Thursday, 31 July 2008


The girls are getting ready for this big event, held once every four years, like the Olympics. They will be gone from Saturday to Saturday and parents, once we have said our goodbyes, are not allowed on site.
There are piles of clothes, naming pens, sleeping bags and mats all over the living room and as I will be at work on Saturday when they leave, it will be up to John to oversee the departure and the final flurries of forgotten items!!!
They are both very excited.
When they get home, they will both be very tired and probably very dirty!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Continental weekend

Ushio took the girls to Belgium on Saturday morning to catch up with old friends and, he said, to help them realise how close we are to Europe. He has hopes that they will want to learn more languages. I agree. Why not?

I spent the day working on a translation, slow work as I feel rusty. John had an unusually quiet day, which did him good.

It was hot and Adam was having trouble with his dreadlocks. Too bulky and not evenly spaced. I offered to 'trim' some off, under his supervision, and he gave the thumbs up. By the time we had finished it looked as if we had fleeced a sheep and he was a different man! Some regrets of course, but at least he can start again and control the growth this time.

David came down and we had a rather adult barbeque, just four of us.

Sunday morning up at dawn to drive to Dover. We caught the ferry to Calais and then went on to Le Touquet, recommended by my colleague, Gill. Great choice. It has a trendy feel to it, is on the beach ( miles of it) lovely buildings and lots to do.

We had a birthday lunch there for David, the men having Moules et frits and I had a baguette. I also had, later from the patisserie, a superb strawberry tart.... worth that wait.

On the way home we bought some wine and beer and were back in EG by about 8pm. We now plan two nights there with the children over the summer. Will keep you posted.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Colette and the girls

Last week was wonderful in that Colette and her daughters came to stay for two nights. John, the dear (and WISE) man had drinks with friends in London one night and generally kept out of our way for the duration. Three years of face-to-face catching up to do while trying to fit as much into the two days as we could and quite a lot of Japanese made things noisy and busy....The girls simply picked up where they left off, with one big difference. They are all a lot more independent. Hannah cooked them pancakes for breakfast one morning and they all sat on the patio to eat. Not a mother in sight!

We caught up with Amy in Utsy on Skype and saw her cats Pumpkin and Radish in person, (well on the screen).

We shopped for chocolate, cider and other essentials. We also went to the rocks (see above) and that was so popular it was on the list for day two as well. On Thursday we went to the farmer's market (bit quiet) and Wickendens for a treat. The girls took some Japanese sweets in for the owner and he kindly gave out a few samples in return!
Then we headed off to Haskins to eat lunch and buy seeds. Colette is probably single handedly supplying all the growers of rhubarb in a certain archipelago with seeds.......A photo of the splendid gunnera (グンネラ) outside the shop (see above as well) has inspired her husband Masahiro to grow them in Japan too! After Haskins and pleas for 'the rocks' we left the girls at home and slipped off to Standen in all its summer glory. By tea time, colouring in and the imminent arrival of the girls' dad (my girls) from Japan got minds off rocks and onto other things.

Hannah Em and I picked Ushio up from EG station and took him to his B&B where he is almost a regular. Back home for some chilling, some girl talk and that wonderful feeling you get with friends.
Just wish they didn't live so far away.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Boot sale , the car was sold!

All five of us went to a car boot sale on Sunday and John sold the car!! The woman comes tonight for the test drive and she has paid a deposit. All part of the downsizing plan!!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Greased Lightning!

Em played the role of Headmistress in the school production of Grease last night and was (objectivity personified here), BRILLIANT. The whole production was fun and it was clear the kids got a lot out of it. John Hannah and I were very proud.
With only days before the end of term we seem to hurtling towards a flurry of events that I am not ready for!!
The girls are off to Belgium with their Dad next weekend. Colette (dear friend) is in London from Yugawara and I am counting the days til we can catch up and I can show her around this part of England.
WS2008, the guide camp held every four years, starts days after the girls get back and there is a list a mile long of things to prepare....including copious amounts of chocolate cake for guide leaders. One would think they might need something stiffer!
We are then going to attempt to go away for 3 days with all five of us. Problem is to where and if we chose a location will there be any accommodation left? Tough one.
Back at work for 2 days then off again for 10 days to Warkworth, where we have booked a holiday cottage and then a few days in Whitley Bay.
That practically takes care of summer. So much to look forward to, but it feels like it will be over in a flash. Time goes too fast.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

good things in small packages?

On Saturday afternoon, Em, John and I went to the local Smallholders Show. It was tiny in comparison to the South of England Show, but small is good as we discovered. It was very hard not to ooh and aaah over the piglets, chicks, ducklings and other fluffy and furry beasts. Em loved the bees, a hive was on display (behind glass), open, with all the workers actively feeding the larvae. The queen was marked clearly with a red dot on her thorax so that we could all see her.

The harderst part was NOT bringing home a chicken or two. John reckons he could rustle up a hen pen with a few planks of wood, but even so, with Bosley and two cats on either side of us, three across the road, not to mention those we do not know who prowl around at night, the hens would be too stressed to lay.

We consoled ourselves with bringing home pork and stilton sausages, some chocolate covered honey comb and some achillea for the garden.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Musical generation

Hannah took her grade 2 flute exam on Thursday in the very pretty town of Horsham. It meant a nervous trip for her, and one for me as it was a first to drive there. Hannah and Em are brilliant navigators, having a mother like me they are calm, prepared and resourceful!
As time wore on, Hannah became rather shaky, but seemed cheerful when it was over.
We heard at the weekend that she passed with 80%.....
Em is great on the recorder and Adam plays bass guitar and writes music.
My mother once told me musical talent always skips a generation!!! Not true. John can sing!