Sunday 30 November 2014


And here we are at the last day before the Christmas month. It's damp and misty, gloomy but not raining.  Not cold, I think, but I gather it is going to get colder over the next few days.

The course on Friday was good.  very helpful, very interesting, with lots of material to take back and use.  Excellent!  When I got back I rushed over the road to get my lunch, had a meeting with 'the office' and then took my class for rather a pleasant games lesson.  The evening passed in a blur of tidying up and sleep.

Yesterday was great.  I'd had an 'extra clean' done on Friday as it was between my fortnightly usuals so there was no housework to do.  As soon as I had organised myself after my unexpected extra sleep, I whizzed down to Morrisons to get what I needed and then spent an hour opening packets and getting lunch sorted.  Into the oven went to potatoes for baking.  Upstairs went a few bits and bobs to get them out of the way and that was it.
We had a family get-together and it was all lovely and great fun.

The menu was, as you've probably gathered, very simple:
jacket potatoes
salad leaves with peppers and tomatoes
sliced ham
pork pie
grated cheese

cheese and crackers
melon slices, grapes and satsumas

You know what?  On the table, it didn't look all that much but, for once, I got it about right.  There were three jackets left, two for Beth to take and one for lunch today, some salad, some grated cheese and some fruit and really, that was about it.  I was really pleased.

Today is a working day.
The bread is on, the kitchen has been cleaned, I have a load of assessments to do plus some marking and, of course, the ever present planning.
Washing, drying and ironing are also on the list, I have to strip the sheets from the guest bedroom and wash them too.

Oh, it's all go here, I can tell you!!!

Saturday 29 November 2014

Saturday (evening)

Well, I woke up very early, I came down, I switched on the laptop, I sat down and wrapped my fleece around myself because it was chilly and . . . went to sleep.

When I woke, I had to get going as I've had a houseful of guests today.  it seems a bit daft to write my usual entry now as I will be doing one tomorrow morning so this is just to let you know I'm here and OK!

See you tomorrow.

Friday 28 November 2014


Good morning.

It'd mild and damp out there, but not raining, which is good to see.  I gather it is due to get chilly again next week:  I do like those frosty mornings so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

School is unrelentingly busy at the moment.  My head spins when I think of what needs doing and any home life is rapidly becoming a fond memory.  Fortunately, it is relatively short term.

I'm on a course this morning so must remember to look up my route.  Once I got lost getting to a course venue and since then I have been paranoid at knowing EXACTLY where to go.  Even old age isn't changing that one.

Ah, well, must go and get ready.  Sorry messages a quite short a lot of the time - or maybe it's a relief!  :-)

Thursday 27 November 2014


I was right - the day cleared up and although it was raining lightly when I went to school, by the time the children arrived it had stopped.  The day remained damp and gloomy but not wet.  We will see what today brings - I haven't looked yet.

I managed to take a photo of the crocheted slippers and here it is.  You can see that they are great for cosy toes and they stay on surprisingly well.  Please excuse the lumpy ankles!

I also took a photo of my 'country view'.  It was more frosty than it looks but aren't I lucky to see this view every day.  One of these years they will build on it, I am sure, but until then I will enjoy and appreciate my good fortune in living right on the edge of town.

Adding these photos made me realise that I haven't taken many photos for quite a while and I so used to enjoy my simple and extremely amateur photography.  I seem too busy at the moment for much 'hobby' stuff, but wait until retirement . . .
I remember one holiday in Norfolk I used to just drive around, stopping now and again where the spirit moved to take photos.  That would be fun to do again at some point.

I had the Infant show cast yesterday for a rehearsal in the performance space and really it went very well.  It's going to be fine, which is a great relief.
Mind you, I remember some years ago when the week before the show it snowed - and snowed - and snowed - and froze - and in the end we had to put the show back to the last week.  I doubt that will happen this year!
Producing the Christmas show is one of the delights of my role as KS coordinator, despite the anxiety and the time pressures.

This seems to have turned into a very nostalgic entry.   Never mind, a bit of nostalgia can be a Very Good Thing on occasion, especially when it is happy.  I've heard it said that they don't make nostalgia like they used to.  Never believe it!!!

Wednesday 26 November 2014


No frost this morning.  In fact, it is pouring with rain right now, although it is supposed to be clearing up before morning properly starts.  Fingers crossed because I have too much to do to have the classroom in use at playtimes.

Yesterday was back to back work all day.  Playtimes and lunchtimes were spent in rehearsals and I now feel a lot happier about it all.  We will get there!  It's always rather a panic at this stage and we always do get there eventually.

Today is another busy day but I do get a lunch break.  It's staff meeting after school so it is probably just as well!

Have a good day . . . and stay dry.

Tuesday 25 November 2014


Good morning and welcome to another chilly day.  Yesterday's early frost was very lovely and I have some photos of Jack Frost art on the car before I came over all vandalistic and scraped most of it away.  Today looks pretty icy too, from what I can see looking out of the window and I'm sitting here at the laptop with one fleece around my shoulders and another covering my legs.  Nice and cosy and reminds me of my chilly childhood.

I managed to make the bread sauce and the cranberry sauce after finding that Morrisons had some cranberries in (they didn't on Sunday) although I nearly killed the cranberries by leaving them to simmer for way too long before remembering and rescuing the mixture.  I got loads of turkey off the two parts of the leg and Beth's cat family is now enjoying the results.

One of the problems with Thermione is that if you don't remember to set her on reverse spin she pulverises stuff.  So, of course, I forgot and the peppercorns in the bread sauce were all smashed up.  I think I need to push the results through a sieve so that it's very smooth but 'bit' free.  Or make another batch, of course, but what a waste.

I finished the basic (very basic) slippers I was crocheting and you know that - they're really not that bad.  They're a sort of ballet shoe shape without the ribbon and blocking, of course, and quite warm and comfortable.

Back to school today.  Ho hum!

Monday 24 November 2014


Non-pupil day today so I am nice and relaxed.  The weather seems to have calmed down too: the rain and the wind have gone, to be replaced by a good frost that has painted swirly-curly patterns all over my car.  I wonder how long before the wet and mild weather returns.

Yesterday was good.  Beth and Al came over and we two ladies have started shopping together after lunch on Sunday.  Part of this is to get a £25 voucher to go towards the Christmas food costs and to get that one had to spend £40 for six weeks.  That might be a bit much for me on my own but with Beth included it's a much easier target.  Half way there and I will get another voucher today as I still have a load of things to get, some Christmassy and some normal stuff.

As well as that, they have started system whereby you get the money back if something you buy would cost less elsewhere - including Lidl and Aldi.  It comes back as points as a card and I already have enough points for a £5 voucher so that can't be bad.  I prefer doing it this way to getting a bit of paper with money off for your next shop as Sainsbury's does it.

The way this is all going, I shouldn't have to pay anything more for the Christmas fruit and veg!

While we were in Morrison's, we saw that they had turkey legs again so Beth got one.  She wants the meat for her cats and kittens and I will use the stock.  I roasted it yesterday and it's just warming up in the oven to soften the stock before stripping off the meat and boiling up the bones in the pressure cooker.

How often have I shopped in Morrisons?  Countless times, yet I have only just realised that they do the cans of Seville marmalade stuff - Ma Made.  Well, I need never run out of marmalade again now and the process is so easy peasy it takes half an hour from start to finish.  £1.99 plus four pounds of sugar and you have 12 or 13 small pots of really delicious marmalade with that home made flavour.  I read somewhere that someone used grapefruit juice as the liquid and it was really gorgeous and someone else added a star anise for a spicy tang.  I might do that one myself as I love star anise.

The pots of lemon marmalade I made are going down rapidly, ably assisted by Beth and Alex, while marmalade on toast has become my top breakfast for a while.  Mind you, with it being so cold, I think it is a day for breakfast porridge (with marmalade on top!).

Well, I need to get going.  I have turkey to deal with and I want to make the bread sauce for Christmas and get it into the freezer.  It's quite good to do it like that - I make it almost to serving point, just don't add the final butter and cream which will get added just before serving.  It will definitely be nutmeg flavoured, not clove flavoured, as that seems to be more favoured in my family.

Have a great day and stay warm.

Sunday 23 November 2014


Another very early start - four o'clock yet again.  I suppose I don't really mind: early mornings are lovely when all is calm and quiet and the rest of my world is still very much asleep.  I am at my best early morning and it is nice to start early and get all the chores done.
I've peeked out and received a faceful of raindrops so I guess today is going to be damp and dismal again.  Never mind, there's plenty to do inside and it does make me so grateful for four stout walls and a good roof.

It's strange how, when one doesn't have an agenda, one gets so much done.  Yesterday I didn't set any targets but made a double batch of bread, pigs in blankets and the Christmas roasties (now all in the freezer).  I'm going shopping today and once I have the flour, I will make a good loaf of wholemeal and that's the Christmas bread made.  By that I mean the bread for use when I have my Christmas guests.
I will also make some rolls and won't need to buy any other bread.

I want to look for some spicy Christmas bread recipes.  You know, sometimes I wonder how we ever managed before Google and other search engines came along.  It seems to have been around for ever but I clearly remember a staff meeting devoted to teaching us ignorant teachers how to 'search' using Jeeves and something oddly called 'Dogpile' (I suppose some lively young ICT nerd thought it was funny!).  I'm not sure Google had much a look in at that time and yet is is totally dominant for most of us now.

It's funny to think of it now but at the time we were often completely baffled.  Those who delivered training in using computers, etc, were (obviously) experts and whizzed along at a fair old lick, leaving most of us floundering in their wake.  Also, sometimes, the 'answer to all your problems' things they tried to teach us how to use very quickly died a death and were never seen again (something called 'Flippi' comes to mind here) so couldn't have been as early as amazing as they thought.

I'm getting on well with the scarf I'm knitting.  It's going to be lovely and cosy on those cold winter days I expect we will have this year.  On Facebook, someone posted a photo of some lovely crocheted slippers.  They're probably a bit beyond me - I'm more a knitter - but I looked up a simple pattern for crocheted slippers and am now struggling to follow the basic instructions.  I've started once and had too many stitches within two rounds so am having another go.  It's how you learn, isn't it, and once retired I shall have plenty of time to knit and crochet so lets get the basics understood and mastered.  It's always nice to have something to keep your toes toasty warm!

Today I am expecting B and A round for lunch so have got two different soups out of the freezer.  That will be nice with some fresh bread and some grated cheese on top.  I'm now making great inroads into the frozen soups and should have room to make some more soon.

And now I'm going to tackle that crochet pattern again.  I refuse to be beaten by something that calls itself 'basic'!  I might have some caffeine today to help it all along too!

Saturday 22 November 2014


What a shame I woke up at four.  A shame but hardly surprising considering I went to sleep in my lovely recliner at around quarter past seven, dragged myself up to bed at half past eight, when I temporarily surfaced, went straight to sleep again and slept more or less solidly through the night.  I reckon I had over eight and a half hours sleep.  Can't be bad

Yesterday was another good day.  The rain stayed off until after games where I used my new whistle to great effect.  I had a couple of useful meetings.  I got lots done.  I taught my class p.m. and it was Golden Time, games and Reading Partners which makes for a nice afternoon

A parcel arrived yesterday.  I almost always get parcel deliveries sent to school nowadays.  There's always 'someone in' during the day and after hours they will re-deliver without a fuss because it's a school.  When Mum and I went to Boundary Mill during half term, they had some white butter/terrine dishes, proper butter dishes that were a box with a lid style rather than a flat  base with a box lid.  I bought a titchy one for me and Mum bought two grown-up ones for her and Dad, the only two that were left on the shelf.  I ummed and ahed afterwards, did a search on the internet and finally found some that match my titchy baby one so must be more or less the same kind as the ones in the shop.  Anyway, they arrived yesterday so my butter will be posher now.  My current dishes are cheapos from Wilkinsons which are starting to look a bit weary and worn after several years' use.

I also managed to remember to order and download this year's Jacqui Lawson advent calender.  If you don't know them, please do go and take a look, they are beautiful.  Last year I had a great time with my year 1 class, opening it up every day and seeing what the day's activity or 'thing' was and I am sure this year will be just as much fun as her cards appeal to all ages.

I also sent them an interactive card each day leading up to Christmas via their learning platform mailbox, which got a lot of them into the habit of checking their mailbox each day.  That's on the list of Things To Do this weekend - get all the cards pre-ordered.

If you don't know about this wonderful card site, here's the address.  I pay an annual subscription which means that all the cards are free to use and it is a huge saving.
Disclaimer:  I haven't been asked or paid for these comments - they're just my own opinion and it's a very positive one.

Apart from ordering a card a day, I have no real plans for the day although I have to make some bread as I am right out.  I need to start making some to freeze for when I have Christmas visitors so I think it will be double dose today with both bowls in action!

Have a good 'un, everyone.

Friday 21 November 2014


Welcome to Friday!

That's what I often post on my interactive white board on the last day of the week.  Soon I shall be teaching regularly on a Friday again after a number of years with that being my SEN time.  It will feel off and nice at the same time.

Yesterday was Sort Out Our Show Dance day and I am pleased and to say that  collectively we have come up with something that both the children and I like a lot.  Originally I was going to use 'Happy' for the music but, not having heard it before (shocking, I know) I really couldn't see my way round it.  No clearly defined sections, all sounding the same, just a little too fast . . . no, it didn't work for me.  I ended up with a wonderful oldie, Bill Haley's Rock Around The Clock which the children absolutely LOVE and which is so easy to choreograph.  The sections are very clearly defined and I reckon they'll be singing along as they dance.  I just need to get more hip swing from them.

Mind you, after an hour in the hall, twisting and jiving away, my poor old knee was killing me!

In the evening I did something that will shock my culinary minded chums.  I had some turkey that needed using up plus some mixed veg.  I also had, in the cupboard, some extremely cheap value curry sauce that I bought during Live Below The Line just in case and never used.  I fried the mixed veg in butter, added the curry sauce, some scraps of dried apricots and some chestnut mushrooms, then the turkey, brought it up to a simmer and bubbled it away for about half an hour and you know what - it's really not that bad.  It is how I imagine chip shop curry sauce to taste like, not that I've ever had any, and there's flavour and a spicy tang to it.  I'm quite pleased it has made enough for three and a half!

Today is SEN day, as mentioned above but as well as that I have an exciting meeting which I may be able to talk about in the future and I have my class all afternoon.  Looking forward to it!

And then it is the weekend.

Thursday 20 November 2014


It's one of those nights where I wake at ridiculous-o'clock unable to get back to sleep.  I'm downstairs, eating some toast, having a warm drink and on the internet, hoping that sleep will be less elusive in a short time and I can complete my interrupted sleep.  I hope this doesn't last long . . .

Yesterday: busy, headache went in the morning, good PPA time, staff meeting OK with no more challenges, marking all done, rather good spontaneous extra lesson which worked out quite well.  One to feel satisfied with, I think - I hope, anyway.

Having a Kindle, I subscribe to a few 'free books' lists that require me to go onto Amazon and download.  Most on the list are (or look like, because I don't download them) absolute rubbish but some look reasonably OK.  Many are 'part one', in the hopes, I suppose, that one will want to buy the next book and then the next.  Sorry, I don't think so . . .  they don't catch me THAT much!

However, on Facebook, a friend recommended 'The English and their history'.  It certainly wasn't a freebie, far from it, although quite a bit cheaper on kindle than as a hard copy so I thought about my fairly healthy bank balance at the moment and dived in!  It's definitely my sort of book and I'm loving it.  It is scholarly but very readable and will keep me reading for quite a while.  What's not to like?  Thank you, R, for the recommendation.
There's rather a good review here while the Times calls it a 'pithy, punchy and learned history'.  What it is, I have found after a few chapters, is knowledgeable and immensely readable.  I've always loved the broad sweep of history as well as 'historical novels' and this is really pressing my buttons.

I do love my Kindle!

Wednesday 19 November 2014


The trouble with writing ones blog in the evening is that there's not a lot more to write about!  For professional reasons I can't go off on a rant about anything so it's all a bit boring and lacking in content.

Suffice it to say today is the day everything happens - Reading Revelry, violins, library (once a fortnight, not this week) and PPA in the afternoon.  And staff meeting in the evening.

I've woken up with rather a headache which I hope will go during the day but maybe it won't.  We shall see, won't we?

Have a good day.

Tuesday 18 November 2014


Sorry this is so late.  Things were a bit hectic this morning and I didn't have the time, hence a most unusual blog.  I'd have left it until tomorrow but a friend hasn't produced her blog this morning and I find myself worrying, so just in case anyone is concerned . . .

We're right in the middle of Infant Show rehearsals at the moment.  Learning songs, learning melodies, learning actions, learning lines, learning movements.  Oh, it's all go, believe me.

Work still continues.  It's amazing how we manage to continue our curriculum cover while producing a show.  It all causes a lot of wear and tear, of course, but you know what they say - the show must go on!!!

Marking calleth so I'd better sign off.  See you all tomorrow.

Monday 17 November 2014


Good morning, everyone.  It's a new week but the weather is far too old and predictable.  It's still raining out there as I discovered when I went out to get the soup for lunch from the freezer.  The forecast for the week isn't too bad but I think it is safe to say that playtime will be damp and soggy.

Yesterday was a good day.  I didn't do an awful lot but it was relaxing and restful.  I had a good chat with Beth over lunch about all sorts of things which helped to clear my mind.  I continued on with a scarf I am knitting, I did some washing, I read, watched telly, social networked and generally chilled out.

When I was in Poundland on Saturday I saw they had some yarn for sale, three balls for the price of two.  When you consider that each ball is just £1.00, that seems great value, so I stopped and investigated.The outcome was that I bought six balls (for £4.00) and am using it to knit a scarf and, possibly, a hat for the cold weather.  It is a dark blue with a metallic blue thread running through and it actually looks really nice.
I've 'invented' (not really, but I didn't look it up or anything) the pattern which is basically an over and under cable design and, to my delight, the 'wrong' side looks pretty good too, so that's a bonus.

I also managed to get from the same place the three prizes for the Christmas Tree decoration competition.  Just because I am in Y2 now, I don't see why it should stop.  Must remember to get the instructions out soon.

Better go and do some tidying up in the kitchen now.  Have a great day.

Sunday 16 November 2014


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's quite chilly out there this morning but looks quite dry so perhaps it will be a pleasant day.  Not that it matters as I plan a PJ day: I have no need to go out so I shall stay in, warm and cosy.

I made the lemon marmalade yesterday and I was very impressed.  It made 13 of the small-ish jars that I use, one of which I immediately gave away to my friend who came over for lunch and one of which I opened this morning to spread on my breakfast toast.  Very tasty.  It was dead easy to make and set quickly.

I semi roasted the turkey leg, leaving it on low while I went into town.  It's now waiting for me to get all the meat off and boil up those bones for more stock.

I rarely go into town.  It gets crowded and after a while my knee hurts.  I had to yesterday, to pay in a cheque and to get some things from Lakeland (foil and cling film).  I behaved myself and refused to be tempted by the Christmas displays that are going up everywhere.  Great self control

Once home, I had a quick tidy up (much needed) before J arrived and we had a good natter while eating lunch at the Hare.  Great fun.

Today B and A are round for lunch (I hope).  The bread dough is rising (I hope).  Should be good.

Saturday 15 November 2014


It's very stupid o'clock but here I am, awake and typing!  After a very long and quite hard week, ably assisted by a delicious take away Chinese and two somewhat larger-then-usual G&Ts, I fell asleep in my chair some time after seven, went up to bed, fell straight asleep there too and have had a good seven hours of sleep, I reckon.
I'll probably do my usual trick of  feeling sleepy and going back uip for another snooze in about an hour.  It's Saturday so it doesn't matter one little bit!

After the torrential rain early yesterday morning, it continued to rain on and off for much of the day,  However, as often happens, somehow the rain worked around playtimes and the children got out and about.  No games though:  it was just too wet and puddly for plimsolls.  In a way a blessing as I was able to catch up with a science lesson that there was no time for this week (until yesterday).

Today my friends leave very early.  They're hoping to get around the M25 before the traffic builds up.  It seems that parts of the M25 collapsed yesterday after torrential rain stopped repairs from setting properly so they will have to take the long way round (as will everyone else).

Then it will be the usual Saturday chores until another friend turns out and we are going out to the Hare together for lunch and a jolly good natter as I haven't seen her since the summer.

That's today, more or less.  Sounds good to me!

Later on but still early-ish!
Since having written the above at a most unearthly hour, I've had another sleep and remembered more!

Yesterday I bought a turkey leg.  Goodness, they have gone up, but still outstanding value for the amount of meat you get.  Anyway, it is now sort of roasting in the oven with a base of mixed veg, some rosemary and bay leaves, some white wine left over from goodness knows when and lots of flavoursome bacon spread over the top.  The juices from that, plus what I get from the bones, etc, afterwards, should make a great stock for the Christmas gravy and give me plenty of meat for various purposes.

I think I mentioned before that I had ordered some jars of 'marmalade mix'.  It arrived a couple of days ago and I am going to try out the lemon marmalade today.  All you need to add is water and sugar, heat to boiling and boil it until setting point is reached.  Just like an ordinary jam, in fact, with all the laborious, messy preparation done for you.
I'll let you know!

The other task for today is to prepare the roasties and the pigs in blankets and, possibly, make the bread sauce which I shall freeze without adding the final butter and cream.  If I get all that done, I will be well on my way, won't I?

Friday 14 November 2014


Welcome to the end of the week (nearly).  It feels cold out there but it is dry.  The forecast is poor so goodness knows whether playtime will happen but we will see.

Yesterday felt manic one way and another.  I got in early, panicked around doing stuff I couldn't do at home, got resources laminated, prepared books and so on.
Lunchtime was busy getting ready for an observed lesson in the afternoon which was OK.  However, yet again, I forgot to eat my lunch (home made soup) so had it when I got home.  Very nice it was too.
After school there was a SM meeting and then marking.

It was good to get home and snuggle in my comfy chair.

Today is SEN day.  I won't have many more of these as I shall be standing down from SENCO-ing after Christmas and Fridays will then feel very strange indeed.  I'll get used to it quickly, I am sure.

And then home to a Chinese with S and M.  Delicious!  I might even sneak in a few G&Ts too, you never know.

Better get the kettle on - coffee time!

Edited about an hour later to say it's now chucking it down!!!

Thursday 13 November 2014


Nearly through the second week and where is the time going?  It's all go right now with so much on.
It felt pretty chilly when I went out to the shed just now.  Definitely dressing gown and shoes weather.  The soup I brought in will be just right for lunch!

Apart from that there's little to say really.  The days pass in the usual routines, punctuated by children funnies and doings.  I now come home in the dark, of course, although it is still light in the mornings.  I wonder how much longer before it is dark then too.

I was very cross with myself earlier in the week.  I think I mentioned that I got a lovely stock from the rolled turkey when I roasted it.  Well, I set it on the side to cool and somehow it got behind something else and never got frozen.  So I had to throw it away and I am so, so cross about it!  What a wally!

There's nothing for it but to buy a turkey drumstick now.  Fortunately, I can hand over plenty of the meat to Beth for the kittens - I really don't need more meat at the moment!  Better put it on the shopping list.  And this time I will remember to deal with the stock straight away!


Wednesday 12 November 2014


Good morning.  Sorry about yesterday: there's a lot going on right now and I couldn't set my mind to write properly.  Things to do, decisions to make - an overflowing brain never made for clear thinking for me < smile >.  Does anyone else find that?

Last week I walked out of the house one morning, glanced left over the country view and what I saw sent me rushing in for my camera.   I've popped one of the results at the top of the blog.  When I did that, the rest of the colour scheme looked 'wrong' so I changed that too.  As a result, it all seems to have a very frosted look now.  Maybe that's right for me.  Chill, Joy, chill!

We're well into Christmas songs now.  Yes, it's THAT time of year again.  Great fun!

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday 11 November 2014


No time to write much today but I will be back!

Monday 10 November 2014


Well, it's the start of a new week which, according to the weather pundits, is going to be damp and soggy.  Fingers crossed for playtimes!  Mind you, it looks pretty OK at the moment.

The 'leftovers' meal went well.  Certainly many leftovers are now no more  Beth took the remains of her savoury crumble home with her and there's enough topping left for her on Christmas Day.  So in the freezer it goes!

There was more turkey left than I realised  I'm not sure whether to go for turkey sarnies this week or to knock up some gravy with some chicken stock and freeze the slices.  Ponder, ponder.  I have a few days to decide anyway.

Apart from the the weekend has passed as weekends usually pass and it's off to school I go!  Here's to a good week for us all.

Enjoy the day.

Sunday 9 November 2014


The Christmas dinner is over, all bar the clearing up, which I refused to do last night because it was Strictly and then Doctor Who.

It went really well:  everything tasted delicious, the Kelly Bronze stuffed turkey breast was absolutely delicious, despite its age, and there is surprisingly little left.  Enough for Alex and me for lunch (I can make Beth a savoury crumble) and there will probably be a few slices of turkey left for Monday (or the freezer) depending on how hungry Alex is.

I wish I'd taken a photo but there's always a last minute rush for this sort of meal and I didn't.  I got down my red Christmas table cloth and napkins and we had a few candles and it all looked very jolly and festive.

Today everything is back to normal.  I have to clear up the kitchen but it's nowhere near as bad as it looks, I have to concoct a vegetable and pulse mix for Beth's crumble although the topping is in the freezer so that will be easy enough, I have some washing and ironing to do and, as always, the dreaded planning.

My friends have just left on their long journey to Yorkshire.  It is damp and misty outside but I hope it clears later on for them.

Now to make some coffee, unload the dishwasher and get going with the clearing up!

Saturday 8 November 2014


Woo hoo!  It's Christmas Dinner day and already the house is smelling good.  I've heated up the oniony, bay leafy, nutmeggy, peppercorny milk for the bread sauce and it is now steeping for a couple of hours.
There are chicken wings slowly roasting in the oven before being boiled up to make a stock for gravy.
At the same time I am just 'testing' one of the frozen roasties I found in the freezer.  I have no idea how old they are, you see.  I think they're less than a year old and should be OK, but . . .
The turkey breast is out of the fridge and being brought up to room temperature.
The stuff in the freezer is now out of the freezer.
Now I have to make my plan of action and away we go!!!
S and M are arriving at about lunchtime so I will have some soup ready and waiting.  Nothing too lavish or we won't want our Christmas Dinner later on!

My coffee is cold.  Better make another one.  Then there are vegs to prepare.  Have a good day, wherever you are.

Friday 7 November 2014


Good morning, Internet friends, and welcome to a chilly, wet, windy morning here in 'sunny' Essex.  I like to have my tilt and turn window a little on the tilt but despite the teeny opening, the curtains were blowing all over the place this morning.  No rain coming in, just wind.

I'm not laying odds on a wet playtime this morning!

In contrast, yesterday was glorious most of the day.  It started off with a car scraping frost but the sun shone and playground duty was a treat.  I wonder how things will go today with all this wind though!

This Christmas dinner is getting sorted.  I shall make the bread sauce in Thermione - it's the sort of recipe that lends itself to that sort of cooking and I won't have to watch and stir all the time.  I've bought sausage meat for a stuffing base, the cranberry sauce is already made, I have some chicken wings to make a good roasted stock for gravy (as it's a turkey crown I am cooking) and the sprouts are in.

So (and I hope this is OK, Sonja) the very traditional menu is . . .

Roast turkey breast with bacon
Pigs in blankets
Roast potatoes
Carrots (from the garden, I hope)
Red cabbage
Gravy, bread sauce and cranberry sauce

Mince pies
cream and brandy cream

And I have sundry bits and bobs with which to dress the table too.


Thursday 6 November 2014


So sorry about yesterday's non-appearance.  Things get hectic sometimes, don't they?

I've just been down to the shed to get today's food and a turkey crown out of the freezer and brrrr, it's jolly cold with a frost on the shed roof.  They said it would and they were right.  Indoors is comfortable so I guess the heating has been clicking in!

As said above, life is busy - very, very busy.  I have a friend staying over Saturday night and, as mentioned before, am cooking her a Christmas dinner (hence the turkey crown).  The pigs in blankets are made, the red cabbage too, there's roasties ready and waiting, there's mince pies in the freezer - everything's going great.  I'm hoping there won't be loads to do on Saturday afternoon so I can enjoy their company.

Life goes on and I need to prepare for today so I'd better wave goodbye.  Have a lovely day.

Edited later to add:  shows how busy I was yesterday.  I heated up today's soup, opened my lunch box, got out the flask, opened it - and realised that I had totally forgotten to have my kunch.  What a waste of a good sweet potato soup.  Grrrr.

Tuesday 4 November 2014


Well, it really was a bit of a grotty day, weather-wise, yesterday, wasn't it?  Rain, drizzle, more rain, pouring rain, drizzle . . . etc.  We managed playtime in the morning (damp drizzle but manageable) but by the afternoon it was chucking it down so no afternoon play.  Now it's still wet and it's c-c-colder too.

Never mind, we're so lucky to have four walls and a roof over our heads.  It's too easy to complain and to forget just how much we have and be glad for it.

Yesterday was OK.  The headache went, driven out by a busy schedule.  I had some PPA and managed to get the maths marked.  A meeting after school was fun and then I was off to the Hare to meet Linda and Julie for a very pleasant and sociable meal together.  What more could I ask for?

Today there's no 'special' plans, just normal, familiar, everyday things.  Nice.  Hope yours is good too.

Monday 3 November 2014


A short one this morning as there's plenty to do.  I haven't bothered to look outside today but the forecast is for rain and it's more often right than not.  The BBC predicts a break in the rain which is timed nicely for morning play so fingers crossed!

It's unfortunate that I have woken with a bit of a one-sided, sinus-y headache.  I guess it will go once I'm at school but yuck!

Hope you all have a good day with plenty of good things.

Sunday 2 November 2014


Last day of half term and quite a busy day at that.  It's been lovely but I must get going and be ready for tomorrow.  I doubt I will be tempted to go out as it is dark, damp and gloomy outside and, when I woke earlier, I took one look, got back into bed and promptly went beck to sleep for a while.

It's turning a bit colder too, don't you think.  It felt almost chilly when I went out to the shed to get some veg.  I suppose it's about time too really.

I had a letter yesterday from the company that makes Thermomix.  Those 'following' this fantastic appliance on Facebook and else where will know that there's been a bit of a problem with some lid seal rings and Vorwerk are replacing all rings for machines that were bought within a certain timescale.  When I got the letter I emailed because I bought two bowls and lids and got a very speedy confirmation that they would be sending me two rings.

Last weekend I was looking at the seal ring for the most used lid, remembering that they recommend that it is replaced every two years and that I ought to think about it within the next year.  Not that there's any problems with the current rings, there isn't, but . . .

And now I get two for free.  Can't complain about that.  I shall keep the old rings on until they need replacing and that should get Thermione through the next three years!

Yesterday afternoon I took a deep breath and courageously dared the chilly depths of my chest freezer to find, at long last, the turkey breast roast I KNEW must be there, somewhere.  It's now sitting in a more accessible place, to be taken out on Thursday to slowly thaw before the 'Christmas dinner' on Saturday.  Then, when I got in, I discovered an email from Kelly's of Danbury, informing me that their website was now open for Christmas orders, so I did.
Two things - firstly, when I ordered the turkey, I was offered a breast roast for a tenner so I accepted that and, secondly, I now have four points so am entitled to a free turkey at some point in the coming year.  I have no idea how big it is and I know (because it said so) that the eligability starts after this year's turkey (which got me the fourth point) is delivered, presumably so I can't take the freebie and run, so to speak, so it might be offered early in the year.  I need to check.  If it is, no problems.  After all, what's a freezer for?

I also found a few things to use/chuck (which is something I try to do each time I visit) and I found a bag of roasties right down at the bottom.  I need to try one or two but I don't see why they shouldn't be fine.

So right now I have some chopped bacon slowly releasing its fat, some beef mince thawed and waiting and some veg on the side.  Savoury mince, here we come!  I love these one pots.  Such a lot less hassle when I get home from school each evening.

Have a great day, whatever the weather!

Saturday 1 November 2014

Saturday and home again

I've had a lovely time with Mum and Dad this week, driving home early this morning.

When I drove up there on Monday, the car was messing about - sluggish and engine racing from time to time.  It would have been not as bad if it hadn't been quite busy and I got quite stressed about how much traffic I was holding up.  It wasn't that the car was particularly slow, once it got to speed things were fine, but . . . not great.
So I decided that it's time to get a replacement car and I could myself lucky that I have the wherewithal to do this.
The journey back was fine but the sluggishness was still there (and has been for quite a time now).  However, as the roads were just about empty, it wasn't an issue.

I've filled you in with most of what I've been up to through the week.  We went to Boundary Mill (near Grantham) yesterday and had a splendid time amongst all the goodies.  They have an extensive kitchen department and, as Mum and I both like rootling amongst such treasure, we had a grand old time.  They've also got a small wool department now, new from last time I went.  Dad, of course, stayed out of our way!

So I've come home with:
A blanching basket (yes, Beth, you can borrow it)
A little butter dish (a terrine dish really).  Mum bought two full sized ones and I wish I had too now, but never mind.  There weren't any more on the shelf anyway.
Some wool (of course)
A knitting pattern.
Two books.  One is a Phillipa Gregory about Katherine of Aragon and the other is a Gervase Phinn I haven't read called 'Out of the Wood but not Over the Hill'.  I think he's very funny so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in.  They were two for a fiver, so great value.
Some talc and a cologne stick

I think that's it . . .

So now I am back in my scruffy, untidy home which looks even more untidy after five days of immaculacy! (Is there such a word?)  I need to pop round to Morrisons for a very few bits and bobs (and check the slabs while I'm there) and then the day's my own.

During the week, after telling myself firmly that I did NOT need any more cookery books, I treated myself to three (yup, three) fairly substantial tomes.  Two are Hairy Dieters books:  I had the first one and didn't realise that they had brought any more out.  The other is an Allegra McEvedy book called Big Table, Busy Kitchen.
They all look great so guess what I will be doing today in between washing, unpacking and the like!

But first - to the shop!

Added later:
They had all the new foodie mags in Morrisons.  Guess what . . .  :-)