Saturday, 27 September 2014

That was the week that was.

So, I have had a very weird week. Just as I was getting into my stride, working out a good balance between house, garden, making, cleaning, cooking, shopping etc it was all turned upside down.

It began on Monday with J working from home. I always feel a bit strange about that. Is it ok to interrupt? Is there enough lunch for two (I usually eat left overs from the night before and cook with that in mind). He chose to set up camp in my corner of the sofa and of course needed the computer so I was off balance from the start!

He was working from home so that he could attend an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon about having some troublesome wires removed from his elbow.  The doc said yes, no problem, how about tomorrow?

So on Tuesday, with less than 24 hours to get used to the idea, I had to take him to hospital for a general anaesthetic etc etc. We have done this a lot. Some people even call him Glass Man, he is so prone to breaking himself, indeed, the wires were put in after the last breakage. But it is really NOT FUN. The silver lining is that a lovely old friend lives a few minutes drive from the hospital so I hung out with her while he went off to theatre. She was suitably distracting and chatty and the time passed much faster than it could have done. He was discharged the same day, wire-free but pretty pooped.

So on Wednesday I had an invalid at home. Naturally I pootled 30 miles north to keep a long-standing lunch date with another lovely girlfriend. Invalids need peace and quiet right? So, far better for me to be out of the way.

On Thursday I realised that what had been a small issue of Big Trouble being a bit over tired by school, had become a big issue of him being too tired to eat, wetting the bed and being so overwhelmed that he didn't want to go at all. This is my boy who has been desperate to go since he could walk. I fretted and worried and worried and fretted, then spoke to the headteacher who was completely lovely and very understanding and suggested I collect him early a few times a week until he has found his feet.

So on Friday I went up to school four times: at 8.45 to drop them all off, at 9.30 to attend the Macmillan coffee morning, at 1.30 to collect Big Trouble and at 3.15 to collect the other two.  He wouldn't have a sleep but did spend the afternoon under a blanket reading books and chatting with me. He seems to have benefited already, and is less grumpy and tearful than before.

The other unfolding saga of the week was planning the delivery of all our goods and effects from St Helena. They are coming on Monday and being delivered to 'kerbside'. J has booked the day off work so that between us we can bring it all into the house. J is now unable to lift anything with his left hand. Hmm.

The upshot is that I have asked everybody I can think of to come and help in exchange for cake and beer, and our lovely friends and family have been very generous with offers of their time and energy.

Please please please don't let it be raining on Monday...


Sunday, 21 September 2014

And the winner is.... me!

Ooo I have been wanting to tell you about this for a few days but the weather has been so pants that I haven't been able to snap any pics to show you. 

A couple of weeks ago I entered a giveaway on Jo's blog The Good Life. I always have a go at a giveaway. People always find such lovely prizes! Well for once, it was my name out of the hat. Yey!

Jo had been sent a copy of Sarah Raven's Cutting Garden Journal to review, with the promise of another one to give away.

It is a very beautiful book. Full of ideas of things to grow, how to care for them and how to display them. I love cutting flowers from my garden and bringing them into the house, but I never grow them specially. I just snip a bit here and a bit there.

For the last couple of weeks Tall Girl has done it for me. Even though autumn has definitely arrived in this corner of the world she still managed to find me a big vase full. Lovely!


PS If you fancy your own copy there are details on Jo's blog...

Monday, 15 September 2014

Here and Now

A red geranium - a present from myself.

A beautiful waxed table cloth and
wooden butter knives from Sweden

An arum lily to remind me of the St Helena
countryside where they grow like weeds
Loving: That Big Trouble came home from school with his trousers on backwards because he dressed himself after PE. Just goes to show that he can, despite what he pretends in the mornings.

Eating: Nothing until the next meal. I have declared it to be Snack - Free September in a bid to curb my constant snacking while I cook dinner each night.

Drinking: A lot of tea today. A sign of a long and bitty to-do list.

Wearing: A purple jumper dress purchased on our South African holiday. It is the first really driech day of Autumn and although it probably is not actually very cold, I am feeling it today.

Wanting: Tall Girl to let me in. She is like a bear with a sore head at the moment despite professing to love being back in England. Something is up, I just don't know what yet.

Thinking: About my friends in St Helena. I think it is the weather but I am feeling the distance today. Two of them sent me these lovely presents during their recent holidays in Europe.

Dreaming: About playing with my sewing machine when it finally arrives (and I have unpacked and put away the contents of 70 boxes in a focused and disciplined way).

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Project WDIWTBWIGU and positive procrastination

So, after indulging myself on Friday with a spot of interesting-shop-browsing, I got up on Monday morning, took the Smalls to school then realised that I had the whole week stretching before me like a blank canvas. A canvas into which I needed to put rhythm and punctuation. There was a highlight already in there - a lunch date with a girlfriend but the rest of the week needed pattern and purpose as does next week, and the week after that.

It is not that I have nothing to do, oh goodness me no, but how to structure it, where to start, and how to minimize negative procrastination (as opposed to positive procrastination, which I am all for).

Obviously I need to fit in the not-so-fun-but-necessary-stuff: food shopping, house cleaning, washing, cooking, correspondence. Then there is the stuff I need to do in the short term: preparing for our large number of belongings to arrive from St Helena, unpacking them and shoe-horning them into our house. It has all arrived at Tilbury docks and is with the lovely folks at HM Customs and Excise for them to do whatever it is they do for ten working days then we will be able to arrange delivery up here. 

Next there is the more long term project of finally stripping back, doing up and decorating our lovely but exceedingly beige house. And my complete joy at finally being able to get back in my beloved garden. 

Lastly, but by no means least, there is what I am calling Project WIWTBWIGU (What I want to be when I grow up). You see I am lucky enough not to have to rush out and get a job. If we are careful we can get by without. And employment begs the question: what on earth do I do with three Smalls in the holidays? Or if one is sick? Or at 3.15 every day? But a few more pennies would be nice, to I am trying to work out how to square that circle. 

This is where the positive procrastination comes in. I can't really make at the moment; my sewing machine is at Tilbury with most of my stash. But I can prepare... So I moved all of this stuff

out of my tiny study/sewing room, vacuumed, wiped, de-cobwebbed and dusted until it was all shiny and lovely then attempted to cram a lot of the stuff back in. I did remove three binbags full of rubbish and recycling.

It really is tiny, about 6 foot square. Shall we take a tour?

On the left is a set of drawers waiting to be filled, a boring but necessary filing cabinet and a tiny table that normally has the printer on it.

The little window alcove holds my sewing table.

To the right of the window are some shelves and the radiator which is tucked behind the door.

See - tiny.

Oh. and I love this vintage light fitting that our ever-patient electrician rewired for me.

I am going to use these old gift bags to hold patterns and paperwork.

This bunting was a leaving present from a lovely friend in St Helena. I am going to put it in the window once I have located, nails and a hammer.

Look! Aren't I a lucky girl? This is my beautiful view. So I can sit and sew, or sit and stare, whichever takes my fancy.

So I think my plan is: a chores day, a house day (sorting or decorating), a garden day, a Project WDIWTBWIGU day, and an other stuff day. Five days neatly filled. Today was a garden day and it was great!

So, what do you want to be when you grow up?


Friday, 5 September 2014

Piggie, Taggie and Mr Mosty wait for 3.15

So Piggie, Taggy and Mr Mosty are a bit at a loss as to what to do with themselves while Big Trouble is at school. I, on the other hand, am getting my hair cut, and planning to visit all the shops which are best visited without a Small in tow. Just for research purposes you understand...


Thursday, 4 September 2014

The last day of the holidays. Twice.

So we have been back in Englandshire for three weeks. Three weeks that have involved a lot of shopping, a lot of meeting up with friends and family, and a lot of the human equivalent of a dog turning in circles before lying down to sleep. We have been reclaiming our patch. I haven't spent much time in the garden (but I can assure you, much time is needed) but we have rearranged the furniture, taken three car loads of baby toys and other outgrown stuff to the thrift shop and I am slowly going through each cupboard and drawer to find more. I am painfully aware that A LOT OF STUFF is going to arrive from St Helena in a few weeks and I don't know where it is all going to go!

We have also be reacquainting ourselves with old haunts and checking out new ones. Our town has gone up in the world a little since we have been away, and it is nice to see new businesses and refurbished public spaces.

Slowly slowly normality is resuming. Tall Girl and Little Man started back at their old school on Wednesday. The staff gave them a lovely warm welcome and they are full of chat about all the fun things they have been doing. Big Trouble has a big day tomorrow. At 4 years and not quite 4 weeks he starts full time school! He is raring to go although I think his nerves will show a bit more tomorrow. He certainly looks very lovely in his school uniform.

So two first days at school means two last day of the holiday treats. Big Trouble is a simple soul and chose to spend this morning at the beach with me and Grandma.

A good time was had by all.

The bigger Smalls chose to go to Alnwick Garden on Tuesday - always a winner and we had a beautiful sunny day for it.

Even late in the season, with an autumnal nip in the air, the place was a blaze of colour. I love it!

And those autumn crocuses are not all they seem at first glance... Take another look with Big Trouble's hand in the picture:

They are massive!

One last thing, Jo over at Through the Keyhole is having a four year blogiversary give away. Pop over and see her for a chance to win lots of lovely crafty goodies, and tell her I said Hi.