Saturday, 23 April 2016

after the show

Thank you for all the marmalade advice, I think I may be better at eating marmalade than making it. 
I shall embrace my inner Paddington Bear.

We arrived at 5.30 to find that although the program says collect between 5 and 6 they actually mean arrive at 5. 

Then they start emptying out the uncollected flowers and throwing them away.... 

It's ok though. If you apologise profusely for your lateness, and look a little sad that your very pathetic floral offerings have been disposed of, then the nice ladies will give you the uncollected tulips. All of them! 

Friday, 15 April 2016

a feeling freezing five on Friday

brrrr it's chilly. I've spent all week looking at pictures of sunshine and spring flowers  from the south of England on instagram and wondering why I'm so cold.
oh that's because this is the north.....

I am waiting impatiently for signs of spring. And warmth. The only spring there is round here is a new coil spring for front wheel of the car when it had it's MOT yesterday. The lady who rang me told me it needed it, how much it would be (ouch) and then that it wouldn't pass the MOT without a new one. So did I want it fixed? Urm let me think about that for a minute..... Honestly..... no I want to drive around with an unsafe and illegal vehicle........

It's the local spring show tomorrow. I've just been out in my freezing garden (did I mention I was cold?) to try and find anything suitable to enter.
Everything is either
a) chewed - mice? pigeons? daffodil climbing snails?
b) rain battered and mud splattered
c) not flowering yet. it's too cold...............
d) fairly pathetic but none of the above so it will have to do........

I also found a jar of marmalade to enter.  (I found that in the cupboard not the garden by the way....)
There seems to be a great deal of variation in marmalade recipes. Some chop the oranges, then boil, some boil them whole and then chop. Should the chopping be fine strips, or is it ok to throw the whole lot in the food processor and whizz it? Which is right? I have marmalade angst.

I shall not be entering any baking.There are no classes for dairy free/gluten free cakes, and they never taste quite the same as a muggle* cake, so we'll just admire other peoples efforts. Also All baking classes at all the local shows are won by the same lady. I am somewhat baffled as to how she makes 15 or 20 cakes for each show. How big is her oven. Does she buy sugar by the ton? Does she make 20 of each at the same time, defrosting one each time she needs it? Or does she have a time machine?

So any marmalade tips? Any signs of spring and sunshine where you live? And if so you can send some up here please! I'm off to make a pot of tea and try and get warm.
Have a lovely weekend x

joining in with Amy's five on Friday.

*In the Harry Potter books a muggle is a person who lacks any magical ability. In our house a muggle is someone who isn't gluten free....

Friday, 8 April 2016

not quite your normal game of monopoly.

Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade.

The Planning. 
Sometime in January I signed E up to do an explorer* event in London. And promptly forgot all about it. Over the Easter weekend I got an email with details of the event, followed at 11pm on Sunday night by a frantic email from the main explorer leader, requesting parental help. He'd booked the event, but he now couldn't go, and neither could the minibus. He had one leader but would any parents (with DBS checks) be able to drive to London on Friday.... J and I had one of those crazy very very late at night conversations, which went mostly like, "well if we don't go then who will?" Cue frantic collection of camping kit, travel cards, phone chargers, food, extra food, emergency car snacks....

From The Angel of the North to The Angel of Islington and back again.

The journey.
It's 313 miles from here to the scout park in north London. although if you don't check properly you think it's 270 miles, and when you realise with 30 miles to go that actually there's 73 miles to go everyone gets a bit tetchy with you. just saying.....
J left work early so we left with a car full of explorers at 3pm instead of the scheduled 5pm. Two stops, five sets of road works, some crazy traffic, and 7 hours later we arrived.

The most frequent saying of the whole trip was "Imagine if we'd left at 5 o'clock!!!!!!"

 We played eye spy, two letter eye spy (EP - electricity pylon, not elephant poo!) and the A-Z game, themed to the weekend, "I went to the shops and I bought an A-z map of london,  Bow Street, Chocolate, Diagon alley, Eager teens, etc" and sang loudly and tunelessly all the way.

It took 7 hours to drive home too......

The Beef Jerky Van. This bright yellow van, always parked at the edge of the A1 is the sign that you're nearly home. Everyone cheers when they see it!

I took lots of photos of the milometer, and lots of photos of the teens (team name Eager teens) at each significant mileage. Blended into a photo film they tell a hilarious story of the journey. 

The Game.
Monopoly Run.  This year over 900 scouts/leaders/senior section guides and crazy parents raced around London, seeing the sights, earning "£'s" taking photographs and tweeting them. Each team had a list of locations and challenges, you had to visit as many of the locations as possible, some of them at specific timings, answer the location specific question, take a team selfie, and tweet it with the location hashtag (#Trafalgarsquare) and your team number back to head quarters, and rush to the next place. You could do them in any order, more £'s were earned for further away or harder to get to sites, some were genuine monopoly board locations, others were changed in order to make it different each year, and to get a fantastically varied view of London. Team selfies had to be varied and include a variety of poses, and extra £'s were earned for "Chance cards" eg take a photo on a Santander bike, with a member of the public, with a police man, and everyone in your team in a phone box,  or "Community Chest" locations, eg The Royal Albert Hall, or a Trafalgar Square Lion.  You had 9 hours to visit as many locations as you can, before returning back to "GO" at the campsite.  Our explorer group fielded a team of 7 explorers who came 18th out of 142 teams,  and J and I and a leader made up an adult team. I learnt that my geographical knowlege of London is dreadful, and that I am much more comfortable navigating with an OS map than with an A-Z and a tube map, that camping in April can be chilly, and that tweeting in a hurry can lead to a) not including the photo, b) not including the hashtag, c) typing the wrong #.... and d) general grumpiness. I also learnt not to use the steps at Covent Garden tube station, that London is a crazy long way to drive, and is filled with far too many people, but is beautiful and inspiring, and has so many more places than I'd ever imagined and we have to go back again next year, and try and visit even more locations.  

Oh and the second most frequent saying of the trip.

"is that your feet I can smell?"

* explorers are a branch of the scouts, for children aged 14-18.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

mid week randoms

Miss K and I took a train ride last week. We were gutted not to be able to make toast or style our hair........ We decided a microwave and curling tongs might be ok and will plan our next breakfast and fashion looks accordingly.

J and I drove over to see his mum at the weekend, to check up on the status of the flood damage and to see what progress was being made. We found 3 wonderful layers of oh so stylish wall paper behind where the kitchen cupboards used to be. I can decide if I prefer the fake wood effect or the oh so stylish brown floral with boats and cottages..... I truly can't imagine anyone thinking orange was a good colour for the kitchen.........

To say the house is looking a little sad would be an understatement, but after several hours work there are less skirting boards stacked up in the yard and a satisfying pile of firewood ready for next winter!

Back home there is progress on a new flower bed, this side of the garden doesn't get much sun, this year I may throw several packets of wild flower seed at it, and see what happens, whilst I come up with a creative plan (work out what might possibly grow there........)

and finally more blossom. just because. 
sometimes we need all the promise and hope of spring we can get.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

five things

this week I've seen.

1. Rock of Ages - performed as the high school musical.
80's rock - ripped jeans, band t-shirts, leather wrist straps, tattoos (sleeves and temporary!)
Over 200 hours of rehearsals. Well deserved 5 show sell out.

2. Stowaway 
"A Boeing 777 begins its descent towards Heathrow. The wheels unfold out of the belly of the plane.  The frozen body of a stowaway is tipped out and cuts through the clear morning sky."
Incredible production with beautiful choreography, thought provoking story, and a fascinating Q&A session at the end. If it's going to be near you I highly recommend it.

3. Room
An exploration of love between mother and child. Fascinating. Heartbreaking. Inspiring.
Discover your strong.

4. blossom. oh how happy this makes me.

5. The northern lights. no photo. a faint green glow in the sky. the magic of the universe.

joining in with Amy

what have you seen this week that's made you be proud, think, be grateful, smile, stop in your tracks and be in awe of the world?

Friday, 4 March 2016

Five on Friday. Five stages of a quilt.

I've just finished a quilt that I started last July. Eight months isn't that long for me. Considering almost all of it is procrastinating about the next stage. To celebrate I thought I'd join in with Amy's five on Friday series, and make a light hearted not to be considered as a tutorial five stages of a quilt post. 

1.Preparation and Design. Spend hours over several evenings, completely trashing the living room with fabric, and then sitting cutting small pieces into smaller pieces. Try to decide what to do with them.

2. Piecing. Once you've selected your design and cut your fabric strips you can endless join them together into squares. And then unjoin the squares, move them round and then join them up again.......

3. Quilting. First spend hours on the internet trying to buy a replacement part for your machine to stop the thread snapping. Order part. Dither for hours about how to actually quilt the thing. Enlist helper who will watch you closely as you work, 

and then quality control all the stitching for you.

4. Binding. Ponder fabric choices for several weeks and then finally ask teenage recipient of quilt who picks out a choice in five seconds. Become strangely addicted to a tv series on netflix whilst you spend hours hand sewing.

5. Testing for comfort and warmth. Put quilt on bed. Set a stop watch to see how long it will be before the cats find it.

Friday, 19 February 2016

five on friday

joining in with Amy's five on Friday first birthday celebrations.
Five photographs from our snowy weekend away. Not many words to go with them.

The sun peeping through the clouds at Loch Earn.

Standing stones, which were in field next to a farm. We exerted our right to roam and hopped over the fence.

A beautiful fence covered in snow.

And gorgeous soft green lichen. I love this colour. 
(But if I try and wear anything this colour I look like the living dead. Not flattering.... )

The most beautiful sky. 

I think I could photograph the sky every hour of every day and never get bored.

Happy Friday x