Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Hubby.... Hunter Gatherer

Hubby is in his element. The locals came a-calling for him; farmers with a long history in this area who seem to have accepted The Archers as part of the landscape. They took Hubby out shooting again. I wasn't over optimistic, last year he'd borrowed the big farmer's gun and had broken it. The collective shooters mended it with tape, I can't help thinking that mending a gun with tape just doesn't sound safe but out here in the crunchy-side there seem to be a shortage of health and safety. No bad thing really.

I've decided that a shooting widow is worse than a golf widow: Hubby made me a golf widow quite early in our life together. The old saying, 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' seemed awfully relevant then so I learned to play golf too and all was well in the world until the kids came along. It was then that I feared I might be widowed once again but fortunately hubby was too poor/exhausted/distracted to play much. With golf, you know they'll be gone most of the day, wearing plaid trousers, white shoes and occasionally a visor. Come to think of it, male golf clothes are pretty effeminate....... But a shooting widow is far worse because.... well because they are out there, flailing about with guns and mud and unpredictable animals. If they survive the weapons there is also the chance that they might come home bearing treasures for the female cave dweller to prepare. That's me....yuk.

Don't get me wrong, I want to cook and eat pheasant, venison, duck, partridge or pigeon, I just don't like the idea of preparing it. If I prepared it I probably wouldn't eat it. Too posh to pluck? That's me....

For the first time ever Hubby came home proudly bearing two brace of pheasant. Two cocks (pretty much!) and two hens. Wow-wee. The children were fascinated, the cats more so......


It seemed such a shame to have killed such beautiful birds but there I am with the double standards again...... I don't want to prepare them, don't want them murdered, but I do want to eat them...

Hubby knew the deal, he was kind, he offered to prep his kill and the 8yo eagerly volunteered her services. The 6yo was less forthcoming, but as I left the kitchen to iron enough clothes for all the inhabitants of Paxos to be well dressed for a year, (why, oh why do I let it build up so....) the boy was donning his apron too.

Within twenty minutes the boy had retreated. He had a dodgy look on his face......

'That is yucky,' he said. 'And the cats are eating the guts.' He got back to the job of murdering small digitised clone warriors on the DS.

But back in the kitchen, by following The Shooting Times online video instruction, Hubby and the 8yo made a very nice job of the birds.



She's clearly in her element..... cheffy school here we come?

Thursday, 23 December 2010

UK Gardening News....

http://www.gardenersworld.com/monty-don/



The pin-up returns......... yea Monty, we love you. Thank goodness you're back, I can watch on a Friday night without making snippy comments throughout the whole programme. Dear BBC my husband thanks you for peace in our house on a Friday night.......

Christmas Smells.... oh yes it does

Brother-in-law as angel ...........OK, not really.... if he looked this good dead, my sister might help him on his way!!!.....


The babies slept with me last night, I wanted peace they wanted warmth, hubby was away. Consequently I got up at 6am as I was jolly uncomfortable. How many arms and legs do two children have for heaven's sake?!

Coming downstairs I lit the fire and, feeling Christmassy, I made...... wait for it..... jam! I know it's not THAT Christmassy but the thing is, we had our Christmas Tesco delivery yesterday. We sledged across the lanes to retrieve it from the van driver who had managed to park up as near as possible. The same thing happened last year so we're fairy blase about this now. The new driver was most intrigued by our chilled attitude... oh I made a funny, chilled... never mind! Well, all the food turned up and when we finally got it home I started filling the freezer. However, the blackberries and peeled apple circles that I foraged in the summer and autumn were seriously getting in the way. Also I've a million empty jars cluttering up the dairy so I pulled out bags of fruit and lo and behold the new food fitted in beautifully.

Before the sproglets awoke this morning I made 13 jars of gorgeous Blackberry and Apple jam, loosely based on a recipe from The Cottage Smallholder, a font of all knowledge. My recipe probably has slightly more apple than blackberry because I took out more apple bags from the freezer. I sieved all pips out of the jam and it is really quite my best jam ever. It has a really good set, probably because of the quantity of apple.

Then, without rinsing the huge 19 litre stock pot, I made Beetroot Relish, a MUST with cold turkey. I made it with 6 packs of precooked beetroot, (what a cheat!) The vinegar smell was quite welcome, as by this time in the morning, the owner of the tree farm opposite had come with his son to remove our poo heap from outside the stables. The pong from the year-old manure was rather overpowering, still nothing like a bit of vinegar to clear the nostrils!!!

When the 6yo finally appeared from bed he had that cute bed-head look.

'Mum?' he said, holding his nose. (He can't abide weird smells.... (I fall into that category sometimes); make-up, perfume, vinegar, poo*, the auction house all offend him...)

'Yes?'

'Will Santa bring me the things I asked for, the things I wrote on the note that we burned?'

Hmmmmmmmmmm.....................

'Not sure,' I said. 'Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he brings you something even better, something you didn't even think of.'

His chin wobbled. 'If Santa brings me baby toys I will think that Santa sucks!'

Sucks! Sucks! Are we in England? Who says sucks? I don't say sucks..... often....... neither does hubby or the 8yo! AND they don't watch the Disney Channel.... that bloody Disney Channel needs cleaning up if you ask me!.... Oh, you didn't,..... well, just don't get me started! That Tracey Beaker stuff is awful too and what about that dreadful programme where kids play to get out of jail - what the heck is THAT about!!!??? .... OK, it's OK I'm breathing into a bag now....

Calm thoughts, calm thoughts............ It's a stunning day today, belting sunshine and the white white snow, we could be at a ski resort.... though rather less funds required. The children have refused to go sledging, just because I want to go down with them on my lap! No fun.

'Is it because I'm too fat?'

'No!' said the 8yo immediately. Good girl, I've trained her well - a fast positive response. Feeling better about myself already. Sod the diet in January.

'You're just very chubby.'

I'm heading Santa off at the pass..........................................

*

My brother in law is laid up at the moment: He came off his motorbike badly on the ice. I rather hope he decides not to ride again as he's the most brilliant person ever and we really rather like having him on the planet with us. The thought of him gazing down on us in a meringue dress with wings and a harp could put you off your Christmas dinner! Anyone with suggestions of how to keep him off the bike, which is sadly the most economical way to get to his central London job, will be most gratefully received. Apparently my suggestion that my sister and family move to Knightsbridge isn't actually that practical! Details, schmeetails!





*I do NOT smell of this substance....oh wait, except when barrowing from the muck heap, cleaning out the chickens and gardening... OK, maybe I do smell of poo.!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Larchingham Palace....

Well, this morning the smell has abated. (If you're unsure of what I am talking about, take a peek at yesterday's post, I'm too annoyed to repeat the story...) I presume the reason for the smell dilution is because we live in a sizeable, draughty house where the sash windows are just about to fall out. This creates a weather system inside the house and allows troublesome odors to dissipate quickly. No need for fancy air fresheners here! Humph!

Last night, after the smokehouse cleared and I escorted, out of the doors and windows, every bit of heat from the house that we'd accumulated since early November, I began to worry about the hubby: (You can never worry enough really. As an aside, all the people I know who worry a lot are slim...... I am fat!) Anyhoo, the snow was getting pretty bad and he'd borrowed my sledge car for the day, leaving us with Dizzy.

The stink from the damp fire was still revolting so I stomped out into the black and white and returned with my wheelbarrow. (I love my wheelbarrow.... roll on Spring.) With Kevlar fire gloves I weight-lifted the entire wrought-iron log basket, still smoking, into the wheelbarrow and raced it out the front door and out into Home Field. The offending logs and coal are now a part of the prep for next year's Bonfire Night Party.

*

Hubby finally made it home. Shaking, he said hello and immediately fixed himself a drink. Bad journey home; it's the last 10 miles that really scuppers us.

He was so traumatised he didn't even register the smoke damage, except to tell me that that particular chimney doesn't have a cowl. The chimney was probably blocked with snow and ice.

After a bath I almost smelled human. I sat with hubby in the kitchen, the children safely tucked up in beds and bedrooms that smelled like lapsang souchong tea,.... but I was warm by the log burner (that doesn't smoke) and I was very comfy too, till my arse, 'scuse the French, fell through the ancient new thrones fireside chairs we've treated ourselves to as a Wedding Anniversary present. Anyhow, it appears that one of the struts holding the springs in place had pinged off. Hubby - mender of the universe - soon had it fixed and my bottom was soon safely on my rightful throne....... just the one cheese scone with a slice of cold ham and a glass of wine beside me. See I'm cutting back already.



So, this morning we just smell vaguely like we live on a charcoal farm..... Delightful.

[If you receive this post as an email, click on the BLUE blog post title to go through to my blog site. Thank you for subscribing. Lou.]

Monday, 20 December 2010

Not Good. Bad end to a good day.

We had a great day today, sledging, art and craft, I even claimed back the playroom. It looked beautiful. Oh yes, good day. The snow really started to fall too, it looked wonderful.

The playroom looked so good I thought I'd evict the kids from the kitchen where their school desks have moved to; complete with glue, Plasticine, sellotape, paper, scissors, everything arty, plus Lego.....and then there's the glitter.... .... shudder!! I wanted my kitchen back..... to be kitchen-y.

I called Hubby;

'Come home now, the snow's really bad' I pleaded.

'I will leave soon, but I've got to finish this meeting,' he said. 'But my battery's almost out on my phone so I'm switching off now in case I need it desperately later.'

I lit the open fire for the sproglets in the playroom, using up a shake of the old coal from the derelict cottage, I stuck a Santa movie on the 'video machine' .... yes they really DO still exist and settled the kiddies down on the big old sofa.

Soon the smoke started and started and started and billowed and plumed and engulfed the room then the hall and then the hallway.

It was so bad I googled how to put out a wood fire before finally chucking a huge bucket of water on it.

The house smells awful. I want to cry and I can't even contact Hubby.

My throat is raw but the babies are fine I tucked them in the kitchen while the inferno stank my house out.

Sometimes life sucks.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

If you get the time.....

....please check out my new site, I'm selling pretty things.....  Maybe something might take your fancy one day...



http://englishmisfits.blogspot.com/

Love
Lou
xxx

Vultures and an Advent Calendar

There is snowy Christmas stuff surrounding the house (as usual.) It's got that we don't even discuss the white stuff anymore, it's just there. Even the chickens are resigned to the fact that the outlook will be fairly colourless for the foreseeable future, possibly till March..... Archie Archer is getting v naughty, every time I open his coop he pops out for a quick play in the snow. It has to be a quick play; as the cats have got their greeny eyes on him, they sit outside the coop licking their lips although that might have something to do with the fact that they too love spaghetti as much as Archie does ....or fake worms as I like to call them.

Archie Archer is now 6 weeks old and getting bigger by the day. We thought he was a Barnevelder beed, born from an egg kindly donated by our neighbour, but having read up on that breed, it appears that Barnevelder chicks are initially yellow.Archie Archer arrived out of his shell as black as coal: Therefore I strongly suspect that Archie is a vulture.



The children and I visited my parents last week on the south coast. Every evening at dinner we lit the table Advent Calendar - a very nice tradition. On arriving home I felt the need to make an Archers at the Larches Calendar. I was the designer and I commissioned hubby (bribed with a home cooked ham dinner,)  to create the design: Four holes drilled into and a robin's feet nailed onto a lichen adorned log. (NO, It was not a real robin....although to be truthful, I did have that option as the cats have caught two fat ones recently..... not very Christmassy, sorry!) Anyhow now I feel right proper holy every evening at dinner. The punch-up after dinner relating to who gets to blow the candles out has, so far, not drawn blood....... What is is about kids and candles?

Friday, 10 December 2010

What would you prefer?



I've been thinking, what would I prefer...... if I HAD to live somewhere forever, that was unbearably hot or unbearably cold... which would I choose.

I'm not talking Barbados-by-the-sea hot, that would be a no-brainer, no, I'm talking in-land hot or in-land cold. Also, I'm factoring in all sorts of disasters in the next 50 years (long life-line me!) So there could be resource issues like oil strikes, limited electricity etc, so no central heating or air conditioning on occasions...

Think about it.....

...I've chosen cold. I reckon I'd go stir-crazy in constant heat..and I could always wear my entire wardrobe and light a wood fire...

What would you choose?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Books, Books, Books.....




http://www.worldbooknight.org/%20 Take a look at this, you sweet things,.... free books... yipee....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/wbc/all and this gives us all access to booky people's brains. Lovely, lovely internet....
Lou
xx

Techna-what????? and screen wash.

It's so cold that Dizzy's squirters have frozen up and no matter what, I cannot unfreeze them! Sooooo, I've made up a lovely witches potion in a spray bottle. It works a treat. Here's the potion mixture; Quite a lot of full-on vodka, the remains of the cleaning fluid in the spray bottle and a tadge of water. Please note the vodka should be the main ingredient. Not my kinda cocktail btw, but super-dooper on the windscreen...

N.B. Don't blame me if you're pulled over and breathalised.... I know vodka's not supposed to smell on the breath but the cillit-bang might pong a bit!





Have you ever tried to get your blog listed on Technorati?..... gosh .......  H9HYE2N5BQYX is all I can say!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Gardening in Pictures






Easily Impressed from Shropshire....

Its boiling today..... by boiling, I mean that it's almost -3.

School run was pretty....blah,blah,blah; sheep, ice on trees, slippy road, ice fog in valley,..... although I did see a bird of prey take a rat from a farmyard. It crashed into a white hedge..and there was a great poof of frost and then they were gone, rat and bird. That was quite exciting... But c'mon, roll on Spring already.......... Whad'ya mean Winter's only just begun?....no,no,no, I want planting and strawberries and birds in the garden, other than robins, and fluffed up chickens, rather than the miserable looking molting sad ones I seem to have at the moment!

I cooked spaghetti for the chooks today. They're very Italian - loved it.

Then I saw something that made me really smile: Broad Beans. My broad Beans, some in pots some in the ground, are ignoring the weather, braving the ice age and popping their heads up at the meagre winter sun. How wonderful.


The onions too are toasty under the frosting.


And the leeks are delicious, seemingly unbothered by the cold. I made Leek, bacon and pork (leftover) pie the other day and it was deeee-lish.


Monday, 6 December 2010

Six Days....



Is it really only six days ago I was buried in my writing (and eating,) trying to complete the NaNo challenge?

I'm glad to say I've got back to a much healthier diet since my confinement in November. This morning I had a coffee and some very healthy brown, nutty bread with a smear of Marmite.....hopefully that will counteract the massive handful of Minstrels I also had. Come on!! I had Splenda in my tea.......

..........which I nearly spat out after listening to the hilarious gaffe on the Today Programme BBC Radio 4 this morning. (If sensitive to poor language, do not investigate further!) .... Poor Jim.

*

The past six days have been busy, we've managed to get Dizzy Discovery back after it broke down and the manifold gasket blew, (I've no idea what I've just said, but it cost us about £80!) We've been at the school play and been to a bowling birthday party. We've sledged. I've collected frozen eggs from all over the site which had expanded and cracked - very annoying as they are now in the compost bin. I've snuggled and kissed Archie Archer - who is as warm as toast with his mummy. Oh, and yesterday I did a fair bit of the Christmas shopping in a town called Hereford that was very quiet really, bearing in mind it's December. You can feel the recession biting, it's not just the cold. 

*

Boy has been sickly since last Friday. He managed to limp through his Christmas play at school where he was a chef, then stardom took its toll and he went all flu-y, with soaring temperatures. No projectile fluids I'm pleased to say, but the snotty-ometer was off the Richter scale. Still, after three days of wall-to-wall Star Wars and a lot of home-made chicken stock, he's back at school. Before you ask, no I didn't murder one of the girls to get the chicken stock, I used the carcass from the free-range turkey we ate for Thanksgiving when 'Cross the Pond came a-visiting.

The Archers have been decorating the house for Christmas. Across the road from us is a wonderful tree farm. I drove over in my normal car, (or as I like to call it - The Sledge) and picked out a good sized tree for the inner hall and one for the Hubby to take to the office. The owner very kindly offered to drop the trees over to the house in his Land Rover. I waved goodbye to him and then went nowhere - totally stuck in the snow! So boring.

For your info; the owner of the nursery gives really good driving instruction, much better than the hubby. He quite simply told me to put the car in first, (keeping the revs gentle so's not to cut out,) and then to remove my foot from the accelerator and brake pedals, allowing the car to drive itself, albeit slowly, up his slightly inclined drive and back out along the track, towards The Larches. Phew. My little heart races when I get stuck like that, does yours?

We're happy with the tree though.....





*

The whole country has been spookily cold these past few weeks, but last night must have been a SUPER-COLD night in Shropshire.

This morning Hubby took my car, laden with his Christmas tree, while we opted for Dizzy for school run. It took an age to defrost the cars. I hope Hubby's journey was uneventful, he goes in the opposite direction to us, up and over an ancient bridge on a thread of a road. He managed to pull a 360° the other day. He said it properly scared him and he doesn't really do scared. BMW may stand for Beat My Wheelie, then again it might not. (Whole different blog-post could be dedicated to what BMW stands for.. 'nuther day maybe..)

Anyhoo, our journey to school was awesome. The snow Queen had been busy overnight turning Shropshire into a Popsicle. The Common, usually so yellow and green with gorse and heather, was artificially white. The summit of Clee Hill at 533 metres above sea level was like something from Ice Station Zebra.... a Christmas movie your Dad would love!



The sky was its coldest blue, clear of cloud. A pheasant looked gaudy at the edge of the road, watching us pass he looked a bit like a dandy, over-dressed for such a simply coloured day. The sheep were perfectly dressed as snowballs.

As we drove along the hill road that drops down to sea level to Ludlow, it looked as if someone had filled the valley with squirty cream. Ice fog engulfed the land, only one lonely island remained, far in the distance towards Wales, the top of a forested  mountain.

We turned down into the fog and the blue sky was gone, replaced by sepia countryside, where only larch or red brick or the warm orange glow from a window pushed through into the picture postcard landscape.

And now I'm back home, a warm fire crackling quietly, cats asleep. Chickens fed and watered and me to finish cards and bake I think.

Keep warm.




(Pic of the radar at Clee Hill courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Websplash: Talli Rowland's The Hating Game


Can you help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME become a hit, and being ranked in the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk? Can you spread the word today? Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.


Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/hNBkJk

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more. Coming soon in paperback. Keep up with the latest at http://www.talliroland.com/






THE HATING GAME:
When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Thanks

Lou

Reading List....

http://lilolia.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/the-old-big-reads-top-100-best-loved-novel/ has recently posted about the BBC's 2003 quest to find the nation's best-loved novel. Below are all the results from number 1 to 100! Whether you like the list or detest it, it is an indication of the tastes of the UK in 2003 (or at least those readers that check out the BBC online or go to libraries!) Why not see how many you've read.

For Instructions:

• Copy this list.

• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.

• Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.

• Underline the ones you really want to read

Of the ones I can remember I have read :
1.The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Running Time 42,617 minutes

Did it, I did it and it feels great. I even cried. That could be exhaustian.

I'd like to publically thank my husband who has really put up with a lot. I really appreciate it my love.


Now back to real life and bathing and listening to my babies and school plays and carol services and cooking and Christmas cards and reading books on my list and other people's blogs. And sleep. Bliss

Marathon ending.....



Think of all the swear words you know and multiply them ten-fold: I have 2800 words to write for NaNo and I have all but run out of steam. The deadline is midnight tonight, although, as I am sure technology will let me down, my deadline is lunchtime'ish.

Last night I came to bed late after a big 3500 word day, slept in most of my clothes.This morning when the alarm went off I couldn't open my eyes. Hubby was great, 'Get up, finish that novel,' he said. I thought he was being supportive, turns out he misses me. Awwwww.

We were NOT, I repeat NOT, due snow! But there it was, all over the garden, as I peered out into the highlighted darkness at 6am. Nightmare really, as Dizzy Disco is broken! I seriously feared that I wouldn't be able to get the kids to school in my car, my day would be scuppered. But s'OK, the roads were passable.

There was no wood in the house, but I fetched some when I fed the chickens and now, with bread and cheese and coffee.......

......Are you sitting comfortably? ......Then let the story begin, opps sorry, I mean end...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Benny!

There was I, deeply engrossed in my NaNo Novel 'The Perrys at the Berries,' when I heard the cat flap, well... flap.

I carried on typing as Benny trotted by.......



Then I saw it...............ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Benny! Get out!

(Oh, I've just remembered, he's supposed to be the farm cat....) Oh yes, thank you, thank you, thank you. Good boy Benny...... Doing a great job. BUT GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN WITH THAT THING!!!






North West of London.......

It is always good when friends come to stay, and lately we have had a lovely array of visitors.

This weekend we hosted a pal from London with her wonderful hubby Fen and her two gorgeous children Cate and X. You must know her she writes the brilliant 'Cross the Pond blog.

She chose a good weekend to come, Ludlow has held street markets since the twelfth century and this weekend was no exception, the Ludlow Medievil Christmas Fayre was on too. We browsed stalls selling fresh produce, cheeses, olives, books and  local crafts while rubbing shoulders with wild, chivalrous knights and courtly ladies, soldiers, jesters and medieval musicians as well as menacing minders of King Stephen. All with the backdrop of the Norman Castle.

It was all pretty bizarre, but good.



We visited the yummy cheese shop too. Sadly I'd forgotten to bring a carrier bag, but thank goodness the weather was so chilly, as Miss 'Cross the Pond offered to store the cheese purchases in her handbag. If it had been warmer, her purse could have smelled remarkably like a french pond, so pungent were our cheese- choices! (Fortunately she was still fragrant by home-time, freezing but fragrant) Although cold, the belting sunshine made Ludlow look so pretty.

Fen and Hubby were in heaven too: Two international rugby matches on the TV on Saturday, beer and a thwacking Thanksgiving turkey - theirs was a marriage made in heaven.

It has been super-cold, a severe frost has covered the fields and frozen the water troughs for the horses. Although it's not snow, after our guests departed, Sledge Field was sufficiently frozen to allow the 8yo and the 6yo to sled for the afternoon, until their hands bottoms and knees could take the pain no longer!. It has been so cold in fact, that locally they recorded temperatires of -18 last night. Sadly, one of our chickens passed away last night. Poor thing, she hadn't looked well. Never fear however, Archie and mum are still doing well.

Well I'm off to cook dinner.

Just 7000 words between now and Tuesday midnight and I should complete the NaNoWriMo challenge. Will I do it? 'COURSE I WILL.......

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Writing a Novel in novel places....


Me and the Novel went on tour this weekend.. I'm at 35,000 words and need to get to 50,000 by the 30th November... I can see the finish line, I'm just not sure if someone won't trip me up before I get there!

It was my good pal's birthday weekend in London. The hubby gave me a weekend pass, some pennies and a kiss on the cheek. 'Play nice,' he said.

Mindful that I still needed to write my novel, I set off with clean pants, a toothbrush and my computer.

The first train allowed me to write for an hour and a half before my battery went! I changed stations in South Wales (no. not the new Australian one, the original one.) So, feeling cheeky I asked to plug into the train conductors office, but was told that there was actually a plug for customers' use in the waiting room. Cool.

For an hour I tippy-typed till the next train arrived. Three and a half hours later, having typed all the way, (the seat had its very own plug,) I arrived in London Paddington.

The party was booked for a bar and restaurant on top of Waterstones book store in Piccadilly.... how apt was that? - my book was already in Waterstones and it wasn't even finished. It's fate, I'm telling you!

I was super-early so I toddled down to the coffee shop in the basement and continued to write for another hour.

It was very interesting in the coffee shop: There were masses of people drinking coffee and chatting. A group of three men, possibly an actor, a director and a producer, were reading through a very graphic mob-style movie plot.... [v. boring - so same-y - I'm not recommending it..] Distracted, I moved tables. I took a quick peek about: There were lots of characters including the usual poseurs pretending to read, [I'd like to imagine] their books upside down. Then there were the lovely studious-but-poor-looking types, drinking the same cold coffee for hours on end, reading all the store's books before stroking them goodbye and replacing them on the shelves.

Finally at six o'clock I packed up and joined the party on the 5th floor, meeting some really great women, friends of my dear friend. We eventually ended up in a Indian restaurant in Berkeley Square off Mayfair, where we drank cocktails. Mine, the Mumbai Martini, was made with vodka, passion juice and spicy Indian chutney. Bonkers but gorgeous.

**

The journey home was dreadful. I stood for almost two hours on the second train and it took me seven hours to get home. I feel jet-lagged but I will say that I met fantastic people on my journey: In particular a lovely couple going home to Camarthen and two tired but gorgeous-looking mums with children, going home to Liverpool after a christening. They looked particularly adorable sitting chatting to me from the loo, the only place to sit on the train! ......There really is nothing like a bit of a crisis to get us Brits laughing..... and we did laugh all the way through to my stop, after we'd first deeply the lamented the lack of jobs in the UK and seats on trains. Thank you so much for the camaraderie Mr World Wide Recession... [she said sarcastically!]

Friday, 19 November 2010

Archie Archer Chick-tastic

I've just cleaned Archie (who is now twelve days old,) and Mummy Hen's coop and run. I transferred them to a holding run while I worked; a perfect opportunity to snuggle Archie. He's gorgeously warm and peeps loudly when I take him from mum even for just a few seconds but is blissfully happy when I deposit mum back beside him again.

He has a new game, he hops up on to her back and she gives him little rides around the run before tipping him off again. Hilarious to watch, hope you can see him from my kitchen window.




video



video

My own chicks are at a sleepover tonight, the 6yo's first. He's blasé and therefore I'm OK too, happy that he's happy.

To take our minds off the abandoned nest we, the parentals, are off for a Chinese meal. Freedom for one night is so sweet, but then I want my babies back please...... Dinner with hubby is so rare these days, I'm so looking forward to it.

Running a few errands in Ludlow today was wonderful. The town was Dickensian, cloaked in a gentle fog. I thought I'd stepped back in time passing the book binder store front with its panelled bay windows and ancient machinery within. Sometimes I draw up in the car at the traffic lights, often for longer than I should, just so I can watch these craftsmen and women, busy repairing leather-bound volumes.

All the butchers have their game hanging in the street now too; cock pheasants hang their heads, vibrant feathers wasted on shoppers. If I didn't know how good they tasted, I might feel sorry for them. I ordered a good sized turkey for next week, my nod to Thanksgiving, I've a lot to feel thankful for.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

NaFaWriMo.....

NaFaWriMo is going really well. (Na.tional get Fa.t Wri.ting in the Mo.nth of November)


Stats to date:

Intake of biscuits - 1654
Slices of cake - 988
Coffee - 19000
Tea with sugar - 17,000
Chocolate Brownies - 1800
Crisps - 1300
Wine - Yes, constantly...oh, y'mean how many bottles........ ermmmm quite a lot!

Suggested cumulative intake per day - 34,000
At this rate you will keel over on  - 5th December 2010

Days till target weight and/or heart attack - 14

Monday, 15 November 2010

A Struggle....

Have calculated that I have 12 days to write 30,000 words. Sob.

I can do it I can do it I can do it....

Can't move, eaten too many biscuits.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Curiosity smells awful....

I'm a 'fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants' sort of girl. Don't get me wrong, I do the work, it's just that when I set my mind to doing something I generally like to get on in there, learning as I go along. I'm curious too, real curious. Which is why, this morning I tried to 'candle' my last five eggs. They are now on day 21 + 5.

I found a site on the Internet that told me how to make a candling unit, so, armed with my trusty Diet Coke fridge box (yes, I had to drink all 24 cans in the pursuit of science! Not..... I can never finish a can of coke, can you?) Anyhoo I digress, so with box, high power torch and eggs I ventured down to the cellar.

Couldn't see a sodding thing. But I could smell something really unpleasant.

The Internet had said; discard eggs at 21 + 5, so I did. But it didn't tell you how. I debated for a while but eventually I decided on a post-mortem. I had to know if they had been viable.




Out to the compost bins with rubber gloves I went... (the bins are in a right sorry state I can tell you: Must sort them this weekend.... as well as write 3000 words a day, clean chickens, feed kiddies, supervise a sleepover....)  I gently tapped first egg on wood. A hateful, pongy goo dribbled out, but no chick. Number 2 was the same. Number 3 the same. Number 4 exploded all.over.me. So glad I was only wearing my most lovely pink Crew cotton rugby top. (I recalled a similar incident many years ago: I broke a whole bottle of Nam Pla Fish Sauce over my head.... complicated story...) Gagging, I still had to know about egg number 5....... stand well back..... no explosion just goo.

So it seems that from six eggs, only Archie Archer was viable... Welcome to the world Archie.

Just read on the trusty Internet, that you MUST take out the eggs at day 21 + 5 in case they explode.... wish I read that first and that I wasn't such a 'seat-of-the....-girl' after all!

Must go, sitting here a bit chilly, all clothes in wash. I'm off for a shower.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

School Rules.

The 6yo was grumpy coming home from school. The girls are chasing him to try and catch him to kiss him.

'Can I have all my curls cut off?' he asked.

'Sure, if you want,' I said, meaning no. 'But why?'

'So the girls don't recognise me.'

'Ah good point. Maybe you could get an invisibility cloak?' I suggested, feeling tres literary and yet child-orientated...

'No,' he said, deadly serious. 'You're not allowed those at school...'

Priceless.

Hideous Weather

It is seriously windy here. Apparently we could be seeing gale force winds of up to 80mph thanks to the Gulf Stream which, according to some fella on the BBC, is travelling at 170mph above our heads and indeed, high above the clouds.

We've had to lash the new greenhouse down!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Surreal Tea tonight...

The 6yo was most insistent that the Egyptians (present day) did not have TV.

'I think they do.' I said.

He put down his knife and fork.

'They do not!' he said. 'They can't get a signal because of the mountains!'

'O-kaaaaaay...'

We left it there, though I wondered if he'd been watching the National Geographic channel or something!! 'Cept he's not allowed to watch TV during the week (evil-mother rule or evil mother's rule, you choose.) Don't get me wrong I love telly occasionally, for instance hubby is currently glued to Time Team, jolly interesting esp. with that Baldrick bloke from Slack Bladder. I like a bit of Masterchef The Professionals myself and indeed I've learned a lot. For instance I've learned that I don't aspire to eat or cook fussy food and I've also learned a new language; quennells, jus, reduction.

Tonight I treated my family to a lovely deconstructed fish cake..... that's baked potato, chive butter and tinned tuna with mayo and lemon juice to you and I....

***

Regarding my previous post: I may have acted rashly, removing Whitey's eggs just because she's at 21 days + 3 days. A neighbour suggested that she may have needed to leave the nest to feed Archie but that the other eggs may still hatch. Bugger! I've put them back under her tonight.

Still on the subject of chickens, hubby was swearing like a rudee-rude person tonight.... he was constructing a new coop, bought online. Apparently grown men don't cry except when assembling self-build furniture. He's desperately clever. Lookee what he's built.


Hockey, Hic! and Helping Chicks......

Gosh, the 8yo was amazing at the hockey-stuff... streaked off down the pitch twice and scored both times! In the end they won 3:1.

Last night the Ginger and Chili Beef Stew was lush and this morning the coffee morning went well. Sadly there was only six of us in attendance but this did mean I was able to offer a tiny tipple of my bright pink Plum Vodka.... just to warm the ladies up you understand! It was met with approval I'm pleased to say.

Talking of warming, Whitely seems to have given up with the other five eggs now that she has birthed Archie Archer..... see video footage....


video

Therefore I am going to try to hatch them; after all they must be close to hatching having been sat on for 21 days. I am not going to sit on them - no - thanks for asking! I've popped them in a Diet Coke box (not blatant advertising honestly!) which is very like a cat carrier when you look at it. They are sitting on the ledge above the log burner which is where I warm our wine..... It may not work, but it's surely worth a try.


In case you are interested, here's the beef stew recipe...... none left for picture I'm afraid!

Saute onion, garlic, carrot and whole button mushrooms in pan with oil. Then add v.lazy chillies and finely chopped fresh ginger. Add seasoning (salt, pepper, chopped rosemary) Put everything into slow cooker on high. Deglaze pan with veg stock (or cube)and red wine and add to slow cooker also.
Put cubed stewing beef in seasoned flour in a freezer bag then brown meat in a pan with heated cooking oil. Add meat to slow cooker.

Cover with water and after an hour turn to low setting.

Cook for 7 hours and serve with rice or warm naan bread and mango chutney.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Rush, Rush, Rush

Flippin Henry, I'm writing like bedamned. But now I'm off to the 8yo's 1st EVER Hockey match - AWAY. Away is correct, - 25 miles away. I reeeeely want to see her play, apparently she's a bit of a natural. Cool. The weather is foul but that's power for the course in November.

Note to NaNo people - so wish you'd chosen a month with 31 days!!

Tomorrow I'd forgotten I was hosting a coffee morning - It will be good fun though: Got the cakes, got the firewood, got the coffee. Just have to write through the night according to the stats below!!

Slow cooker's on, Beef stew with ginger and chilli. Just what we'll need after standing in a damp field. Later tonight I think I'll save time and serve it with warm naan bread and mango chutney. Weirdo me!


Stats


Today's Stats

Words Written Today 2446
Words to Write until 1667 = 0
Suggested Daily Word Count 1667
Cumulative Word Count 12743

Total

Current Day 9
Suggested Cumulative Word Count 15000
Average Words per Day 1416
At This Rate You Will Finish On Dec 06
Days Remaining 21
Words to Write Until 15000
2257Total
Words Remaining 37257
Words per Day to Finish on Time 1775

Monday, 8 November 2010

No Fire Engines Thankyou! .... All Chicks are fine!

I posted last night, tired. I read what I'd written, tired. Seemed to be an accurate reflection of the weekend, but then again, I am tired.

May I just say for the record: The mother hen and 1 black chick + 5 more eggs are doing fine. I shall post video footage if I can, as evidence. They are safe in an enclosed coop in the walled garden, far from predators AND my massivo fire, which is just a pile of smokin' ash now anyway. Guides honour, we did not roast the chickies!

As I seems to be turning into a vampire; awake all night, comatose in the day. I have decided that whenever I wake I shall get up and write, so billy bonus really - insomnia. WARNING: Re-read all blog posts from Lou, carefully factoring in a high degree of 'over-tired.'

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Tonight's the Night baby....

Big fire tonight: A brilliant social way to get rid of all the foliage we've cut from the garden during the year, the bonfire is approximately 25 ft high now. Plus, a kind farmer has a trailer-load of his rubbish that he will add to the pile before he helps us to push over countless tree stumps with his tractor or low-loader. They too can be dumped on top. He's going to shake the bonfire too, to scare any creatures out. I'm predicting a burn for a week!

I captured the bonfire a week ago, arced by a rainbow. Unfortunately the pot of gold was just out of our fields. Boo hiss.


Friday, 5 November 2010

Catch up.....

Gawd it's been busy.

I was a bad mother last Sunday; went on strike refused to go Trick or Treating with the sproglets, truth be told I was Birthdayed-out and we'd been to a late night brilliant Halloween Party on the Sat/Sun morning. I couldn't take any more e numbers! By Tuesday they'd worn me down and I phoned the villagers to warn them of our impending visit. Most were very kind, climbing into their compost bins to retrieve mouldy pumpkins, relighting them in their windows and along dry stone walls. I asked very politely if the Hound of the Baskervilles could be put away, at one particular household. Last Christmas I just about got away with my life when I slid down their drive to deliver a Christmas card. I think my huge fake fur confused him and he thought I was a girly dog.... cor it doesn't bare thinking about.... shudder.

Unfortunately it was blowing a hooley (spelling?) on Tuesday night and was also pitch black but the babes dressed appropriately; the 8yo as a witch, the 6yo as .... spiderman of course... My witchy hat kept blowing off but we got loads of stash. We were quite like real witches as Ben, our James Bond cat, came everywhere with us, our own familiar familiar...te,he.

I've been tippy-typing furiously for NaNo and am up to almost 10,000 words. Sometimes I liken my search for the right word or phrase to my experience of shopping in a supermarket in a foreign land; I know what I want, but I can't quite understand whether the thing I've picked up is it! Anyhoo, I'm having a couple of days off as we've a million pals (possibly slight exaggeration) arriving for Bonfire Night this weekend. It's a child-fest... no. I couldn't eat a whole one either!

Book Club was on Thursday. Sadly we had just four members turn up BUT when those four members (and that's including me) are as opinionated and feisty and fun and groovy as us four, you really don't need much more in a room. We'd finished The Book Thief - I thought it was magical. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I thought of another thing I wanted to say in book club but couldn't, as my brain was not as co-ordinated with my mouth as I would have liked.... so here it is; when I read fiction I read for entertainment, for the lure of the story. I'm happy to be sad or frightened or amused but I don't really want to be educated, I think that's the job of non-fiction. Discuss. Tomorrow I'll probably disagree with myself, but today that is my position.

Dizzy Disco is behaving most peculiarly. I don't ever drive it at night but this week hubby has had my car to pick up some big items we bought and as we're banned from his car I've driven Dizzy to and from school. High beam really is HIGH beam in Dizzy, it lights up the tops of ancient oaks, great for spotting owls... lucky the roads are almost empty 'round here. Plus the car is sounding more and more like a tractor every day.... Think it might need a bit of a look at!

Whitey is still sat on her six eggs I'm really nervous now, as the birth date is any time from Monday. Fingers crossed.

Hope you have a lovely weekend and remember the code: Stand well back.... I think that works well in any situation really.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Revealed: The Perrys at The Berries.....A Novel

9337 words.....

Synopsis: The Perrys at The Berries (A familiar Story fictionalised)


The Perry’s reach a mid-life crisis in their mid-30’s. Two professionals, Sophie and James, decide to find a bigger house in London to accommodate their family, but soon they super-size their dream when they find a neglected Victorian house with 18 acres in Shropshire: From Londoners to landowners.
This is the start of Sophie & James Perry’s life at The Berries with their two young children; Isabella and Sebastian, a picture of family life, occasionally funnier.

The book spans approximately 18 months and ends revealing whether this was the right move for the Perrys at The Berries.


......available in all good book shops in 2012..... I hope! Accepting orders and cash now!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Novel......

6854 words so far, may have repeated the, and, it & said quite a bit......

Monday, 1 November 2010

November already?...

Blimey, it's November! I'll make this short and sweet as I'm starting NaNoWriMo today and I must write my first chapter and 2,500 words!! But while I back up my computer for the next 20 mins I thought I'd chat.

The 5yo is officially the 6yo today and I'm pleased to announce that he has backed off the idea of being called Fizzy-Whizzy. That is a relief, as today is the first day back after half term and we were forced to travel to school in Dizzy Disco (the smelly old Discovery) and, at 7:30am, I just wasn't up to saying
'Fizzy-Whizzy get in Dizzy,' one hundred times....

On the way to school the 8yo and the 6yo had a conversation:

'.........they were punished and had to do lines because they said a swear word,' said the 8yo. 'It was the worst one too........'

The 6yo sucked in breath, horrified by the very thought..... I too held my breath hoping the conversation would stop there. No. Such. Luck.

'What was the word?' The 6yo asked.

'No thank you!' I said looking at the 8yo in the rear view mirror. 'I don't want to hear any bad words!'

'Can't say,' she said to him sadly.

'Bet I know,' said he quietly. '......Was it toilet brush?'

The 8yo's face said it all. 'That's not EVEN a swear word!'

6yo corrected himself..'Oh yes, I know that! Was it Peanut Head?'

She stared icily and I prayed she wouldn't educate him further.

'I'm not even speaking to you now...' was all she could muster.

Phew!

***

We had a splendid half term. Friends invited us to their beach house on the Welsh Coast; it was a stunning break but now I'm back, raring to write....

I'll let you know how many words I do daily and keep you abreast of Mummy Hen. By my calculations (always utterly pants!) we may have hatching chicks in 8 days!! Cute.

Have a good day nowwww.....

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Also considering a name change....



Soon (in about 10 days) the 5yo will be the 6yo....... god it's getting a bit confusing over here!

However this morning the boy informed me that he hates his name..... It's an unusual name with some W's in it. Apparently his peers are having some difficulty with the pronunciation of their W's and so boy feels he is being teased.

'It's a stupid name and I want to change it to something better,' he said.

'Oh dear,' said I, trying not to laugh. 'I chose that name especially for you, but if you really don't like it then I'm sure we could call you something else.....'

'Good,' he said 'I want to be called Fizzy-Whizzy....'

Lord love a duck! I PROMISE I kept my face straight. These are vulnerable times!

Gardening Update



I'm taking stock of the garden today as the weather is beautiful; sunny but cold. This weekend will be the last chance I get to tidy up outside and plant before I superglue my bottom to a chair for the NaNo challenge.

The broccoli is still being attacked by the caterpillars but I'm managing to reap a good few servings each week and it is delicious, long stemmed, purple sprouting. The sproglets love it with butter and grana padano. Next year I must fleece, although I understand that a good sturdy pair of Xlarge tights/pantyhose also does the trick!

The courgettes are suffering from cold nights but I'm still taking off one or two small fruits a week.

I've planted 150 onions in the raised beds and the two strawberry beds are looking very healthy, we are really looking forward to that crop next year. The celery is still happy and I'm using great swathes of stems and leaves when I make my pot suppers like hams or beef stews, fishing out the wilted, spent sprigs before I serve.

In the walled garden plants such as Lupin, loosestrife, the pinks and some little nasturtiums have been raised in pots. They need to be planted out into the main garden now, bedded in before winter. Remaining inside the walled, protected garden, Whitey the white hen is in residence , sat on top of 6 eggs in her borrowed coop: We should see chicks by the 7th November if she's successful. She certainly seems dedicated at the moment.

Next month our cider apple orchard arrives as bare rooted stock, plus a few more eating apple trees and a couple of plum trees. Lastly we've ordered a mulberry bush - possibly the most delicious fruit I've ever tasted.

Today I've got to apply for a Defra licence and if successful, maybe we'll also get some cade lambs this winter.

So life's good,.............. just 50,000 words to write by 30th November and life will be perfect.

Name Change.....

No, not mine or the blog's... it's the 7yo; she's now the 8yo. Ahhhh. We've kept her for 8 yrs. Look see.....



 




Keywords - euwwwwww!

While interrogating my Google Analytics report..... (I just pretend to understand the stats and squiggles,) I noticed that there was a section entitled keywords; the words used by those searching the Internet for specific areas of interest.

I do hope the (presumably) farmer, searching for important scientific information under the keywords;
'images of farm girls inseminating cows,' found all he was looking for at The Archers at The Larches blog site.

Please forgive me, but I really couldn't find an appropriate picture to go with this blog post.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Defence Cuts Explained ..... simply...



Let us use a metaphorical story to explain some of the recent defence cuts in the UK. I know it can be complicated to the likes of us proles....

(Are you sitting comfortably? Good, now we'll begin....)

The 5yo (used as a metaphor for the defence chiefs) is discussing the Birthday present he would reeely, reeeely like:

'It's a Lego Star Wars Starship Carrier. It's massive and brilliant.'

'Lovely dear,' says Mummy Archer (a metaphor for the panicky, cost-cutting Government) 'But what is it for?'

'It's the carrier that carries all the starships on long journeys, to do battle throughout the galaxies with evil dark side baddies. Aaaaaand if the star ships get shot at, they fly back to the carrier to get mended.'

'Well,' says Mummy bending down and doing her best compromise face. 'Tell you what; I'd rather you didn't have either but because I'm a very fair Mummy, ll let you have the carrier but not the starships. They're just too expensive and you'll only break them with all that battling!.....'

The 5yo looks quizzically at the Mummy who clearly doesn't 'get' warfare because she's a girl and only boys reeeeeely 'get' war stuff....

'But that's no good, because the starships are the things that actually do the battles, the carrier just gets them there....'

'La,la,la not listening...' says Mummy.

***

Good, glad I've cleared that up...next subject please?

Congratulations, you shall go to the ball





.....MadameSmokinGun, you have won the pumpkin! Git yer recipe book out or your address book, if you're calling your Fairy Godmother.

We look forward to popping over to your site soon for the monumental acceptance speech. ...............Hint Hint MSG! (Gosh, your initials are monosodium glutamate! What does that mean?.... Freudian?...... )

Lou
xx

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Seasonal Change.....


Autumn has arrived for sure. We've already dipped into the 'below zero' temperatures overnight thanks to the cloudless, beautiful sunny days. The moons have been awesome; Harvest moons with twinkling stars. There's no street lighting around The Larches so on some nights the dark sky is alive with diamonds. I must get a book on the stars, check out where E.T. lives.


We've had some pretty interesting fungi in the garden. No revolting comments on the body part one, OK?




I took the cosmos plants out of my big pots outside the front door. It was getting pretty difficult to pass them as they barred your way with gorgeous colour. Although they weren't spent, they were looking tired but I didn't have the heart to put them on the bonfire so I planted them in the garden. They've had a second wind, bursting with buds. Clearly the pots were way too dry for them.




I've a new planting scheme in the pots now; 10ft pampas grasses, blue geranium and primula, all half-inched relocated from the garden.

It's been great having mini bonfires in the garden with the sproglets. Toasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate is just what Autumn dictates.

The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon