Tuesday, 30 April 2013


Another milder morning today with a clear sky and a lovely waning moon to wake to.  I haven't watched the weather forecast so I have no idea what's going to happen today but what does it matter?  The view from my window was lovely!  I consider I am very fortunate to live right on the edge of town with one house beyond me and then countryside.  One of these days, that will go as they build, but for now I am making the most of it and am grateful for it every single day.

Yesterday I coughed and spluttered my way through the morning.  I didn't need to talk so much in the afternoon as it was a more practical session but the after school meeting was a bit difficult at times.  Things are 'breaking up' though so I should feel a lot better and the Piriteze is keeping the itchy eyes, ears and throat at bay well enough!

On my walk home from school, I saw so many lovely things gently calling to me that spring was no longer peeping round the corner, she was here and prepared to stay for a while.  Lovely!  Here's a few reminders.

I particularly love this one.

Today is an odd day.  I have my class until play, then it's my key stage coordinator time, then, after lunch, there's an important meeting so I have supply cover.  And that's the day done.

I hope your day goes well.

Monday, 29 April 2013


After such a cold day yesterday (or so it felt to me), today has started off mild but dull.  It might have felt colder than it really was because I was a bit shivery with this cold anyway.  It was also a day of incidents.  Firstly, I was making some tomato soup and decided to shut the kitchen door to avoid the cooking smells travelling around.  That was fine; the problem was when I tried to open it again.  It wouldn't open.  The handle went down, the latch stayed firmly closed.  Ho hum!  Fortunately I'd not long been to the loo (sorry but that can be a pressing concern in situations like this) and more fortunately, Beth and Alex were doe to arrive for lunch at some point.  With that reassurance I set to and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited . . . doesn't time go slowly sometimes?  I did some washing up, sorted out stuff, got lunch ready . . . and waited . . .
I had no idea of the time and it seemed very late so in the end I called Jenni next door over to the window (they were outside greeting a guest), her husband came to the back door which, fortunately, I had left unlocked, tried the kitchen door from the other side and hey presto, it opened easily.  Phew!  Soon after that Beth and Alex arrived so I didn't need to have bothered my lovely neighbours but never mind, it was nice to be free again.  If I could have climbed out of the kitchen window I would have, but the gap was too small (or no, to be quite honest, I am too big).

So we set to and had lunch and, in a careless moment, my fork slid across my plate and deposited half my cheg and salad in my lap.  Honestly, it really wasn't my day, was it?

Today is back to school, of course and we will be planting runner beans.  I can imagine the excitement!  I wonder if the cress seeds will have lasted the weekend out or whether they will have dried out and died.  We will see.

I've posted a recipe in TsRs for butterbean crumble.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Just to say . . .

I've posted a couple of entries in TsRs:  a recipe and more meandering thoughts.


Brrrr - it's cold this morning.  There's a frost about, the cars look pretty with swirly, ferny ice patterns over their roofs and I am reminded (golden oldie moment alert) of when I was young and used to wake every day, or so it seemed, to similar frost patterns on the inside of my bedroom window.  Mum would go round the upstairs windows after we'd gone to school, wiping off the moisture on the window ledges.
No upstairs heating in the Olden Days, you see!
It makes me, like Diane, very glad I haven't planted out anything tender yet.

Yesterday was an interesting day.  As my regular readers will have seen, I had a big ponder regarding cutting how much I spend on food - cutting it pretty dramatically too - and have decided that I'm going to give it a go, although in a modified way.

'Modified' means that I am being chicken and making it between £1.25 and £1.50 a day - ideally the former, never above the latter.  I am being flexible too, so it's £8-75 to £10.50 for the week, so I can borrow and pay back, so to speak.  That's still a huge amount less than I spend at the moment so fingers crossed.  Maybe later on, if I get into the way of it, I can see how to reduce it more.  And if I crash and burn, no harm done.

I've discovered that my favourite drizzle of maple syrup on my breakfast porridge is more expensive that I would like (blame my choice of maple syrup here) so today I used home made strawberry jam.  Now, to be fair, I have no idea what it costs because I made it last year and just cannot remember what I paid at the PYO, but it cannot be anything like as expensive as the maple syrup.  Once I get onto the blackberry jam, it'll be even better as the fruit was free (Streele Farm foraging!)

I've hit the wall in other ways too.  For example, I have a whole load of dried pulses in packets but no idea how much they cost and My Supermarket is strangely silent on the subject of pulses unless they are tinned.  This means a visit to Morrisons to 'research' and I'm trying to avoid Morrisons!  Never mind, I can make an educated guess and hope.  It cannot be anything as bad as the tinned versions.  So at this moment I have 100g of dried butter beans in soak and these will be the basis for two or three meals over the week.  A soup, a bake and something else, maybe a sauce for pasta . . .

Butter beans soaking make some very attractive patterns, don't they?
I can see I am going to get boring about this.  Apologies in advance!

As almost every Sunday, today I look forward to Beth and Alex coming over for lunch.  Given that I have copious piles of eggs at the moment (no complaints),  cheg and salad is on the menu today, followed by stewed apple and plum with either custard (proper custard!!!) or natural yogurt (yum).  I will have to come off the challenge for this as the cheese makes it more expensive, as do many of the salad ingredients, but it's still a pretty frugal main meal.

Oh, well, better stop rambling and get on with some planning for tomorrow.  It won't do by itself, unfortunately!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Recipe in Teacher's Recipes

Just to let any readers who are interested know, I have posted a recipe for celery soup in TsRs, here.

Saturday ponderings - a pound a day

Suddenly, while I was trawling around the internet this morning, there were loads of things relating to feeding yourself for a pound a day.  Have you noticed that too - maybe you have and I've been blind to it..  It seems that there is a 'live below the line' challenge out (follow the link).  It's an initiative of the Global Poverty Project which is (and I quote from the site):

'an education and campaigning organisation whose mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action against extreme poverty'

As far as I can tell, the idea is to spend just a pound a day on food and to get sponsors.  Now, I'm not keen on the idea of sponsors as I've never liked asking people for money, but I am keen on the idea of rising to the challenge and donating to a hunger charity, that one or another of my own choice, the money I don't spend over the week.

I am also keen on the idea of significantly reducing my food costs.  I spend far too much on food and with retirement looming at some point in the next five or ten years, it seems merely sensible to start being a bit more frugal, without considering the wider and more significant issues.

In a way I already have some very frugal habits.  I buy frugal veg when they look good (onions can be particularly great value).  Home made bread is cheaper than chips, as the saying goes, home made soup is ditto.  This morning I used the outer ribs from the celery I used for the investigation  at school on Tuesday with some onion, potato, home made stock and seasonings to make a very tasty smooth celery soup which only needs a bit of milk added to make a delicious lunch for a matter of pennies as I'd likely have thrown those outer ribs away.  I have also boiled up a chicken carcass and now have some excellent stock cooling, ready to go in the freezer.

But I also have very, very bad shopping habits.  I'm far too 'spontaneous' and often put things in my trolley that are really just rubbish and nothing more.  And rubbish, unfortunately, is usually expensive.  And not so healthy.  Woe is me.

However, I do have a lot going for me, one of the most important of which is that, thanks largely to an upbringing with a wonderful mum and dad, I can cook and I do have a lot of good, old fashioned cooking skills which I often don't use nearly enough.

If I did accept the challenge, I'd immediately hit complications.  I have a store cupboard full of pulses, herbs, spices, seasonings, etc, some of which would be extremely difficult to cost in.  Anything I bought 'new' could be costed per 100g or whatever, that's not a problem: all it would take is some simple maths and the calculator on the computer.  Ditto for dried pulses as I could use supermarket sites to cost.  Stuff in the freezer would be impossible - the strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from last years picking, for example, or the ready mades (home made and frozen).

Another complication is that I live by myself.  It's a lot easier to manage cooking for four on £4 than it is for one using £1 unless you want the same meal four days running.  Not impossible, just harder.
On the other hand, in a way, it is easier because all I have to satisfy is me.  No conflicting demands from others to get in the way, no 'I'm still hungry' complaints when the £1 has run out - not from anyone else, anyway!

Time and energy are factors too.  I could only do this by preparing meals from scratch.  I can do that, given energy.  When I come home at six, having worked since seven thirty in the morning, more or less, I have little energy to start cooking from scratch.  Hmmm - it's going to take some planning.

So it wouldn't be entirely fair or simple, I know, but I really am tempted by the challenge.  I shall have to go away and ponder on this while I use some of my large store of surplus eggs and almost going over lemons and oranges to make some St Clements curd in Thermione.

Please excuse my long winded ponderings.  It helps to write it down - thank you for listening.


Another weekend!  It's going to be a very busy one too, with plenty of stuff to get on with.  I'm hoping tomorrow will be easier though.

Yesterday started off very dull and dismal but by playtime it had brightened up and by lunch time it was bright and sunny.  Not so warm though, despite the sun, and when I went out for playtime duty in the afternoon, it was so chilly that I wished I had put on my coat.  I suppose it didn't help that I seem to be going down with a cold, although it might be hay fever.  I've bought some piriteze and will see if that makes any difference.  I'm feeling rough this morning but nothing that a bit of meds won't sort out, whether it be the hay fever stuff or the aches and pains stuff!

Going back to Thursday afternoon again, we all went out to hug a tree!!!  I have to explain that our school environment is lovely.  A field bordered by trees and a youthful hedge on three sides plus two small-ish playgrounds and plenty of tree-d slopes and some walled beds.  I was going through a sheet for labelling parts of a tree and realised that few children knew what 'bark' was so, as the field was empty, out we went to 'hug a tree' - in other words, get up close and observe carefully.  The hugging was to test which trunks they could get their arms round and which were too big.  It was lovely to watch them running from tree to tree, hugging and comparing.  I saw two children comparing arm length in an effort to work out why one could get his arms round and touch fingers and one couldn't!

Five minutes later they all ran happily back to me to line up and walk back in to get on with their labelling sheet.  The pay back came yesterday as I marked their work and saw how beautifully many children had coloured in their tree trunks.  No plain brown for them, dear me, no, not after seeing the reds, yellows, greens, beiges, maroons and purples of the barks of trees around the playground.  I'll try and remember to take a photo of one or two, because they really were beautiful.

This is something I love about my class.  Send them off with a task or challenge and they do what they have been asked to do.  They don't divert into their own interests.  It's brilliant

I'm sure you will be thrilled to know that the cress seeds with water are managing to grow beautifully.  Funnily enough, the ones in the dark are growing faster but are a very strange colour.  This observation will lead us on very neatly on to Food For Plants, a brief intro to photosyntheses, etc . . .  We're also going to put them under a box with a hole on one side and see what happens!

You can tell I am enjoying this theme, can't you?  :-)

Friday, 26 April 2013


After another beautifully sunny day yesterday, I woke to rain this morning.  Sad, but it was to be expected and the garden needed a watering.  It looks as if it is determined to hang around for the morning at least which means rows of damp wellies in the classroom and dripping coats crowding out the grossly undersized hanging space that we have to use.

As I expected, yesterday was exciting.  We discovered that water is the crucial thing for seeds to germinate, we discovered that being in the dark isn't a problem and we found that not only had most of the seeds split and funny little white things were coming out (worms, said one imaginative little lad) but also that there was one that had little green things as well.
I am most appreciative of the technology that enabled me to take a close up photo, upload it to my laptop, crop off the non-essentials and show it, extra large, on the interactive white board to gasps of amazement all round.  We came to the conclusion that we were looking at tiny little roots and leaves and I delivered an impromptu lesson about why the roots come first and why they grow down while the shoots grow up!
It was all so interesting that I totally forgot to deliver the afternoon phonic lesson and didn't realise until I was writing up my evaluations after the children had gone home.  Ooops!!  Given that this is a daily lesson, deeply ingrained in the subconsciousness of all infant teachers in the school, it shows how exciting it all was.

Today we are all invited to June's for lunch.  June was my Y1 colleague last year who retired at Christmas.  This week she took possession of a Thermomix!  It's jolly nice to have someone close by who has one and I'm looking forward to seeing hers (not that it will look any different to mine but you know what I mean).

And now I am off to get ready for school.  Have a good day, rain or no rain!

Thursday, 25 April 2013


I was right about yesterday, it turned out to be a lovely day.  Sunny and bright and with increasing warmth as the day went on.  Unfortunately, it also became more humid which wasn't so pleasant, but never mind.

Several bottles of wine, choccies and a big bunch of flowers came my way.  I was able to share the choccies round at staff meeting (thanks, Mandy!) and the flowers and wine are now in their rightful places (vase and fridge).  That's that for another year now!

Today is Thursday, the day I have my class all day.  I always love Thursdays.  The science investigations are going well and the children are fascinated by what's happening.  They'll find it even more exciting next week when they paint their bean seeds and start keeping a diary of what is happening.

It's interesting to note their varied responses to the investigations.  You can see those who have a scientific inclination in the way they predict, justify, show awareness of what we're actually testing/finding out and how well they base their conclusion on that.  I've made copious notes that will feed into the end of year report.  Although the girls tended to predict 'prity flars' (totally irrelevant) more than the boys, the gender split for promising scientific prediction and conclusion is about 50-50.  A shame it seems to change significantly as they get older - or does it nowadays?  I don't know.  Now that there is far more equal opportunity, perhaps it doesn't so much.

Today is Finding Out If The Cress Seeds Have Germinated day - they have, thank goodness.  I expect that there will be a lot of hovering around the seeds, magnifying glass in hand, looking with excited fascination at those tiny little emerging roots.  Awe and wonder.

It makes teaching such fun (but don't tell the government or they will try to stop it)!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Wasn't yesterday glorious!  I couldn't have wished for a better day to be on playground duty - it was warm and sunny and the trees are greening up by the minute!  So happy and encouraging and the children feel it too.  They are lively and bouncy and very, very responsive at the moment.  An absolute delight all round!

Here's to another lovely day today!  A shame about the staff meeting but three cheers for PPA.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


It looks like being another gorgeous spring day today which is good because it's my playground duty day, morning and afternoon.  I get lucky with Tuesday duty because it is our no-football day.  There's always more stuff to deal with on football days!

Today is 'what happens to the water when a plant drinks' day.  A nice little investigation involving glasses, ribs of celery and food colouring, set up first thing and concluded p.m.  I hope the food colouring plays ball this year - last year it actually didn't work properly, which was a bit of a pain.  Anyway, fingers crossed!

I'm busy collecting loo rolls and kitchen towel rolls for planting seeds.  Yup - the sap has thoroughly risen and we're rolling!! (forgive the mixed metaphor here)  I am planning to use the two arches I bought last year for runner beans.  We love runner beans in our family, but only when fresh picked from the garden and tender.  The stuff you get from the shops isn't worth the box they are lying in, I'm afraid.  Tough and woody, mostly.  So fingers crossed for a good harvest of runners this year!

Not my photo - taken from http://marksvegplot.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-first-of-runner-beans.html    Nice blog, take a look.

Well, better go.  School calleth.  Have a lovely day, everyone.

Monday, 22 April 2013


. . . and back to school after a very pleasant weekend with lots of sunshine and increasing warmth.  I hope today is as pleasant because it really was a cheerful weekend.

In the morning I meandered over to B&Q to stock up with granular salt for the water softener and, while I was there, I took the opportunity to look at the plants.  They are starting to get in their bedding plants and I usually go for some trailing lobelia, but I think it is just that bit too early.  I also resisted the temptation to buy a grafted tomato plant as I have some on order.  With tomatoes it is a case of hope springs eternal as the last two years have been something of a dismal failure.  Two years ago they were very late for fruit so the frost caught them before I had picked all that many.  Last year they all got the dreaded blight, which was heartbreaking because there were so many trusses, loaded with fruit all starting to ripen well and I had great plans for chutney, passata, etc.

After that I went to Hobbycraft.  Now that could have been a financial disaster but I was very good and resisted again.  Such strength of purpose - most unlike me.

Lunchtime was a treat.  Instead of Beth and Alex coming here, I went to Beth's and had a scrummy meal there.  It was a meal of necessity because her section of flats had a prolonged power failure and she had a lot of things in the freezer that needed cooking and either eating or then refreezing cooked.  She created a sort of vegetable korma (absolutely delicious) and then made pumpkin pie for dessert.  By the time I had finished I was stuffed!!!!

I then came home and finished off making resources for this week followed by some knitting/crochet while I watched some Agatha Christie on the telly.  Nice and relaxing.  I didn't want much more to eat after such a magnificent lunch so I satisfied myself with toast and marmalade (both home made!)

Just a very pleasant day all round.  May there be many more like it.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sunday - and about cowslips for Juliesmum

Yesterday, when I woke, it was very cold and when I peered through the window I could see why.  There was quite a heavy frost.  Today it felt warm but still, when I looked, I saw that there was another frost.  The difference was, as I realised as quickly as my sleep fuddled brain would allow, that today I woke up after the heating had clicked on!  We had glorious sunshine yesterday but, even so, there was a decidedly chilly feel to the air at times.  I'm hoping that today will be milder.  It would be rather nice to sit comfortably out in the garden and feel warm.  I am reminded of when the children were little, before I had a more established garden, when at this time of the year I felt the urge to stock up with bedding plants but resisted the temptation until the end of May when all danger of frosts had gone, realistically speaking.

Yesterday was a busy day although I didn't get as much done as I had hoped, especially at school, where I left the display for during this coming week.  I did get a LOT of clearing of old work done, some marking and some sorting out of table boxes which were, frankly, rather a mess!

I also got the planning done and dusted and now only have to make the resources, which, sadly, are quite considerable for this week but never mind!  Most of it involves playing about on the PC one way or another, and that is fun!

I took a few photos of the cowslips to show Juliesmum.

This is where I planed the original one and, of course, the new plants have grown very close.  It's a nice little clump but I think they would be better further apart.  The 'problem' is whether to move them while they are flowering and risk killing off the flowers or leave them until; they have seeded and have more then growing in the same place.  I'm not much of a gardener so I will Google for information (how DID we manage before Google?)

The photo below is of the scillas really but, in the corner, you can see a new little cowslip plant that has just come up this year (I think) although, as it is flowering, perhaps it is a second year plant and I didn't notice it last year..
They might be doing so well because they are really wild flowers and the soil at the front is quite poor really.

I've just Googled and there's some helpful info out there.  It says the seeds take a long time to ripen, not being shed until July so I guess if they are dead headed before then they won't have shed fertile seeds.  It also says they are attractive to bees and don't really like shady conditions - so it's a mystery why they are doing well at the front of my house where it only gets the sun early morning.  It looks as if I will have to move some round the back and compare!

Some sites say it is perennial and some that it is biennial.  As long as they keep coming up year after year and earn their place by reproducing nicely, I don't mind which it is!  It also seems that the plants do better after a cold spell so this year should have suited them just perfectly!

I found this photo here.  It just goes to show how much they can seed themselves, given time.

This blog has an interesting little article about the cowslip.  It seems that the leaves are edible!!

Seeing as this is going to be a lo-o-o-ng posting, I may as well make it longer by saying that I'm going to plant runner beans this year and I'm going to give them a good start off in loo rolls in the kitchen.  What you do, it seems, is stand your loo rolls up in a waterproof container, fill them with soil and plant the bean seed inside.  When they have grown, you plant the whole kit and caboodle outside without any need to damage the roots.  I'm going to try it and see.
Link here

And just to finish, it seems that my usual kiss of death to plants has gone into reverse as here's a patio rose I was given almost exactly a year ago, starting to grow very nicely again this year . . .

. . . and the hyacinths are still lovely.  These were gifts that I planted out several years ago now.

Saturday, 20 April 2013


The first weekend of the new term and there's plenty to do.  No time for slacking today.  The morning is going to be spent sorting house work stuff out and this afternoon is going to be time in school.  So much to do!

I'm really not sure where Mr Gove thinks I (and all other teachers I know) are going to be able to find the extra time needed to work a longer teaching day and still get all the other stuff needed in order to produce a good lesson done.  More other stuff, in fact, because we would be delivering more lessons.  That is, assuming that we have a little bit of home life too, in order to get all that other stuff done - things like washing, ironing, dusting, sweeping, cooking, cleaning . . . and maybe just a little bit of sitting down with a good book or a hobby/interest.  As it is, I am in at seven thirty and home by six, often working through lunch hour and playtimes.  You'd think that a minister for education (or whatever the title is nowadays) would know that the actual contact time is only half of the whole job but somehow that seems to have passed him by!
Perhaps that's the point.  Keep 'em out of trouble!!!

Mind you - longer contractual hours should result in an increased salary - or am I seeing flying pigs?

Anyway, this afternoon I need to mark some work, sort and file their phonic homework, put up a wildly exciting and eye catching display (cough) and write a few more lessons for a phonic intervention group.  Should only take about four hours so I will be home in time for Doctor Who!

It was jolly cold again this morning.  When I looked out, there was a frost on the roofs and hedges, lawns and fields - still is, in fact, despite the sun.  Spring may be here but there's still some danger of damaging frosts.  No point planting stuff out yet.  The garden is waking up thoroughly now though.    A few years ago I planted a cowslip along the front of the house, found looking rather sad and considerably reduced at a garden centre a few days before.  I now have around a dozen little plants coming up (they need moving soon) and will look lovely in a few weeks' time.    The same for the scillas - one plant in a pot = around six or seven now, and how they manage to spread themselves is a mystery.  I love scillas - tiny, shy, pretty blue flowers that somehow take me right back to my childhood when we had loads in the garden.  They're going to need moving too, before they die back and I forget where they are.

Well, enough waffling on.  I need to get started or it will never get done!

Friday, 19 April 2013

It's hard being a head teacher

Our literacy focus has been poetry this week, based on a very simple little patterned poem entitled 'Walking round the Zoo'

Walking Round the Zoo

Walking round the zoo
What did I see?
An elephant that waved
Its trunk at me.

Walking round the zoo
What did I see?
A parrot that squawked
And winked at me.

Walking round the zoo
What did I see?
A crocodile that snapped
Its jaws at me.

Walking round the zoo
What did I see?
A monkey that pointed
And laughed at me!

Nice, isn't it?  Just right for Y1.  Lots of basic features, patterns and a simple structure.
We have been working on an adaptation entitled 'Going round the school' based on ways of moving (to link with science), adults in the school and what they might do.
The idea was to think of simple characteristics of each adult and base the action on them.
Such as:

Skipping round the school
Who did I see?
Mrs Clark
Who smiled at me.
(yes, I do smile quite a lot)
Etc . . .

So , inevitably, during the discussion someone mentioned our very popular head, a superb musician who sings like an angel, plays the piano brilliantly and conducts amazingly well.  
So in all innocence I asked the children:
'And what does Mrs E do really, really well', expecting something based on music, such as 'Who sings to me.' or 'Who plays to me'

The response came promptly
'Telling us off'!!!!!

Poor S.  All that talent and ability condensed into three words.  And it isn't even true - she's lovely!

As were their poems.  

And now it's the weekend!


Nearly the weekend.  Nearly one week down, five to go.  Yay!

It's been a lovely week.  The children have settled down quickly and are maturing rapidly.  They are working well and are generally absolutely delightful.  Long may it continue.

I am sure that every primary teacher is doing the same thing now - every day, when I notice something, I mentally prepare a sentence that could go into the end of year report.  It gets quite annoying at times and is a constant reminder that I need to GET ON WITH THEM!  Ridiculous when we still have a third of the school year to go, isn't it, but, dear me, these things don't write themselves, nor do they replace other work.  They are an 'as well as' and, as such, have to be started early or they won't get done properly.

And I'd better go and get ready for the day job!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

More Thursday

Following on from earlier . . . little Smarty Pants got his come-uppance today when the heavens opened just before home time - thunder, lightning, lashing rain, wind and what looked like hail for about ten seconds.

He looked exceedingly worried, bless him.


Although yesterday started off a bit cloudy, by playtime the sun was trying to shine and I was inundated with 'Can i go out without my coat?' queries, despite the fact that I had just told them they could choose.  And then, of course, there was the smarty pants who announced proudly that he (it usually is a 'he') couldn't choose because he DIDN'T HAVE HIS COAT AT ALL!!!!!

Sorry - short entry.  Time is whizzing on and I have a bath running!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


It's still too dark to say what the weather is going to be like but, after an unpromising start yesterday, it all brightened up and by the time morning play rolled around it was lovely.  Not too warm and rather breezy, but fine for going out without ones coat on.  Given that I was on playground duty morning and afternoon, I was very happy with that and enjoyed being out with the children.

One of the children said something very funny yesterday and I thought 'Perfect for my blog with a few slight changes for identification (or non-identification) purposes.  But do you think I can remember what it was now?  No, I can't.  So frustrating.  Maybe it will come back to me later.

Today is a long day!  Staff meeting after school makes that a certainty and, being the first meeting of the term, it will be jam-packed with dates and appointments and information and we won't be able to daydream at all.  To counterbalance that, we start the day with Y1 PPA which is always a Good Thing.  Given that this term's overarching theme is all about growing (plants) with lots of practical science investigations, I'm looking forward to it all very much indeed.

Better get going with some preparation now.  I have a few sheets to make, a few lessons to plan in more detail and stuff to think about.

And a cup of coffee to  drink, of course!  Have a great day.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


A quick one because I haven't yet quite morphed back into the speedy framework of 'before school school-days' yet.

Yesterday we started a week of a science based theme about forces (pushes and pulls).  I'd forgotten how much fun it can be.  It was a good day!
Today is more of the same although my phonics is being watched (not observed, watched) by a SCITT student (that's School Centred Initial Teacher Training).  That's not a problem - I have a funny little Powerpoint to go through and I'm happy that it's a good sound lesson.

A senior management meeting after school yesterday put my inner-clock askew and at six o'clock, when Steve came round to boot us out I was quite shocked that it was so late.  It's just so much brighter now too, it's a bit misleading.

Well, after a short ramble I'd better go and finish getting myself ready.  Lots to do and not an awful lot of time to do it.

Monday, 15 April 2013


. . . and it's all over.  Back to school.  The planning is beside me, there are plenty of things to do at school because I didn't do much over the break and I'm looking forward to seeing the children again.  Now looking forward to the Whit half term - except that it's hardly a break because I'm writing reports all day.

It was hard getting out of bed this morning.  Not waking up, I was well awake, but I've become lazy over the break and have spent some time just pondering because, if I fell asleep again, it really wouldn't matter.  It won't take long to get back to proper habits again now though, especially as it is so much lighter and brighter than the end of last term, BST to the contrary notwithstanding!

Because people are kind and generous, I was given some flowers at times, from friends who came round for a meal, coffee, lunch or whatever.  Of course, I've taken some photos, I always do.  Here are a few.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Apologies for the lateness of this entry.  It's been quite a busy day, one way and another, and I wanted to have this photo ready for uploading.

Here you go - I made it and it's quite nice.  DD doesn't like the colours.  I don't think they're that bad but the vivid colours are better, I think, and the yellow looks a bit startling in this photo.  But the overall effect is lovely.  What do you think?

The yarn should be cotton - that would fall a lot better.  I've looked around for cotton yarn and cannot find a range that has enough really toning colours so I might have to do a colour repeat rather than have all differents - assuming I find an excuse to make another one, of course.

I also think that it could be made into a lovely 'pinafore' top by lengthening it and probably starting the sleeves a bit further down.  The opening would be at the back and where the sleeves start it would be worked as a round (although part of the pattern is worked on the wrong side that would still have to happen.

Ideas, ideas.

Saturday, 13 April 2013


We may be nearly half way through April but it is still jolly cold in the early mornings.  I've given in and turned up the heating a bit, just for a short while.  I suppose leaving the comfort of my warm cosy bed comes as a bit of a shock and I'm a wimp!!  No frost though, so it can't be all that cold really.

Weather-wise, yesterday was a day of contrasts.  April showers, but not gentle, balmy showers: dear me, no, these were rip-roaring, angry, fist-shaking, drive-at-10-mph-type showers which, fortunately, didn't last all that long but which made me feel extremely sorry for anyone caught outside.  And then the sun would come out and it  was all glorious.

After the tomato-disasters of the last few years I wasn't going to grow any this year but I guess the sap is rising as Spring shoe-horns her way into the year excusing herself with 'better late than never'.  I went online and bought some grafted tomatoes and fingers crossed this year I get some results.  Last year they were all blighted (devastating because they were fruiting well) and the year before they were very late fruiting and the results were pitifully small.  Gardeners are ever the optimists though, they have to be, however large or small their aspirations.  So fingers crossed . . .

The funeral was beautiful.  Terribly sad, of course, but also very funny in places.  The hymns were fantastic: Jerusalem and Guide me, oh, thou great Redeemer, two of my favourite; the crematorium chapel was packed almost to overflowing and I hope it was a considerable comfort to all those who knew and loved F in whatever capacity.
It was good to be able to talk to my friend for a short time and good that the school was well represented.  My thanks to L for undertaking the driving there and back.

When I got home, I just sat and crocheted.  I've found a rather interesting pattern on Ravelry, a freebie so I have reproduced the picture below with a link if you're interested.  It took me a little while to work out the pattern and it was all done by symbols and I'm used to following it abbreviations and numbers, but it's not complicated and I got the hang of it eventually.  I'm using some of my stash of baby yarn to have a go - my colours aren't as vibrant because it is specifically baby yarn and my stash is all gentle pastel-y colours but it's looking OK.
Today I have a friend coming for lunch and I need to decide what to make for lunch.  I am swithering between tomato soup and scrambled eggs on toast at the moment and I must make some more flapjacks as the batch I made earlier in the week seems to have mysteriously disappeared.
I have to make another loaf too and I am going to try the Hollywood recipe in the breadmaker this time, just to see if it works.  After all, if it doesn't, I haven't wasted very much in terms of cash.
And I have some eggs to pick up from my friend too.  It's all go so I'd better get started.
Have a lovely day!

Friday, 12 April 2013


Today is a sad day.  A day that reminds me that life, however good it is, is finite and unpredictable.
Today I go to a funeral.  Someone just a little older than I, no age at all, someone who had years and years of life ahead of him, someone who should have been looking forward to a happy retirement with his wife.

F was such a gentleman.  I remember how kind he was when my ex husband died so suddenly, how understanding and sympathetic for the personal grief that I didn't feel I had the right to express or share because, after all, he wasn't my husband any more.  You don't forget that sort of thing, do you?  I know I haven't.

I can't even start to imagine how my friend is feeling at the moment.  Perhaps today will be some sort of closure for her, an ending and a new beginning.  Perhaps.  That's what they say about funerals, isn't it?  Maybe the presence of many of her old teaching friends will be of some comfort.  I hope so.

Today is a very sad day . . .

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A recipe

I've just made up a recipe for a cream of tomato soup (and made the soup for lunch) and posted it here in Teacher's Recipes.  Enjoy!


Suddenly I blink and the holiday is nearly over.  Today, tomorrow and then it's the weekend and then it's the start of the new term.  Eeeeeek!

We have finally had the rain that has been predicted.  It started yesterday evening and it is still raining now.  Luckily, I hadn't planned to go anywhere that relied on fine weather so that's OK.  There are two main things today - into school (booooo) and Dave and Anna round for dinner tonight.

I didn't finish the cardigan yesterday as I'd hoped.  I'm nearly there but there were a few tricky bits that needed unpicking and redoing and that took time.  It's looking pretty though and another trip to Hobbycraft is needed, to buy the button.  What hardship, eh?

It was lovely catching up with June and Liz's news and we had a great old natter yesterday morning.  Seeing old friends is lovely and we three go back a very long way.  Our children are all more or less the same age and all went to the school that we teach/taught at so there's a lot of shared background.

For Anna and Dave's visit this evening I plan to do the following
Slow roasted leg of lamb
Roast potatoes
Autumnal spiced plums and cream
Nothing terribly different or challenging but all very tasty.  And then my meals for the next umpteen days will be based around lamb!  This particular leg of lamb was originally destined for the Sunday before Christmas, with the family round but, when Christmas was cancelled, it ended up in the freezer.  Definitely time to use it!

It may still be cold and wet outside but the garden is awakening.  Here's some snaps.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


A gift from the friend who came round for dinner on Monday.  Aren't they lovely?
After all the cancelling and rescheduling yesterday, it stayed fine, the sun came out for a while and we could have gone to Hyde Hall.  Ho hum.  Never mind, I managed to make a good start on a little cardigan I am knitting for a new born niece of a friend (any excuse).  It's one I've been wanting to knit for a while, very pretty and not too complicated (although I did make a dire error yesterday and had to unpick).

I had a go at the wholemeal and was extremely pleased with the results.  It looks as if my bad luck with wholemeal bread has come to an end because yesterdays efforts were most successful.  I had an unhealthy bread, butter and cheese tea and mmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . .
As I said over on TsRs, making your own bread really is a most frugal option and a delicious one too.   It's hard to fit into a working lifestyle, I know, but perfectly possible if one is at home for whatever reason.  Apart from the fact that you need to be around at key points, it just about takes care of itself, especially if one has a Thermione (or the like) to take the hard work out of the kneading.
I remember, many years ago, a friend who had seven children.  She also had a 'chef', a really good machine with a bread hook and all, which she used every day to make all their bread.  As she said, it saved an absolute fortune over the weeks and months, not to mention tasting great!

Apart from the knitting and the bread making, I had a very quiet and  lazy day (again).  I tell myself that it's holiday and I am regathering my strength and energy for the summer term but, in reality, I'm just being idle, pure and simple!  And very nice it is too.

This morning I have a couple of friends around for coffee.  They've both been year one colleagues so we should have loads to talk about, one way and another.  One of them has just come back from three months in Australia, so there should be some great photos to look at and stories to hear.

Also, I'd like to get the cardigan finished.  I should do.  The back is almost finished and I am doing both fronts at the same time - one set of needles, two balls of yarn.  I always do that now for anything where there are two parts - cardi fronts, sleeves, etc.  That way you ensure both are the same and it saves a lot of row counting.

Better go and make breakfast.  I have plenty of bread and plenty of good fresh eggs, bought from a friend who keeps chickens, so I think scrambled eggs is on the menu.  Yum!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tuesday evening

Just to say I've posted a couple of recipes on TsRs, one about bread and one for red cabbage coleslaw.


What a change this morning.  Instead of opening the curtains onto bright and sparkling sunshine, today is dull and dismal with rain forecast for much of the day.  While I'm sure the garden will benefit from a good downpour, why did the Great Weather Man choose today?

Today I had planned to go to Hyde Hall with my friend, Pippa, to see the spring bulbs.  Hyde Hall is lovely but it's all outdoors.  Contrary to its name, it is not a stately manor house, it is gardens, wonderful gardens.  Hyde Hall in the rain is miserable.  neither of us want to make the journey and pay the not inconsiderable fee, only to find that we cut it short because of unpleasant weather.  As a result, we have rescheduled to the May Bank Holiday in the hopes that the weather will be better.  And if it isn't and I don't get to see the Spring flowers this year, they won't go away before next Spring so it will be something to look forward to!

Vibrant daffodils
Taken from the Hyde Hall website: http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Hyde-Hall

I know it's very boring that each day I day something like 'yesterday was lovely' or words to that effect, but yesterday WAS lovely.  A gentle, pottering day followed by a friend round in the evening for a meal and a chat.  The white chocolate cheesecake did NOT go well and did not see the table, but that really was my fault, overbeating it so it lost its smooth texture.  I will have another go and adapt the method to reflect what I have learnt.  I will also cut down on the sugar - in fact, I doubt it needs much extra sugar with all the melted chocolate.  A lot of Thermione recipes come from Oz at the moment, that being where more people own them, and I think they must prefer very sweet desserts because it is something I have found each time I have a go at an Oz dessert.  Just that bit too sweet for my taste!  So, no report on that recipe in TsRs at the moment and some wasted money.  Oh, dear!

However, the rest of the meal was scrummy.  The lasagne was just right, the garlic bread was a bit too crunchy for perfection (OK- so we were talking and I forgot it was in the oven), but was edible and it was nice to have a salad after so many months of winter warming food.  We had a great natter, agreed that doing it this way was much better than going out (and a lot more frugal, despite the wasted dessert) and we will be doing it again at some point soon.

I think I need to start a dairy of what I cooked each time!  When my children were young and we lived in London, I had a friend who did a lot of entertaining.  She had a meal diary, a book where she entered every meal she had cooked for every group of friends.  Extremely efficient and sensible, I though, but I didn't entertain enough to make it worth doing myself.  However, if I am going to have my two young teacher friends around on a regular basis, I ought to start this myself.  After all, it's a lot easier with modern technology.

Well, I have a gift of a day and I need to decide what to do in it.  I am definitely going to make some bread, wholemeal this time, to see if Mr Hollywood's recipe works as well with wholemeal as with white.  Apart from that, who knows?  Not me!  A gift of a day!

Monday, 8 April 2013


Good morning, everyone.  Would you believe I have the stairway window open?  OK, it's not too warm but there's no frost and it's not unbearable.  Yesterday I had the French window open for a while to refresh the house, and it was lovely!  I'm hoping today is similar.

I managed to finish the little waistcoat off yesterday, all but the buttons which I need to buy, and have decided to make another blanket.  I have the yarn from the other one although I will need to get some more of the edging colour.  I do love the one I made and as there's another baby due in the summer it's a good opportunity to make another one with plenty of time to get it done.  Granny squares are really lovely.

Minus buttons, of course!
Because I need both yarn and buttons, I feel a virtual trip to Deramore's coming on.  Knitting and crochet is such fun.  I will also wander over to Ravelry to take a look at their free patterns, some of which are extremely good.  Several years ago now I internet searched for free knitting patterns and there was very, very little about.  Now there's so many that one almost doesn't need to buy a pattern any more.  The main problem is when they use unattainable yarn so one has to check the tension carefully and maybe adapt a little bit.  Or even quite a lot!

This evening I have a friend round for dinner.  Given that I did the curry meal on Friday, today it is a most unauthentic lasagne with salad and garlic bread with a white chocolate cheesecake for  dessert (I hope).  I've not made this cheesecake before so fingers crossed.  If it works OK I will share it.  if not - I won't!!!  The base is already made so I will make the top this morning and if it's a disaster there's time to make or buy something else.

I'm pootling over to TsRs to enter the balti recipe I made last week so, if you're interested, do use the link to pop over and take a look.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


Good morning to you!  It is yet another beautifully sunny, frosty morning.  Everything is looking so bright and cheerful but, unfortunately, it does show that my windows need a good clean < sigh >.  We need more mornings like this: they are cheering and raise the spirits so much, despite the cold.  It makes me realise that spring really is here, albeit a little bit later than expected.  Hopefully, we will see the trees leafing up soon and everything will look fresh, clean and newly washed.

Found on Google: http://www.cotswoldyear.com/2011/03/hawthorn.html

Yesterday I finished a baby blanket I've been working on over the last two weeks or so.  It's a mix of colours because I don't know if the expected arrival is blue or pink, and I rather like it.  I hope my friend does too.  I think the think about a blanket is that it can be used for so many things, not just as a bed cover, so I'm fairly confident that it will be used, one way or another.

There seem to be a lot of people expecting at the moment so as soon as I had finished the blanket I started another project - much smaller this time.  I'm knitting a little baby waistcoat (I know this one is a blue) and have adapted the pattern so that the main stitch is a basket weave stitch, which is one of my favourites.  When I was little I had a hand knitted jumper that was this stitch with a fold over collar and I loved it very much.  In fact, most of my clothes were hand made, the outer ones anyway.  I didn't appreciate them as much as I should have done at the time - they were beautiful, well made with love and represented a lot of hard work on my mum's part.  Sadly, it is now cheaper to buy clothes than to make them once you get out of the very tiny sizes.  Yarn and fabric both cost a small fortune and, with all the extras, it is not the frugal option any more.  I'm getting very old fashioned, aren't I, but I feel sad when I realise that you rarely, if ever, see a little girl in a pretty smocked dress any more.  Such a shame.  I used to love smocking: fortunately, I had a little girl so I could indulge myself.

Aaaaaaah - those were the days!

I don't have many plans for today.  A good, hot bath (yesterday's was lovely), a tidy up of the kitchen (much needed) and then I think I will sit with a DVD or a rubbish programme on and get on with my knitting.  I'm being spoiled today - Beth is making lunch, not me.  Lovely!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Saturday a bit later . . .

Lovely hot bath - plenty of topping up and a good soak.  Oh, how I have missed this!  Matt Hickey, you are a star!

The garden has been Georged and looks a whole lot better now.  God bless George, he is a treasure, a lovely young man.  One of these days he is going to leave home and move to somewhere else and then what will I do?   I can't bear to think of it!

Mr Hollywood's bloomer (no, NOT bloomerS) recipe is in a bowl on its first rise.  It's lovely to be using the warmth of the sun (through the window) for this.

Thermione kneads the dough beautifully although I have an inkling that Mr Hollywood would NOT approve.  Never mind, I don't care, it still makes a wonderful loaf with a lot less hassle and when one is a working girl, one has to consider hassle.  This way I get a completely delicious loaf for a small fraction of the price one would pay for a comparative loaf from a shop and also a lot less than a bog-standard so-called' 'cheap' supermarket loaf would cost.  It's a win-win situation.  I never thought anything would supersede my Panasonic breadmaker but . . .

I have a new gastronomic addiction.  You may remember me blogging about making an orange squash using Thermione and then making a sort of marmalade-y spread with the residue (also in Thermione).  Well, I have discovered that there is very little tastier than a couple of slices of toasted Hollywood bloomer with butter and this orange spread (must think of a name for it) - it is just gorgeous!    In fact, just writing about it forced me (yes it did!) to go into the kitchen and make some (I hadn't had any lunch, I hasten to add).  It's best to use older Hollywood bloomer bread - it doesn't toast all that well when fresh but what I used today is a week old and it's still delicious.  So not only is is frugal and delicious and home made, it also lasts and lasts.  What more can one ask for?

Just to cheer us up, it may have been snowing outside on Thursday but it was spring on my kitchen window ledge (apologies for the label showing).

Saturday morning

Good morning, gentle readers.  Welcome to a sunny but very frosty Saturday morning.  I can see that where the sun has shone direct, the frost has melted, so here's hoping it will be a gloriously sunny and increasingly mild day today.  Sadly, it won't be warm enough to sit outside, but never mind.  That time will come.

As is so often the case, yesterday was lovely.  Matt came and sorted out the hot water.  It was actually the boiler control that had gone and needed replacing.  Now I am looking forward to a piping hot bath with enough hot water to top up again when it gets cooler.  Lovely!  If you live local to me, Matt Hickey is the man for your central heating/boiler jobs.  He's a star!

When N came round I served up chicken balti, a sort of pork, apricot and veg korma, lentil dhal, basmati rice and some mini naan.  I did find a flatbread recipe and had a go in the morning  it was most successful but I decided that I wouldn't have time just before the meal and they are definitely nicer fresh.  Something to do again though, as it was dead easy, Thermione did all the kneading using the bread function and I picked up a cute way of rolling out the dough that made for a great texture.
I wanted to show you the video clip but, typically, I can't find it now.  It involved rolling out a disc of the dough until it is very thin, brushing it over with melted butter and sprinkling flour over, rolling it up into a long, thin sausage, then rolling the sausage shape into a spiral, tucking the outside end under the neaten, then rolling it all out into a very thin round again.  Neat!

The meal went well, N seemed to like it all - she had seconds so it can't have been too bad, and I have plenty for today and for the freezer.  What's not to like?  Now I look forward to Monday and lasagne day!  Yay!

Now I need to sort out the kitchen.  I left it in a right mess yesterday evening.

Friday, 5 April 2013


Good morning!  It's still jolly cold here.  Yesterday it snowed or, just occasionally, sleeted virtually all day.  It wasn't cold enough to settle, of course, so everything stayed dark, dull and soaking wet.  Then, at some point in the late afternoon, it all cleared up and we had a beautiful sunset.  Yes, we saw the sun and very cheering it was too!

Nothing very exciting happened until the evening when I met up with L and J at our favourite watering hole, the Hare at Roxwell.  It's a while since we last met so we had a lot of catching up to do and news to share.  A lovely evening even though my voice kept going.  I didn't talk at all during the day yesterday, being on my own all day, so it was a bit of a shock when I tried to sing as I was getting ready to pick J up and out came a Pingu-like honk!  It's not much better right now but I'm sure it will improve during the day.

Today Matt is coming to repair the hot water (hopefully).  For a while I've been heating my water on immersion but I'm hoping that tomorrow's bath water will be just that bit hotter and more of it!  I must remember to book him for a full heating service some time over half term or the summer.  I didn't ask him last year.

This evening I have a friend coming round for a meal and a chat and I must get the last bits of that sorted.  I've decided to have nibbles when she arrives and then I've done three curries - a chicken balti, a pork and apricot korma and a lentil dhal.  With rice and some sort of flatbread, that should fill us up nicely.  I was going to make mango sorbet for dessert but I don't think I will have the time now, so I will probably cave in and buy something.

That's about it for today.  Must look for a flatbread recipe!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

I take it all back

It IS snowing here and has been all morning.  Not the sort of snow that settles but there's been some heavy flurries.  Anywhere higher then here is likely to have some lying, I should think.  April - it's April!  Where's the sun and the soft mildness?
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr . . .


It's Thursday already!  Nearly a week of holiday and what have I done in the way of sorting out, clearing up. etc?  Not a lot, that's what.  Today is the day this changes.  I have nothing on, nothing social planned except for going out for dinner this evening with J and L to the Hare, so I don't even have to cook dinner, yay!!!  I wonder how far round the house I can get before I become fed up and stop.

Yesterday I read (on Facebook so it HAS to be correct, right???) that it was going to snow today.  So - where is it?  No snow here as far as I can tell.  How very boring.

Yesterday Alex and I went out to pick up his laptop, go to Hobbycraft (I was very good, only bought  the two cards of little buttons I needed), Boots (for hearing aid batteries) and finally we had lunch at Pizza Hut.  We got there early and it was just as well because by the time we left it was heaving!

A friend posted a recipe on Facebook (where else?) for a Muffin in a Mug and I think I'm going to try it.  It's a microwave thing and takers about 90 seconds to cook.  I'm not sure about this but need to try it before making any judgements!  So that's breakfast.  Lunch will probably be part of the chicken balti I am making for dinner with a friend tomorrow, just a snack sized portion, and dinner is at the Hare so that's today easily sorted.  I wish it was always quite as simple as that.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


I had a very uncomfortable, spluttery awakening today, thanks to this cold.  I've taken a good swig of the appropriate cough stuff which, hopefully, will loosen things up properly and am drowning my sorrows in a nice mug of coffee.  I have to be very unwell for coffee not to work its magic!

It's jolly cold outside again.  When are we going to warm up a little bit, I wonder?  Frost after frost after frost and I gather that some places are still getting snow judging by comments made on Facebook.  The sun is shining beautifully at the moment but there's no warmth in it.

Yesterday was fun.  I discovered that I didn't have enough salmon in the freezer, one measly little fillet not being enough, so we went to Morrisons where I chose one fillet and invited Alex to choose the other.  Instead of the salmon I was after he chose a whiting fillet which surprised me (and wasn't what I meant)  but why not?  The one he chose was large enough to cut into two and he had the other bit egg and breadcrumbed and fried for tea with some oven chips - something he thoroughly enjoyed.

There's no getting away from it - Alex does love cooking.  Writing out the recipe worked a treat, he made the crumble topping by himself and I was very much relegated to general dogsbody while he made the bottom.  I made the cheese sauce early morning but he insisted that I teach him how to do that some time in the near future.

And it tasted wonderful.  Absolutely delicious.  Well done, Alex.

Today we are off out to a retail park to pick up Al's laptop, buy some buttons from Hobbycraft and have lunch at the Pizza Hut after which Beth will arrive and take Alex off home again.  I've enjoyed having him around - he's a lovely lad and the generally recognised and less desirable teenage 'qualities' don't last very long with Alex.  His highly developed conscience won't allow them to.

I've enjoyed myself, these last few days!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Good morning, everyone.  It's gone back to cold and below zero this morning with another frost.  The sun is making up for the cold though and it all looks beautiful.

Alex duly arrived yesterday morning.  It's a home-from-home here.  In fact, here was his home as a baby.  As a result, he needs no settling in whatsoever, just makes himself right at home.  Usually this takes the form of checking out the goodies in the kitchen and yesterday was no exception.  By the end of the day, the cake was a few slices down and the flapjacks were half of their original number.  He likes flapjacks!
I've posted the link and an adapted Thermione recipe in TsRs, if you're interested.

In the afternoon I gave him a cookery lesson - how to make savoury mince.  It was interesting - school food technology shone through as he informed me that we had just a certain time to make this, stating when it would definitely start and definitely finish (timetabling demands, I guess).  It took a while to persuade him that home cooking was different and that this particular recipe was better cooked longer.
We looked at the ingredients and he informed me that the yellow pepper was definitely NOT going in.  We also decided that the mushrooms looked a bit too old and manky for comfort so they went in the bin.  And then we started.
He managed very well although his stirring technique could be refined somewhat!  I managed to persuade him that a handful of red lentils would be a Good Thing which was a triumph as he insisted that he didn't like lentils and only relented when I pointed out that he loves my savoury mince and I always put lentils in.  He also coped with the concept of 'a little and taste' and that there can be variables in cookery.

I've learnt too.  This morning we are making savoury fish crumble (Alex's request) and I think I need to write everything down for him to follow.  It will probably be easier for him written down - worth a try anyway.  If it works I will write yesterday's recipe down too for him to take away.

I've just remembered  - must get the salmon out of the freezer!

Monday, 1 April 2013


. . . and a very happy April Fools Day to all my readers.  May you not get caught out too many times.

While I was checking the spam comments to delete any that had arrived, one caught my eye - someone offering to help me arrange my wedding in Delhi.  Er . . . not today, thanks!  Do people really respond to spam like this?  Is it really worth the trouble?  I suppose it must be or they wouldn't do it.

Anyway, on to more pleasant things.  Yesterday was great.  i made Mary Berry's Victoria sponge recipe, adapted for Thermione, and it came out beautifully.  I made a flapjack recipe, also adapted, and that worked very well too.  I made some more Hollywood bread - two mini-bloomers this time - and while the shape wasn't particularly great the flavour and texture was wonderful - and I made up a plum sauce for my lamb, using the leftovers from the Autumnal spiced plums recipe I made last week and this last is the one I've chosen to post on TsRs today.  It was really tasty, I thought, so worth sharing.  With the bread, the cake, the flapjacks and sundry chocolate based ovoid things hanging around, Alex won't go hungry during his few days with me.

I've also been knitting.  It makes a change from the crochet and it's for a new born (to come) so is very quick to make.  I'm on the second sleeve band now and then just have the button and button hole bands to make before I go out on a button hunt (could that possibly be to Hobbycraft, one of my all time favourite places?  Yes, perhaps it could!).

The bed cover is coming along but I'm at the stage where it never seems to grow any bigger!  Anyone undertaking a big project like this will know what I mean.  Here's a photo although the colours are not good. the pinks are too pink and stand out more than they do  really.

And now I'm off into the kitchen to get breakfast, tidy the place up and generally get ready for Alex's arrival!  Fun times.