Thursday, 20 October 2011

Apples and Marrows

Thought you might like to see some of our produce from the 'lottie'. Other years we've had an abundance of runner beans, this year it was courgettes, or rather the marrows they so quickly turn into, that we had coming out of our ears. At one point it was marrow for lunch and tea every day for weeks, the family narrowly got away at breakfast time. There are still several in the fridge as well as under the ground waiting to be picked at the allotment.

The apples have done very well, too. Lots and lots of them, shame I don't have a photo of the pears as they've also done well. Apple crumble tastes so much better when they are your own, even when they aren't cooking apples.  It's Apple Day tomorrow, October 21st, and there'll be a few events going on one being a 'bring your own apples to be pressed and get mulled cider and hot spiced apple juice in return' one which sounds good to me!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Our House has Turned into a Jungle

Not  a real one, of course, but it feels like one. The Chauffeurs' business partner needed to collect a lot of his plants from his offshoot business. The company who rented then from him doesn't have the money to pay for the rental of the plants and the upkeep of them, this is down to the money crisis going on in this country right now. It's a very large and public concern but even they can't spend on 'frivolous' things for the time being. Shame because plants are known for their soothing effect on the mind and the quality of air they enhance and goodness knows, this business who let them go could do with that right now. They haven't even fixed the window in the front of their building which the recent rioters smashed. As you go past in the centre of my town you can see it still boarded up, apparently it'll cost £80,000 to replace, so I can see why the plants have to go.

It's obviously a big disappointment to the Chauffeurs' partner, losing a good chunk of wages, and he also had the problem of knowing what to do with them all, there were over eighty large plants. Some were bought by the original company's employees and some by other people, but he was still left with excess, which is where our jungle has come in, we took a load of him. Better than throwing them out.

But our house is small, where do we put them? We've been plonking them wherever, but don't really have many decent places for them. And we do feel over-run by them as though they're taking over - hence the jungle comment. I felt like shouting 'helppp!' as the Chauffeur and his partner kept bringing more and more in. Mind you, I can't complain, it was my idea, 'a few nice plants will make the house look better', I said, 'a few plants will make things pleasanter and give a more homey feeling', I said - hmm 'a few plants', I said.

As my skills of plant husbandry in the past has always always resulted in dead plants which is why we don't have indoor plants it is now up to the Chauffeur to take care of them. He's been trying to tell me things like 'if the leaves look a bit yellow cut them off just here' but this fills me with fear and I can see in my minds eye Dead Plant, so will just leave it up to his capable hands.

This is the biggest, a trough of them. As you've seen they're all tropical ones, you know, rubbery ones. The Chauffeur suggests putting them altogether, making a statement type of thing.

They are nice, lovely in fact, and we're pleased to have them, but where to put them all? Apparently we have more to come, too!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Macmillan World Coffee Morning


On Friday it is the Macmillan Cancer Support World's Biggest Coffee Morning. It's a great way for them to be raising funds for this wonderful charity. There are several ways to go about it, you can pop along to your local Marks and Spencer store and have a cup of coffee, and a cake too if you like, some of the proceeds will go directly to the Macmillan trust. Or you can host a coffee morning yourself, or go to a friends one, the host will pass along the money raised. There are other public coffee mornings being held round the country, go the the website to find your local one. Or just subscribe anyway, as all money is welcomed.

These nurses do such a wonderful job and help some of the most vulnerable people, this service must continue and they need our help.

I'm going along to a coffee morning. Well, not so much going along to one as staying home, switching on my laptop and having a coffee. Much the same as any other day? Not exactly, you see I'm going to a virtual coffee morning, with my online colleagues. They are holding a real live one in London and we can pop along or if we live too far away can connect via skype, which is what I'll be doing, and having a chat that way. Oh, and it won't be a coffee morning but a coffee afternoon, oh and not Friday but Thursday. Hmm. At least it'll leave Friday morning free to go to Marks and Sparks, have another coffee so donating again, and do a spot of shopping there at the same time - what other excuse do I need!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Digging for Treasure

Well, the real reason wasn't really digging for treasure but for storage space. The Chauffeur and daughter#2 spent a few days digging up the ground from under the floor next to our front door. They lifted the mat, removed some wooden slats and got to it.

Daughter#2 loves this kind of thing and got stuck in, well, it involves mess and dirt.

A surprising, though it shouldn't have been surprising, part of this was finding more than just earth and stones. We are used to finding bits of old pottery and things from our garden, assuming they used it as filler to go under the soil, and also from the time the bathroom was added on to the house, it being very late Victorian and not having been built with one (we have no idea where their 'waste water' went, I've used quotation marks there so you know what I mean, lol) and the builders just threw all the broken bricks down into the garden space as well as lots of other bits.

These things include bits of pottery, the ends of clay pipes, broken bottles which the chauffeur believes were used for medicine, and the one item which daughter#2 is the most creeped out by, a child's shoe.

Now, it could be a doll's shoe, though it would have been a fairly large doll, and we don't know where the other one is, adding to the mystery and also creepyness. I wondered if it was a ritual thing, a left over Pagan idea to show this is a home and to keep out danger, a bit like horseshoes being attached to doors. I'm sure I've heard of shoe's being thought to show the family heath or home, somewhere.

We'll never know. in the meantime we have to keep the shoe out of sight of daughter#2 as it really does disturb her, and to be honest the chauffeur and I too.

Here's another photo showing daughter#2 having a good old dig around with a trowel. It's finished now and is being used for some of the Chauffeur's bits of diy stuff, such as paint pots, varnish sandpaper - you get the idea. Very useful as it was in the bathroom before, taking up space.

                              The type of soil there was under there, not soil so much as rubble really.

                               A piece of pottery, don't know what it was but it must have been nice. 

The broken bottle which may have come from an Apothecary shop.

A collection of some of the items which were found inluding That Shoe!


Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Gallery: Guilty Pleasures

I lately came across the Sticky Fingers blog and have been enjoying it for a while. It made me want to join in with the linky which Tara, whose blog it is, holds called The Gallery, as it seems like a fun thing to do. This involves using a photo to represent a prompt she gives out. To understand more and to see Tara's and other blogger's contributions click on the The Gallery button at the bottom of this post.

The latest prompt is the words 'Guilty Pleasures', how could I resist that one, so this is the one I've started with. My representation of my guilty pleasure is below.

You may be wondering what it means, although I think it's clear enough. A pile of books waiting to be read with the housework hiding behind. My guilty pleasure is sitting and reading, often with more than one book on the go at a time, and just leaving the cleaning till later. It's nice to have all the housework done so it doesn't play on my mind whilst reading, but if you become engrossed enough you can forget any mess around you. I can then quickly sort out the basics of the housework just before anyone returns from school or work, and pretend I've been hard at it all day to the rest of the family. It does get finished off once I started.

Don't worry, I don't behave this way all the time, but it is a guilty pleasure when I do.

The books in the pile consist of books I've already read and loved, and a couple still waiting and tempting me. The latest was a fun romp, Jump by Jilly Cooper; The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenstein which was a bit more cerebral but not too heavy; The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, about looking for Dracula, the Chauffeur and I went to see the abbey featured in this book, of which I will probably blog about at a later date, what a day THAT was. Also in the pile is a Shakespeare, I was looking for The Tempest as daughter#1 enjoyed this one and it's one I've not read yet, but couldn't find it, it may be in her room; and the The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, I adored his Shadow of the Wind.

Books - tempting, tantalizing things. I realise I'll have to keep the rest of the family from seeing this blog or they'll find out the truth, now.


Friday, 23 September 2011

Filling in Forms and Paying Out Cheques - Money Glitter Graphics

Yesterday there were a lot of forms to be read, processed and filled, with several cheques of our hard earned money thrown in. None for the Chauffeur or myself but all for the girls.

We had first, one for a Night Hike for scouting daughter#2, no money involved
Then one to read only, for permission to allow a vaccine to be administered for daughter#2 
Large cheque for Paris Trip for same daughter
Money given for Scout Subs too

For daughter#1 form for permission to do Work Experience next year
Also form to fill in for allowing her to go on Biology Trip also next year, which involved another large cheque

Their school diaries needed looking through and signing, this is to make sure they are keeping up with their homework. I had pens, cheque books and forms all over the place trying to keep up with them all.

Next week we need to pay the piano teacher for daughter#1, and she tells us the piano needs servicing again, so another large cheque.

Do they appreciate it? Well, would they be true teens if they did?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Kitchen Ideas

Ok, I've finally decided what type of kitchen I want. I have ummed and ahhed long enough between styles and have at long last come to a decision. Nothing out of the ordinary so don't get excited now.

It'll have painted cupboards, a white glossy marble tiled floor and painted walls. The ceiling, as we knew from the beginning, will be part window, but we're not sure if it'll be possible to have it in one whole sheet right across or several smaller ones with frames, and also whether it can come part way down the wall. As for the layout we made up our minds about that right at the beginning too, units under the window running round, leaving space for a large table the other side of the room.

As soon as planning permission has gone through we'll be able to go to a kitchen specialist who will be able to advise on the best style and placing of cupboard units etc. They'll be also able to tell us of the latest techniques, and gadgets.

I cannot wait! We first decided on having a new kitchen three years ago, and asked a friend of ours to take on the work. He's good and won't charge as much as some might. Unfortunately he's so good we had to wait two years, then, when they were up he asked us to wait another year! He can't start till next April or so. He's very much in demand, all via word of mouth. Well, at least it's given us time to save, and it's going to cost a lot!

I'm having painted cupboards as opposed to the glossy ones I thought I'd made my mind up about because this way, when I change my mind about the colour as I inevitably will, it can be easily changed, the walls too. Not sure about the colour yet, maybe a nice shade of plum.

Here's a picture of the colour of kitchen daughter#1 would prefer, black, of course. To go with the black bedroom she'd also like...

As things come together I'll post on the blog. I'm always on the lookout for gadgets, ideas and furniture for the ideal kitchen and I'm sure it'll all be posted on here. Next to make up my mind on is the type of table to buy, a big black oak one, scrubbed pine or something else altogether? Hmmm.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Happy Monday

Monday Graphics
Glitter Graphics Tumblr Backgrounds

No, I'm not talking about the group, though they are definitely worth talking about - controversial as they were, what with Shaun Ryder's excesses and Baz's amazingly crazy dancing. One day I will watch '24 Hour Party People' the film made about their time in Manchester.

No no, this post was just a way of hoping everyone is having a happy Monday. Monday's are often thought of as the worst day of the week, coming after the week-end where many people have rested and played, in various different amounts, then having to get up early again, back to work and back to the grindstone. I do hope you don't think of your work as a grindstone, I was only using it as a continuation of the old saying 'nose to the grindstone'. Only 4 more days till it the week-end again, guys.

A few facts about Monday:

Monday, nowadays is usually the first day of the week, gone are the days if it being Sunday,

The word itself comes from moon's day,

Daughter#2 was born on a Monday (I know - not really a fact about Monday, but it's still a fact as it happened),

The children's rhyme for it is Monday's child is fair of face,

Monday is the most popular day to commit suicide, call in sick, and surf the web in the Netherlands (that was whipped from Wiki).

I shall leave you with one of my very favourite songs which is by the aforementioned Happy Mondays, just highlight, right click then left click in the box, or just copy and paste:

Saturday, 10 September 2011


People say this is an event where you always remember where you were when you heard it had happened. It was such an enormous thing if you were old enough how could you forget? There are other dates which are the same, the day JFK was assassinated, the day Diana died, and there are a few others.

This is my remembrance of hearing about 9/11:

My sister-in-law and I had dropped our children off at infant school on their 4th day of starting in the infants, her son and my daughter who are only one month apart in age, and were walking back to her house when one of her neighbours passed us and told us to put the news on when we got back as one of the twin towers in America had been hit by an aeroplane and was on fire. We didn't really know what the twin towers were at that time and just thought 'Oh how awful', but didn't put the tv on as we were busy talking about our children and other things. I didn't see what had happened till the afternoon when I got back to my house after picking up my daughter at lunchtime, by then the second tower had been hit, too. I remember being gobsmacked when I realised what a huge thing it was that had happened and couldn't stop watching things unfold for hours. I felt as though it had put a sort of blight on her first week of starting school as it was something that would always be associated with it.

Another thing about it is not just remembering where you were when it happened but that everyone, even here in the UK, seemed to know someone who was in one of the towers at the time, or had been within a few months, or knew someone who knew someone, so it kind of touched us all. For instance a close friend's brother had been in one of the towers 2 weeks previously, and we heard many other people who knew of friends, family or acquaintances who had been there recently and were so relieved they were safe.

Many believe the world lost something that day which changed everything. Today is a sad day for all.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Friday Hunk

So, after yesterdays pictures of female lovelies I felt we girls needed something to feast our eyes on. I figured a nice picture of a hunk would do it, but when I googled hunk all the pictures came up of shirtless six packs and I backed off at that as my mother reads this blog.

Then I thought, well, there's no-one hunkier than Captain Jack Sparrow is there? No, it isn't Johnny Depp but his character I've posted here. Jack Sparrow is a hunk in my eyes, albeit an effeminate one, or is that a contradiction in terms?

So, girls, feast your eyes. Maybe next time I'll post a shirtless beefcake, but for now enjoy the eyelinered one.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Bit of Chat

Sorry to do another rainy weather post but that's pretty much all that's been happening around here. We're still wet and cold, right now it's persistently drizzling outside and I'm sat indoors with a jumper on. I do know it's so baking hot in Italy some people are really suffering, they're meant to have had it broken by now but it's not happened yet - stay strong, it will change soon.

 Other things round here, well the girls have started back at school. Daughter#1 is now doing her options, one subject she's never had before was psychology but as they're still getting into the swing of school there's nothing much to report on what she thinks of it yet as they are getting used to the new teacher and are just discussing what they'll be studying still.

  Daughter#2 is excited to be back and getting to know new teachers also, today going on a cross country run outside the school (glad I'm all out of that side of things, bad enough running let alone in this rain, sport was never my thing) and is pleased with her football team win at the weekend. We're finding it amusing that she's been invited to a birthday party with an Oscars theme. She trying to find an actress or singer who doesn't get glammed up to copy. There was a couple of days where she was teaming up with one friend to go as Luigi from the Mario brothers and would have needed blue dungarees and and a green top and baseball cap, now she's thinking of the Spice Girls, unfortunately Sporty has been taken, can't see her as Posh!!

 Talking of glamming up daughter#1 has been choosing her prom dress - it's only 2 yrs away so we'd better get cracking, haha. Here's a couple of the dresses she likes, she wants long skirts

Here's one I go for, assuming I looked like the model wearing the dress that is, the bigger and flouncier the better, lol

That's all there is today in this post, I need to post something as my poor blog was feeling a little neglected and was trying to get my attention. I've given her something to keep her occupied for a while, hope she's satisfied, (capricious little thing she can be). Speak soon, bye all.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Weather Today

cool myspace layouts

Oh my goodness, if you look at the difference on the two weather gadgets I have alongside my posts you can see the discrepancy of the two. Anzio is 32 degrees and Bristol is 14 degrees. My mother told me my uncle's car is actually registering 39 degrees outside.

But where has our Summer gone!? It's cold and threatening to rain again, need to keep a watch out, I don't want the washing to end up wetter than when it went out. This is August and it would be nice to have a little warmth, not wanting to feel we need to pile on the jumpers.

But then again, would we want that heat either? That's just sounds unbearable. Every year seems to be that much hotter than it was the year before. Easier to get warm than to cool down, imagine it without air-con!

What a difference between the two countries, too hot to move in the one and too chilly to want to go out in the other.

Oh... now it's started to rain, and what is it they say? It doesn't rain but it pours, obviously that's meant as a proverb but in this case it's quite literal. Come back Summer - all is forgiven!

myspace layouts

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Nasa News

Isn't nature beautiful? I just had to add this. Makes you wish you were one of Dr Who's companions, doesn't it? Imagine hopping into his Tardis for a quick peek at the latest star being born, or to watch a cosmic storm.

The funny Nasa people are calling it the Cosmic Inkblot Test, perfect analogy.

 Cosmic Inkblot Test

The Dumbbell Nebula, also known as Messier 27, pumps out infrared light in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The nebula was named after its resemblance to a dumbbell when seen in visible light. It was discovered in 1764 by Charles Messier, who included it as the 27th member of his famous catalog of nebulous objects. Although he did not know it at the time, this was the first in a class of objects, now known as planetary nebulaeo make it into the catalog.
Planetary nebulae, historically named for their resemblance to gas-giant planets, are now known to be the remains of stars that once looked a lot like our sun. When sun-like stars die, they puff out their outer gaseous layers, which are heated by the hot core of the dead star, called a white dwarf, and shine with infrared and visible-light colors. Our own sun will blossom into a planetary nebula when it dies in about five billion years.The Dumbbell Nebula, also known as Messier 27,

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Random Picture

Honk Honk - well it make's me laugh

Taken by daughter#1 on a school trip to the zoo.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Look What We Caught!

Look what daughter#2 caught when we were in France. Fast little things these lizards, and her Grandad was amazed she caught it saying he didn't think it could ever be done. She's quick too, when she wants to be, and has caught a few as has her sister. 

They are very cute and amusing to watch. Baby lizards as well as the adult ones. They are called Common Wall Lizards common to this part of France as well as Switzerland, Italy, parts of Germany and the Balkans, and also the Spanish Pyrenees which back onto this part of France. They seem to thrive in human living areas, scuttling away if anyone gets too close - usually anyway.

The lizard daughter#2 caught was a female, to be distinguished from a male due to it's brown colouring and stronger markings, males are green.

Daughter#2 holding said lizard, with the Chauffeur having a doze on a sunlounger in the shade.

                                              Peep o

           It would make a good tattoo don't you think?

                           Watch it doesn't fall off, now!

Do you want to see a close up on the kunquat tree which is in the background of the first photo? It's a lovely bright orange colour. Mother-in-Law made some marmalade out of the first batch which apparently tasted wonderful.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Photos From France

We had a lovely time in France, staying with the Chauffeurs parents in their place in the Pyrenees. Being August it was, of course, hot but dry with a couple of spectacular thunderstorms. The storms meant the wireless connection had to be shut down as they have had 3 modems blow up due to the electricity in the air!

The area has a lot to see and visit, some of it we saw and photographed, though I won't post them all up today. First to show is where we stayed and the rocky stream alongside the house which the girls loved going back regularly to make a dam, trying to divert the water a little, I think, is what they were doing. Naturally being so high up in the mountains there is a lot of water around, streams all around, going through villages, past peoples houses, some naturally others deliberately to avoid the flooding which happens occasionally.

 We were there for the 15th August, an important time in the Catholic calender, of course, and although we didn't go we could here the music from the nearby village where the villagers danced for hours late into the night.

Here's the house with it's large glass room, can't really call it just a conservatory.

Us sitting in the shade under a tree feeling cooler than in the house

The mountain view around, the first picture shows the peak of the Canigou.

The Chauffeur making us a barbecue in the specially built oven, the other side has a bread oven, too.

The girls and the Chauffeur playing in the stream, it was so cool there under all those leaves, and the water cold but so refreshing on our feet.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Going to France in the Morning

This is just a quickie today as I've a ton of stuff to do. We're travelling to France tomorrow to stay with the Chauffeur's parents where they are pretty much living these days.

We're up at silly o'clock so it's not great that I'm working till at least 10pm tonight, bad management on my part for not organising things properly.

Need to pack, get the girls to pack, though I believe daughter#1 has already begun and will no doubt be the first to finish and be able to relax, she's so organised, just like her Dad. The house needs cleaning and tidying so it's nice to return to. Animals need their cages cleaned, too. One of our friends will be coming in every day to feed and water them.

Right, I'm off to make a start. Will hopefully have photos to show you when we return. Byeee!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

What I'm Reading Now

You Against Me


If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's accused of a terrible crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him, don't you? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. This is a brave and unflinching novel from the bestselling author of "Before I Die". It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Scout Returned

And she's back. Safe, sound and, as predicted, very tired.

Daughter#2 had a great time, mountain boarding, hiking and everything connected with camping. It rained but the first two days weren't too bad, getting very wet on the third. The tents are currently opened out in the scout hut drying off. No matter, scout's don't care about a little thing like rain, do they. I remember being worried about daughter#1 scout camping in the freezing cold but she enjoyed every minute of it, she told us when she returned.

D#2 wouldn't let me get a decent photo of her when she got back even though I'd been prepared to grab one when I could. Here those are

The other patrol leader who went with her, son of our good friends. They've known each other since birth.

The backpack she carried - my old one from over 20 years ago I travelled around Europe with, still in good nick, knew it was worth keeping.