Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Babes in the wood

After toiling at his desk for hours, Big J agreed to go on a walk with me in the afternoon yesterday, the Bank Holiday. The plan was to use one of his new books and follow a trail from that. So, we headed to
The Cat Inn in West Hoathly with the goal of walking through the grounds of Gravetye Manor
which was the home of William Robinson
whose gardens have been featured in this year's Chelsea Flower Show.

From an excellent beginning, things went rapidly down-hill and we found ourselves lost in a forest just before tea, MILES from our car and the village. We broke so many rules, but we did have water with us and a mobile phone. It was however a fantastic few hours of walking in gorgeous surroundings and we had a great time together. There has not been too much of that of late.

Next time we will do a bit more research and maybe it will go better!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Small world

My girls are home from their weekend in London with their father, who is now heading back to Japan. They had yet to meet the visiting girls and when they did, we discovered something truly amazing. Anna was in the SAME CLASS as my Han-solo in kindergarten. They were in 'Violet'!! So here are two girls from the same area in Japan, never to meet after kindy, now playing badminton on an English lawn together 10 years later....
I am going to try and dig out some photos this week to see if we can find the two of them together somewhere.

Something lovely

This morning I was doing something I love, reading some of my favourite blogs. Through a link I found Hawthorne and her amazing work to help the people affected by the Japanese Tsunami. Wonderful woman.

While I write, our two Japanese students are still asleep. They arrived yesterday, from Guildford!! They are here for half term. This is our second year of having students from the same school. It was such fun last year. My girls love, love, love having Japanese girls their age to hang out with. I love that we can have kids to stay who otherwise would not be going home. In my early days at school in Australia, I knew NO ONE, so 'relied on the kindness of strangers' (to paraphrase Blanche from A Street Car Named Desire), (classmates really), to take me in. At uni I was spoiled in Japan by various families and now it is my turn to take care of other young students.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

First real rain in months

The South East is dry. The front bed under the living room window is baked hard with great cracks in it. I have been watering (with a watering can) but today we have had some good length showers and with luck they will continue through the night to get down into the earth. I just love the smell of rain on dry soil.

Anne loved her mobile holder and someone else at worked asked me to make her one!! Feels good.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Book Club choice

We are to read 'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas'.

This day

This is what I have been working on today:

Adding the flowers to Anne's phone holder. And the lining. It is a bit wonky which is a little disappointing, but it is made with no pattern and a lot of effort, so I do hope she is happy.

Sun shining, birds in the garden, it has been lovely. Some celariac seeds have been planted, some geraniums and some beet sprouts. Lemon and poppy seed cakes in the oven....

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

My big girl

is stuggling a bit with maths today. She usually doesn't. I think she is tired. (A 24k walk and cluster migraines probably haven't helped this last week). Maths is done online in a sort of Manga competition format. Anyone on the site competes with other 'players', i.e kids in their own class and around the world. Tonight it is all too much, and she is getting down about being 12th in the class....Time for bed a big hug and maybe a chat with her teacher in the morning.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Looking back

In a post last September I talked about running and quilting and plans for both!! Is it just me, because neither of those things are happening! OTHER things are happening. Body combat is now the physical activity of choice, that and walking as this is the most wonderful of seasons to be out in nature. The first of the hospital walks is imminent.
The Hawaiian quilt has been put away again, although a lot of sewing was done on it. Right now, the crochet hook is my passion. Is this fickle? Or is it that there is so much to do and so much choice....mmmm.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A Day at the Races

What a day. It started with a table-top sale here:

The Moat Road United Reformed Church. Not many stalls and sadly, not too many shoppers, but it was a lot of fun, and the main aim of the morning for me was to come home with fewer items that I took!! Success.

A short lull in the afternoon followed by an evening racing at Lingfield Park Racecourse. Girls from work (and loads of other hospital people in the crowds), got together to enjoy a flutter, some bubbly and to gaze at some of the lovliest animals there are. Nothing beats being able to see the horses up close before they run. It was an active evening with a routine.

Read the race guide - pick a horse
Go to the paddock and see said horse (at this point the choice could change - some horses are more lovely than others)
Go to the Tote and place one's bet (and hope for a patient betting lady to explain the various options,) i.e. 'to win' - we get that, 'each way' - bit more tricky, 'reverse exacta' - you've lost me there!
Go to the track and watch them on the big screen until they come into sight and jump up and down and yell for your horse.
Go mad when you win....I did, twice, what fun.
Back to the table for another sip of bubbly and start again...

While all this was going on, Han-solo was in a tent somewhere on the South Downs,

no doubt exhausted with aching legs and shoulders. She is on her first Duke of Edinburgh walk, the trial for her Bronze medal. She comes home this afternoon. Can't wait to hear all about it.
(Photo courtesy of South Downs Society).

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Breath in

Book club was good, we all had very different views. My turn to host it next and this morning my list of book choices went off to our leader who will source copies of one from the library. They are:

The Long Song - Andrea Levy
Mr Pip - Lloyd Jones
Brick Lane - Monica Ali
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
The Clothes on Their Backs - Linda Grant

I am restless and want to just have time to dig and crochet and time to BREATHE IN. This weekend is yet another full one. Probably up to me to make the changes necessary!!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Something new

Tonight is our first Book Club meeting. Love that we all love the idea, but have very little idea how it works! Thank goodness for the local library....it seems that they put keen souls like us on the right track and lend out books in bulk. (If you are already in a book club, please do not scoff....this is new and exciting to me). I started the book last night and finished it this afternoon. "Juliet, Naked" by Nick Hornby. Please see this review from the Guardian as it does a lot better than I could. I have an odd relationship with Nick Hornby. Very readable, but not disturbing enough. Disturbing in the sense that the twists and outcomes are not so unpredictable. I think the best thing about this book was that without reading the blurb, I launched into it and was suprised that it the title was not about a woman per se....but the aftermath of time spent with one and how that aftermath, (the album in its stripped down version) impacted the protagnists. The title alone threatened 'romantic something'.

Time is our friend

Peace again. I love my wonderful girls and want everything for them. It sits well when they are happy. Thank you to someone very dear for her email about this. Really gave me a boost.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Parents have a lot to answer for

There are times when I despair as a mother. My youngest is angry a lot, she has been honest with me about my role in causing her anger. Of late, we have had sublime moments, playing badminton, hanging out and it feels as though we were getting closer. Tonight there is a wedge, driven in by me being parent, mother, disciplinarian. I have no idea what to do to undo this situation.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Face lift

Bit of a change to the background of the blog. Change is good.

MUCH work done in the garden yesterday. We used some of our own compost for the first time. It has been busy breaking down with the help of thousands of worms (seems like it when we look inside), and the result was a fresh smelling mixture, with a lot of egg shells! The raised bed got a load of it in preparation for some late planting. The potatoes were thinned out, with the view to getting a bigger crop per plant (all in pots/bags this year). A quick trip to the garden centre to get MORE compost, (not all of ours is ready yet.) Quite a few aches last night from all the lifting and digging, but, what a wonderful feeling!

Thursday, 12 May 2011


Han-solo has had trouble with her eyes, floaters, distorted/reduced vision and things moving in the peripheries. She has also had pain in the eyes and headaches. We drove to A&E last night to get her looked at and the diagnosis was migraine. The girl is so driven and busy. A visit to the GP today resulted in being gently persuaded to slow down a bit. She has had the day off school, relunctantly, but is a more rested girl now. She and her sister are now filming for her new blog. Just want them all well, safe and happy.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


My grandmother made this blanket, which was on our bed in when we stayed with my parents in Australia. She also made one for her six other children, (Mum is one of 7). She made lots of blankets for Save the Children as well and was given an award for her years of work. She used to wonder if she would ever see one of her blankets on news reports from refugee camps in Africa. I am not sure she ever did.

I could do with a bit of a lie down under the comfort blanket followed by a few hours of soothing crochet. Just feel like it. Everything is very stretched.

Han-solo cannot go on the DofE expedition unless she completes a first aid course. (Music exams clashed with the session run by the school). FINDING a course for one is hard work and it looks like a day off school might be necessary. Many hours spent on that and still no result.

At work I am organising a seminar for GPs on behalf of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit and today need to go in to work to put things together. Nothing like last minute dashing around.

At least I am up early and have seen off all my loved ones. The weather looks as though it will be nice, again!

Aim for today is to do things SLOWLY and not rush.....bit of rose smelling on the way.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Out of kilter

We have been back for two weekends, but spent last weekend having a first cousins reunion in Oxford at my wonderful cousin Lyn's place. Her three half brothers, two of their girlfriends and her sister were there, all the way from Australia. One cousins came from Newtownards and one from Dublin. It was amazing and fun and we went punting on the river after a fabulous lunch. Happy, happy day.

But with all that there is a sense of not being on top of things at home. Much to do in the garden, Duke of Edinbugh items to be sourced for Han-Solo. Em is taking up athletics and needs gear. Big J is working on his new contract and is putting in enormously long hours. Nothing seems calm or organised.

I tell myself it is going the right way though. I made a pledge to myself when is Australia to STREAMLINE life a little. Slowly, things have been making their way to the charity shops, to the tip, to the box for a table-top sale at a church hall in two weeks.

Today a chest of wicker drawers became a shoe box in the hall. Works perfectly.

(This is a pic from The Cotswalds Company....the little chest is the one we have).
Saves the cost of a new one, shoes that do not fit have to be taken to respective rooms.

I looks better, less always looks better than clutter.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

All creatures great and small

The little snake that hung around the back stairs for a day or two.

One of a pair of blue and yellow parrots in the garden.

King parrots are everywhere and feed on the flowers. (Photo from Wikipedia).

Noisy visitors that screech in at night to roost. (Wikipedia photo).

One of many bright little butterflies seen in the bush.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Apple blossom blanket

Apple blossom blanket by MiA Inspiration
Apple blossom blanket, a photo by MiA Inspiration on Flickr.

This is lovely it is not?