Saturday, 27 May 2017

In Loco Parentis

Meet our stowaway on this trip to France. Lou's friend Bossy Beth has joined us.  I will just scupper any ideas that you might have that romance is involved.  Both of them threaten death if it's even suggested.  These guys have been mates since they met at Beaver Cubs at the age of six.  Beth calls Lou her 'brother from another mother'.  They now are classmates. The mother-son travel combo had been thwarted. It's lovely to have somebody girlie to gang up with me!

Friday, 26 May 2017

A Pile of Books

Half term starts at 3:30 today but, aside from catching up on a few notes, I'm already off work.  We're setting out on our travels this evening.   Now who's we?  Well there's me,  Louis and Klaus the Knaus, my trusty motorhome of course. And this time another person is coming with us.  You'll find out more tomorrow .  So where are we heading?  Well,  if you saunter back and look at my posts from this time of year since 2013 it won't be a surprise where we're going.  'If it ain't broke, don't fix it!' is my Whitsun getaway mantra.

I'm going to use the time away in three ways.  I'm really looking forward to working on working on getting new business more intensively than I ever can in a working week,  This doesn't feel onerous. It's exciting and fascinating.  Of course I want to spend time with Lou and our mystery guest.  And there will be some relaxing and taking care of myself.  Lots of swimming walking, cycling, meditation.  I'm hoping to treat the holiday, in part, like a personal retreat.

Here's my book pile, some already half read so there's a good chance I'll get through the lot.   It's an interesting one as my reading material has come from all sorts of sources and is with me for all sorts of reasons.  We have:

The Girl Before: Red Mel hurried through this so that she could give it to me to read.  She says it's gives food for thought on how someone's environment affects their psyche. Interesting!

A Christmas Carol:  Why this highly unseasonable reading?  Well Lou's studying it for his GCSE English and his teacher suggested that I might like to read along so that I can participate in his learning.

A New Earth: I can't go away without reading from one of my online guru's in tow could I?

Driving Over Lemons: Here was a lovely surprise from the other morning.  M, my friend in the Midlands sent me some holiday reading about Andalusia, another of my favourite getaway destinations.  What a great surprise!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: And my library book comes highly recommended by another Devonian blogger, Gina Caro.  I've been carrying it about in my handbag and reading snippets on my travels.  Will tidying change my life?  I'll have to find out and start in Klaus the Knaus, my small-space second home.

Happy half term everyone!  

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Ponderings on Coldplay

Because of Louis I'm revisiting the songs of Coldplay.  Sometimes when it comes to his musical taste I'm reminded of the reaction of my Dad in my own teenage years.  'Turn  that bloody row down!!!!' I want to bawl out.  But with Chris Martin and the boys it's different.  We are on common ground. Thoughtful words sung by a beautiful voice.

So 'Hymn for the Weekend'  is now a special favourite when I'm driving - especially on the way home.  It's incredibly joyous.   I have a little dance in the car.  Lord knows what the other commuters think but I'm not into caring about that anymore.  And I went out running accompanied by a batch of Coldplay singles the other morning.  I  was particularly touched by the  lyrics  from 'Fix You' .   Those about the   dissatisfaction felt by 'getting what you want and not what you need' hit home.  Our desires are not always what are best for us.  And what about these lines?

'If you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth'.

These words provoked a little pondering and some internal rhetoric.

'When you love someone and it goes to waste
Could it be worse?'

'Yes it could be way worse'  I told Chris. 'For love never goes to waste.'  On that note I'll get on with my day.  Have a wonderful one good people! xx


Wednesday, 24 May 2017


A cheeky visitor has been popping into my house.  Either he nips through the front door as I'm entering or has been making an appearance through my previously redundant cat flap.  He is incredibly affectionate and always up for a dish of milk.  Louis is delighted. He's a sucker for anything cute and cuddly;

He's been around more often lately and I've pondered about where he comes from.  Could he be a friendly stray who's adopted us?   Now I know I've said that I'll never have pets but what if we are chosen?  I thought about investing in a cat collar from Poundland and popping a note on it to find out if anyone owned him.  Then Barbie Nurse cautioned me against that.  She said that kitties can suffocate by getting caught on branches wearing them.

At the weekend Red Mel even gave him a name  He's called  Corbyn  because he's not a fat cat!  I decided to make a few enquiries before investing in a few pouches of Felix and a pet plan.   My detective work didn't take long.  He belongs to my next door neighbour and is a bit on the scrawny side  because he's reached the ripe old age of 17 years old.   Maybe he comes around to my house for a bit of peace and quiet.  There's a toddler in his own home that is definitely going through the tantrum stage.   And his real name?  It's Scooby.  I think though I prefer his new one!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Titty Squishing

I give thanks at the end of the day for the good things. Yesterday's list included:

  • The very beautiful smile and the sneaky kiss that Lou gave me when I dropped him off to catch the school bus yesterday.  Teenagers rarely go for public displays of affection.
  • That I have the things in my life that I need, clothes to wear, enough food, clean water, a reliable car to get me to work.  Better to focus on them that the things that are missing.
  • The swallows that flew low overhead whilst  I was seeing one of the people on my caseload in her lovely garden.
  • My Twitter following for my business website is increasing in leaps and bounds.  It's become a bit addictive.  Little things pleasing little minds and all that.
  • That I could do my favourite drive.  The ferry from Kingswear and then the glorious views from the coast road between Dartmouth and Kingsbridge.
  • The wonderful weather.  Maybe my boots have finally been banished permanently to the wardrobe until the autumn.
  • The leftovers in the fridge that meant that I didn't have to cook when I got home
  • One about Lou again:  We went out collecting elderflowers to make cordial on Sunday.  We bottled our produce yesterday.  Unprompted, my son popped out of the house and gave away two bottles - to be neighbourly. 
Following on from a recent cervical smear  I also had my biennial titty squashing session  in the car park of the local DFS.  For that's the glamorous location where  the local breast screening van is sited. Luckily I only have two 'boys' to my name, unlike this lady  here who'd give the staff  there  a run for their money!  The radiographer confirmed that breasts were male entities.  'They give us so much trouble you see!'  she said in justification.   Remembering my recent bra buying shenanigans I concurred.  But yesterday I expressed special gratefulness too for those preventative procedures that I'm entitled to free of charge on the NHS.  In spite of its troubles,  our wonderful health service is still rather special.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Crafting in My Kitchen

As I promised I've managed to rustle up a crafting post today. I was so inspired by an article on the Royal Academy of Arts website that I decided to it try out with my friends.  'Buy pizza!'  I told Red Mel and Spiky Kay '  But make sure that it's on a polystyrene base'. We used packaging that would normally have gone to landfill to create a printing block.  So much cheaper than my usual lino and you don't need any special tools to make the marks.  We just used what we found in my kitchen. Here's Spiky Kay inking up her design.  She'll kill me for posting a picture of her with her tongue out in concentration but I thought that it was rather sweet!

Red Mel  is using the brilliant Slamma that my sister in law distributes in the United Kingdom.  It's much more space saving than a printing press and way more effortless than using the back of a spoon to make relief prints.  Right,  I think that it's time to put you out of suspense and reveal the results of our creative endeavours.

Here's Spiky Kay's collection of fossils and shells.  She's got a bit of a thing about ammonites.

Red Mel decided on a  very hippy dippy butterfly.

And this is mine.   The ink doesn't roll smoothly over the polystyrene and block is squishier.  These two variables mean my design changed with each imprint.  You don't achieve the same consistency as you do with lino.   At first I was disappointed.  But then my fuzzy octopus grew on me. He has an ethereal quality, as if he's being viewed from under the water.   My boys came round this afternoon and agreed.  They've bagsied a print for their wall.   That's one of the things I love about printmaking. It's a craft that lends itself to being very easily shared and gifted.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Harira for a Houseful

Red  Mel and Spiky Kay, my chums from the 'Year 2000 Class of St Loye's School of Occupational Therapy'  are with me this weekend.  Our old college upped sticks and merged with Plymouth University years ago and the buildings were knocked down to make room for a swanky retirement village.  But our friendship has survived the test of time.  We lunched on the harbour, perused the shops and came home to crafting.  I'll show you what we've made tomorrow.   Supper was three home cooked courses.  The starter was tiropites, tasty cheesy parcels.  I've shared the recipe before.  Louis made a pink iced victoria sponge for dessert.  The kitchen still hasn't quite recovered.  Adolescent cooking is messy!  The main course was harira, a stew that is eaten by Muslims to break their fasting during Ramadam.  It'd be worth waiting for all day as it's delish.  Here's my version of the recipe.

Soak 200g chickpeas overnight and then boil them whilst writing a blog post.  Wait until you can smell burning because they've boiled dry.  Sh*t!!!!!!!  Rescue them just in time!

Fry 450g cubed lamb  in a bit of oil until it colours.  Soften a chopped onion in the pan as well to save on washing up.

Pop the lamb, chickpeas and onion in a slow cooker along with a tin of chopped tomatoes, a chopped red pepper, 2oz Basmati rice, 2oz red lentils, a teaspoon of ginger and salt and pepper.  Top with water and cook on high all day.  That's it.  The recipe called for saffron but I didn't bother with that.  It's expensive and I think that it makes food taste like TCP.

I should have added a bit of chopped parsley and squeezed a lemon over it at the end of cooking time. It would have made it more photogenic.  But I forgot.  It was lovely anyway!