Monday, 23 June 2008

Weather or not...

The garden looked lovely: grass mowed, edges trimmed, roses deadheaded and the geraniums flowering their socks off. The patio was swept and chairs placed on the lawn. Nibbles ready to go, stefados in the oven, salads displayed in pretty bowls, oranges sliced and marinading in brandy, chocolate cream inverted onto a serving plate successfully and the Almond and Apricot cake freshly baked. Even the Pimms was mixed in a jug and we'd taste tested the result.

Sadly the weather hadn't taken any notice of our plans! We made our guests come into the garden through the back gate so they could admire our new pond (the excuse for a party), but had to promise that when everyone had arrived we'd go inside if it was still raining. It was, and we did. Thank goodness half the people we'd invited were away and couldn't come or the change of venue would have been more problematic. Very English to stand around at midsummer sporting umbrellas we agreed.

Sunday was windy but glorious: we had a lovely picnic in the gardens at Stourhead.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Planning the day

Eldest has a TD day today and wants to make the most of a day without her sister, due home this evening from her school trip. Always a dilemma: how to spoil one without putting the others nose out of joint.

It's been an odd week without the baby of the family. The ballet runs are simpler when I don't have to take into account whether Husband is home or when Youngest needs taking/collecting from her activities. And I don't need to negotiate supper choices to minimise the variations in meal provision! We had a postcard from Wales on Wednesday: she was fine and the food was OK but please could she have a chicken stir fry when she gets home. It's great to be appreciated once in a while.

Woke up far too early today and the brain immediately kicked in thinking about food preparation for Saturday night, and the weather forecast (which is dire), and which plates to use, and whether to do buffet style or formal sitdown and what time Youngest will be home....

My days are generally fairly fluid with a variety of fixed activities around the edges: Eldest leaves the house at 8.10am for the bus, and Youngest is walked to school at 8.25. She's collected at 3.05 and her sister arrives home at about 4pm. What happens next depends on the day: Mondays there's Guides and Ballet, Tuesdays there's Cycling Proficiency and Ballet, Wednesdays there's swimming, and Thursdays there's drums and Tap and Ballet. I love Fridays when there are no clubs!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


I have just been to Salisbury's. Supermarket shopping is not on my list of favourite things: I hate trying to think of meals, the trolley always ends up too full, and the contents multiply on the checkout so that they don't fit back into the trolley once you've paid for them... BUT

Generally I do my shopping on line, with just top-up items as and when needed from wherever I happen to be. Today's delivery was due between 10 and 11 this morning and I was looking forward to a day of cooking for a supper party on Saturday night (my sort of cooking). As I made a coffee contemplating the fun ahead the phone rang. A very apologetic lady from Salisbury's to tell me their website has been down all night and is still not fixed. The stores have lost their orders, and they won't be coming! She was suitably sorry and has promised a £10 e-voucher, but I needed the shopping today, and there was no guarantee they would be able to deliver before the weekend even if I could re-order. So I've been shopping in the real and actual store. Can't remember the last time I did a 'proper' shop. I confess I quite enjoyed the drama, but I'll be back on the net for next weeks shop!

I'm planning various nibbly things to go with Pimms; a Greek style beef stew, a Thai style chicken salad with couscous; and something chocolate and orange for pudding. Looking forward to playing in the kitchen, 'though I expect I'd better think about tonight's supper first.

Eldest will be home from school soon. I bought us macaroons since I was in store: you can't get them from the bakery on line for some reason. Perhaps when we've eaten tea we'll make a cake. She's a keen cook, planning to take the subject for GCSE. A life skill whatever she does in my book. (You didn't do cooking at my school unless you were in the bottom stream: mad!)

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

You've got to start somewhere

I'm starting this with some trepidation. I'm not sure why: no one will read this any more than they read my diaries written in the days when as a teenager I thought my day to day life was important and significant. So I'll just start!

My Youngest is away on a residential trip with her school. I've taken it as an opportunity to restore order, not to say cleanliness, to her bedroom and bathroom. She's an artist and this apparently means no item, not of any description, should be thrown away: her room is generally littered with paper. There are sweet wrappers, muffin cases, homework instructions, unfinished paintings, drawings, cards and tissue structures (like papier mache but using enormous quantities of loo paper). There are containers of chalk dust, pencil sharpenings, beads, fabric scraps and a large collection of stones and pebbles, mostly from our drive.. It took me most of yesterday but I have retrieved a dolls' tea set containing a variety of potions, unearthed the carpet from under the detritus, and remade her bunk with clean linen.

I don't want you to think I'm stifling her artistic talent! I haven't thrown any of the artwork away, and the sharpenings are contained in a box; but I draw the line at soggy tissue and paint water left out because 'she might need them', and even the spiders need the chance to escape occasionally.

Altogether a very satisfying days work. Very few e-mails though, and no reason to wander down to school and chat in the playground: there are downsides to being self-employed. Oh, it's time for 'The Archers', must dash...