Archive for March, 2008


Thursday, March 27th, 2008

A great birthday: presents first thing*; Daddy got home around 11**; Aunty Suzi, Mia and Callum** came for lunch. Then this afternoon was The Party: about 8 4-year-olds** and several younger siblings – musical bumps, pass-the-parcel, egg-and-spoon racing, cake, and plenty of time to play, dress up and jump on all the beds. The Aunty Sara and Uncle Ian** came for tea before Mummy fell in a heap, Daddy collapsed with jetlag and Maggie refused to go to sleep (“I’m not tired“). A huge success with plenty more photos to be found on flickr.

*loads of them and what a star she is, wanting to ring everybody up and thank them immediately.

**with more presents, naturally.


Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

It’s not that I’ve not been thinking about posting, nor that I haven’t had time: life has just been failing to provide anything much to say. Cameron went to Houston last Monday; Katy (and Megan and Evan) came up for a day, which was nice; she went home, it was Good Friday so we stayed in the house and didn’t see a soul. Cleaned a bit. Saturday, mum and dad arrived but it was really too cold for any of our planned activities. We were busy-ish and it was very pleasant, but not very exciting. They left on Tuesday, I’ve cleaned a bit more, we still haven’t seen any body. Have spent the entire day today waiting in for a parcel that will apparently be here before 5.30 (how hard would it be to ring with at least a morning or afternoon estimate). 5.10 now and counting. It has to arrive else tomorrow’s party bags will be quite empty. I got so bored I used an attachment to hoover behind a radiator. We made the all-important cake.

Cameron is due home tomorrow and really does have to make it: being stuck at Gatwick will not do. Fingers crossed.


Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

What are we kitchen goddess types to do when faced with the last day of preschool before the holidays and an elder daughter, whose very name means blossom, with a birthday mid-holiday? Why, blossom biscuits of course!

They looked rather better before the icing was applied, as you could see the authentic cherry-blossom shape. (But she is nearly 4 and minimalism just will not do: they had to be Pink. Though she took some persuading that they shouldn’t be pale pink with dark-pink middles; her expectations exceed my abilities.) The boys at preschool may refuse*, so we made a few white ones too. And they would have been somewhat improved had I not all but run out of plain flour, meaning we had to make them with wholewheat with the bits sieved out (I’ll get a reputation as a nutrition nazi down the nursery). But I think they are cute and seasonal, so there.

*Paddy likes pink, apparently. The other, less-assured boys are more batman and ninja turtles.

Getting going

Friday, March 7th, 2008

A lovely sunny-if-windy day; Maggie at preschool; Tamsin miraculously asleep in the car on the way home from Rhythm Time. Too good to miss: I zipped home for seeds, tools, gardening clothes and to neck a quick coffee then up to the allotment. Sowed a 1.5-m row of parsnips – my books say to do it on a still day as they dislike wind (light seeds, might blow away) but the people who write these books do not live in the real world – and little gem lettuces evenly spaced in between, as much to provide some distraction for the slugs as in any hope of producing edible lettuces.
The obligatory 20-minute coffee break in the conservatory – the social side is important too – then I moved a piece of carpet and forked over the area it had been covering, pulling out as many weed roots as I could. I then dug up all but the remaining two Jerusalem artichoke plants on the old patch (noting they are starting to re-grow so it is definitely time), offloaded a bucket load onto the old boys and re-planted some on my forked patch.
My purple-sprouting is still neither purple nor sprouting but a fine leafy green. The gooseberry bush has leaves coming so it wasn’t killed by the move (hooray). Rhubarb leaves are showing all crinkled and pink, and the garlic is looking ok.

It was good for the soul to get out today.


Monday, March 3rd, 2008

I was thrilled to read an article in the health section of yesterday’s Observer all about OAS, oral allergy syndrome. For 15-odd years I have been careful about which fruits and nuts I eat raw but been quite dismissive of my weirdness as I’ve never heard of anyone else having the same sort of reaction and being loathe to claim it as an allergy as it doesn’t actually make me fall down blue or anything. Now, when health professionals ask, I’ll be able to answer properly without shuffling my feet and saying erm well I’m a bit weird with fruit.

Trouble with the Observer of course, they asked these new agey “alternative” people about it (though to be fair a couple of sensible people give their ideas too). The alternative woman claims that “in a trial, an OAS patient treated with vitamin c was symptom-free within a month” (my italics). I am absolutely not deficient in vitamin c, citrus fruits being some of the few I can eat uncooked: and if this was all it was down to, surely my symptoms would fluctuate? Which, apart from disappearing when pregnant, they don’t. The private specialist gives me some hope though, as he claims it can be treated by desentitisation immunotherapy, which will become available in the UK in the next few years. The NHS chap just says to avoid raw fruit, which is what I have done for years. It would be lovely not to have to, though!

And now I have a name, I can google it…


Saturday, March 1st, 2008

He came back!

I came down to make a cuppa first thing and just wandered out the back for a look while waiting for the kettle to boil (really expecting something to have made off with the dead dove in the night) – and there he was again, having seconds! Or thirds, or fourths, as the carcass had moved a couple of times through the course of yesterday afternoon – I’d wondered whether he’d been back or if something else had been moving it. Fantastic – it meant that everybody got to see it as Cameron came straight down, Tamsin pointed at it and said “duck!”* and it was still there by the time Maggie woke up, too. We think he’s quite young as he seems to have pale downy feathers on his back. But what do we know about sparrowhawks; maybe they all have them?

*A nice all-purpose word that covers all birds and animals. Not entirely sure if it is actually duck; it could be quack, cat, or that. But I first noticed her doing it to a duck.

 Edited to add that he came back again and finally, around 4 in the afternoon, picked up what was left of the dove and flew off with it in his claws! I do hope he comes back to visit us again (even if that does mean sacrificing a few of our garden birds).