Sorry it has been such a long time (again - I seem to start most posts with those words!). Aside from several technical errors (broken laptop, no camera etc), I have barely had time to sit down of an evening recently. Life just seems to be so busy, and that is how I like it most of the time, but occasionally I would like to sit and read in the garden, or just veg out with the girls. It has been chaos and we have had lots to think about and fit in. I have been working pretty much full time at school in both Year 1 and Reception, and have been to Waitrose with them on school trips, done sports day and various other end of term type things, which is all good fun. I have decided though that if I am working properly in September I will get an ironing lady - we nearly suffocated under the pile of ironing that was mounding up in our bedroom it was so huge!
We have decided to take the house off the market as now is not a good time to sell (or buy - house prices may keep dropping for quite some time), and we don't think now is the time to be stretching ourselves with a bigger mortgage. I felt really sad about it for a few days, but actually it is the right thing to do, and we do love our house. We have decided to do several of the jobs that we have been meaning to do since we moved in 7 years ago, including maybe a kitchen extension, but also smartening the garden up and various other tasks. The good news is that now we aren't moving I can start going to car boot sales and charity shops again. I have bought some bits and bobs recently (including a bedside table that meant I had to rearrange 4 rooms to get it just right - more on that in my next post!), and these napkins are my best find for a while.
Aside from that, we have had Grace's birthday celebration this weekend - 6 girls to a restaurant for dinner, then back for a sleepover (only 4 of them though, as Ruth and her best friend Ebba went to Ebba's for their sleepover, leaving the big ones to theirs). They went to sleep at about 11.30 and were up at 6 eating Space Dust and giggling. A good time was had by one and all (children, not Bodie, Andy and I!), and Grace was a happy bunny. Her actual birthday is on Wednesday, and I can't believe she will be 8. She is so grown up and is so lovely to be with, and I can't believe that it is 8 years ago today I was already in labour (it was a very protracted affair!). I don't feel old enough to be the mum of an 8 year old, and I still think of her as my 'little' girl (although she gets her height from my side of the family not Andy's - I'm 6' and he's 5'8"!). I am also quite sad that she didn't want a party this year - sleepovers seem to be the thing once you get older. Still, Ruth's birthday is in 3 weeks time and she is having the real McCoy - pass the parcel, musical bumps - the lot. It may be my last party and I am going to enjoy it (regardless of the fact she would rather be going to the cinema to see Kung Fu Panda!).
Still, this is the cake for my gorgeous and talented (and now very tired) nearly-8-year-old. She played in the school Summer Concert last week and was the only one from her year in the senior violin group. She did so well and is really coming on, so I thought this would be appropriate (she's also doing well at the piano, but I couldn't make a piano out of chocolate cake!).
I had a visit from my best friend from school and her husband last weekend. We haven't seen each other for 5 years, but it was like we had only seen each other a few days before. She met her now-husband when we were still at school and he was at University in Loughborough, and we all used to go out and sit in the Three Nuns pub in our leather jackets and slashed jeans. Much has changed since then, but it did bring back a huge rush of nostalgia seeing her again. We have resolved not to make it another 5 years before we next meet!
Our allotment is really coming into its own at the moment. I've made jam and elderflower cordial so far, and am looking forward to making more jams and chutneys as the season progresses. We have been inundated with strawberries and lettuces, and we had our first peas and broad beans yesterday (admittedly only 1 pod of each, but they are coming on). We spent a lovely day yesterday down there with Sophie and Greg. Sophie and I sent Andy and Greg to pick up some lunch from Sainsburys which we had with a huge bowl of salad made from our lettuces, spring onions, rainbow chard and pea shoots. We drank a bottle of cider in the sun and read the paper, while the children all ran off through the wilderness behind our plot, and tended to a Dunnock which had a broken wing feather. It was bliss and just what we needed after the birthday-fest! We then came home and had a roast chicken with a salad made from our own lettuce, baby carrots, baby beetroot, spring onions, potatoes and our own roasted shallots, followed by a huge bowl of strawberries. It did make me feel very virtuous. I also brought home almost the last of the rhubarb to make some rhubarb, orange and ginger jam (I did the first batch a few weeks ago and it was so delicious I felt the need to make more). Unfortunately I was trying to do too many things at once and left the rhubarb to soak up the sugar overnight, forgetting that it was 1 kilo, not 1lb of rhubarb I needed, so I am sending Andy back there tonight for the rest. I thought the ratio of sugar to rhubarb looked different to last time!
So aside from working at school, birthdays and gardening, not much else has happened. I have my book group tomorrow night, governor meeting on Wednesday and a chinese meal out with staff from school on Friday. Thursday is taken up with 'House' and 'My Name is Earl', so that's this week taken care of! I may need to get the ironing lady to start before September!
Hope you are all having a lovely week. Sorry (again) that I haven't been popping in to your blogs - not having a working laptop or PC has made it a little tricky. I promise I'll be dropping in shortly to catch up on all the gossip. Wishing you all a lovely, sunny week,