning manager) and I told them. Was told in no uncertain terms to never repeat that story to anyone as would lose all friends by boring them to sleep. Have to admit story sort of went, go in to office, check e-mail, reply to services, check budget, check activity against budget, blah, blah blah.

Anyway, my house is from 1901, a Victorian family semi detached. I guess it was for quite well to do families, but probably did not include room for servants, unless they lived out? It was owned by a lovely family before us, for over 18 years, who liked music and art. Sadly they were not so hot on cleaning, or upkeep of the house. I have to say the roof is in a marvellous condition though, but there are several places where we have damp. We have decided to try and tackle the front of the house damp ourselves, by sealing the windows (seriously think/hope its that simple).

Downstairs we have two reception rooms; the living room room looks on to the street, is painted white and has a lovely lovely woodburner. We've improvised flooring solution, by ripping up old carpet when we moved in, then painting floor boards white. Kind of lovely, in a designed way, but not very practical for spills! It looks better now its more lived in though. Next we have the dining room, which we've painted white, with the fireplace highlighted in a deep charcoal blue. It has breezy curtains over French doors in to the garden. When we moved in this was the playroom, but felt too cramped, sort of like overtaken by toys and children. So now this is a spare room, and currently has the two older students in...

Then we've got a big kitchen, with a lovely lovely wooden table, from lovely husband's childhood, which seats about eight people. Off the kitchen is a door to the garden, and a weird shower room which houses the washing machine. Needs to be turned in to part of the kitchen, and have sofa's and view of garden..

Upstairs we've got a spare bedroom, again housing students, bathroom with fittings from 1901, lovely but bit old! Then children's room, then what is my making room and children's playroom. A really big bright room at the front of the house with sea views. Love this room. And up again from this room is the master bedroom. So we're a three bed roomed house, but sort of a four/five bedroom house...Lots to do to it, but helps that we also love it in its current state. Well apart from slugs that is. Did go a bit slug killing crazy last week, and pop pellets between floor boards, seems to have worked but seems that was very Wrong thing to do.

Least we don't have any of those Ghost slugs, with razor sharp teeth. Definitely scared of those ones.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Busy week

It really has been, from making dinner for eight every night, to setting the table for breakfast, from washing up, to cleaning, to washing to making sure the household is well stocked. Am bloody knackered. Wonder how olden days house keepers felt in this position, probably looking forward to their well earned day off on Sunday!

I was hoping to sneak off on Saturday night and go Up Town to London for the evening, still would love to, but all this activity, oh and I guess some germs has left me with a bad cold, and a worse mood, so suspect its not a good plan this weekend. Plus we have one student leaving, one arriving, and all the bedding to wash! Aaah. Wish we had automatic washer, well, we do its called a washing machine. Think what I really mean is wish we had a cleaner. Do wonder sometimes if I am made for a little more than this.

I was planning to take some time and write this summer, but so far seem to have got firmly stuck in the domestic world, and even worse am finding these kind of domestic duties so dull I can't even get the energy up to glamorise them. Yes, its true, even a little Kath Kidston fabric probably would not work.

At least we're escaping from the domestic un-bliss of the house this morning for the interesting local playgroup which seems to attract both the best and worst behaviour of its attendees for some reason....

See you after I emerge from child and cleaning land....

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Bat out of Hell....

From today's msn...

Bat in the bra

A teenager spoke of her shock after finding a bat curled up in the bra she had been wearing for five hours.
Abbie Hawkins, 19, of Norwich, initially thought it was her mobile phone causing movement in her clothing.
But when she investigated, she found the stowaway creature, hidden in the padding pocket of her 34FF black bra.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Growing Sunflowers

Lovely Husband potted these spare sunflowers a few months ago, am loving his use of a metal jug as planting pot, and am finding it very aesthetically pleasing. He just says it was all there was, and its not supposed to be 'designed'.

The sunflowers look very healthy, but haven't grown much though. The ones the children planted at nursery have now been planted out in the front garden, but also sadly not growing. Think am incapable of actually growing things, except jasmine, once as they are supposed to be easy aren't they? Dreading the moment I have to say, honey I killed your sunflowers!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Aspiring Consumer

There are several things I really, really, really want at the moment. And can't have, because, well in the past we'd have put them on a credit card, we can't justify or afford it at the moment. And because we've finally realised that you just can't have what you want without paying for it at some point. Oh, and we're busy paying for the random things, we did really really want on credit cards in the past. If you get my drift..

But still, I really really want a decent digital camera. I don't know about keeping up with the Jones', although no one can really believe we are still in the photographic middle ages. It's more about being able to quickly take photos of things I like, and love, including of course the children, but things I make, and the house, flower and stuff and put them on the computer, including here.

I keep telling myself we don't really need one, its just a trend etc, but I really really want one. Really really.

And a dishwasher, also not essential, although with currently two children, two adults, and three teenagers in the house washing up is beginning to be a hideous task. Particularly after breakfast, which weirdly the teenage students have decided happens at 7 am, as that is when the children eat. Then everyone else rushes out the house, and leaves me to it. Thus critically cutting in to my blogging/making and drinking coffee time. Not fair!

Also, another justification...we're now paying £66 a month for water! It's absolutely incredible how expensive it is. Basically there's some deal that has been made in this area, that when a house is sold, a meter is put in. So we have a meter, and are really careful with it, but are paying last year, and this year at once I think..or maybe 6 months of last year, before we got a bill. So it will go down a little at some point, as long as we keep not watering the garden (apart from with saved water), and be careful...still with seven in the house it'll be very expensive. The worst of it all is when I rang the water company to find out how much more a meter will cost us, or an average family of four, they admitted the bills usually doubled! And they are a private company so its even more upsetting, that the local council, MP's etc have agreed to this plan.

So anyway, I need a dishwasher and a digital camera, and I'd like (but really don't need..)

1. A King Charles Cavalier Spaniel puppy

2. Some floppy wide legged trousers

3. Some flat blue sandals to go with the above

4. New curtain rail in living room (more effort than cost here)

5. New beautiful cream sofa, with lovely pastel colour checked cashmere throws on

6. New bathroom

7. Lots of plants for the front garden, that won't die when I touch them

8. Big, big car (I know I know)

9. Very expensive haircut and colour

10. A cleaner (I know, I know!)

Best get making some more monsters then....