Sunday, 14 February 2021

Fat rascals and obnoxiousness


Well that's rather a dismal selection of photos isn't it. The first one is from two weeks ago as the littlest boy's snowman slowly sank in on himself. His head was at a really jaunty angle for a couple of days and I was waiting for the moment when it fell off. It was pretty much all I had going on to be honest. Anyway, it rained and he dissolved in an instant, so there wasn't even any head-off drama. We haven't had any snow since.

Then the middle boy had a birthday. And that is all of my news. If that looks like a yule log it's because it is a yule log. I didn't make one at Christmas (sometimes it just seems as if there's enough food) so he asked for one for his birthday. Fifteen already. I tried to interest him in an online family locked room game, but he just laughed incredulously and explained that such a thing relied on teamwork and cooperation and we never spoke of it again. 

Chess has been big here lately. Nothing to do with the television thing, haven't seen it, but the urchins are rather obsessed nonetheless. They have a timer now, which I thought would be a good thing, but it turns out I can't concentrate on going quickly, thinking up moves and pressing a timer as well, it is just all too much. 

The littlest boy had an absolute triumph the other day when he beat everyone in the house in one day. The biggest boy said, 'How come when he plays dad he's really bad but when he plays me he elevates himself to international Grand Master level?' The littlest boy went around singing 'I'm the best' for quite a while. Yes, in case you were wondering, we are all totally obnoxious in this house. And deluded.

I am making a resolution to take more photos. Maybe even one a day. I used to do that, but it was a lot easier when the urchins were small and did cute stuff and didn't mind a camera pointed at them too much. The littlest boy and I made some cherry fat rascals just now, from a Sam Stern recipe, so I shall start with a picture of them if I can. They're quite big, but Sam made them twice the size. I can't say I've ever had a fat rascal, I wonder if they're supposed to be the size of a saucer??? I'm not objecting you understand, it's just when I do baking I usually like to end up with more than five of a thing.

I've been taking the ice off of the pond every morning, a good centimetre some days, which is very unusual. I did it originally to lift off all the duckweed, which works a treat for getting rid of it, but then I realised how much the birds were appreciating the water, so I kept doing it. Yesterday a blackbird had a really long bath, which surprised me, given how cold it was.

I've sown some seeds, after being late with everything last year. Tomatoes and cucumbers and sweet peas and delphiniums. Although the hot tomato-ripening days of summer seem a long way off at the moment. 

How are things at your end? Good I hope. I shall be back anon with some actual photos and more tales from the sharp end. CJ xx


  1. Happy birthday to the fifteen year old and well done to the chess players. I’ve not a chess sort of person, not sure why? More a scrabble girl. Fat rascals sound delicious I could do with one right now please with my cup of tea :). Impressive with the seed sowing. You put me to shame, maybe this week. Have a good one. B x

  2. Hope your son managed to have a good birthday. Two of my Daughters and Hubby have birthdays at the beginning of March so all will be quiet affairs - Shame as eldest Daughter is going to be 21 - don't know if we will even be able to see her, will depend on Boris's next announcement.

  3. Happy birthday Mr 15. I hope he enjoyed the day. No doubt he would have loved to hang out with this pals. Such a shame for the kids. Having said that, I'd be ok with a bit of a party, too. Taking photographs when not much is happening is not always very rewarding. I got so desperate the other day that I arranged some vegetables and fruit on the table for a boring old still live, inspired by James' latest art homework which involved creating a portrait or landscape from food items. Really. I look forward to seeing your fat rascals, if you get them photographed before they are snaffled up by the urchins. Have a wonderful week x

  4. A Yule Log sounds rather good as a birthday cake - I know what you mean about there being enough food. My birthday is December 28th and I usually forgo the cake completely for the same reason. There is usually a suggestion of having a half birthday cake in June, but by that time it's forgotten. Happy birthday to your 15 year old and well done to the chess champion! No seeds sown yet here - hopefully this week. I had to Google fat rascals as I've never heard of them - they look yummy and the bigger the better as far as I'm concerned! Happy ice clearing. xx

  5. Oh to be 15 with your whole life ahead of you! It is a brilliant time for him, maybe not so much for you because as I recall 15 year old's really do think they know everything. Stay safe and warm.

  6. *H*A*P*P*Y* * *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y*!*!*!* Middle Child! I am also a middle child, my older siblings were twins who everyone adored and my younger sister was the baby. And me? I was the character and diva/troublemaker. :-) On my end.. my youngest son had a major heart attack early yesterday and my DIL saved his life with CPR until the paramedics arrived. He had a blockage in his aorta and they put a balloon in it and put him in an induced coma. Tonight they brought him out of it and he is awake and answering questions. An update on him will be on my blog tomorrow. This has been horrific. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  7. Wishing your son a Happy 15th Birthday. My granddaughter turned 15 last week and she is a middle child too. It is such an interesting age and my granddaughter seems to have grown up in the last couple of weeks. My son sent a photo of them in a restaurant and she turned her back to the camera, while the youngest one was very happy to have her photo taken, but I guess things will change for her too as she gets older. Middle grandchild has lots of attitude too, and she is very funny and has us laughing a lot when we visit and of course we love her so much. I don't play chess but the grandchildren like to play other board games and of course I rarely win against them which is why they probably like me to play! Have a good week and stay well.

  8. Happy 15th to the Middle's a terrible cliche but time really does fly. I've commanded my children to stop aging/growing several times but they don't listen.

    Those fat cherry things look delish....and can i say how much I appreciate recipes that come in weights rather than measure....SO much easier. I don't like glace cherries, though...I wonder what I could substitute. I'm feeling very baker-ish these days which is NEVER a good thing in the middle of a sedentary winter....but one needs something to accompany the tea that accompanies the book.....


    1. Cranberries? Or maybe stem ginger, which I love, but other people don't, so it's a good choice when I want to eat all the things myself.

  9. Ha! I love your youngest's attitude. The last time I played chess, after mostly losing, I beat my (now ex) husband in less than 10 moves. I've never played it since. My role as champion remained firmly in place that way!
    You are not the only person with little news. 5 different conversations last week all petered out with "yeah, there's just not much going on". Even I know there's only so many cat updates my family can take...
    Well done on the seed sowing. I'm not there yet.

  10. It's not like you to be stuck for pictures and news. Well done on keeping the bird bath ice free. I won't be sowing any seeds for at least another month.
    All good here thanks. Take care. xx

  11. I find that scone dough never cuts out to the number of scones that the recipe claims it will with the cutter size they stipulate.
    My husband plays chess all the live long day online. Friends tell me he is rather well ranked. I’m a bad loser so have taken up darning.

  12. CJ! It’s been so long since I’ve written to you. It’s Devon from Tale of a Mermaid blog. Your oldest is now 15? I can’t believe it! I think of you and wonder how you’re all doing. Especially when I try to garden :)! Glad to hear all is well (despite covid). I don’t know how we fell out of touch, but I’m glad to find you again. I have 3 children now too, if you can believe it.

  13. Not much going on here either except the blackbirds bathing in the pond and making me shudder. I've never played chess - draughts is my level!

    I'm rather photo poor too but at least I found some snowdrops to photograph today

  14. Hmm, your family sounds just like my sons, why be nice when you can squabble? Winter covid is not good, chin up though, the vaccine is coming fast for everyone.

  15. Lockdown birthdays are a bit glum aren't they? I had one a few weeks ago and a 'party' via zoom. Though it does mean more cake of course, when there's only two to share! I hope your boy had a good time. The Yule log looks like a triumph!

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  17. Hi CJ,

    Alice here from Thompson & Morgan. I hope you're well?

    In the next few days, we're publishing a masterclass on tomato growing, and we'd love to feature some of your content. We've put together a little write-up we'd love to send over, so if you could drop me an email at blog(at)thompson-morgan(dot)com, we can pick the conversation up there.

    All the best,