Monday, 31 January 2011

Gappy and Firewood....

The 6yo has a wide gap where his two front teeth used to be. The tooth fairy was prompt last night, (thank goodness she had change.) She left yet another, shiny 50p.

Usually the boy asks me to pull out his wobbly teeth. I rather like the role. Hubby would faint if he was asked, but luckily he's good at other things. The boy made me sit in his bedroom and watch, (like a dental nurse, I was there but generally I was surplus to need.) He wrenched out the wibbly, wobbly white peg all on his own.

It suits me to be redundant really, but I watch these moments and realise that time is passing. Indeed it is only with these little moments, that you notice time passing, them growing up, you growing down. .... unless, of course, you're rather anal and count the weekly food deliveries. Since we moved here I've probably had 72 deliveries.... hmmmm..... That's probably £7000 worth of food! No wonder I'm concavely-challenged..........

Although, boy isn't all growed-up just yet. We attempted Jurassic Park last weekend.......

'What's it about?' the sproglets asked.

'Dinosaurs being re-invented by a scientist in a sort-of Euro-Disney Theme Park.'

The opening of the film, if you recall, is a dark scene where the dinosaur security guards are having trouble with a female T-Rex... By the close of the scene, we assume she eats a guard's legs off. Nice.

Hubby and the 8yo were glued to the TV. I was more intent on watching boy. He had a look of horror on his face. We paused the film.

'I'm not sure you're going to like this film,' I said.

'Hmmmmm,' he said. 'I think I will like it, but I just don't want to see any of the bits about the dinosaurs.'

We watched something else.


It was very cold this weekend. No wind, plenty of sun, but cold. I'm getting fed up with the chill actually but Saturday proved an excellent opportunity for a family outing. We drove down our fields in Dizzy, on the look out for previously fallen boughs and dead trees, all good seasoned wood.

To be honest the sproglets weren't that impressed with the trip initially, but as soon as they discovered a previously unexplored strip of copse running alongside two of our fields, they were off. Upon discovering a hidden pig shelter nestling under holly trees, there was even more delight. They marauded while hubby and I filled the truck with wood.

We probably have enough firewood to last us for another 4-6 weeks now, hopefully till the weather warms up a bit. I do hope so, as it's unlikely that we'll be able to drive on the fields for much longer. They're beginning to thaw and with the thaw comes the deep mud.

I had a planting day on Sunday; vegetables, flowers and even a big trough of button mushrooms are all neatly stacked in the greenhouse. All tucked into their various pots and gutters. The only thing that worries me is the deep frosty cold of last night: My greenhouse heater hasn't arrived yet, (should arrive later this week,) and I'm concerned that the seeds might have frozen to death....or do you think they'll just remain dormant till I up the heat? If you know please add a comment below or you could send me a new-fangled tweet....


Friday, 28 January 2011

I'm The Gok Wan of the Countryside.... Yeo Valley, Yeo Valley..

Wow, two very eminent bloggers have nominated me for a Stylish Blogger Award: 'Cross the Pond and Tattie Weasle. I love both their blogs and try to catch up daily.

'Cross the Pond gives a great view of London, (and lately other parts of the UK too,) through the eyes of a hard-working professional. She recently moved to the UK from the States with her family and as a mum and wife sometimes she writes happy, sometimes sad, but she always writes passionately and she's always honest. Best of all I like her view of the our history or traditions. A great read.

Tattie Weasle is wonderful. A mum to two boys, she wears her heart on her sleeve sharing with us the joys and heartbreak as her boys grow up. She also has a great deal of humour in her very human posts. Reading her blog is like catching up with a best friend.

So it is with great humility I accept the Stylish Blogger award ...... twice!

As this IS an award ceremony I'm sure you'll want to know what I'm wearing: It is not, I hasten to add, likely to be a strappy, gold lamé affair with a décolletage you could park your bike in! No Sir-ee , it's -3° here and I've just tended t'chickens!

Thermals, wellies and a faux fur to my knees, that's my ode to Vogue. Plus a dashing wax hat at a jaunty angle. It was brown and now is green .... or was it green and now is brown?.... can't quite tell. Anyhoo, that's my indoor clobber, utterly sensible as I'm on a 'save the wood pile for the evenings' drive. 'Tractive eh?

All that I need to do now is thank the award givers (check) :

Then I need to share 7 things about myself that you chaps didn't already know. Hmmmmmmm, tricky! And then I need to award 15 recently discovered bloggers, (I'm also including some of my favourite bloggers under this criteria,) with the title of Stylish Blogger. (I will, of course, contact the winners to tell them of my adoration.)

Seven things, here goes:

1: I was tongue-tied until an op aged 23'ish.... It never held me back from talking but I wanted to eat ice cream better.............

2: I love the film Yentyl.... and sing the soundtrack out loud most days but loathed Slumdog Millionaire and all its hype.

3: I fantasise about being stranded on a desert island, eating fish, getting slim and tanned and finding out what my real hair colour is. I do not crave the company of Christopher Atkins

4: I do not understand Twitter... I have recently added it to my repertoire on the blog and am beginning to feel that it is the antithesis of all I wanted to do on the blog - that is; to write well, conjure scenes, paint pictures with words. It is air space filled with nothing.... or am I missing the point. Please feel free to admonish me if I'm missing something....

5: Rum and butter sweets give me nightmares ........ although......

6: ..... some of my nightmares and dreams have been the basis of some very fine ideas for fiction, even if I do say so myself. And one day, these stories will be published.

7: I have really great friends. They do not number millions, thousands or hundreds, as is the fashion with Facebook, Tweeterville etc, but they are really great and that makes me happy.


Now these bloggers may have won this award before, I make no apologies for nominating them again. It's just that I love to read them. So the wonderful bloggers I choose are:

Thursday, 27 January 2011


I've been ill. Nothing serious, just the obligatory cold, imported by the sproglets from school in winter.... yes, the one with the green snot. The actual cold has gone now but the claggy, mucus-head remains. Sorry if you were reading this through breakfast.


Well, lots to tell.

First, if I suddenly disappear from blog-land it could be because of my huge lottery win..... I'll probably be too busy to blog, what with the staff and the houses and the nipple-ectomy. So far I've won twice in two weeks so I'm fully expecting this Friday to be the big one... My total earnings to date is £11.58 so if you need a loan....... (yeah, dream on...)

Mind you, I have published a children's book and I fully expect the earnings from that to keep me in nipple operations for-ev-er. Take a look.


Archie has two new sisters. Mummy hen's release papers were signed as soon as we got the call from a kindly farmer with two Warren pullets. I think they're about 24 weeks old as they're much bigger and fluffier than Archie The Vulture. The three of them keep each other company in the run in the garden all day but still spend their nights in the coop.

Archie is used to being manhandled each day; lifted out of his bed in the morning and again back to bed in the evening. He peeps while he's being moved, telling us all about the latest news. The girls, on the other hand, have obviously rarely been held and are most affronted that we have the nerve to pick them up. The children have named one of the new girls Flappy, for this very reason. The other girl is more resigned to her fate, but she's still not happy.

Meanwhile Mummy Hen is ecstatic. She parades around looking the most sexy of the hens thanks to her make-over; white feathers adorned with the purple stripes I gave her to differentiate her from her sister. Rooster is smitten. There'll be chicks by Easter, mark my words!


It's Spring. Just thought I'd let you know in case you weren't sure or hadn't seen the signs..... [yes I know that OFFICIALLY Spring starts on 1st of March or some such nonsense, but I'm telling you IT'S NOW! Start ironing your bikini, I'll be summer next]

The reasons why I'm sure Spring has sprung are;
  1. There are lambs
  2. The tulips are beginning to poke their heads up
  3. The grass is beginning to re-grow
  4. I don't light a fire till 4pm.... [OK I'm in my coat and hat all day, but what's that got to do with anything?....]
  5. It is light'ish till almost 5:15pm and bright at 7:30am
  6. I've started planting ....... indoors and in the green house, but it still counts.

There is only one thing blighting my life at the moment, other than the state of the economy, lack of world peace and the fact that there is mud EVERYWHERE.... The one issue bugging me is nipple placement. Over a coffee the other morning a friend, who has done a very respectable fashion course, was sharing her concerns about the positioning of the ariola in fashion drawings. Apparently the nipples ought to be in line with the armpits. WHAT?

They must have got that wrong, surely? Mine are in line with my elbows...... my knees if I bend down...  My friend confided that she could get a whole pencil case under her previously upwardly-mobile bosom. I strongly suspect I could get an entire branch of WH Smiths under mine.

Traumatised by this conversation and the talk of a new illness sweeping through the local sproglet terrain entitled 'the galloping trots,' I drove home. Fortunately no stationery stores were swallowed in my wake, but I did stop to top up the home toilet roll reserves, just in case.


I'm back to writing again. I'd put my NaNo novel, 'The Perrys at The Berries,' in the hands of some very trusted friends in order to gauge opinion and see if it was worthy of some further work. It has been very well received, so next week I'll start on the real work - a big fat edit. Can't wait.


I've booked tickets for London's CyberMummy - have you? I'd love to meet up with as many peeps as possible so let me know if you're going too.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Eat, Pray, Enlightenment with Jamie Oliver.......

At times, the relentless meal making gets me down. I get so bored with my usual creations but don't have the time or interest to dedicate to new elaborate recipes every night. I'm probably suffering from winter jadedness, (it is too a real word!) In the spring, summer and autumn I seem to get inspiration from the garden produce but winter is just not that inspiring.

I'm not a fan of ready meals, preferring to cook from scratch, but sometimes, after writing all day, I surface for air and find that it is almost time for school pick up. This is a time when fear strikes my heart, a time when I realise that the sproglets and hubby will soon need feeding.

The Entrepreneur came to stay recently, she's so glam and seems to knows everything [honest!]  She brought me a gorgeous present Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals. It is a bloody revelation. He's made me think about planning ahead. I'm on a mission now: Meal planning for 30 days. Mrs Beaton'd be proud.

I'm not saying I'm following his recipes exactly, his are possibly a bit zingy for my gang, I like spice - they do not, but I'm mixing and matching from his book. I've written out a list of the meals I can do from my own repertoir and teaming them with puddings or sweet offerings. The second course seems to be most essential to the sproglets who ask, long before the first forkful of dinner is raised to their lips,

'What's for pudding?'

Normally I haven't thought that far ahead, being of a more savoury persuasion.

However my list is forming beautifully and with a 30 day plan I should be able to ensure ingredients are bought and in the dairy (pantry) or freezer ready for use that week. Here's some yummy examples:
  • Italian tray-baked fish, potato wedges and salad with Jamie's Cheesecake
  • Roast chicken and veg followed by apple crumble
  • Spaghetti, home made meat balls and salad with chocolate muffins, cream and banana
  • Slow Cooker Ham, peas and potatoes and Jamie's Pear Tartlets
  • .......... I'm inspired and on a roll...............
Needless to say I'll be having weeny portions, in case the Weight-Watcher Police knock on the door, but I'd rather have a little of yummy than lots of boring...wouldn't you?

If you've got any good, tasty, fast combinations you'd care to share let us know.....It's Movie Night here in The Larches tonight so we're having home made meat-feast pizza followed by Jamie's Banoffee Pie.... Deeee-lish.

Happy weekend gang.

BTW I'm tweeting nowadays too....... what the hell is THAT about?????

Monday, 17 January 2011

I don't want my Birthday present!

The cats were annoying me this evening. They kept jumping up onto the dresser and knocking down my Birthday cards. Fun game for them maybe, not so for me.

At least it made me look closer at the lovely cards sent, displayed proudly in front of our lovely fishy Jersey Pottery.

I picked up this card and that one, reading the kind words as the children ate supper. It was the epitome of a Victorian scene: An old fashioned tea and a roaring fire, except for the fact that it was home-made lasagne and salad and I wasn't wearing a long gown or reading by candlelight..... hmnnn...... Good bloody job really, otherwise I might not have seen the kindly gift deposited near my crockery. [Bottom shelf on the left.]

By the look of things, (the ring of log burner dust around him) the gift had been there all weekend. (Sorry dear guest!)

Revolting. I'm moving to the city..... without the cats!

Cycle view...

I came back from school drop-off this morning and saw to the chickens. It was a lovely day. The high winds of the weekend had blown off to annoy someone else and the sun was warming the earth.

I don't exercise enough but this morning I mounted my rough and tumble bike and set off.

Down the hill on the village road, the self imposed breeze whipped at my cheeks and I nearly lost my oil skin hat. In the end I braked as hard as possible and whipped off my hat and dropped it into my basket. I was transported, (a little faster than I liked,) along the steep road that runs beside our furthest field boundary. There were faint signs of life in the hedgerow and I fancied I saw glimpses of young ferns, their fronds uncoiling.

It stands to reason that if you go down a hill you'll eventually need to climb it again. I rode through the village, a small collection of houses, no pub, no shop, no post office. There was a pub and a shop once, but not in our time.

Travelling in this direction, the incline back home is gradual and torturous. My heart thumped in my chest and I knew my fitness was sorely lacking since last Autumn, when I was constantly working in the garden. I confess I had to stop twice to have minor heart attacks..... but I did it. Each time I rested, and when my heart rate finally slowed and the blood thumping in my ears subsided, I could hear the delightful bubble of the running streams in the ditches either side of the road; the water pouring off the fields after the recent bad weather.

What a treat. I think I'll try again tomorrow.

A bit of Culture.... sniff!

Twas the night before Weight-Watchers,
And all through the house,
Lou-Lou was stuffing
Sweet things in her mouth....

She finished the Mars Bars,
The wine and the cheese.
She feasted on pastries,
(though squeezed into jeans.)

Determined to wake
To a home stripped of fare,
She crammed and she gorged,
Till the cupboards were bare.

Tomorrow begins a
Superb new regime.
And Lou-Lou reverts,
From a porker to lean.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Squashed tomatoes and stew...bread and butter in the gutter

.... Happy Birthday to meeeeee.

So far it's going comically well..... a very bad nights sleep was followed by the 6yo having his own personal melt-down at 6:30am. Cheers for that! The 8yo tried to made amends with a stunning card which she had spent time making and this sent the 6yo into a further hyper-drive, as he'd completely forgotten to make one....

'I haven't made a card, you don't love me do you?' he wailed.

He must be male, I've given out enough hints this week to shame a shameless person. Clearly the 8yo can take a hint.... female see? But he's still gorgeous, so I think I do still love him actually.

The good news is; my St John's Wort and B complex seem to have kicked in. Regardless of the madness I didn't scream, chuck myself on the floor or demand presents. I merely repeated over and over...

'Put your underpants on, put your underpants on...' Eventually it worked.

Blimey the first week back to school after a month long break is stressful. In future years I'm going to be Queen-like and move my birthday to a more fun date..... and celebrate it on Mars.

After all the shenanigans and the force-feeding of breakfast...

....'No you cannot have the pizza for tonight....' we were hideously late for school.

Being late was clearly meant to be, as we spied a daddy from school, someone we say hello to but don't really know, broken down on the country road. His pickup's wheel was off and he was struggling in the mud.

I took his two very young children to school. I must look trustworthy. In the car everyone behaved beautifully and I felt better for having done a good deed. It reminded me to read Pay it Forward again. or I might cheat and watch the film .... I like the glowy feeling it gives me. Inspired by the book, there's a whole movement of people doing good deeds. Such a lovely idea.

Anyhoo, life's looking up. The fire is crackling. The chickens laid 9 eggs, even one from Archie's Mummy. Chinese take-away tonight with hubby and one of my very best friends and tomorrow we shall feast at a dinner party. No grumbling allowed Lou!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Purple Chicken Syndrome

Gradually I'm introducing Archie Archer to the rest of the girls. It's so cute, every morning we take Archie and Mum out of their night-time coop in the walled garden and carry them to a run in the main garden. A snuggle a day keeps the doctor at bay... that way all the hens can see them and get used to them. 

I tend to feed all the chickens beside the little run where Mum and Archie reside and occasionally I open the door and, keeping a watchful eye out for cats, I let Archie attempt to eat with the others. Usually this results in him getting a huge pecking before he cries and I let him back into the run. (Sometimes I give him a cuddle first.)

Today Mummy took this feeding opportunity to dump the kid, so to speak. To be fair she's been holed up with him as egg and chick since the middle of September, a stir-crazy madness every mother must recognise.......

Anyhoo, as she blended in with the crowd of tobacco coloured hens and rooster I realised I had a BIG problem. She has a twin sister, another white hen so similarly marked that I cannot tell them apart. I used to be able to tell them apart: Long ago Snow White injured herself and I sprayed her chest with the purple antiseptic and henceforth we called her Snow Pink. Whitey has always been just Whitey. However since the great moult of 2010, Snow Pink has reverted back to Snow White, so I can't tell them apart.


I briefly thought I knew which was which and indeed I managed to catch said hen and put her in with Archie... but suddenly I didn't think she sounded right, that she wasn't making Mummy noises I recognised, so I whipped her out again. Bum!

I have now sprayed one chicken purple again so that when I eventually do tell one from the other, I will easily be able to tell them apart at a glance....... Does that sentence even make sense? ...... In the meantime however, Archie cries at the bars for his mum.... it's awful. But for the cats and the fact that you just can't make chickens wear nappies, I'd bring him inside with me...

Maybe I just need to find some 3 month old, outdoor raised chickens to form a baby gang inside the run... Oh the guilt, guilt, guilt, I should never have let them out because the snow's due back soon and Archie really isn't big enough to keep himself warm...

Get the gardening togs on baby.....

Last Friday there was snow, lots of it. We were trapped because Hubby took Dizzy to work and the play date we were invited to was too hard to reach. Late that night the biblical rain that was promised made good on that promise and we were deluged. Consequently by Saturday morning the snow disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Hurrah!

Saturday arrived spring-like so I set to planting my garlic in modules. All 52 plants now reside in the greenhouse.... I may have gone a bit overboard. I may rename us The Stinky Archers at the Larches or I might sell some of my plants on a little honesty table outside the gates - lots of the farmers do that round here. Next I planted more broad beans, some peas and lettuce. The greenhouse is beginning to look green.

On Saturday night I sat with the Thompson and Morgan seed catalogue, while Hubby watched NFL and cricket, and planned out the crops for the year. (The wild life I lead) I also costed the seeds and plants - whoaaaaa! Wish I hadn't done that. Hope the veg plants are pretty, because now I can't afford flowers.

We've decided to mark out a big plot in Home Field for potatoes, pumpkins, peas and beans this year and a kindly farmer has offered to bring his tractor and plough the land for us. I am a little worried by the exposure of the site we've chosen to rabbits and chickens, but fencing it would be too expensive so we're going to have to risk it. Hubby thinks we might put one level of electric wire around it....... I suspect this is so I may be electrocuted more regularly, clearly I don't get enough stimulation from the chicken fence twice a day. We'll see.

Come to think of it, I must start chitting potatoes ready for planting March 17th.

Roll on Spring.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Larches Annual Egg Olympics. Year II

Being cold and blustery today has its advantages, I have choices; I can iron, clean house, blog......

Can I phone a friend!?

Last Year: Lou and the 5yo.

So, I guess I have time to tell you about The Larches Egg Olympics year II.........

At 2pm on New Years Day, the crowds descended on the The Larches or, more specifically, descended on Home Field. We were 30+ participants this year, some wearing inappropriate clothes, it must be said. Don't get me wrong, no one was wearing a swimsuit or anything lewd, rather they sported some pretty nice tweedy jackets and delicious-looking trousers - Yeo-Valley attire. [Click Link: You must see this advert for our local diary producer.]  Posh clothes? - Big Mistake! The hint was in the title ... EGG, Olympics, y'know, chucking eggs at one another in a field.

Last year's winners, from the tree farm close by, duly brought the trophy back. They had guarded it well, the stainless steel looked better than the day I picked it up from the antiques market in Chruch Stretton. It shone beautifully and now it also contained sweeties. Yummmm.

Hubby had staked out the 80ft course. The rules are simple; start at the stakes marked 5ft (the distance between you and your partner is now 10ft) chuck and catch the egg. Once you have successfully caught the egg at the 5ft stake move back to the 10ft stake.... etc... Provided the egg doesn't break the volley may continue regardless of the number of bounces, drops or near misses.
The most impressive team of the day was my 6yo and his 6yo friend A. Their volley went on and on and on and ON, without the egg ever being caught by one of them, both fearful of being egged. Also, remarkably, without it breaking on the soft squidgy grass. It was very like that tennis match at Wimblebum this year between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. Eventually The Larches crowd became complacent by the 6yo attempt and began chatting among themselves. Foolish, foolish crowd; 6yo's are desperately inaccurate chuckers and soon the egg began to stray into the crowd. One even landed in the open fire pit, which the svelte waiting athletes were gathered around. [Warm hands and a cold heart is a very important part of the training]

The egg-tastic trophy was retained by the village at a very respectacle 70ft catch I'm pleased to say, having almost been claimed by a rival village. Phew! C & P - you know who you are.

The sky darkened and instead of egg and spoon, the Olympics adjourned to championship soup eating and general quaffing of wine and beer. Welcome 2011.

Roll on the Olympics 2012!

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Pixies and Tree Sprites are cross...

Blast! Just realised that it is the 7th....... I am either;

A. A Chav .....
B. In deep do do with the Tree Sprites.......
C. Both....... most of my Christmas decorations are still up! We made a start; the tree is outside, the lights packed up. Baby Jesus was eventually found and the crib is now complete and carefully wrapped. Phew. However, giant soft reindeer still skulk about, draggled from room to room by the sproglets and the forest of cards are still shedding glitter in every room!

Why is it bad luck to leave the decorations up after Twelfth Night?
Long ago it was thought that leaving the decorations up would cause a disaster. People believed that tree-spirits lived in the greenery (holy, ivy etc) they decorated their houses with. The greenery was brought into the house to provide a safe haven for the tree-spirits during the harsh midwinter days. Once this period was over it was necessary to return the greenery back outside to release the tree-spirits into the countryside once again. Failure to do this would mean that vegetation would not be able to start growing again (spring would not return), leading to an agricultural disaster.

It was also thought that, if you left the greenery in the house, the tree-spirits would cause mischief in the house until they were released.

So that's where the 8yo and the 6yo came from! Gosh! ....... Maybe it's my fault that the snow's come back. Pesky pixies!

Groundhog Day........

Occasionally I read my past blogs, it's funny to see what we were up to at the same time last year. The lovely thing about a blog is that you can easily recall dates and times and happenings from your written history. I'm hopeful it will help me to plant my crops as successfully as last year.

Having done my historical research yesterday I knew, when I opened my bleary eyes at 6am this morning, (Hubby insisted on watching The Ashes last night and still getting up at an ungodly hour for work,) that this time last year we had been completely snowed in. So much so, that the sproglets didn't actually go back to school after their month-long Christmas holiday. No, they had two further weeks off! Delightful.

As Hubby kissed me goodbye this morning, I asked him to leave the bedroom light on: I figured I'd best start rehursing for the 6:15 wake-ups starting Monday..... hideously early but at least life will return to some sort of routine.

The snow has completely gone now, thank goodness, yesterday, in fact, it felt positively spring-like. The onions I planted in October are looking great and the broad beans are easily 2" above ground, each with two pea-green leaves.

My Birthday is on the 14th of this month and unlike last year I'm not planning on having a full snow-bound household. This year I will not be acting as Catering Inc. and Entertainment Inc. These positions will be vacant; I am resigning them after my Christmas stint. This year on my Birthday I plan not to have a house filled with bored kids who are over-sledged, not to have a work-frustrated Hubby, bothersome cats and snow-blind chickens: Larches residents need to be at school, at work, catching mice or digging for worms......  All so I can treat myself to some long overdue writing.... ah bliss...


'Snow's back with a vengeance,' said Hubby returning to our bedroom to change into something more appropriate than a pin-striped suit and brogues.......


It is so bad, he's taken Dizzy to work .........

It should be OK, according to Hubby there's a front of biblical rain following the snow.... Deep joy.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Rabbitting on and on and an overdue eye test...

I don't like the taste of rabbit. It's no good sending me your best recipes, I've tried loads of them. I just don't like the taste of the meat, it always tastes a little off to me. Which is why I felt really cross with myself tonight when I found I'd defrosted, not a generous turkey leg but rather, a horrid rabbit. Bugger.

Once again I searched my cook books for something to make the dish edible - nothing. Then I surfed the net, I still couldn't find a recipe.

'Knickers,' thought I.

I decided to roast the sodding thing and if it was still revolting I'd give it to the cats.

Salt, pepper, rough chopped carrots to sit the carcass on and a glass of red wine. (One for me, one for 'im.) Then, because rabbit can be very dry.... [hideous, stinky, nasty, putrid......... Getta grip Lou!...] I wrapped the roasting dish in a foil duvet and stuffed it in the oven for 40 minutes.

I pretended to be eating with the sproglets and passed them over the two roasted legs which they attacked like cavemen. Hubby was to be home later. Then I sliced moist...... moist? moist?!! ....... breast for them too. There was a comforting silence. I was amazed. I decided to brave it.

'Flipping Henry, that's gorgeous!' I said, a taste-sensation in my mouth.

'What kind of meat is this Mummy?' asked the gourmand 8yo.

'Have a guess.'

'It's pheasant.'


'Pig, goat, lamb, chicken?'


'I think it's pheasant.'

'No, I already said no to pheasant.'

Then the 8yo had a little light-bulb moment; 'Rabbit?'

'Yes. Good girl.'

'Funny that,' she said. 'It looks like a pheasant.'

Clever Mummy, I made yucky rabbit taste like pheasant.


Hubby came home when the babies were in bed.

'I now like the taste of rabbit,' I announced.

'Excellent,' he said. ''Bout time.'

'You're having rabbit for dinner too.'

'Even more excellent.' [He's game for anything hubby ..... God I'm funny.]

I brought the remains of the roast to the table with a pile of hot, crisp french fries.....

'That's not rabbit you silly moo,' he said laughing. 'That's the bloody pheasant I shot the other day!...'



....... Clearly I still don't like rabbit!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Christmas Planning...... not!

.... Christmas was very good: It was snowy and crispy so it actually looked like Christmas. Our new log burners were beyond hot and no one fought........... although, ........ will I fess-up?????? It would be fair to say that I was universally loathed on Christmas Day.

Santa was very quiet arriving on Christmas Eve, none of us heard him. Both babies had been instructed to wait for us before they lashed downstairs but the 6yo came in about 5am anyway for a snuggle, with no mention of Santa. At 7:30 the 8yo appeared and got into bed too. She was very keen to go downstairs but we cruelly shushed her, as the 6yo was still fast asleep. She huffed and puffed... it was very entertaining.

'This is the worst day of my life,' she informed us. [Blimey, if Christmas Day as an 8yo is the worst day of her life so far, she's got some shocks coming......]

Eventually 'curly' opened his eyes,

'Hello Mamma,' he said.... still no mention of the man in red.....! I thought the 8yo would explode.

'Hello baby,' I said. 'Do you think Santa's been?' Whoaaaa there tiger!!! He was AWAKE and out of bed in one sweet movement. We stampeded downstairs, waking Grandma on the way.

Santa had ignored every single note the children had written to him and let me tell you there were plenty. Snow trapped kids are very resourceful when holed-up with three 2-kilo catalogues.... They wrote letter after letter amending the previous list over and over.

'........ actually Santa I'd rather have cat. number 556/1276: The Sweet Factory and 5 kilo of sweeties....'

Yeah, like Santa takes any notice of pleas from small children! In any event he brought bikes, big ones, or as I like to call them respite for parents. Since the snow melted we've hardly seen the sproglets; they jump over Daddy-constructed jumps on the track and power over the lawn, through the million, or so, mole hills..... grrrrrrr.

Prior to Christmas I'd extracted a promise from Hubby that we'd go to church on Christmas Day. I'm very Dorothy in that respect 'I do believe, I do believe, I do, I do, I do....' I just dislike most of the rules associated with religion and generally I cannot reconcile the role of women in religion..... Deep breath... but I was brought up Catholic and that stuff sticks. It is baby Jesus birthday y'know and I want my babies to remember that, not just the toys and feasting. The nuns would be so proud.

Unfortunately for all my grandiose insisting that we go to church, I hadn't actually checked out the times of services.... hmmmmmmm, Freudian do you think? So at 10am we wrapped Grandma in a faux fur rug in front of a stacked fire and set off on snowy roads to find a church service. [The children were extatic to be going to church; leaving light sabres and ice-cream makers for Grandma to run amok with!!!!! There were some choice phrases aimed at me let me tell you. Hubby did that look that said; I think you are Genghis Khan..........]

The roads leading to the local church seemed impassable, plus there was a sign stating that there was a 1:6 descent to get to the church and being in a tizz I'd forgotten that the church lay on the flat before the hill! We turned around and headed off across the Clee Hills to another little outcrop with a big Victorian church. That church was cold and closed so we set off again [the kids were REALLY happy by now.....] this time to a village overlooking the valley. There were humans walking up the steep, lethal, stone steps up to the church. Hurrah, we'd found our Christmas service.

We smiled at all......... one, two, three parishioners. It turned out that these three were actually the organist, the church warden and the bell puller....sorry, I can't think of a punchline. WE were the parishioners. It was 10:30am and the church was the coldest place on earth, even colder than outside, I kid you not! Hubby suggested it was probably -12°. Our breath froze as we spoke and fell to the floor, shattering into a thousand tiny pieces. Several of these pieces lodged in my heart along with the icy daggers that my family shot at me from their wild eyes.

'What time does the service start?' I enquired.

'11am,' the kindly warden-lady informed me. I didn't dare look at Hubby.

By 11am the 6yo was very near tears. I read to the children from a children's bible. They weren't interested, it's not Harry Potter is it? Fortunately the priest and one more parishioner turned up and at 11:10am the service started. It was a High Church of England service, I may as well have been back with the Catholics. It was a lovely service and we nine holy-people sang like our lives depended upon it, if only to keep warm. An hour later we were offered our freedom.

'Next year, check the bloody times please,' pleaded Hubby on the way back home in Dizzy. He's so nice, he could have said so much more. He's Santaish.... I'm more the Ice Queen but with a more limited wardrobe.

The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon