The Dirty Dozen 

Andrew is watching the Dirty Dozen, the cat and dog are snoozing, Alice is preparing to go out and Ben has gone back to work.  Maurice needs as to sleep as he has been helping Aunty Lizzy by cleaning out the dish that contained the dauphinois potatoes at lunch time and now looks like a barrage balloon.  He wasn’t interested in the initial serving of mashed potato, letting all the other dogs get their snouts in the trough preferring instead to hold out for the good stuff. I can’t blame him as I did the same at lunch time.  I have been heightening Andrew’s viewing pleasure by offering helpful German translations such as “The Brown donkey is in your room sir” and “Helmut is ready to wash your conditioner out now”. I knew that my grade D German O level would come in handy one day.  For younger readers a grade D at O level is equivalent to an A* at modern A level, or possibly a Masters degree.

I am working on English paper patchwork hexagons, waiting for Andrew to go sleep so I can watch Jane Eyre.  This patchwork began whilst on holiday a couple of years ago. We had hired a little cottage in Mousehole and  during an outing to Penzance, visited a book fair. One of the lots on sale contained a bundle of fabric hexagons. I was so excited!  It was a Sunday so I made Andrew visit every supermarket in the vicinity until we found one that sold basic sewing supplies.  Any thread would have done, fishing line, mending kit, dental floss – I just needed to sew.  Whilst I wouldn’t have chosen those fabrics, it has been quite interesting and refreshing to work with someone else’s choices.  I had enough hexagons to complete six circles and then needed to purchase fabric that fitted. As I work further out I’m gradually migrating towards my own comfort zone and choices of fabric. I took a dislike to the central patch and eventually had to take it out and replace it.  The next circle will be a vivid blue chinz and then I may appliqué onto a large panel of chinz and work outwords with frames/borders.  Surely the dirty dozen will have completed their mission soon?

Strawberry Hill and Sickness

We have been ill – again! Alice wins the prize as, whilst we have all only had two bugs, she has had three. I would like to point out that a) the paracetamol products in this picture were not taken in combination with any other paracetamol containing products and b) there are other cold remedies available. I think Mother Nature ought to allow a little time between bouts of illness to recover slightly before the next attack. Mr W’s bug has turned into a nice chest infection, but of course he couldn’t get an appointment at Redgate.  For our surgery you need to know you are going to be ill, well in advance and have a completely free diary, as there will be only one appointment in the forthcoming weeks, after which time the receptionist will say that there are no more appointments and you need to call back in a couple of weeks.  As a family we appear to be failing as we haven’t yet had an ailment that has given us the required advance warning.

Today we took Alice to an open day at St.Mary’s, Twickenham. I’m not sure who enjoyed the theology lecture the most, I would have quite happily taken notes and then prepared an essay for the Professor.  Apparently I am embarrassing as I recognised his accent and after enquiring where he came from found out that we were born and brought up 3.5 miles away from each other.  I’m just like Henry Higgins but without the marbles, the top hat, the big house, the gramophone etc.

On the way home we partook of beverages from that naughty coffee company that originates from Seattle (you know the one). I saw a picture of a honey blossom macchiato and wanted one – monkey see, monkey do. Whilst returning to the car with said booty I saw a poster inviting us to “Explore Normandy in the Spring”. Why? Are they suggesting that there is a different type of French rain to be experienced, other than the rain that fell on us every time we ever holidayed in Normandy and Brittany?  We once went to a gite that I found advertised on a scrappy piece of paper on the noticeboard in a greengrocer’s in Honiton; surely that’s how everyone else finds their holidays? It was brilliant – however not for small children.  It was a traditional stone farmhouse in a rural hamlet, it was so rural that the only traffic passing by were a man on a tractor and a man on a bicycle. I’m not sure if it was the same man, but he was also please to see other human beings and shouted a cheery “Bonsoir” in passing.

You know a place is damp when the bedding is sticking to your legs! The staircase was open, dangerously so, in a ‘game of thrones’ outside of Rapunzel’s tower sort of a way; so we had to keep the children off it.  We also had to keep them out of the front yard as there were no gates…… and out of the back garden as the grass was taller than Alice and the outside latrine was still there, with its original enamel bucket in residence.  You can see where I’m going with this, not so relaxing for the grown ups, as you had to be on permanent ‘point duty’. When we laid in bed at night you could see the sky along the gaps between the top of the bedroom walls and the ceiling.  I had mistakenly presumed that a coastal hamlet had beaches, nope, I hadn’t done my research (I don’t think we had full, singing, dancing internet then). The bay around Mont San Michel consists of salt marshes.  I didn’t take any reading material as “you can buy that anywhere” and found that you couldn’t.  The only radio station we could pick up was 5live and I’m not a sporty person.  Praise the Lord for the gift shop at the Bayeaux tapestry. I bravely ploughed on without an embroidery hoop and can honestly say that I have nearly finished it (obviously not a replica of the whole thing). After 10 days of screamingly bored and bickering children we decided to cut our  losses and leave early.  This meant we had spending money left, so ‘fine dined’ all the way home.

Maurice had a great time today. Elmo collected him and took him out to Andy’s where he played football with the other dogs, chased ponies around the arena, had lunch and then played more football.  He’s had a busy week as on Monday he came to Aunty Lesley’s birthday lunch at the Farmer’s Arms, which followed on from a walk in Hatch Woods where he made three new canine friends and only ‘gave it large’ to another dog on one occasion.

The best rain record whilst holidaying together happened in Cornwall.  The year we invested in a high grade tent and full equipment, we had a great summer.  For every year after that we were met with rain.  The last time we camped I had (stupidly) paid for two weeks in advance.  It rained every day and we gave up after 10 days,  as we were spending most of the holiday in the local laundrette drying things.  We even drove everywhere with wet towels laid out in the car,  in the vain hope that this would mysteriously dry them – it didn’t.  Sure it rained every day but there were different types of rain each day.

You’ve missed……

This may be a very short post as I’ve been losing posts, not sure where they go but they leave here and don’t arrive at their destination.  You have missed…

Whinging about proofing

I used to work in marketing where everything had to be proofed at least three times, the last of which by someone holding at least the rank of Archbishop.  My proofing now is a little slack – I thought it only fair to warn you.

Fledgling leaves the nest  Firstborn has flown and is now ensconced in his new abode.  We took him to the supermarket, cleaned the fridge, sink, loo etc and made sure that he had first aid items (he always cuts himself while prepping food which is not good as he and his pals are vegetarian).  I kissed him goodbye and turned to wave but he’d already gone back inside! At least that means we’ve done a good job as he wasn’t hanging off the old apron strings. I am now considering a daily text alert system along the lines of “change socks now, put on new loo roll, scrape baked beans from inside microwave, change bedding”. I could also offer this as a service to others in a similar situation.

We went to Bicester Village on the way home where I may or may not have purchased a handbag.  I saw these shoes and immediately thought they would be excellent for gardening or dog walking. Obviously the darker pair would be for gardening as they would hide the grass stains and the mud residue from digging.

Mr Williams whisked Ma and I first class to London, he had a meeting and I had an appointment at Bobby Brown (I have forgiven her for the Cabbot Circus-gate incident). We had a lovely lunch at Ciccheti in Picadilly, where our seafood arrived in a carved wooden boat and Mum’s risotto arrived in a similarly spectacular style.  

The lost orphan post ended with a slight rant about a kitchen supply company.  The last line was something along the lines of “rather than send a strongly worded letter to their head office I think I may just pop up on their counter and have a wee!”  I was very exasperated but be reassured that this did not happen – everyone knows my arms and legs are too short for me to get up on a counter!