Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Sun! Sun! Sun!

Less manic today - Brian's on holiday and sharing the load. I could list, but - *yawn* - enough. The sun shone, the Pimms was poured. It's summer and life is great.

Garlic - cleaned and in the polytunnel to finish drying.

Cucumbers - easy, reliable, I adore.

Chamomile - my favourite flower, seeds freely, divine.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The first day of the summer holidays...

The first day of the summer holidays went something like this:

Make coffee; feed dogs; eat breakfast; load dishwasher; administer ointment to Brian's horsefly bite; hang out washing; recapture escaped schnauzer; apply sympathy and throat lozenges to H10 who has stinking grumpy cold; reload washing machine; water polytunnel; plant out bedding plants into pots; water pots; hang out hanging basket while the weather is actually good enough for it to go out; consider family trip out; examine finances, change mind;

drink coffee;

assist with H10 riding Itsy; apply bridle to Bullseye who has never worn one before; apply reassuring pats to scaredy Bullseye; apply roller and saddle pad to same pony; apply cuddles to ditto for being a brave boy; wave at friendly postman; open post which includes two cartons each containing five live painted lady butterfly caterpillars for summer holiday butterfly hatching project (inspired by Zoe Lynch whose caterpillars are a bit posher than ours - click link to see);

eat lunch; listen to German Grand Prix qualifying on the radio (as will not pay evil Sky for live TV coverage); cuddle schnauzer;

wave Brian off to work with fond kick kiss; find photography challenge for H10 and R8 (via my 'for my daughters' board on Pinterest); send them off on nature scavenger hunt; hang out second load of washing; recapture escaped schnauzer; bring dry towels in; reload washing machine; water third and final batch of bean seeds (two previous lots failed to germinate); take cuttings of broad-leaved thyme for Lins and Alex; admire results of scavenger hunt; take silly photographs of both scavenger hunters;

pause to contemplate next sewing project while eating Tunnock's teacake; take haynet to dieting fat ponies; take supplementary food to elderly skinny pony; jump up and down like a loony to attract pony's attention (she's deaf); supervise H10 applying green oils to pony's horse fly bite while dodging flying mouthfuls of horse food; feed the rest of the Tunnock's teacakes to grateful offspring; recapture escaped schnauzer;

drink coffee;

read Telegraph online; hand out pens, paper, card, pencils and scissors to craft-mad offspring; take paracetamol for thumping headache; hand out glue and coloured paper to crafting offspring; consider taking headache off to bed for sneaky nap; foiled by crafting offspring needing help to find scissors (that they already had);

put kettle on for another coffee while ignoring pleading looks from schnauzer; gaze at Pinterest while cute annoying schnauzer tugs at sleeve of t-shirt; forget coffee but hurriedly marinate chicken in paprika and lime for fajitas; give in to canine pleas and take for walk; retrieve dried washing and hang out final load accompanied by the music of caged and furious schnauzer;

wander aimlessly round garden enjoying unusual sunshine; water dry bits of polytunnel; scoff raspberries straight off the canes; harvest salad to go in fajitas; return to house, release and feed hungry schnauzer and his labrador side-kick; cook and eat fajitas with offspring; switch on Indiana Jones film; fall gratefully into glass of Sauvignon Blanc;

remember ponies need putting back out to the field, put down wine and do so; feed guinea pigs and shut them up for the night; close polytunnel; clear up kitchen and load dishwasher; nag children to go to bed, many times; succeed; wait while they phone Daddy at work to say goodnight; eventually escape back downstairs; trip over pupsidedown schnauzer; head back outside in the twilight to shut up roosted hens; remember there's a glass of wine somewhere; locate it on coffee table; switch on telly; sink into sofa clutching wine; think how I've wasted another day not getting much done; wish I had someone to talk to; drown sorrows in wine; fall inelegantly asleep on sofa clutching TV remote.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Even the garlic has gone rusty...

I'm dashing about (well 'dashing' might be an exaggeration!) from task to task depending on whether the wet stuff is falling from the sky or not.

Think of one of those weather things - was there one in Chigley or was it Trumpton? - where the little people trundle out according to the weather conditions. Rain will see me indoors with the sewing machine or "cleaning" (on Facebook?!); the slightest hint of fine weather and I'm out in the garden raging at the waist height couch grass. Is it just here or is the couch really tall this year? My garden is obliterated. I'm considering violence.

Still more black currants yet to ripen.

In the meantime, while thinking murderous thoughts towards aforementioned invasive grass, I have harvested all the garlic (which had rust - of course it would in this weather), and picked the first two cucumbers (so reliable) and the raspberries, red currants, pink gooseberries and black currants. There isn't quite enough for individual varieties of jam, so I think a mixed berry conserve beckons this year.

Rose 'Grace'

School is almost out - R8 says she has been on a marathon DVD-watching exercise for what seems like the past three weeks, while H10 claims to have been doing nothing but school work. A little of both is probably nearest the truth. They both had excellent reports and all - teachers too - deserve a bit of fun in the final few days of the school year.

Rusty garlic drying on the empty runner bean bed.

They've both got end-of-term-itis now though. The long summer holidays are nearly upon us and we have Big Plans. Lists have been made and requests have been requested.

We have a trip to Devon - first and foremost and most importantly -  to see lovely friends. Then we have free swimming to take advantage of and Tesco Days Out tokens carefully squirrelled away for Folly Farm trips. There are rock pools to be examined, walks to walk and hills to climb. There's the small matter of the Olympics too, with footie tickets for us grown-ups and the excitement of the horse events on TV for the pony-mad offspring.

I'm on a running hiatus at the moment, with three months to go to the the Big Day (Cardiff Half Marathon). Fatigue had set in along with torpor and lack of energy. Online wisdom suggested a rest so I've prescribed myself two weeks off before the final push to the start line. My long Sunday run is already up to 10+ miles so it's only another 3.1 on top of that to do. The rest of the training now is for speed and vanity but in the long run it's the taking part that counts. Unlike the Olympians all I have to do to get a nice shiny medal is to take part in my event!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Lovely things

Sometimes amid the general hurly burly of day to day life nice things happen. A couple of lovely things have happened in this past week, so I thought I'd share them with you.

Firstly I had an email from Lizzie at Dorset Cereals telling me that my picture of Bullseye, which had been featured in their simple pleasures gallery, was one of the ten chosen for June to receive a prize of their new breakfast pots.

My prize arrived this morning when we were in the midst of yet another heavy downpour.

They look yummy and very useful portable breakfasts. We all adore Dorset cereals in this household so their arrival was greeted with much excitement.

And this is the picture, that I called 'spring sunshiny whiskers', which also serves to remind me that it doesn't always rain here, even if it seems like it. I took rather a lot of pictures in this session - I adore Bullseye's cute little nose and he's a patient subject!

The next lovely thing to happen arrived also in email form in the shape of an offer, by Katrina of Snapfish, to test out some of the Snapfish products using my photographs and then blog about them here. Of course I was delighted to accept and the image of Bullseye immediately jumped into my mind as a likely project. Perhaps I can have him printed on canvas, made into an acrylic block or printed on to a mug or two?

I need to upload my images to the site and have a really good play with the various options. It's something I will love doing and it will give us a lasting bit of art to hang on the wall. I plan on saving the project for a rainy day, which will more than likely be tomorrow!