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. 

A fair few pears came down in the storm, but there are still dozens more. I never really know what to do with them all, they don't store well. Martha Stewart dries them, and I am thinking about that, but she says they don't keep for very long and you still have to freeze them, which isn't what I'm looking for. I was thinking they might keep for ages if I dried them. If anyone has any expertise in the area of pear drying I would be glad to hear of it.

The top photos are from the Lake District, which seems a long time ago now. I wouldn't mind being back there, floating around on a lake or reading a book in the shade or climbing a mountain. Holidays are all too brief sometimes aren't they. Although now that summer has returned, a deckchair in the garden is the next best thing. 

The youngest has been working hard at his English and French this week. He has written an alarmingly violent dystopian story involving mutant pigs, a virus call pigona virus, alien invasion and a nuclear bomb. I made a plea for a happy ending, but apparently that won't do at all when it comes to dystopia. The best he was willing to offer was a cliffhanger.

His French homework seemed to be a lengthy list of questions about home and family life that a social worker would be proud of. I scanned through a few of them and feel that we have probably failed. 


  1. Hi CJ, I just wrote a comment which disappeared, so I will try again. Wonderful post, as usual. I think teachers send nosey questions home so they can have a laugh. No pear storing advice, I'm afraid – it's eating pears with everything here and even then we end up composting some. Life is a cliffhanger at the moment, don't you think? I think your son has it spot on. Hope you are managing to enjoy some peace and quiet with Bertie xx

  2. Your son's English homework sounds wonderful. I envy you your holiday in the lake District; it looks idyllic. Sadly, all our pears disappeared from the tree early on. I blame the squirrels. Maybe a mutant pig or 2 would keep them under control?! xx

  3. I wonder if you could can your pears? Not that I know a thing about canning. Love your boy's homework!

  4. Pears cooked in red wine? Pear cheese? Dried pears last as long as dried apples if they are properly dried and not stored in a plastic bag.

    I wonder if your oldest might like the Chief Inspector Gamache series? My daughter (17 as of last week) loves them. Not thrillers but good old crime with strong focus on personalities.

    I do love dystopian novels and maybe when the youngest first one is published I could get a signed copy? I really enjoyed the Oryx and Crake trilogy by Margaret Atwood. One of the books has some mutant pigs in there I think.

    Have a wonderful second half of the week x

  5. My mother used to call all project work about ‘My Home’ or ‘My Family’ or ‘My Holiday’, nosey Parkering.

  6. Lovely post and pictures. Lucky you with the library, mine hasn't reopened yet. Bertie seems to have the best idea. The pears look good, but I can't help re drying them. xx

  7. Such amazing views you shared.. almost like you're flying across it. It must have been quite the hike to get up there! I would love to read your son's story. He might have quite the literary future! He could make a fortune and buy you a manor house in the lake district. Have a super week. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  8. Gorgeous photos of the Lake District. Happy memories for you I’m sure. My boys loved all the Dan Brown thrillers in their teens, not sure if they would hit the spot with yours. As for your youngest son writing abilities....watch this space as they say. B x

  9. I love looking at other people's photos of the Lakes and trying to work out what is in them. Our library has opened here too although all I have done is return our books I haven't ventured in yet. I spend enough time queuing to get into shops that another queue doesn't appeal at the moment. You have reminded me that I want to buy the book you have taken out the library, thank you!

    I am not sure that I have ever read a Thriller novel.....my husband reads Robert Ludlum's books which I think may be classed as Thrillers I cannot vouch for their suitability but I know that they are taking over the bedroom, as he has so many, so they must be good!

  10. Love those photos of the Lake District. Things seem to be returning to some sort of normality don't they - though I'm not sure for how long.....
    I've no experience of drying pears, but if you are into making preserves ( and don't mind using sugar) you could try pear butter, a bit like a thickened spreadable puree which will keep in jars. There are several recipes online.

  11. I'm recommending Bearmouth to every parent of every child I know right now. It's such a brilliant young adult novel, with a unique voice in the main character and it kept me gripped to the very last page. Written by Liz Hyder (disclaimer: she is a friend and I'm madly jealous of her talent), it's won a few awards this year.
    That aside,yes hurrah for libraries! My bank account is VERY pleased they've reopened!
    PS we need to know more about the mutant pigs...

  12. A family friend gave me a big basket of pears from her garden and they were so awful...the sort that immediately suck all the moisture out of your mouth. Sadly, they've been relegated to the compost heap in the hopes they'll contribute to future bounties. I felt bad about it but, as you say, pears are difficult enough without the added problem of tasting horrible.

    i can't even imagine the expense of school uniforms...times three....ye gods.

    Libraries are the best of everything xo

    ps.mutant pigs, intriguing premise :D

  13. I usually cook pears down to make a compote which I then freeze. By !, I mean Martyn does. It must seem strangely quiet after all this time.

  14. Book suggestions... Anthony Horowitz books? Dr Syn books? James Bond? Or maybe some of the classics, such as Treasure Island, Lord of the flies, Swallows and Amazons?
    My nanna used to cook fruit whole and preserve in jars in syrup for the winter.

  15. I just found a jar of dried pears in the cold cellar from 3 years ago - still fine to eat. I would slice them slightly thicker next time. I actually found that the dries cherries didn't keep well - they turned bitter and I'm still trying to think of a way to use them but I think they are destined for the compost pile. I prefer the pear sauce (like apple sauce) which can be frozen or canned.