Sunday 31 July 2011


Yesterday was a lovely day, punctuated by paracetamol as the tooth made its presence felt every four hours. It was fine overnight and is fine now, so maybe it's all calmed down again. Long may that continue.

OK, yesterday. It was a very lazy day for most of the time with a mad panic to get ready at about two o'clock. DD and I went round to an open house with Sharon Blackman, who is a local textile artist. She creates some lovely pictures with vintage fabrics, applique, patchwork and quilting and then turns her creations into photo cards. DD and I could have spent at least double what we did spent on cards, an original textile picture which will be a present for someone special, some egg cosies, etc . . .and she gave us a fabric bag to put all our purchases in, saying that she had at least fifty of these bags. Now, given that the bag had one of her originals stitched on, I felt quite bad about taking it away without paying but Sharon wouldn't hear of it. I can see that the bag itself took minimal work, but the applique didn't! We felt such generosity deserved something back so we bought a whole lot more of her cards!!!

Later on, after a cuppa and a chat, DG and DS came in. They had both been to London to ride on the tube (something DG loves) and to visit the science museum. You could tell that the whole trip had been an outstanding success and DG was laden with bits and bobs bought through the day. Several interesting things from the Science Museum, two London T shirts, candy canes, and several things he refused to show us (presents, I gather). So what with lunch at Liverpool Street Station and various other snacks along the way, it was a jolly good experience, although I think DS was longing to get home for a cold beer and a rest!

I hope today is as good in its own way.

Saturday 30 July 2011


Would you believe I didn't get downstairs this morning until 8:15. Not that I was asleep before then, dear me, no, but I was reading and relaxing and very nice it was too. And two hours later I am still reading and relaxing. Being off school does make a huge difference to the weekends which can be quite fraught in term time. At present I don't have to be ready until about 2:30 and at this pace I won't be!
Wish the sun would shine though!

Friday 29 July 2011


The end of the first week of the holidays is in sight and what have I achieved? I feel less tired, that's for sure, although I do tend to fall asleep when I sit down for more than ten minutes. I've read a good book. I've made plum jam and peanut butter cookies. I've . . . er . . . bought a new bin! That's about it really but do I care? Not one bit.

Plum jam is so jolly easy to make. I always stew the plums with the stones and then remove the stones before adding the sugar. I think you get a better set that way. Mind you - maybe I got too good a set - the results of yesterday's efforts are more like a plum cheese, quite solid.
Yesterday Stacey suggested that plum and mulled wine jam is rather delicious so I've found a recipe and am going to have a go when the next lot of plums are ready foir picking at Lathcoats Farm.

It tastes jolly good though. Breakfast this morning is croissants with two plum jams. The croissants are heating as I type.

As for today - more of the usual with some serious 'thinking' for a blog friend who is going through a very rough time at the moment.

Thursday 28 July 2011


Last night was very enjoyable. Eight of us who have all worked well together in year 1 this last school year had an evening together at Prezzo. The food was yummy: I had a shared starter of ciabatta with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with marinated olives followed by a tre gusti (I think that's what it was called) pizza, finished off with raspberry sorbet (very refreshing) and a jolly good cup of coffee. And several glasses of wine, of course. Lots of chat and lots of laughter. Thanks, everyone, it was a great evening.

Yesterday I got an email from DS. His partner and mum had picked a whole load of plums and now A wasn't sure she'd have enough jars for the jam, did I have any? As it happened I did (not the pressy jars either) so I took them round for her to pick from and, in return, received some plums. Yes, she really did have rather a lot! So now I have some plums simmering on the hob and once they are soft I will pick out all the stones (as many as I can anyway) and this afternoon I will jam the resulting fruity goo. Plum jam is delicious! Free plum jam (apart from the sugar) is even better.

This morning is taken up with looking after DG so that should be fun. And there's always the housework! Never ending.

Photo: as yesterday's.

Wednesday 27 July 2011


I must have very tough gnashers. After not visiting my nice, friendly (cough, cough) dental practice for more years than I care to say, the only work needing doing is to the tooth that has forced me along there at long last. And that's a filling. More than I deserve and that's a fact!

It shows how long since I went. It was all different. For a start, everything is on computer instead of in cardboard folders. The x rays are instant and you don't get this menacing thing slowly circulating around your head while you try your best to keep your head still aided by a cold, metal clamp, reminiscent of portrait photography technique in the Victorian era. There's an automatic door that glides soundlessly open as you approach. They've converted the garden into a proper car park - not that it helped, I still needed to go up to Tesco and park there, but it shows willing, doesn't it! Best of all, it doesn't smell of dentist, not in the least bit. Amazing.

It doesn't mean I liked it any better, but the changes are good! And yes, I did appease my conscience with some Tesco shopping before I came home. And I can have my night out without worrying about where not to bite. Yay!

Wednesday morning

I hate toothache.
I hate people messing about with my teeth.
I HATE dentists.
Well, maybe not the last, but if I could get out of today's visit I would. Serves me right, I should have got it seen to yonks ago and didn't. The day will brighten up after about 12:30, I hope. And going out for a meal this evening is good, whether I can eat much or not!

Photos are from a parental garden.

Tuesday 26 July 2011


So sorry about yesterday's post. I was staying with my parents for a few days and I just couldn't send the blog I wrote. Very, very odd as I've posted from there before. Anyway, I've just sent it.

Last night was great. I don't know if you read the books of ex-teacher and inspector, Gervase Phynn. I've been an avid reader of his books for a while now. Last night I went with my parents to 'An Evening with Gervase Phynn' at the Spirella Ballroom, Letchworth, and we had a whale of a time. He's a very funny man, a good clear speaker and kept his audience in fits of laughter. It was all to publicise (and sell, of course) his new book which is fiction this time. Mum bought the book for me and the author signed it. Thanks so much, Mum, very kind of you.

Before then we did go to Boundary Mill and I did get my bin, but not the other things I was looking for. Never mind, a shopping outing with Mum is never to be sneezed at.

And now I am home again. Dental appointment tomorrow so the nerves are jangling as forcefully as the tooth - I HATE dentistry. Thank goodness I have a new book to take my mind off it.

Monday 25 July 2011

Monday morning

It may be the first day of the holidays but I was still awake at four thirty and still feel tired, even after a good night's sleep.

Today I plan to whizz up north to Boundary Mill with three things in mind - a nice rubbish bin for the kitchen, a good preserving pan and a large plant pot for the garden. Fingers crossed.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Saturday morning

After waking at three thirty this morning and after a drink of water and the remains of last night's pizza, I managed to get back to sleep. Perfect! Waking again at six felt like a lie in.

Today is going to be busy on and off. I am half way through using up some plums to make greengage jam: not an awful lot of jam but plums make jam easily. I have two rooms and a chore on my list - the kitchen, the living room and the washing! They all have to be done so no excuses.

The first day of the holiday isn't until Monday anyway!

Friday 22 July 2011

Friday evening

No more sleeps, no more days. The school year has ended.

And what a bitter sweet day it has been too. So many hugs, so many kind words spoken, so many tears.

'My' parents have been eavesdropping in here, I think. They gave me some lovely presents related to my culinary interests - a baking stone (something I wanted so much and decided not to get as it was pretty dear), a super jam making spoon with a hook to hasten it to the side of the pan when not in use, jam jars and lids, lovely paper lid covers, a book of recipes, plus so many other thoughtful, kindly gifts. And then there were the cards - cards with such wonderful messages that reduced me to tears more than once. Cards from each of my table groups, with a photo on the front and pictures inside. Cards with words of appreciation from parents and from children.

And then there was the album with pictures drawn by the children and words written by them. Something I will treasure for a long time to come.



One more day, no more sleeps. In ten hours' time the school year will have ended, the children will have gone home and it will be the start of a long break. Yes, there will be work to do, yes, I will go into school, but it's different and a change is as good as a rest (not necessarily always true but this time it is)!

Yesterday was an odd day. I think it was the weather that made it feel strange. Very humid, very damp, very dull and overcast, threatening to rain on and off all through the day with big drops falling but never amounting to anything. No assembly (always makes for a long day), a changeover in the afternoon (the teachers who are moving classrooms did so while the rest of us had their children). One of my littlies brought in a lovely present of a wonderful card, a necklace of which style I have long coveted and a pot of his home made strawberry jam, which gift cause both laughter and tears as I gave his mum exactly the same kind of jam made with fruit picked on the same farm as a thank you - even the label and the lid cover were exactly the same. A couple of other littlies had made cookies for everyone and jolly nice they were too, absolutely delicious. Mrs L (Just Jules - see her page on Facebook) had made the most glorious cupcakes for me and my team - chocolate heaven.

And a farewell lunchtime buffet for an LSA who has been with us as long as I have really. Her oldest is the same age as my youngest. We've worked together on many an occasion and I am very sorry to see her go. All the very best, C, in your retirement. I will miss you.

So on to today. Video, play with school things, play with toy brought from home, choccies in the afternoon, tidy up, final hugs . . .
Better take some extra tissues into school.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Thursday morning

Two more days, one more sleep.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

How did that happen?

While I wasn't looking, one of the cosmos decided to grow up and start flowering. So pretty!

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Later on Tuesday evening

Three blogs in one day. You can tell things are looking up, can't you?

Open evening this evening. Lots of children proudly showing their grownups lots of year 1 work. Lots of future year 1 children proudly showing their grownups where they will put their book bag, their PE bag, etc.

I'm shattered now, but it has been a lovely evening.

Tuesday evening

. . . late afternoon anyway.

Yesterday the Juniors gave a performance of their show to the Infants. It was a bit modified and come and go because our hall isn't really big enough to seat all the children with any comfort, let alone have a stage area too, so year 6 and one year 5 class stayed in and led the singing and the other junior classes came to do their dance and then went again. You know, they were brilliant. Because they were relaxed, the acting and singing were super and those little Infant children sat engrossed for nearly an hour and a half and not one asked to go to the toilet. Now that's a sure fire indication of a great show.

So today, when G brought in her DVD of the Wizard of Oz, they were all thrilled when I put it on instead of story time. There was just enough time to watch up to where the house lands in Munchkinland and when I turned it off there were wails of dismay.

Guess what we're doing tomorrow! :0)

Tuesday morning

Today I woke up feeling energetic. More energetic, anyway. Today is PPA and coordinator time and then a music concert in the afternoon.

For years and years now I have organised these concerts - indeed, I started them in the first place countless years ago - and great fun they have been too, but hard work. For the last few years, since handing over my music coordinating responsibility to S, it's one thing I was not sorry about handing on and I have been able to enjoy the concert much more since becoming 'merely' a part of the audience.

Yesterday I spent some time with my new 'littlies'. It's going to be good next year, I think.

Monday 18 July 2011

Monday evening

Yesterday was a very peculiar day. Apart from the ongoing feeling not so good which was strong enough to make me cancel DD and DG's Sunday visit, I had another disaster with the blueberry jam. This time I cooked the berries first, then pushed them through the mouli, measured the results, added sugar and boiled to setting point. I got the preheated jars out of the oven, poured in the hot jam and - both jars cracked. BOTH!!! You know why? Because they were too hot. My fault - I had heated up the oven to cook some bread and forgot that the jars should not be so hot. A great shame because the jam tasted wonderful but it all had to go. I can't risk splinters of glass. And they were just the right size too, so I'm cheesed off. Luckily, the jars were both in a roasting dish so the mess was contained.

Third time lucky. Next weekend. Maybe.

Sunday 17 July 2011

Sunday morning

It was a funny old day yesterday. I slept quite a lot (good), watched rubbish telly (not so good), messed about in the kitchen (now very untidy again) and generally wasted the day away.

I made blueberry jam. Not terribly successful. I'm going to have another go and do it properly this time. Maybe it's a sign of how tired I am that I forgot to stew the fruit first to soften it. Ho hum. As blueberries are very 'seedy', I think I will push the stewed fruit through my mouli thing before adding the sugar, etc. Luckily I only used a small amount of the fruit I have in the freezer.

I had a go at making potato bread, using instant mash (sorry, purists). The dough was extremely soft but the results were quite delicious and I will certainly have another go at some point, to see if I can create a workable recipe.

And now I'm off to bed because sleep is catching up with me again. I hope I feel more with it again tomorrow - I'm playing the WoOz again tomorrow when the juniors perform it all to key stage 1. At least I will be playing a piano this time (I sincerely hope). And I must get some planning done today too! :0)

Saturday 16 July 2011

Saturday snapshots

Lovely lupins.Male courgette, female fruit. Close-ups of a beautiful bouquet.

It's now raining but I managed to get these snaps done just before it started. No fruit picking today, but I did buy some frozen blueberries from Lathcoat's Farm Shop last weekend and am going to look for a jam/jelly recipe that I can use. Blueberry jam - it sounds nice, doesn't it? It will make lovely presents.

I've decided to have a 'sleep as much as I can' day - which, knowing me, will mean I'll get all the housework done!! My plans always go awry; I'm so easily distracted into other things.

Friday 15 July 2011

Friday evening

The SENCO conference was really good. A super seminar on finger gym with take away info that's going to be jolly useful, quite a good one on listening and attention activities, a nice lunch and several acquaintances there to chat to. Unfortunately I was feeling quite rough and came home early afternoon. No Chinese and chat for me, sadly, but I hope they're all having a good time and have drunk a wee toast to me.

I'm not sure what's wrong. All hotty-cold, terribly tired still and my upper back is aching quite badly. I think it's just an extreme case of end of year-itis, to be honest. I'm going to sleep in the guest room - the beds in there are 'softer' and I think I will be more comfortable, feeling as I do right now.

Sleep well.

Friday morning

Apologies for yesterday's missing entry. It was a bad day. Tired, feeling rather yucky, drained, empty, no inner resources whatsoever - and a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk to put on. We got there, eventually, and it was good - the children were very pleased with themselves and that's the main thing. When we reviewed it afterwards, the thing that went the best was 'all of it' and the suggested improvement was - to put it on again for our Christmas Show!!! Er . . .

And then it was home to flake out on my reclining chair, doze on and off through the evening, get to bed early and sleep all night. Today I am at the SENCO conference all day. No opportunities for snoozing but, hopefully, it will be interesting.

Then tonight it's our Chinese and chat. I meant to get the food order in yesterday evening but didn't, so that's got to be done at five o'clock this evening or we will all go hungry.

That's it, really. I'm a bit short on words and long on yawns!

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Wednesday morning

After last night's success, I think we all must have slept a lot better through the night. I know I did, thank goodness. The worst happened and I totally lost my place at one point, but it wasn't a disaster, people very kindly said they didn't notice (yeah, sure!) and all in all I played more notes in the right order that in the wrong order.

There's still some pressures to come. Another show, two performances of Jack and the Beanstalk (today and tomorrow) and an Investors in People interview today. That's what I'm most worried about - imagine being the person who made the comment that looses the school its I in P award. Eeeek. On the plus side, there's no staff meeting after school today and once tomorrow is over, that's it!! I'm out on a SENCO conference on Friday and there's a social get-together in the evening.

Saturday is crash out day! It has to be, I can't keep this up much longer. :0)

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Tuesday evening

I'm just home and relaxing after the first performance of the Wizard of Oz and would just like to put it on record that I am very, very proud indeed to have been able to be a part of such a wonderful show. Well done KS2 teachers, well done other adult helpers, and most of all . . .


I'm very excited that there is another performance tomorrow. Tonight has been great!

Tuesday morning - added comment

I know I shouldn't have but it looks so gorgeous I couldn't resist. I tried the strawberry cordial yesterday evening and it's absolutely gorgeous - utterly yummy.
I think I must go back and pick more berries so I can crush them and freeze them in order to be able to make this drink all the year round. I think I'm addicted!

I can 'officially' taste it on Thursday, after it's steeped for four days!

Tuesday morning

Nine days to go.
Wizard of Oz tonight and tomorrow night
Investors in people tomorrow (must do the homework)
Junior sports day this morning (so goodness knows when we will get our playtime)
Jack and the Beanstalk tomorrow and Thursday - eeeeek.

More or less nothing at all on Friday (I hope)

That's it really. It's a bit of a heavy week and I think everyone will be bone weary by the weekend, but there's an end in sight and things are going well. The report feedback forms are coming in and there are some lovely comments which is very cheering. The dress rehearsal of the WoZ down at the secondary school whose hall we use went really very well indeed. The Jack and the Beanstalk rehearsals also went better that expected (can't say it's good yet, just better than it was!).

We're getting there! Slowly.

Monday 11 July 2011

Monday morning

And back to school I go - will go, I mean. Ten days. I woke early but didn't want to, if you know what I mean. I couldn't get back to sleep but, at the same time, wasn't ready to get up and doing. I suspect that today will be wearisome in the extreme.

Photo: this cheered me up - it's about 4cm in diameter and growing!

Sunday 10 July 2011

Sunday morning

After yesterday's fruit heaven I am hoping today will be more of the same. At the moment the strawberries, which have been standing overnight in the jam sugar and lemon juice, are slowly heating to dissolve the sugar before I start boiling them up. It's going to have to be in two batches as the pan I use is lovely but not large enough and anyway strawberries are better done in smaller amounts to make reaching setting point easier.

Today I'd like to make some strawberry cordial from a recipe that I found here. It looks lovely, doesn't it? I have the citric acid, but must remember to get some more as I need it to make my home made lemon squash which is very refreshing on those hot days.

Well, the jam much be well on its way by now and I must be in the kitchen so I'd better stop rambling and go! Have a happy day, everyone.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Saturday evening

I had some very worthy plans this morning, didn't I? Plans involving school work, music practice and housework. Well, I am glad to day I did none of that! Not my fault, blame DD.

You see, she DID want to come fruit picking and what's more, she remembered that we had said she would than come back to mine and we would sort out the fruit, do some jamming,etc, and generally have a most industrious time while DG entertained himself.

In for a penny, in for a pound. Not only did we pick loads of strawberries, we also picked raspberries and then some gooseberries and Lathcoats Farm. Then we went into the farm shop and had a good trawl round. Back home, we had lunch and then set to. The net result so far is:
Three bottles of strawberry gin
Six pots of seedless raspberry jam
loads of individually frozen strawberries, nearly ready to be bagged
Nearly 2k of strawberries mixed with jam sugar and lemon juice, ready for jamming tomorrow morning
Some gooseberries open freezing as I type
Gooseberries simmering away to soften the skins, etc, preliminary to making jam either tonight or, more likely, tomorrow.

While trawling through the Internet, I found a likely looking recipe for strawberry cordial so guess what - I'm going a-picking again tomorrow, weather permitting. It looks dead easy, is a similar method to the home made lemon cordial I make that is so delicious, and it keeps in the fridge for up to six months. That's my kind of cordial!

What a fantastic day! I wish, oh, how I wish I could do this sort of thing for a living.

Garden update

I've always been intrigued by the inside of a sunflower. It's fascinating.

Here comes the Sunday dinner. :0)

And the lupins will be looking most attractive soon. Must put down some more slug pellets though - some of the leaves have been nibbled to bits in the rain.

And looky look look! Baby plum tomatoes (putting 'tomato food' on the shopping list).

It's quite a pleasant view from the french windows right now.

Saturday morning

Yes, Junior Sports Day was indeed cancelled. 'Luckily' the decision was made quite early due to the condition of the school field, so K was able to get a message out on Parentmail which cut the number of enquiries down considerably. It's such a shame because days are pretty heavily booked from now until the end of the school year and with the uncertainty of the weather, no-one knows whether they will now be able to hold it at all. Certainly, if they do, it will be an impromptu decision and many parents will not be able to attend.

So another working week draws to an end. Ten teaching days to go. I have to go into school today though. I was very busy yesterday sorting out paperwork and the limited space meant that I couldn't spread as I needed to. Also I have to practice. I gather that the piano in the secondary hall we are using for the W of O is terrible, so we are taking the school clavinova,which is fine but plays differently to a proper piano! Never mind, these things are just sent to try us, aren't they? And by 8:30 on Wednesday evening it will all be over anyway!

As for today, well, I had made a tentative arrangement with DD to go strawberry picking this morning but I'm not sure she will be coming. We will see - if the weather is bad then I won't go anyway. I have a lot of house stuff to do and, of course, the work in school too. I want to get my records all up to date too, and that also involves spreading stuff lavishly over a wide space!

The garden is still growing well - including the weeds. I think that has to be G's job today - attacking those weeds! Looking from a distance, it all looks very nice: close up is a different tale.
As for the house - say no more!!!!!

Friday 8 July 2011

Friday morning

. . . and I was right, Junior Sports Day was well and truly postponed. The back up day is this afternoon but whether it will happen is very much in doubt as the forecast is still not good. My goodness it poured at times yesterday afternoon. The worst was about fifteen minutes after the children were 'released' so most would be on their way home and would have been absolutely drenched - the soaked through to the skin variety of drenched, poor things. The mums who had remained behind having a natter all made a beeline for the school again so we had mums and kids dripping off in each classroom too. At the moment it is overcast and looks as if it has only just stopped raining for a short while, everything is dripping and there's certainly no need to water my pots this morning.
I wonder how many phone calls K (school secretary) will have this morning asking if sports day is still on. Yesterday the earliest was at about quarter past eight. How on earth can she tell at that time, unless it's been raining solidly for ages, in which case ones own common sense should know . . .

Yesterday was the observation of my literacy lesson and I am very glad to have that behind me now. It was OK, I think.

Now there's just two shows and an interview to look forward to before I can properly relax and take life easier. And with at least two socials in the offing, things are definitely looking up!

Thursday 7 July 2011

Thursday morning

. . . and, oh, dear, it's raining. You think I'd be pleased for the garden and I am really, but today is supposed to be junior sports day and the weather signs are not good at present. For the last two years the Infants have been plagued with poor weather for sports day. Two years ago we had to reschedule twice. The juniors, of course, had glorious weather just a few days later. This year the tables have turned - the Infants had a wonderful afternoon and the juniors . . . well, it may clear up, but too much rain makes it not so safe on the field. Fingers crossed for them.

Just when I thought it was safe to start relaxing I find that I am on the list to be interviewed as part of our Investors in People update. Eeeek. That's next Thursday so those of us on the rather lengthy list have lots of time to get stressed and make sure we know absolutely everything about the school, just in case we get asked.

And today I am being observed. Oh, joy, oh, bliss! Could life hold any more?

At least the fuchsias are looking pretty!

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Wednesday morning

It's a beautiful morning too. Sunny with a fresh breeze and no need to water the pots as we had a good dose of rain yesterday evening. It was cool overnight and I slept like a log, observation tomorrow to the contrary notwithstanding!

What's on today? Well, a full rehearsal of WoZ to start with. Staff meeting after school. That's it really, apart from the usual stuff. Just an ordinary day, hopefully. Life is closing down at the moment with the end of the school year. Everyone is slowing down. The reports are done, the assessments and levelling completed, the individual files are sorted, the unaided writing folders complete . . .

Roll on the holidays when life can begin again!!

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Tuesday evening

Apologies for the lack of post this morning. I started doing the usual sleepless nights before an observation thing and spent much of Monday night wide awake, worrying. When I finally got to sleep the alarm woke me up rather than waking naturally and things were a rush. The observation, by the way, isn't till Thursday, so that's potentially two more nights of worry. I wish I didn't . . .

After a first run through of the W of O yesterday, today was a singing rehearsal and I have to say the singing is extremely good. I know that if I do go totally off beam next week, the singers will just keep on going. Very reassuring.

The rest of the day was normal stuff. PPA, coordinator time (very much needed) and with my class in the afternoon. Rehearsals are getting many and varied and I am very grateful to my KS2 colleagues who take my class while I am tickling the ivories. I think it's also good for my littlies who are proving themselves more than capable to coping with a variety of familiar adults teaching them.

Aned so things hot up towards the end of the school year! Thirteen more days to go. Where *has* this year gone to?

Monday 4 July 2011

Monday evening

. . . and I'm gradually relaxing after the last 'important' thing I have to organise this year. Infant Sports Day is over, done and dusted. The sun shone, the mums, dads, grannies, grandads and other adults came to cheer the children on and - well, I'm pleased. A very big thank you to all who helped to make the occasion a success.

We had the first complete run through of the W o O today too and it promises to be very, very good indeed. Of course, there's a lot to sort out still, but the bare bones are there and it will be great!

And I am absolutely worn out. I can't remember the last time I felt this exhausted. I dislike being out in the sun - always have done - and a couple of hours of it is just too much!! Shade is definitely cool in every sense of the word! I'm going to sleep extremely well tonight! I hope all my readers do too.

Sunday 3 July 2011

Sunday evening

. . . and the last of the strawberries have been dealt with. Two bottles of strawberry gin, a trayful of separate, hulled berries freezing as I type and a bowlful in the fridge for breakfasts and desserts for a few days.

Some of the jam will do as pressies for nice people at the end of term, the strawberry gin is for Christmas, providing I can keep my mitts off it for for long enough, the ice cream was much admired by my guests at lunch time (and there's still loads left) and the frozen berries will do for all sorts of things.

And DD, DG and I are going picking again next weekend for more of the same. So, you see, I simply HAVE to collect some more screw topped bottles before then! Can't disappoint the family after all.

Adding the above to the very much enjoyed visit of a very dear friend, it's been an all round good egg of a weekend. Thanks very much, A, you can come again seeing as you've been a Good Girl.
And now I have to create some labels for my culinary endeavours.

Sunday morning

It's a very sneezy morning too. I need to dig out the anti-h and take a tablet before it becomes overwhelming. Morrisons bog-standard 'non-drowsy hayfever and allergy relief. Tiny, easily swallowed tablets, working as well as any other kind I have used, a fortnight's supply in a pack and they were on BOGOF. What more could a sneezy snuffler ask for?

Yesterday evening A and I had salmon, broccoli and new potatoes from DD's allotment, just about the yummiest potatoes I have ever had. They were flavoursome and just the best. That was followed by the strawberry ice cream I made yesterday afternoon - just the bit that wouldn't fit in the larger container and, my word, it was the best! So here's the recipe. it makes loads and loads so half quantities might be the way to go. It's from a very, very old book, nearly thirty years old now and it's very easy. No faffing about with custards, etc. I used my ice cream maker so didn't need to do the beating after an hour bit.

Strawberry Ice cream

1 kg fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled
15ml lemon juice
450g icing sugar, sifted
600ml double or whipping cream

Liquidise the strawberries to a puree or rub through a nylon sieve with a wooden spoon.
Gradually add the icing sugar, stirring well between each addition.
Beat the cream until it forms soft peaks and fold into the strawberry mixture.
Then either:
Churn in ice cream maker until done, then pour into a suitable container and freeze well
Pour into a freezer container and freeze. Beat after one hour, then cover, seal and freeze.
It says 'serves six to eight'. More like twelve to fourteen!!!
I added chopped up bits of strawberry at the end, before placing in the freezer, and they ended up like strawberry ice chips. Next time I will puree them and 'ripple' them in.

The strawberry jam mixture is standing over a very low heat while the sugar dissolves. Shortly, I will need to sterilise the jars and start boiling it all up. Last time I made jam it got to setting point fairly quickly, so I want to be prepared! And later on it's ho! for Morrisons and some vodka to make the strawberry vodka. Yum yum yum, hic!

Have a great day, whatever you are planning.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Saturday lunchtime

Photos taken with my rather basic mobile, so not wonderful quality, sorry.

Went strawberry picking, then shopping and got the stuff needed to make strawberries and cream ice cream, strawberry jam and strawberry gin/vodka - except that I forgot the gin/vodka. Never mind, it will keep because I can freeze the berries and use them when I need to.

I'm just posting this to encourage any local readers to take a trip to Lathcoates Farm on Beehive Lane. It's lovely. As you can see from the photos, there's minimal bending (so very back-friendly) and there are SO many strawberries, especially if you take a gentle stroll up to the end of the field. I might go raspberry picking next - I saw some that people had just picked and were paying for and they looked absolutely delicious!

So the ice cream mixture is churning away at the moment - well, some of it is, because the recipe I used made rather more than I expected. I wasn't thinking! It's a recipe from a very old book and I made it decades ago and thought it was absolutely scrummy. If my memory is correct I will post the recipe because it's dead easy!

I'm just about to dig out the strawberry jam recipe and start that off. The best berries will be eaten fresh and the rest will be jammed or frozen until needed for whatever. I picked far too many, of course, but they won't go to waste!


Saturday morning

The bush that thinks it's a tree has definitely got ideas well above its station again. This year it's growing up again and also out. Way too big for the raised bed, unfortunately. I should have planted it in a large pot and if/when I get another one, that's what I will do. I think I will ask Dad to prune it back very, very severely this autumn. Maybe we were too kind last time. However, I suspect it's just growing in the way the Good Lord intended and there's not a lot I can do about it but to have it out and replace it with something just as interesting and attractive but less inclined to ambitious growth!
It's beautiful out there at the moment. The sun is shining, the air is still and there's the promise of a gorgeous day to come.

Yesterday was wearisome. Lots of bits and pieces and a feeling of running my fastest to stay where I was. Fortunately it brightened up after school when my friend arrived and by the time we'd polished off some fish and chips with a salad life was looking rosy. Then A spent the whole evening trying to configure something for me - thank you so much, A. Very much appreciated!

So now it's Saturday. George isn't coming which is kind of lucky because I want to go out! have a good day, G, whatever you're doing and if you can't make an evening, don't worry - next Saturday will be fine. I have to cut the 'lawn' at the front - the rain and the warmth has caused the grass to grow mightily and it's a mess (again) - but apart from that and a little hoeing, the rest can wait for George's ministrations next time!

The only decisions I have to make are ones like 'do I go fruit picking first and then on to Sainsbury's?' (yes) and 'what book will I read when I sit outside this afternoon' (t b d). I hope your day is as nice as mine promises to be.

Friday 1 July 2011

Friday morning

Beautiful but, as J warned me, becoming rather invasive. I will have to have some up and put them elsewhere - fortunately I have just the place for them where a bit of spreading won't matter in the least and some bright colour would be welcome..
The light isn't good, but these fuchsias are looking lovely.

Everything seems to be back to normal, Blogger-wise, now. I still have no idea what happened but accessing via Eric's blog seemed to work and whatever was 'broken' repaired itself. PCs do some extremely odd things at times, don't they?

So, it's Friday again. SEN day (hollow laugh). Junior show rehearsal day, more like! At least none of my long suffering junior colleagues have to take my class today as I already have my usual cover. Apart from rehearsals, I have high hopes of getting some very important paperwork done and dusted today. I have some filing, some copying, some checking and some more paperwork. Well, someone has to do it!!

And after all that I have a friend staying until Sunday. Sorry, A, the house is a state but the garden is nice! See photos at top!