Wednesday 23 December 2020
Tuesday 15 December 2020
The Christmas tree is up. I sent the eldest to pick it up from the Scout Hut, being as he has all the muscles from the gym membership. I thought I might as well get my money's worth. He had a choice of a thin one or a really, really fat one. He chose the really, really fat one, and barely made it home, having to stop three times en route, despite all of the expensive muscles.
The space we have available is suited to a very slender tree. When I unwrapped the one he'd brought home we all stood there lost for words. It is the world's thickest tree, as wide as it is tall, and exceptionally luxuriant. A triumph of tree growing. And entirely unsuited to the narrow space between the fireplace and the television. I levered it in as best I could. It has a sort of malevolent dark presence in the corner of the room, sucking all the light out of it somehow. The middle boy and I, who tend to sit on a two-person sofa to the left of the fireplace, will not be able to view the television with the rest of the family throughout the festive season. We aren't that bothered to be honest, we're very well suited to sitting outside of the circle making sarcastic remarks that we think are funny, so we'll do that instead.
Photos from a trip to the River Severn (bird watching) and a trip to the River Avon (fishing). Birds but no fish.
I put my back out the other day. Nothing too dramatic, it'll sort itself out in a bit, but I am blaming the dog. He had an appointment at the groomer's and as soon as he realised where we were going he sat down and refused to move, so I had to carry him the rest of the way. By the time we got there, he was shaking like a leaf. He does try to be brave, but when the chips are down he just wants to be at home on the sofa with me.
In a moment of madness, I decided to try and write another 50,000 words of the fiction manuscript in December, having managed 50,000 in November. Maintaining the momentum and all that. Along with the day job of freelance writing, it is proving challenging. I have done 25,000 so far though, which is good. If I don't push myself, I think I'm a bit lazy.
I am considering a bokashi bin. Has anyone ever given it a go? I like the idea of being able to compost cooked food and things. Although the wormery would do that, I tend not to put cooked food in there. I do love fermenting stuff though. I am making a batch of miso at the moment. And I always have kefir and sourdough on the go and quite often some kimchi. It really is rather magical. If you have any bokashi tips or advice to impart, please feel free. And don't be afraid to put me off, I do tend to get these ideas and they don't always turn out well.
Hope all is well at your end. CJ xx
Tuesday 24 November 2020
Saturday 7 November 2020
I cannot lie, I am bitterly disappointed about the weekend's results. Although not entirely unexpected, the slide late on to a veritable gulf between the two was a crushing blow. There is always that moment at the start when you think that it will go your way. Ever the optimist, I always set out with huge expectations. Dreams. I picture the victory. Sadly, this time it was not to be. But I shall not be crushed for long. For there is next time, always next time. And that is the thing with Forest Green Rovers, you cannot keep them down. They may have gone crashing 6-2 out of the Emirates Cup, but next week it's Swindon Town and we will SHOW THEM NO MERCY.
Apologies for the rather blurry photo. My camera is in need of repair but it's one of those jobs that slides ever onwards down the to-do list, never quite making the top. Part of the problem is that I don't have a clue where to take it. Handy repair shops aren't that common any more. And they probably aren't open anyway, so I shall slide it a bit further down the to-do list and Tackle It Another Day.
The two older urchins did some helping out today as I had a mountain of work to get through, which was astonishing and rather pleasing (the help, not the work). The middle one made lunch and dinner and the oldest one raked some leaves up. All with very little moaning. I am wondering if they are up to something, it was so unexpected and surprising. We are not one of those families where people help other people out on the whole, rather one of those families where mother does everything and crashes around the place furiously because no one else ever lifts a finger. I wonder if the winds of change are blowing my way.
The middle boy made me laugh the other day when he said that dinner was 'a lot better than usual'. Oh my. Although I suspect it was today as well. I would be helped if the littlest boy didn't keep getting me to buy obscure ingredients so that he can work through his school cookery booklet (no cooking allowed in school any more) and then not getting round to it, so I have to try and insert them into some sort of nutritional meal.
At school now they just watch while the teacher does the cookery, although they are allowed to try it afterwards. Apparently on Muffin Day, everyone else on his table left to go home, so he got all of their muffin allowance himself. He lives for that kind of moment. It was sausage roll demonstrations the other day. Apparently (and I quote) there are so many ways to wrap a sausage roll. I had no idea.
Hope everyone is well and cheery out there. Good news on the US election results no? But a real shame about Forest Green. Can't win 'em all.
Sunday 1 November 2020
I grew some walnuts. My little walnut tree in its pot finally had around eight nuts on it. I wasn't expecting much, but in fact they were amazing. Proper walnut size, perfectly formed and tasting amazing. I love that sort of brain quality they have. Brilliant.
I picked a few flowers before the storm hit. A pelargonium called Attar of Roses, which is lovely as you might imagine, some roses, Madame Alfred Carriere, and some verbena. There are huge dahlias still out there, but they're a bit big and wet and earwiggy to be allowed into the house.
The littlest boy got a detention last week. Apparently it was yet again a gross miscarriage of justice. He forgot his grippy socks for dance (no more bare feet in case there is covid on the floor) (at least I think that's the theory). Then there was some sort of technical issue and he missed going to the thing that wasn't a detention and ended up getting a red card. Or something. Honestly, the disciplinary system is so complicated I can't always follow it.
He refuses to show me his dance moves, except for once when they learned something called the Chewing Gum Dance, when you had to stand there doing things with pretend chewing gum. It's the same with drama. I asked him what he was doing and he said, 'Melodrama.' I asked him if it was like being at home and he said, pretty much.
He's started doing The Tempest in English. He was looking at his homework the other day and said, 'There's a lot of it, isn't there?' I asked what, and he said, 'Shakespeare.' Safe to say I don't think they'll run out of plays.
The dog is all about the melodrama as well these days. He's quite anxious about bigger dogs. He lets them sniff him, then after a few seconds he can't stand the tension any more and barks in their faces, just in case they were about to attack. He'll end up with one of those Nervous Dog bright yellow leads at this rate. Or maybe a pale yellow one marked Slightly Dramatic On Occasion.
I took the littlest boy into the big city yesterday. He had new trainers on and they rubbed after about two minutes so it was not a success. Otherwise I've done hardly anything. Lots of work and a bit of gardening. So I don't feel a lockdown will curtail any wild social whirl. I hope all are well out there and braced for the next bit.I'm going to have a go at NaNoWriMo again this month - writing 50,000 words of a novel. I've done it the past two years and it's been great. I'm quite busy at the moment, so it will be a stretch. But a stretch is a good thing, no? Any November plans your end?
Thursday 15 October 2020
Greetings all, I hope this finds you chipper and enjoying the chilly autumn days. Photos from the wetlands place, which is looking beautiful. I took the biggest boy for a few hours to see what migrant birds were passing. We walked down to the river, past old World War II pillboxes (small concrete guard houses from where people could watch for invasion via the river).
Tuesday 22 September 2020
It would have been good to sit in the afternoon sun with a book for a while, and I did think about it, but there was work to be done so I didn't. Which felt satisfying in a way, because the work got done, but I did feel the tiniest bit wistful that it was the very last afternoon of summer out there.
It ended neatly, coinciding with the astrological end of summer. Today was still warm enough, but halfway through the day the sun went in and the washing felt the slightest bit damp and I thought, 'That's it, the season has turned.'
This evening, in a burst of gardening activity, I cut the grass before the rain sets it, pulled out the tomatoes, filled the kitchen window sill with all the green and orange ones, planted out some foxgloves I grew from seed, planted the elephant garlic and put some spare wood into the garage out of the way of the damp weather.
I have loved summer this year despite you-know-what. And maybe because of it. So many warm, sunny days, more time than usual spent in the garden, which has been lovely, and the garden has looked the better for it, and simple pleasures enjoyed. Walks with the boys and the dog, messing around in lakes, ice-creams and picnics, seeing friends outside and just a bit more thinking about the good things in life and really appreciating them.
And now it is autumn, and doubtless good things are ahead too. Let's not think about other stuff right now. I hope it was a good enough summer with you too. Onwards. CJ xx
Tuesday 15 September 2020
Look, a library book! It must be six months since I've borrowed anything, but finally the doors are open again and books are back on the menu. Over lockdown the children ran out of books and started complaining about having to reread things. The middle one is reading some adult thrillers now, so if anyone can recommend exciting but fairly clean, non-graphic stuff I would be glad to hear. Although of course I am sure they are all far ahead of where we think they are/should be.
School has recommenced for all, which is exciting. The dog is lying on his back, snoring happily in the blissful peace and quiet.
I have spent ALL THE MONEY on new shoes, blazers, trousers, shirts, pe kit and a rucksack and I am left quietly reeling at the amount of stuff needed. And at how quickly it is all grown out of.