Friday, 13 September 2019

The magic bean

I've grown a motley assortment of tomatoes this year, including some almost black ones called Indigo Rose. There are loads of them, so they've done well outside, which lots of varieties don't around here, but they're all, well, almost black. It's slightly offputting, and apart from anything else I can't really tell when they're ripe. They do seem to go slightly pink underneath and inside when they're ready. I'm not sure I'd grow them again though, they're not something you can easily slide past the children. I've also got some Artisan Pinks and some green stripey variety that I can't remember the name of. I think I must have been having a moment when I did my tomato choosing this year.

The littlest boy is setting in to big school, although he has apparently got lost quite a few times. His brothers have seen him wandering around miles from where he is supposed to be. I have restrained myself from yelling MY POOR BABY IS NO-ONE LOOKING AFTER HIM??? but of course you know that I am thinking it inside.

Last weekend marked the transition from football to cricket. The last cricket match was on Saturday, and it was pretty chilly. Football started on Sunday and it was so deliciously warm that I went and stood in the shade at one point. Long may it last.

I have failed in both my news diet and my food diet. Well, the food diet never got started to be fair. I was undone by a tray of the most amazing cherry and dark chocolate flapjack. It was honestly all I could think about all day until it was gone. I have sworn never to make it again, it was shockingly good, but oh, the lack of willpower. I also started listening to the news again, but only in short bursts. Just the headlines, which are frankly more than enough.

I served a lightly steamed caterpillar by mistake the other evening. It was very traumatic, especially for the littlest boy who was the one who had it on his plate. It's enough to put one off broccoli for life.

My white wisteria grew a bean this year, which I've never seen before.

I'm wondering what I'll get if I plant it. Maybe some exotic new pink and white striped variety. Who knows. Right now it is hanging in the sun ripening. I suspect it will probably only have one bean in it, as the pod doesn't look very full up at the top. I'll definitely try and grow it when it's done. Perhaps I'll get a magic beanstalk.

Well, a random assortment of not-really-news today, but it's that time of year here. Back to normality, and a check-in with writing goals and that sort of thing. There's been some decluttering and some organising and some new regimes, and of course some anxiety, and I'm about to press my nose to the grindstone, any minute now. Hope all is well with you and that September is treating you kindly. CJ xx

Friday, 6 September 2019

An egg in my beer

It seems to be burr season out there. The dog got about a hundred stuck all over his face and at one point his ear velcroed itself to the top of his head. Oh how we laughed.

The top two photos are from a month ago; the harebells are long gone now. Looking back at summer photos is a bittersweet thing isn't it. There's something about the longing for summer that cuts right to the core of me sometimes. Of course, I'm sure it wouldn't be so golden if there was more of it, if you see what I mean. So I have had a quick sort through the wardrobe and made sure jumpers and leggings are to hand.

I went to a cricket match last weekend and took a thick coat just in case. In the end it was deliciously hot. There's another one this weekend, so I shall wear shorts and maybe take the coat just in case. Don't want to tempt fate. Sadly it's not the Ashes that we're going to watch - more in the vein of eleven year olds whacking the ball as hard as they can, but it will be taken just as seriously by some of the dads...

I came across a handy little phrase that I thought you might like the other day, while perusing the thesaurus. I was looking for another word for 'benefit', and the thesaurus suggested 'an egg in one's beer'. In fact it doesn't really mean 'benefit', it's more along the lines of 'You've already got x, y and z, what more do you want, an egg in your beer?' Anyway, I am storing it up, waiting for a suitable opportunity to drop it into the conversation. I do love odd little phrases.

I am once again contemplating healthy eating, having put on weight over the past few months and also feeling tired and a bit lacking in oomph. In fact I don't have the energy to make healthy meals at the end of a long day, which I'm sure is something lots of people find. I think meal planning could be the way to go, instead of standing in front of the fridge at 5 o'clock hoping that inspiration will strike while eating a snack and wondering why I'm not feeling like eating something good. Also, exercise - I should do some. Sigh. I shall start next week.

Wishing all a good weekend. CJ xx

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

The calm before the revolution

Goodness me, wasn't the bank holiday weekend wonderful? How often is there a whole glorious three days of sunshine? It's all the more lovely for being so rare I think.

We left the dog at home with the biggest boy lest he overheat in his little fur coat and headed for beautiful Bath. There was a delicious holiday feel everywhere. Picnics in the park, everyone strolling through the streets at a happy slow pace, coffee to be drunk on the pavements and up the little side streets. Wonderful.

I took the littlest boy into the fantastic Mr B's to spend his book token. The staff are all incredibly well read and can tell you what you might like to read next if you tell them what you enjoy. The littlest boy took an inordinately long time choosing a book. Like me, he doesn't like to rush an important decision. Or any decision at all.

Encouraged by your comments, I have continued my news fast and I am very much enjoying it. I know almost nothing of the current political situation, after years and years of being all up on current affairs. Ignorance is indeed bliss. I wish I had known sooner. The first I will know of the revolution is when the lights go out and there are no more plastic wrapped pre-peeled oranges in Tesco. At which point I shall be laughing as I have stockpiled enough notebooks to last me twenty years and I grow my own vegetables. Plus I've read The Hunger Games so I know how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. I am utterly fearless.

On that note, I am off to finish some work so that I can get out in the garden tomorrow and plant out my little kale plants. Come the revolution we won't want to be short of iron. Or indeed kale crisps. And I wonder if it is time to let the littlest boy have that axe he is always on about. Thoughts?

Sunday, 25 August 2019

The parenting rating scale

Goodness me, urchins are expensive to run, aren't they? I am reeling from all the uniform-buying, the days out, the ice-creams, the odd little things they persuade me to buy (so many!) and the shoes, oh the shoes! What on earth did I used to do with all my money? I like to think I'm fairly thrifty, but it's a battle a lot of the time.

Anyway, above are more photos from beautiful Wales, mostly to calm me down. There was less shoe-buying there.

I asked the older two to rate my parenting today, after I felt some criticism pointed in my direction after failing to adequately chastise the littlest boy for some misdemeanor or other. In my defence, the older two have so effectively worn me down over the years that I have nothing left. The scale was 1-10, where 1 was absolutely shocking parental failure on all fronts and 10 was all-round excellence. The biggest boy felt that I was a solid 4, with the middle one giving me a 5, or possibly even a 6. I shall wait until I have done something especially indulgent to ask the littlest boy, when I shall be confident of a 10.

A picnic is planned here tomorrow, what with the weather being set unusually fair for a bank holiday. All those wet ones make the sunny ones more lovely. Although a wet bank holiday has its own charms I think. A trip to the bookshop is also planned, which is pretty much my happy place. The littlest boy has a book token to spend, given to him after he did a kind thing for a friend. He is not one for making quick decisions (hence one hour and forty minutes spent in the trainer shop yesterday - me and the middle boy gave up and sat slumped on the seat waiting for the end of days) so it should be a long visit. It will be my reward for the trainer shop horror. Hoping you have a happy thing planned too. CJ xx

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Is there any news?

I went on holiday for a week and didn't hear any news at all. It was rather lovely. Was there any? Does it matter whether I know about it or not? I do of course know the cricket score, which was force fed to me by the urchins. Otherwise I am a blank slate.

Wales was glorious as ever. The sea, the mountains, the air, the greenness, the sheep and the gentle, beautiful Welsh rain, keeping everything lush. Water trickling over slate, ferns growing out of walls, moss covering old wood and ancient stone, lichens creeping slowly over rocks.

There was mountain biking, body boarding, swimming, dog walking and stone skimming. And more ice-cream than you could shake a stick at. The biggest boy and I went to Bardsey Island for the day. There are just a handful of houses there, and of course several dozen sheep. Someone has a polytunnel and grows salad and you can buy homemade jams and chutneys. It is utterly peaceful. I would rather like to stay there for a while, far from the madding crowd as it were.

But for now I am at home, where the mad crowd are round and about, but all is as it should be and I am grateful and glad. The dog is tired but doing his job of keeping everyone accounted for and rounded up well as ever. I'm tired too as it happens. Holidays can be hard work, but oh so lovely. One day I think I shall move to Wales and have a slate wall of my very own, with ferns growing out of it and moss on the steps. In the meantime I am happy to be here, with a messy garden, a laundry mountain and everyone present and accounted for. If you have any news of your own, I would love to hear, but you don't need to bother updating me on the rest of the world, I shall save that for another day. Or not.