Tuesday 24 November 2020

Of dormice and oven gloves

I fell over in the woods trying to photograph fungi. I was exiting the undergrowth when my feet got stuck and the rest of me kept going out onto the path. I landed splat in the mud, with my camera plunging in deep. Sigh. The dog was bemused. The camera wasn't happy before the mud, it's even sorrier for itself now. But I have a mushroom photo, so I am happy. I LOVE all things fungi. Utterly fascinating, and something I wish I knew more about. One day...

I am pressing on with NaNoWriMo. At around 42,000 words for the month as we speak. It's amazing how much I can get done in November. Why not in all the other months???

I even found the time to eat a chilli the other evening. The middle boy and I were hanging out in the biggest boy's room, which is the nicest bedroom out of the boys' rooms, with a good view and a lovely big south-facing window with a chilli plant on it and space and no annoying sloping ceiling on which to bang your head, and he said, shall I eat a chilli? I said no, oh go on then. So he did. And he seemed quite calm afterwards, so I ate one too. It really wasn't too bad for the first minute or two. And then it was excruciating. Then the biggest boy came in to see what all the fuss was about. He can't stand spicy food, but you know boys and a challenge, so he ate one as well. Honestly, I think we are all barking sometimes. We have just about recovered now, but it might be a while before I make a curry.

I did tofu and roasted vegetables tonight and managed to set the oven gloves on fire. I left them on a hot plate and didn't notice. Then I put my hand inside. I noticed at that point. My finger will probably be okay in a few days. But I fear the gloves are ruined. To be fair, they were already slightly charred, from the day when I washed them, then decided to pop them in the warm oven after I'd finished baking something to dry them off because they're so thick. It turned out the oven was warmer than I'd anticipated and oven gloves are surprisingly not entirely resistant to heat. So they had a slightly toasted look to them before today. Now they are black. There was smoke coming out of the inside bit where I put my hand. Any recommendations for eco-friendly or charity contributing oven gloves gratefully received.

Did anyone see the dormouse story this week? Apparently a dormouse climbed inside of a clear plastic bird feeder tube, stuffed his face with bird food and was so fat that climbing back out was tricky, so he just went to sleep. When the people went outside, there he was, like some latterday Winnie the Pooh, snoozing, with his little furry face against the plastic. The birds carried on eating around him, although no doubt they were outraged.

The people rang the dormice specialists who said to gently release him somewhere safe. Afterwards I was listening to a podcast about how good positive news is for us. We should apparently pollute our brains with it. And I wondered what it would be like if the main news channels led with stories like this. An in-depth twenty-minute segment on the story. No aspect left unexamined. They could slot all of the other stuff into short 15-second announcements at the end, but the thing that would occupy our thoughts for the rest of the day would be all of the cheery dormouse news. Story here if you missed it.

Hope all is well at your end. Any good news stories we should know about? Feel free to share. CJ xx

Saturday 7 November 2020

A disappointing result


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?