Monday, 29 August 2011

Mud, mud, glorious mud

Who knew? I have a Geography O Level, and did poorly at an A Level. I remember drawing lots of pictures of geographical features, but no one ever showed me pictures or, better still, took me to see any of them. I will admit to a complete failure to understand scale!

We’ve just come back from Dorset where the coastline is brimming with examples of exciting rock formations – yes, I know, I didn’t expect to write that phrase either. We had a wonderful clamber over the pavements at Kimmeridge where you can look at the folded layers of oil shale and limestone, eyes peeled for fossils when you’re not looking in the rock pools. It’s fascinating! (And I vividly remember going to Lulworth for the first time and being completely blown away by the reality of my teenage diagrams.) It may be that I just wasn’t very interested in Geography, but I think it more likely that it didn’t seem real, it didn’t grip me. (I recently saw a baobab tree on TV and it looked exactly like the drawing I’d done as a fourth former; I’d never seen a real one - not even a photograph – so, as with the rock, didn’t really understand what they were.)

On another trek, on a very drizzly morning, we walked out to the coast from Kingston, around the headland and down to Chapman’s Pool. The last part was off our usual route but Husband and Youngest decided we needed to get to the sea. There are steps cut into the Houns Tout cliff, but the next bit was just cliff. Eldest decided, about half way down, to wait for our return. Foolishly, I followed the other two. This was not the family’s usual ‘bear hunt’: this was hippo country! I have never seen so much clay outside of a pottery! It was extremely slippery underfoot and this Hausfrau got very grumpy indeed! I’m afraid I didn’t make it to the beach either, despite mocking from Husband: I couldn’t see how I was going to get back up without getting filthy and I’d been promised a pub lunch! There were people swimming. I can’t even begin to explain why they were in the sea…

Friday, 26 August 2011

Half way there

The kid done good. Four AS levels (sort of half an A level) and a thing called Science in Society: As the lot. Clever girl! Made us proud and all that.
She was expecting to do well apparently: it was made clear that we should have a bottle of champagne to hand ready to put in the fridge as soon as we got back from Dorset and checked the post. This from the girl who, along with her two 17 year old friends, whom we had taken to stay at the cottage for a few days before the family, said “No thank-you” when asked if they’d like to keep the half bottle of wine and the cans of lager not yet cleared out of the fridge by our friends who had been visiting. (Gosh that sounds complicated! Our friends borrowed the cottage for a few days; we took Eldest down to take over from them and joined them for lunch; they took their stuff, but offered to leave food if the girls wanted it.)

I don’t suppose a taste for champagne will do her any harm: she only had a glass so sadly we had to have the rest.
You may be amused to hear the girls had eaten well, watched lots of DVDs on a laptop, played cards and Monopoly, walked all of a hundred yards to the farm to feed the ducks and buy ice-creams and had had one decent walk over the hill to the pub for supper. One of the three, we were informed, “doesn’t do walks”.

Note: the background is Wiltshire not Dorset, but the girl is mine.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


So, all sorts of news:

Both the doll and the devil won first prize, and the doll’s outfit won best in show and, thus, a cup!
Do not get excited! Each entry cost 30p, that’s an outlay of £1.20. There were lots of liqueurs and mine got nowt. Two first prizes netted 60p each… So I broke even… Except that I am requested to get the cup engraved with my name… Cost unknown…

It rained rather in Dorset, but there was more fine weather than wet, and just the change of scene, and reduction in the scale of the housewife’s chores made for a welcome holiday. We walked quite a bit, ate well, played Scrabble and Cluedo, fought over who got to do the puzzles in The Times and stayed in bed ‘til the end of the Today programme. Lovely! (The photo is a view taken in Arne.)

I have thought of several things to tell you about: AS levels, Geography, Lionel Shriver’s So Much For That, Glorious Mud, Church Fetes, and, probably more, but I think smaller helpings would help the digestion - and I need to catch up on what everyone else has to say!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Show time

It is holiday time and we’re off to Dorset in stages (Eldest goes with friends tomorrow, Youngest returns to the UK on Friday and we go Sunday), but before that I wanted to show you Eldest’s cake for her father’s birthday:

3, not 53, clearly

And my entries for the village show:
A dressed doll or bear: (the poor girl is over 40 but seemed pleased with her new outfit) dressed for a British summer!
Possibly a little over the top?

A crocheted item: a little devil who's a little underwhelming?

And two entries for the liqueur class: Sloe Gin and Apple Vodka…

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Let them eat cake

Eldest was seventeen last Wednesday. It seems unbelievable: time has whizzed by. She is (of course) talented, intelligent, witty and attractive and takes after her mother… actually she has her father’s memory for detail and tuneless singing voice, and her grandmother’s sense of rhythm and dancing feet. And she’s taller than me. And her life is ruined because she's never had a fairy castle birthday cake... Well  I shall know what to make for her 18th: that'll teach her to mock her mother.

She has been working all week helping her ballet teacher run a summer school at the end of which they put on a show. She’s loved the experience and even been amused by the little kids – “They’re so cute!”
So we've had a stream of grandparents and godparents to entertain. It’s been fun, but as of today they have all departed and our next task is to get Youngest onto a bus bound for Heathrow and on to Switzerland. She has been earning money for the trip all year, and received a couple of welcome grants from the Guide ‘pot’, but I am just beginning to loose my patience with requests for yet more kit that someone somewhere has told her is essential: apart from anything else it is not all going to fit in her rucksack! So I need to go and look at a weather forecast for Adelboden to try and calm her requests for shorts, factor 50 and sunglasses, and waterproof trousers and jacket, and layers for snow… Twelve of them, including 3 Young Leaders, are camping and self-catering at the Guide centre for 8 days. I’m sure they will have the time of their lives, and the enormity of the adventure will dawn on me eventually, but for the moment I’m just harrassed!