I'm really not quite sure where this week went. The tempo of everything is hotting up, and school is suddenly full of demands for all sorts of things. They want money for trips, items for the tombola at the school fete, handmade and filled crackers for the mystery cracker stall, cakes for the cake stall, books and games for the books and games stall, parental help with trips, money for non-uniform day, pyjamas for non-uniform day, special Christmas jumpers for Christmas jumper day, money for teacher collections, money for new recorder books, cakes for the cake sale (this is different to the school fair cake stall) and money for cakes being sold in the cake sale (are you sensing a theme..?) All of it times three of course. I'm doing my bit, but honestly, sometimes I feel like taking out my purse and shrieking "Take it, just take it all".
I tried to photograph the castle on one of the sunnier mornings. I dropped the boys off at school, but by the time I got back out to the castle the sun had gone in. You'll just have to imagine how glorious it looked behind that beautiful beech hedge with the early morning sun on it and the windows sparkling. Of course five minutes later when I was halfway home the sun came back out. A blogger made of sterner stuff would have turned around and gone back, but I went home and had breakfast.
In the kitchen there's been some therapeutic baking to calm me down. I grated some uchiki kuri squash and put it in a fruit cake. That way cake counts as one of our five a day. I went to the allotment on Friday and planted the two apple trees my friend gave me. After much deliberation I chose Christmas Pippin and Sunset. Christmas Pippin is a new variety, and Sunset is relatively modern, dating from the early 1900s. I have high hopes for them. There's nothing quite so uninspiring to photograph as a newly planted bare fruit tree. It feels like a momentous occasion. Not often in life do we get to plant trees, things which may survive for future generations. It's a big moment. But the photo - hopeless. It's a stick poking out of the mud. You know I'll be back here the second they burst into life though.
I also planted some more garlic, and in digging over the ground I found some potatoes that the littlest boy and I missed. There were also lots of bits of clay pipe and china on the surface of the soil, washed clean by all the rain I think. It amounted to quite a collection.
The weekend is shaping up to be quite relaxing. We don't have any football on Saturday mornings at the moment and honestly it's such a pleasure not to have to go anywhere. I'm a really early riser, but nonetheless it's so nice to just be at home, pottering about, getting things in order. The biggest boy made vanilla shortbread from his Sam Stern cookbook this morning. Sam is young and cool and makes cooking for boys cool too. And in the photos he's sometimes doing his homework and revising for exams, in between knocking up a quick batch of blueberry and apricot muffins or a caramelised onion tart.
Tomorrow there will be football and an afternoon out. Nothing fancy, just me and them. I'm looking forward to it all, I never used to like Sundays much, but I've finally got the hang of them. Wishing you a good day too.