Tag Archives: sunshine

Summer is the Bees Knees!

Summer is the Bees Knees!

Well, when it’s summery it’s the bees knees anyway!  Yes I know it has been tipping it down this last week and it’s not felt like summer at all, but prior to that it was gorgeous, you have to admit it.

Cloud busting!

Today we spent almost all day in our living room, with rain splattered windows and the wind racing around our battered back garden.  It was ok though, the kids played Rabbid Rabbits or some other such daft named game, on the Wii and jumped about like crazy things for ages, so that kept them occupied.  I had a headache mostly, still have in fact.  You know the sort that makes you feel like your brain is in an invisible vice. Nice. Every yell of ‘Jump on the rabbit!!!’ made my eyes water, I swear.  (I probably did swear inwardly too).  But they’ve been happy enough and that’s what counts.

Now the day is over I’d like to revisit a lovely day we had last weekend, when the sun shone down like a golden god, and the wild flowers bounced in the light breeze.  A much calmer day than the one we’ve just had!  Horace’s parents and our rabble went to Nostell Priory which is a huge old country house (we didn’t go inside) which boasts a gorgeous fish filled, water-birds aplenty lake, meadows and a strange old gateway thing called the Obelisk which was the grand entrance way for visitors in days of yore.

There’s loads to do there, but we only had limited time so we went for a walk among the lush green meadows and soaked up some of the summer rays.  The kids boinged along grabbing dandylions and long grass, usually whipping us with them too.  That was fun at first, but when they started swiping us in the face with the soily ends they’d dragged up from the ground with the grass, I did get a bit mumsy and had to ask them to stop. I know, I know, I’m a spoilsport!

Chocolate ice-creams make great face cream so I’ve heard. Sausage is covered in the stuff if you look carefully.  Horace in soft focus, he should do shampoo adverts I think.

We saw whole flotillas of baby birds and their mums, most of them looking hopefully at us, I think they expected bread.  We saw cygnets, ducklings and even about 5 or so tiny moorhen chicks.  There was a massive carp too, swimming around like a submarine in the middle of the lake.

This was a very beautiful, very bossy swan. It definitely wanted feeding, and we were witness to inter-species brawling. The ducks lost I think.

Grandma Sweara and I spotted Golden Rattle flowers, Speedwell, Plantain, Dandylions (of course!), and other wild flowers I can’t remember the name of, and we discussed the complexity of grasses and how impossible they are to identify.  Or maybe that’s just me being dense.  We saw at least 5 or 6 ladybirds too, lazily clambering around on leaves searching for greenfly dinners.

The sky was a fantastic bright blue, my cardie was too warm, the kids sulked a little because they were hungry, but all in all it was a gorgeous summer’s day walk.  One of those postcard days that I’ll have to mentally mail to myself when the days get all wet and windy like they did today.

And finally a photo that makes me laugh.  I look like an absolute troll, and considered not including this for that very reason, but wasn’t there some king or other that said he wanted his picture painting with ‘warts an all?’  I admire his spirit, so here I am, double chin an’ all. Horace just makes me laugh in this, it’s a kind of ‘This is all just too much to cope with!’ pose.  Darlek shows off her fangs too here, she’s lost almost all her front teeth and is trying desperately to grow them back so she can learn to whistle properly.  Sausage is being his usual cheeky self – I reckon we look like the Royle family or something.  (That’s definitely ‘Royle’ family, not Royal’ Family…..)

Honestly, I look amazing when I wear make-up. *clutches at straws*

Oh and a little indulgence.  I drew a bee this weekend, I was rather proud of it, even though it has seven legs.  I can count, I just got mixed up.

Its wing is a bit broken too, if it was real it would fly in circles a lot.


A Fortnight in France – Part 3

A Fortnight in France – Part 3

If you’d like to read Part 2 you can find it HERE and if you want to go even further back (you glutton for punishment you!) Part 1 is HERE

In this Part, I write about our children’s divine table manners and etiquette and extol the virtues of gravel as a plaything.

Stinky Stuff

Darlek loves it here, I heard her saying the other day – ‘Can we stay here for ever and ever and ever’  I have to agree.  It’s beautiful.  We’re in three separate ‘Gits’ each with their own facilities, all the amenties we could need are in each property, although I think one of us is lacking a washing machine.  I can’t remember who in the party that is, but I suspect my nose may tell me towards the end of next week.  (not really, nobody stinks, honest!) ….actually having said that Darlek seems to have terrible wind!  Anyone would think we’d been feeding her dead rats for the month prior to the holiday.  It is funny when she does her ‘Farticus’ impression as it has been christened, but it stinks to high heaven!  Thank heavens for light breezes and that we’re mostly outside.

Son is still burping like a bullfrog at every meal.  I suspect our family is now notorious for blowing off in one way or another now.

The park directly in front of our ‘Git’. The kids played outside most of the time which was probably a blessing considering….

Tantrums and Rocket Lollies

Darlek had a minor meltdown over a ice-cream yesterday which was a bit traumatic. There was only one left and as Sausage is younger and often misses out on things because of this, he was given the ice-cream.  Poor Darlek thought that this was unfair and sobbed in a heap in a chair indoors for what must have been an hour.  No amount of cajoling could persuade her to rejoin the rest of the party and I sat there feeling like an absolute cow.  But really, have you ever tried splitting a rocket shaped ice-lolly in two?  Not gonna happen.  She got over it eventualy, but I suspect the emotional scarring may be permanent.


Gangdad has been reading Matilda by Roal Dahl to her every evening.  She is spellbound!  Gangdad does all the different voices and really gets into the spirit of the book.  I suspect the voices get more muddled as more red wine is consumed towards the end of the evening where most of the reading is done.  I’m not allowed to read the book now as it’s Gangdad’s special book and he wants to know what happens.  I read a chapter the other day and he re-read it to Darlek as he wanted to keep tabs on the plot.  I know my place!

Saucy and Saucisson

Sausage has been rechristened Saucisson, which is French for Sausage we have  been told.  Speaking of funny names, Horace came back from a trip out with two huge cones of cardboard, sealed at the end with ‘Surprise!’ written across them.  I think they were the french equivalent of lucky dip bags.  Inside were random little tatty gifts for kids, one for a girl and one for a boy.  I think the real surprise was the pretend silver tiara, necklace and earrings that held the brand name ‘Saucy’.  We all decided that this little gift set was probably made in Hong Kong where no-one could speak english, so consequently they’d asked some random translation package on the internet for a translation of the chinese word for ‘Cheeky’ and had ended up with ‘Saucy’ as a suggestion.  With all the erm…’dodgy’ associations with the word, it was generally agreed that the goods had probably been politely refused in the UK and had been shipped over to none-english speaking countries where they could be sold without raised eyebrows.

Darlek thought they were a bit young for her I think and refused to wear them, not ungraciously though.  Grandma Sweara sat beautifully bedecked in plastic jewellery for a while instead until she got bored of them and Saucisson adopted the necklace for a while.  Parading them up and down over his ‘Monster’s’ T’shirt.  Darlek has suddenly become very grown up, and a lot more self aware than she was.  She now refuses to have her hair in pigtails because she says they laugh at girls at school who wear them.  It won’t be long until she starts with a passion for Prada and posh hair straighteners.  I know it’s a cliche to say they grow up so quickly but they really do.  I looked at her the other day and noticed how long her legs have become, and how tall and lithe she is.  I’m not saying she wasn’t beautiful before, but it was a slightly chubby little girl beauty before, with the slightly dimpled elbows and filled out face.  These days she seems built like a racing grayhound as my dad would say, and I can see her running ahead towards her girlhood and away from her babyhood.  Ah, my gorgeous girl!  The most gorgeous girl in the world if you ask me, but then I’m biased.

A quiet interlude on our balcony.

Me stood on the balcony eating toast and looking spaced out.

The gits we are staying in are really like home from homes, complete with sitting rooms with leatherette chairs, well- equipped kitchens, bedrooms with little bunches of lavender tied with ribbons on bedside tables, handy bedside lamps; quirky little paintings on the walls.  The little touches such as the hairdrier in every house is much appreciated too.  I forgot mine, along with Sausage’s specially bought swim pants, the toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner and the bottom half of my new bikini.  Thankfully I also bought an all in one costume too so I shall not have to go swimming whilst completely indecent.

I suspect the favourite facility is the outside swimming pool.  there are two, one in the grounds of the house and one raised up further up the hill.  Both are beautifully maintained (no chips or cracks in the masonry, loungers that all work and look new), and are heated by the sun throughout the day.  Around the pool there’s baby doll pink, red and white roses so it is framed very picturesquely.  It may not be an infinity pool, but it’ll do nicely for us.    They’ve even provided a baby floation belt and two floatation tubes so the kids have something to play with in the pool if visitors have forgotten to bring inflatables (which we did!).  The best thing about the swimming pool is that it is completely fenced off with a reasonably tall wooden picket fence, gated with a chidproof lock to ensure there’s no unattended children in there. My daughter in true precocious style has mastered the lock but thankfully has the common sense (usually) not to go in there by herself.  She did once and was right royally told off, she’s not done it since!  Anyway she can swim quite well now. Saucisson cannot swim and is less precocious so cannot get in there, which is a great relief.  I can’t imagine anything worse than having an acessible swimming pool in the grounds of a holiday home.

Slowly burning to a frazzle but not minding at all.

Who Needs Toys When You’ve Got Gravel?

The younger kids seem fascinated with gravel and stones.  The trip to the river resulted in a medium sized basket of stones of varying sizes, the most prized being the lovely amber rose coloured quartz which seems endemic to this area.  The plaza in St John is cobbled with the stuff.  The other stones which have proved as substitute toys are the gravel that covers the pathways from the houses to the roadway.  Endless hours have been spent with the kids shovelling stones from the pathway onto the seated area, and then back again ad infinitum.  Sausage has been taught to use the smaller brush to brush the stuff back on to the path in a vain attempt to stop the path invading underneath our outside dining table.  Unsucessfully of course.  Someone has organised a bowl of water with stones in for the kids to play with, because of course they always look prettier under water and kids love wet stuff.  I’ve just heard the parent of the youngest child shout ‘Stop chewing rocks!’ at her, something you just don’t expect to hear shouted whilst in the midst of a civilised sitting-in-the-garden-drinking-vodka-and-tonics afternoon.

I can’t remember what Sausage was saying at this point, but It was probably something along the lines of ‘The gravel is all mine, all MINE! Mwahhahahaha *evil laugh*’

This reminded me of when Darlek was a ‘littly.’  I was once memorably heard to yell ‘Stop waving that penguin in such a threatening manner!!!’  Another usually unheard of phrase.  Daughter was in the posession of a wooden penguin on a stick and was waving it like she was going to bray someone with it.

The Day France was Closed.

We had a disasterous trip out for the second generation, ie, the older kids, leaving their brethren behind for the first generation to look after them.  The plan was to find the local caves, and then find somewhere for lunch.  As it was we decided to visit a chateau on the way, which was like a huge dramatic building on the outside, complete with gargoyles and towers, inside it looked like it had very little furnishings left apart from some elaborate tapestries and inexplicable, expensive looking paintings of rhinos. And no, I’m not making that up.

Stunning on the outside, loads of paintings of rhinos on the inside. Armadillo’s! (sorry, not sure where that came from, I’m not mentally scarred from advertising or anything….)

We then went on to the caves where they had some ancient cave drawings on display – which was closed.  So we decided to go and get some lunch and stopped off at a roadside garage / cafe – which was closed too.  After a couple of soft drinks we headed off to a larger town to find food – every single solitary place that sold food  was closed.  We laughed it off and starved quietly.

This is so completely alien to me!  I didn’t realise, but France is known for ‘closing’ mid-day for a sort of siesta, and you have to time things around their routine.  In Britain you can find a butty at Greggs almost any time of the day!  The starving bit wasn’t so much fun, so we went to another restaurant – which was, guess what, closed.  In absolute desperation we went to a shop to buy a packet of crisps to share  – it was closed!  I have vivid memories of Annabel in the back of the car saying ‘I’ve got some chewing gum, there’s only one piece, but does anyone want it?’ and I think at that point we thought enough was enough.  About ready to chew our own arms off we all sheepishly returned to the git and devoured bread and cheese and then called it a day.  The day of freedom didn’t quite work out, although I still enjoyed it because we were child free for once.  We could have driven round aimlessly in circles for 2 hours and I’d have been fine about it – wait on…..we did.

I ate more way, way too much French bread and pate. Note the hamster cheeks.


Sausage’s potty training has gone to pot, I’m not sure if it is because of the casual french used here and there.  We all say ‘Oui!’ (wee!) at regular intervals and he seems happy to oblige.  I am so sick of wet pants.  It has been suggested that we send him to Africa because they are short of water there.  He apparently has the abilty to wee more than he actually drinks, a valuable resource over there maybe.

To be continued……are you bored yet?……or are you booking a flight to France this very second.  I know what I wish I was doing……. *sighs*

If you’d like to read Part 4 – please click HERE!

Grey Skies, Blue Skies

Grey Skies, Blue Skies

and a sub blog about losing the TV remote.

Blue skies ahead! Roll on spring!

I think that when the sky is grey, and the birds huddle in the trees it makes me feel cold, inside and outside.  The weather has been pretty crap recently and the slump after Christmas has probably hit me harder than it should have done.  But I’m still here, and the sun shone today.  So I’m tentatively typing again.  A couple of days ago I made up a very short little pseudo poem thing to describe how I feel at the moment.

It goes…. ‘I’m a blogger who isn’t blogging and a writer who isn’t writing, maybe I should take up exercise and not go jogging.

The days have felt full of frustrations and they do say that if you haven’t got anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.  So I haven’t.  Hence radio silence (well so-to-speak, I’m not that much of a techno-idiot that I actually think I’ve been on the radio as opposed to a blog for the last year or so)

I have plenty to catch up with, still stuff from before Christmas if I’m being honest.  But, this is a little blog making little steps towards getting back into the swing of things.  I think I get stage fright sometimes, and think whatever I write is not good enough so I scare myself away from the keyboard.  Daft really.  Introversion aside, here we go!  A sub blog.  Nowt to do with submarines.

The Remote to Rule Them All! A dialogue about losing the TV remote.

Horace (jokingly grand turn of phrase): Where’s the remote to rule the other remotes gone? 

*This remote controls the entire Hi-Fi system and other random games consoles*

Me: ‘Is it like a Lord of the Rings remote then?  Has the search for the remote finally possessed you?’

*Kay giggles in an irritating manner whilst Horace looks annoyed and turns over cushions*

Horace (muttering): ‘At least the Lord of the Rings ring disappeared for a reason and wanted to be found, this fecking thing just fecks off for the hell of it’

Sometimes little snatches of conversation really tickle me.  This one did.  I thought I’d share it, in all it’s inane brilliance.  The next blog is a review.   I’m still clearing the decks.  I want the fun back in my blog and I want more blue skies than grey.  Soon!




Garden Days – and so it begins!

Garden Days – and so it begins!

This is our new ‘garden’ – otherwise known as the overgrown patch that makes me feel a bit wobbly if I think about it too much.  So much to be done!  There are a number of trees that have gone absolutely wild, quite literally.  They need cutting back or taking out completely so that we can get a little sunlight in there.  Horace says he’s probably going to need a chainsaw.  I say, I daren’t watch him with one of those things, they scare me witless!  He needs his fingers to pull weeds out, I’m terrified he’ll chop them off or something.

Trees need to be trimmed!

Chippings everywhere! I think there's half a quarry been scattered on here!

There is a heck of a lot to be sorted, and it’s hard to know where to start.   I need to draw up some kind of plan with paper and pencil, but that is a rainy day job, today the sun shone!  Instead I got my big boots on, got the wheelbarrow, the spade and the fork and dug for England! I’ve started on the raised beds, and have emptied one of them of weeds today, so that’s a start at least.  I found this little fellow hopping around, so I know there’s wildlife lurking in the garden already, which I think is fabulous.  I’m hoping to encourage all sorts of beasties into our garden.

Mr Frog! I didn't kiss him, he's not my type.

There’s a load of rubbish to be cleared too, which looks ever so attractive.  I shall be calling myself ‘Mrs Stig of the Dump’ from this day forth!  (picture the flies buzzing happily around my head).  I cannot wait to get hold of a skip and get rid of this lot.  Skanky horrid stuff.  Some of it must be useful, but it’s tempting to just get rid of it as soon as possible, it looks so ugly sat there.

Nice eh!

We have collapsed sheds too!   I wish we lived in India so we could hire an elephant to shift this stuff.  (random thought for the day).

Jenga sheds.

Still, despite all the work, there’s some hope!  The Blackberry bushes are blooming, so we’ll at least have them to pick, and there’s a few raspberries in one of the abandoned raised beds – they’ll go nicely with some ice-cream for the kids some time.   Speaking of which, the kids love their new domain!   It makes me feel so unbelievably happy to see them dragging sticks around, digging in compost heaps for worms, piling branches up for dens and running rings around trees and each other.  My happiest childhood memories are of playing outside.  In particular I remember dragging an old decrepit mattress half way up a tree, and thinking it was the best tree house in the world.  I want these sort of memories for my two, if I can instil a love for the great outdoors in them, then I’ll have done something right I feel.

Blooming Blackberries! Just add ice-cream in August.

This is not a pile of sticks, this is a 'Den!'

Today I was out there on my own, the kids were in school and nursery so I got quite a bit cleared from one very small patch.  Although it was easier to get things done, I did miss the kids’ giggling and them running around with woodlice etc. Plenty of time for that though!  It was wonderful to be outdoors, the sun shone, my shoulders burnt, the leaves cast speckled shadows, and for a couple of hours all I focused on was lugging bits of greenery about.  Heaven!  Which brings me nicely to my very last photograph, a Forget-Me-Not blue sky.  The heavens and the clouds were particularly beautiful today.

Looking up!