Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday 31 October

Today 12yo and 9yo are back at school after their week at home. We had such a lovely and relaxing time, just being together and enjoying each other's company. We didn't even do anything extra-ordinary, lots of dog walks, a visit to the rollerskating rink, the library, some shopping and a morning on the beach, but it was just nice not to have to worry about lunchboxes, bedtimes and school bags for a week. It's now very very quiet at home and I know I'm going to miss them. At least we have a few days in Holland at the end of next week to look forward to!

A very windy day at Felixstowe beach

A worn out dog at the beach!

Supper on Saturday night - stewed brisket and mash - very good it was too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday 24 October

This week is half-term for the kids. I can't believe how fast the first 6 weeks of the school term have flown by. Nine-year-old has been very tired the last couple of weeks and missed the last day before the holidays with a headache and temperature - probably just over-tiredness. The week's break will do him good. I met with his tutor last week and it was nice to hear how well he has settled in and seems to be enjoying life at his new school.
Last week was also the week of visiting Upper Schools for 12yo. She's not due to start there until September next year but the application has to be in by the end of this month. She has changed so much from when she first started at Middle School as a quiet, rather shy 9yo three years ago. Now I see her turning into a teenager day by day, albeit without the teenage stroppiness I hasten to add! I'm having a little trouble keeping up with her at the moment - she takes big steps, I'm running behind her to try and keep up.

We think we've come to a decision regarding the Upper School and I hope it is the right one - she'll be taking GCSE's here and hopefully her A levels too.

Last Saturday was 9yo's day for just with me. I wasn't quite sure what to go and do with him that was a bit out of the ordinary but not too far away or too costly. In the end we visited the Owl Sanctuary in Stonham Aspall which turned out to be a bit of a hidden gem. We were the first (and only) ones there, it wasn't huge but the animals were obviously well cared for and it was all very unspoilt and pleasantly uncommercial. Next door was a mini-golf course so we played 2 rounds of that, and then went back to Bury St. Edmunds for lunch in town. Back home we baked a chocolate cake together and then it was time for me to drop him back off with J. We had a lovely day though, it was so nice to give him all my attention and in a way, get to know him a bit better again.

Last week I finished knitting a silvery-grey scarf for a friend who's going through a tough time right now. The pattern is the Ripple Scarf from Anniken Allis and though the stitch pattern is extremely simple, I've really enjoyed knitting it. A few years ago I remember reading a blog where knitting was described as rhythmic and soothing. This pattern was just that. I may well make another one.

And with that, I'm off to bed with a hot water bottle and the last few chapters of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell. I'll leave you with a picture of the pear cake that was our dessert this weekend - before it got devoured!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday 3 October

The camera and I have been reunited. Amazing how much I missed having it to hand. BadPenny suggested I should have two of everything. Unfortunately, you end up with two items in one house and none in the other - ask me how I know...!
I hadn't downloaded photos off the camera for a couple of weeks and found 73 photos this morning which I hadn't seen yet. A quick catch-up:

The weekend before last I had a day with 12yo on my own. We sometimes do a swap where one child gets to have one parent for the day. It was lovely to have a bit of one-to-one time with her, without having to split myself between two children and their varying interests.
The day began with a riding lesson, which she has started a few weeks ago.

So far she's been riding the stubborn horses - perfect for a beginner but she hasn't quite learnt yet that she needs to be quite authoritative with them!

Afterwards, we did a charity shop crawl - there are eleven of them in Bury St. Edmunds and we had a great time exploring them all. I came home with a new skirt, a cardigan and another bowl, and 12yo bought a lovely evening dress for a disco she's been invited to next week. Of course, all that shopping makes thirsty and hungry...

And no, she's not drinking coffee yet - it's tea in a cafetiere - very posh!

Autumn more than any other season makes me want to cook. Almost like an instinct to preserve things for winter time!
We are trying our hand at making sloe gin

This is just after we shook the right-hand bottle, I'm hoping when it is ready to drink, it'll be that colour as it's gorgeous.
I have also made apple and plum jelly which was much easier than jam and turned out another beautiful colour

and thanks to a prolific apple crop I am constantly making apple cake in various forms - unfortunately, I hardly get the chance to take a photo before it's all gone as I have several grateful recipients!

I'm still trying to get a decent bike ride in every weekend. The days are now too short to go in the evenings during the week, I'm thinking about going swimming again a couple of times a week now that I don't run anymore either. Biking is still the best though - I love exploring the countryside and stumbling upon little villages with sometimes well hidden churches. This week I noticed this gravestone

Very sad - she'd been through so much heartache.

And although we're going through a heatwave in the UK at the moment, you can tell it is Autumn by the trees - some of them are looking decidedly bare

I love poplars, they're my favourite trees. They're tall and majestic, they make beautiful lines against the landscape, they smell lovely in Springtime and they rustle like no other tree.

Last but not least, 9yo and parttime dog pretending to be Indians and wolves....

Not sure what it is with that dog but he loves posing for the camera!

Hope to have some knitting pictures next time. Night for now!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday 1 October

O the nightmare of two 'homes'. Both the kids and I regularly find that things that we need, are not in the right house. School shoes. Books. That particular pair of trousers. PE kits. House keys (yes, have done that on more than one occasion!)
In this case it was my camera. I left it at B's house on Sunday afternoon and have not been back since, and I've really missed it. Yes, I've missed B too! but I may have missed the camera possibly just a tiny bit more ;-)