Monday 31 October 2022


A volunteer squash plant popped up in the garden in early summer. It turned out to have these delightful little squashes on it. I vaguely remember buying a small squash last year that was part green stripes and part orange. No doubt the seeds were composted and found their way into the vegetable beds.

The squashes above are all from the same plant. Just one is dark green, and it has a spot of orange on it. I left them on the plant to ripen and they are all lasting really well. I think I shall save some seeds and grow some more next year, I just love how dinky they are.

We are at the end of 11 days of holiday for the urchins. The littlest boy was doing his homework before bed. I was very cross. I must have asked him ten times during the holidays whether he had done everything for school. Honestly.

There was a dearth of trick or treaters on the streets tonight when the dog and I made our inspection of the neighbourhood. Some people had made a brilliant job of decorating and there were lots of nicely carved pumpkins and candles. One or two households were actively trying to lure people in by shouting, 'Do you want sweets?' across the road at other people. 

Bertie found something on the pavement and ate it. His revenge for me not allowing him the half of a burger he found this morning. Last Hallowe'en we came across someone in a giant dinosaur costume and he was terrified. At least there was nothing scary out there tonight. Although I did see at least eight cats and a good half of them were real. He's not the most observant dog though, so he didn't see them. You can bet that they saw him though. I felt they were looking down their noses a bit.

I don't think I have any actual news today. I took the littlest boy shopping at the mall this afternoon and it has rather taken it out of me. I can barely string a sentence together. I bought him a new t-shirt, which I rather regret now (see homework, above) and some socks. I bought two new notebooks which I absolutely definitely need. For something, at some point, possibly soon. 

Also, a plant pot as the littlest boy has rather an indoor plant addiction now he has taken over the big bedroom with the big south-facing window. And I am pretty much an enabler. We went to the garden centre and looked at cactuses and I said helpful things like, 'Ooh, look at this one, we haven't got one like this.' I need to rein us in. 

Hoping you are enjoying Hallowe'en. I have celebrated by eating a dark chocolate KitKat from the bowl for the trick or treaters. In fact, there are still some left.

Tuesday 25 October 2022


Obligatory tourist shots from the nation's capital. I took the two younger urchins who were quite frankly rather snappish at times. We went to the Tower of London where we had the option of a guided tour. The middle boy said we had a guide book and didn't need such a thing, then proceeded to hurtle round it at the speed of light, not opening the book once. 

After we left an argument broke out and I had a Moment, explaining how, as I normally work most of the weekend I had mistakenly thought it would be wonderful to finally have a day off and go somewhere lovely with my wonderful children BUT IN FACT IT WAS ALL COMPLETE HORROR. Then we all settled down for a bit and went in search of the boat I had booked us on to. 

We ended up at the wrong quay, but in some quite miraculous way the littlest boy led us through a couple of marinas, past fancy boats and fancy restaurants in a most unpromising direction and, presto, we were at the right one.

Then after the boat, we walked for about three hours without stopping. The middle boy, whose legs are very long, strode off, directing us here, there and all over the shop. The littlest boy and I stomped along behind with me weakly suggesting coffee or a cake or AT LEAST A SIT DOWN FOR TWO MINUTES. The middle boy said that he had sat down all the way there and would sit down all the way back and he most certainly did not need to sit down while he was there.

In the end I forced him to sit down on a bench type thing (maybe a planter...) outside of the Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden. There was lovely violin music drifting over from the market and we had sandwiches and it was almost like we were actually in the Ivy for the three and a half minutes we were there.

My best bit was when we popped into the National Gallery to use the loos and one of their staff asked us if we were looking for a particular painting. I said in fact, we were just looking for the exit. He pointed us in the right direction but said that as we were there, we could just look at a particularly wonderful painting. He described where it was, and then (maybe saw me looking a bit vague, I honestly can't find things, ever) he said he would take us himself. 

He proceeded to show us Leonardo da Vinci's the Virgin of the Rocks and talked about it with such knowledge and passion. It honestly made my day and I'll remember it for a very long time. 

The littlest boy's best bit was the hot dog I bought him right at the end when I realised that I had actually managed to go the whole day without buying him a tacky souvenir. To be honest, I think he had just lost the energy to campaign for one.

On the coach home in the dark, two women and a man, probably in their sixties, sat at the back rather loudly gossiping the whole way home. It was utterly fascinating and completely impossible not to listen, with nothing to look at and no energy for conversation of my own. Later on, the littlest boy said to me, 'There was a woman on the coach who said such and such.' It made me laugh that he had listened to it all as well. I said, 'I know. And what was Desmond thinking???' I suspect half the coach was wondering that too. Made all the more delicious because everyone was local. 

How are tricks at your end? All good I hope. CJ xx