Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Car Boot Sale

After much talk and very little action, the girls and I finally made it to our first car boot sale on Sunday. It was at the same location as the one that had only three stalls last month, but we thought we would see what was going on this time. We were the ONLY stall for about a hour! We actually thought of going home, but as the two volunteers from the Lifeboat charity were all set up with tickets for sellers and shoppers alike, it was hard to say no. Five pounds per car, the pick of the car park and we laid out our wares. (I forgot the camera, it would have been good to show you all.) The one big advantage of being the only stall is that EVERYONE has a look at it and we ended up making about £40.00!! The girls were amazing at selling and motivated by the fact that I said they could keep what they made from selling their own things.

In the end, we got rid of about one large box worth of unwanted items. Not bad. We might go back next month as there seems to be no end of stuff to get rid of.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Branching out

It is a glorious Saturday morning and I am at the office, alone. Skiving, you all think! But the truth is that this is often the quietest day of the week. I envisaged droves of would be tenants looking for homes at the weekends, but so far that has not been the pattern. I took someone to see a nice house this morning and at the end of my shift will take someone else to see another one. Meanwhile, I type, file, answer the phone (when it occasionally rings!) and wait until the end.
I would LOVE to be digging right now. But having said that, the job is interesting, although there is so much detail and minutea, that until I have a solid grasp of it all, I will be floundering.

Monday, 21 April 2008

'I've been to London, to visit the Queen'

We went to Windsor Castle on Sunday with the girls' grandmother. http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/default.asp?action=article&ID=34 Well worth the trip. The town itself is packed with interesting buildings of historic note...it even boasts the Nell Gywn Chinese Restaurant! (In Nell Gwyn's former home.) http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/England-History/Nell.htm Situated near the Thames River, and with the Long Walk and Great Park it has enough occupy anyone for a whole day or more.

Granny S has gone now, well for now at least. It looks as though we will have her and grandad back here in the autumn!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Business Class

The girls and their grandmother arrived back to cold windy England last night, having travelled business class as a result of a fortuitous upgrade. They loved it and now think that they will have trouble with the economy style of travel from now on!!

It was wonderful to have them all back here, excited from the holiday and full of news. This has trip makes me think they have grown up a little.

Friday, 18 April 2008

O hana mi....West Sussex Style

The longer evenings mean that now after a full day in the office, there is time to work in the garden. I got home last night to find John hard at work digging a spot for our cherry tree. After much effort and mind changing we decided to plant it in the back garden. The whole exercise has taken so long, there are buds about to flower, so in a few days time we can do our own little flower viewing ceremony! We can sit under the twig it is and hope that this time next year we will have a fuller sized tree.

Thursday, 17 April 2008


The dreaded atopi....excema in English... has struck. Years of living in Japan with so many sufferers always made me think how lucky we are that none of the family have it. Until now and I am the one who has it!! Of course there are no answers as to why or where it came from, but there are no rigid food regimes to follow and only a cream to use. Simple care will improve it and life goes on, only it is a bit more itchy than usual.

Monday, 14 April 2008


While the girls have been in Japan, John, Adam and I have had a good time as smaller unit of three. Adam studied for his GCSEs during the day and in the evening we all chilled together. One night Adam and I went to the local pool where I perfected my walrus imitation in the aqua-aerobics class while Adam dodged the tidal waves sent out by the ladies. It was fun and oddly he did not seem ashamed to be seen with me. A friend tells me this is because I am not his mother, sons get embarrassed about mothers, not step mothers...well not as much.

On Saturday I did my first solo viewings of a property, which remain unlet, and after work John and I headed for the south coast town of Rye. http://www.visitrye.co.uk/ Highly recommended. It was once the home of what seems like most of England's smugglers as well as the author Henry James. His former residence, Lamb House, is now a National Trust property. Lamb House was later the home of EF Benson who wrote, among other things, the Mapp and Lucia books. He used Rye as the setting for many of his stories, and having just finished one of the novels, oblivious to this fact until we got there, it made the place even more appealing.

We stayed at Durrant House (rhymes with currant) http://www.durranthouse.com/ a five star B&B which was lovely. Being on the coast, we went out for a sea food for dinner and had superb English mussels followed by grilled whole sea bass and plaice.

Ever since we moved to England, John has talked of driving through Kent, the Garden of England, and as promised, it is very beautiful. We walked along the cliff tops at Hastings Country Park on Sunday, where there were many happy dogs sniffing for rabbit holes and chasing balls. The sea was calm and blue. There is nothing I like more, water, fresh air and lots of space.

We took Adam back for his last term at Ardingly last night, after the ritual meal out on the way back to school. It was a big moment for him with exams looming and the end of his time there not far away, and a big one for John who remembers the little boy who waited outside with his suitcase packed for his parents to take him away, just days after joining.

A touch of empty nest syndrome last night. The girls have not called other than to say they arrived safely, so I phoned them today and it will be so good to have them home again on Friday. Although I do not want to detract anything from their valuable time in Japan.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Women of a certain age

The week after Easter we were visited by our good friend Francoise, from Belgium. Now that I am working full time, we had to leave her alone some of the time, but she sewed, read and did some of that mountain of ironing that never seems to get smaller!!
(John, rather cleverly, decided to take our queen sized bed to Whitley Bay that weekend, so that we could have 'girl time'. He rented a truck and between the two of us we got it all loaded up...HA! Only to discover 10 hours later that one rather significant bit of the bed was still in our garage!! )
The weather was horrible, but we managed to get to the garden centre to stock up on vegetable seeds for her garden. (She lives in a converted barn and has vegetables and an orchard).
On Sunday we went to a flea market to discover that maybe the English are not so stoic about their weather....there were only three stalls! We then went to Wakehurst place, part of Kew Gardens where the Millenium Seed Bank is housed. http://www.kew.org/msbp/index.htm The gardens and house there are wonderful, and we were blessed as the sun came out and allowed for a very pleasant walk.
In the evening on Sunday, the girls' grandmother arrived from Japan, so we had two grannies in the house. John returned and we had to ask Adam to stay away as we are now one bed short! Em slept on a mat on the floor.
Francoise left on Monday and the girls, with their grandmother fly to Tokyo on Friday.
A sad time for me, but vital for them that they see their dad and get back in touch with all their friends.