Thursday, 18 January 2018

Potterations

I woke up to messages galore on my phone. It's weird being here in Canada, five hours behind the UK. By the time I get to sit down and write messages, emails, texts etc, it's bedtime for the UK, but for me the best time to get organised. I send my texts etc while the UK sleeps and in the morning all the replies are through. No time to properly answer as I am then busy getting kids off to school and today busy at pottery. So I finally sat down to look and reply again during UK sleep time. It's crazy. I get up at UK's midday and UK sleep when I finally sit down. So forgive me if I haven't replied or haven't text when I said I would. Tomorrow is a PA day for Smallest so I should have much more time!

The boys went off to school but not before Smallest emptied his bag and showed me his robot project he did. A stokey robot all red and white. He got a 4- (A-) and only missed out on a 4 because he got a calculation slightly wrong. It sits on the fridge, pride of place, for now. Small had tests all day and presents his Ideoendent Study Unit on 'Are Sportsmen/women paid too much?". He said he thought it went very well and goes towards his final mark.

I ran out of washer fluid in my car several days ago and have been puddle jumping (in the car) ever since in an effort to get my windscreen clean. Another thing I've been doing is rubbing snow on the window. This morning I went out earlier so I could buy some and filled it up when I arrived at pottery.

There were a few more at pottery today. We started by trying to remember each others names and then watched a demonstration on the wheel. Last week I made two rainbows (disasters that went back in the bag) and one decent pot. Today I made two decent and two rainbows. We also learned how to use the slab roller and a new hand building technique. I found today just as difficult as last week but I still love it. Next week we are going to make a stamp and hopefully get it fired in time to use it in following weeks.

I ate my lunch on the way to the material shop to meet Suffolk who was trying to decide which fabric to use for my pottery apron. In the end, after lots of discussion, we decided on a light denim and a cream cotton. She is going to make two, one for me and a spare to see if we can sell it. I am not now making my own, Suffolk is making it and I will assist in future ones if needed. We went back to hers for some measuring and tea and then I drove off to fetch Small from Band Practice.

The traffic was bad and I left late so he ended up waiting outside for me as he had been let out early for good music work (or something like that). Small had no homework so he decided he would help with dinner after he decided we would have Lentil Dahl and Butter Chicken. He wanted to learn how to make the Lentil Dahl as it is one of his favourites. He did well and mixed all the spices together to make the masala paste, stirred and looked after dish while it was cooking, put stuff away, grated ginger and garlic. He wants to do it again so he understands it all. He also cooked the rice. It's nice that he's interested.

After dinner, the boys all played FIFA while I carried on with Smallest's blanket. Almost out of the main colour and not found any yet (except online).

Huffle and I went for a walk this evening. Over 13,000 steps today. Mind you I'm not surprised. The only sitting down I have done is driving, throwing pots and eating dinner. Exhausted.

 

 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Wee, warm and wentos

Once again the buses were all running though I wasn't surprised as although the snow kept coming last night, it didn't really amount to too much. Small went off to school and had part2 of the EQAO test. He panicked at a question he didn't understand but worked his way through it and showed all his workings. His teacher said it was okay. I don't know if it was the way it was written (ie Canadian) that baffled him but he couldn't seem to make the equations work. Huffle thinks it's a not a bad thing seeing as he went off this morning wanting a 100%!!! Smallest went to school carrying his snowboard bag which is bigger than him. He seemed to take ages getting on the bus and at one point I saw the driver helping him.

I left Huffle working at the table and came home to find he had cleared the drive again. I went to exercise which really hurt. I found I couldn't do half of the things because I ached so much from Monday. I did what I could and hopefully it helped to ease my muscles so they are not too sore tomorrow!

I came home and showered and got ready for my afternoon out with Suffolk. We met at a craft shop where I was hoping to get some more wool for Smallest's blanket (ran out of main colour ahhhhhh) and they didn't have it and neither did another of their shops so we went for lunch instead to a lovely organic place. We had Cream (coconut cream) of Tomato Soup. Very nice. We also had a vegan cake and a cup of tea. We haven't seen each other since Christmas so I got my present from her. She listened ages ago when I told her I make all the stockings up in this house including my own and she made me my own stocking fillers which was really thoughtful, especially because everything was really useful. I forgot to take her Christmas presents.

Charms for my sewing bag. Lindt chocolates. Needles ends. Handmade reusable bag. Blocking clips. Quilting square and a handmade drawstring bag for things. Just lovely and very thoughtful.

She is also going to England by herself in April but slightly earlier than me and only for a week. Shame we didn't coordinate our plane journey. Would have been nice to travel with her. While we were chatting, I mentioned that I needed a pottery apron and wondered if I could make one. Next thing we are off to the fabric shop and drawing out patterns and she leaves me, goes home and runs one up in two hours flat. She's a genius. She has now decided to get my fabric on the way home from her morning job, while I am throwing pots, and that I can make my apron in the afternoon when I finish. I am going to do some research and see if aprons are needed in my class and other classes my teacher does. Maybe a money earner?

Small came home before I did and got on with his homework. I forgot that Smallest was at ski-club and also that I had MissHorse for a knitting lesson. I quickly printed off a pattern for the sheep we are going to make, got myself a drink and waited for her. She was armed with lots of different wool and needles so we chose which one was best, picked out the correct needles and while I cast on for her (shes still practicing) she practised making stitches. We talked through the pattern and I made some adjustments to help her read it and then she just got on with it. I started mine too so I could knit alongside of her in case of any problems. We had a nice chat about horse riding and Christmas while she was doing easy stocking stitch. The time went very quickly.

We had soups from the freezer for dinner for quickness and ease as Smallest wasn't there and Huffle went off to join him on the slopes for a couple of hours. Small stayed at home with me and we had a couple of games after he played on FIFA and helped with the dishwasher.

Smallest had another good one on one lesson, this time with a different teacher, where he learnt to zig zag down the slope. He went up the chairlift many times and is now confident on there and even more confident at getting off. Huffle had a good time too.

My spreadsheet for my trip is coming along nicely. If anyone wants anything bringing back, please do let me know, ie Maple Biscuits, Maple Syrup, sweets, Canadiana stuff.

 

 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

High five from the IronMan

I was woken by Small telling me there were no bus cancellations (I think he was secretly hoping he would get a day off school again). The temperatures seem to have warmed a little, still -7*. We had another dusting of snow this evening but other than that the sun has been shining today.

The boys went to school. Small had a high five from his English Teacher which is an unheard of thing (it was because he had his own opinion and didn't agree with what everyone else was saying, including his teacher. Good for him). Small also did his EQAO Maths test part1. For his practice he got a 94% and only just missed out on a 98% because he forgot to circle an answer). He has a 'ha,ha bet' with his friend that he will get 100% on part 2. Smallest tried out for Dodgeball and he thinks he did well.

A message Smallest left for Huffle on his car

I went to work and left Huffle clearing the drive of snow again! It was just me and Jeff today. MrsM was up at the house making 'hot biscuits' which turned out to be a bit scone-like but lighter. We made cuttings of Pelargoniums, Plectranthus and Salvia before going for coffee and hot biscuits, straight from the oven, served with jam and butter, yum yum. We sat talking for ages and watching the birds feeding outside the window before going back to the greenhouse and finishing off the cuttings. For Christmas, Aunt Pear bought us some Bluebell and Snowdrop bulbs. I asked Jeff what to do with them because the snow is still so high and the ground frozen. I'm to take them in next week where we will put them up and keep them in the greenhouse until the snow clears. They can stay in the pots in our garden until they finish blooming and can then go into the garden. The snowdrops won't be a problem but the bluebells don't grow so well here so we need to make sure they are in a sheltered place well covered by deep snow in the Winter. Interestingly, the bluebells we can grow here are Spanish and we can achieve the look of an English Bluebell wood by mainly growing the Spanish ones and not the English ones. Funny, you'd think Spain would be warmer but they probably come from the mountains. Anyway, we'll give it a go.

Huffle had lunch nearly ready when I got back and we watched a Gotham whilst eating. This afternoon I put some washing on, FaceTimed Moo and did some crocheting. Smallest's blanket is coming along, slowly but surely. I seem to make a mistake every row but am learning as I go along too.

Shame it's a Stoke badge

The boys came home and both had homework and disappeared to their rooms to get on with it. I made meatballs and pasta for dinner. The boys came to ask for a chore so they could play on FIFA and I challenged them to find their own chore. Smallest chose to empty the tumbledryer and fold the clothes (I later found out he had done a terrible job. Must give him some folding lessons). Small chose to do a number of smaller things but I was impressed by their decisions.

After dinner they finished their FIFA game while Huffle and I went for a Hamlet walk. Cold but not too cold, still the need for hats, gloves, scarves and big coats! Huffle helped Smallest get his snowboarding gear together for tomorrow and we talked to him about needing to buy drinks (he forgot last time) and for his friends to wait for him for dinner or tell him when they were going (he ate by himself). Plus how he cold go inside and have a hot chocolate or a water and a chill if he got too tired. He seems so much younger than Small did when he did the ski club but he isn't. We gave him money, he packed everything away and went off to bed. He is at that age where he challenges everything I say. He drives me crazy. I guess he's got hormones and is getting older and testing the boundaries. He better not be turning into a teenager. Far too early for that!

Huffle has put a spreadsheet on my IPad so I can organise my trip. Very complicated.

 

Monday, 15 January 2018

Knot badges please

No cancellation or delays on the buses much to the consternation of the boys who went off to school as normal. Huffle worked at the kitchen table and I went off to Monday's exercise class picking up MrsOrange on the way. It was a a tough class today, possibly because it wasn't our first one back, maybe because I wasn't feeling 100% (still got a sore thoat) or more likely that ExerciseNic had been dreaming crazy moves again like the Protractor Swing!!!

Back home I had a lovely hot relaxing bath and finished watching LittleWomen (BBC). One of my favourite books growing up. Nice mini series. I love the bath we put in. It's sooo very deep, perfect.

Huffle and I had lunch together and watched a Gotham. This afternoon I made a bread as requested by my family. Today I chose another of PaulHollywoods recipes but this time for Soda Bread. No yeast, just baking soda. No proving, no kneading but very delicious. Small says it's his most favourite bread and is going to make one later in the week because he wants to eat it all the time.

I decided to sit and have a cuppa and try to work out the blanket I was making when I got a FaceTime from the lovely LizzieDotDot. We had a lovely chat while littleN was bathing and I got to see all the foam animals she was playing with and I even got served a bubbly ice cream. So nice to hear from her. Can't wait to meet up in April.

Boys came home. Small had homework and disappeared and Smallest played with his helicopter until MrsPiano arrived. Lessons were done and dinner eaten. I made Spicy Sausage Risotto and Butternut Squash Risotto which we had with our rustic soda bread.

This evening Huffle carefully (the weather was awful, thick thick snow and bad road conditions) drove us to the Rock Climbing place for Cubs. Huffle and I belayed and the boys climbed. They did very well.

 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Deckchair on the ice sir?

Last night and early hours of this morning we had several Frost Quakes. Weirdest things. Sounds like someone trying to break in to the house. Huffle even went downstairs to ch ck if someone WAS breaking in to the house. Small said they went on for about an hour. Huffle explains them by: snow that thaws and seeps into the ground quickly, the rapid freezing in temperatures causes the water to turn to ice. The expansion causes the movement of earth and makes weird creaks and booms!

This morning was -16*. Beautiful sunshine but still mighty cold. Still, we haven't been out properly for ages so we decided to go for a walk late morning but not before Huffle caught up with Grandads trip to Australia on FaceTime.

Huffle made a small picnic for us to take on our walk and we packed the rucksack with nice things and headed off to FrenchmansBay (about 25 mins away). There was no-one there today (until we were almost finished and then people arrived - probably walking off their Sunday Lunch) and we had the beach to ourselves.

The first thing we noticed on the frozen lake was lots of little tents set up ready for ice fishing. Ice Fishing? That's weird! Crazy people who sit in the middle of the ice, make a hole to fish through whilst sitting in a square tent with a heater to keep them warm. A heater on the ice! Absolutely nuts! There was a whole row of them too.

Huffle with his too tight rucksack. Silly faces boys. Chucking rocks
Ice. Shadows. Steaming ice. Shadows. More ice

Wandering along the streets until we came to the boardwalk and beach, the boys chucking rocks and stones on the ice trying to crack it (not where the fishermen were obviously). I dropped my glove taking photos and Small and Huffle lowered Smallest onto the ice (much to my trepidation) and he returned it to me. Mind you the ice was really thick.

There was a mist forming on the horizon where the ice was being heated by the sun. Very freaky looking. Some of the rocks were encased in ice or had an ice hat on them. There were bits of weird shapes of ice close to the water and some of the stones were covered in ice. The sun was lovely and warming but we stil needed hats, gloves, scarves and coats.

Lost glove. More ice. Bench for short legged people. Sunshine.
Ice on beach. Ice on stones. Ice on rocks. Steaming ice. Me. Icicles. Boys chucking stones

We ate our picnic perched on the rocks overlooking the steaming water. Today we took English Chocolate bars with us and we set the marker of the lighthouse before we could eat them, making us walk a bit more along the beach, skimming stones, breaking ice and finding beach glass for my collection.

Ice. Picnics. Tree roots. Icy roots. Silly Huffle on tree roots. Pier thing
Lighthouse. Road to lighthouse. Chocolate stop
Birds. Boys sliding. Ice

There were loads of people out taking photos on the other side of the harbour entrance with huge lenses, we think taking photos of the ducks. Possibly a club as they all seemed to know each other. The boys spent lots of time sliding on the icy puddles on our way back to the car. I watched a man take a chair out on the ice and sit there with his feet up with a beer.

Frozen lake. Ice bathing?

On the way home we stopped for mr piddle pants to wee behind a building in a park and then came home for a warm, a cup of tea and a game of cards and a couple of games of Kingdomino which I seem to keep winning.

We all watched GrandTour with our Huffle-made dinner and then the boys made us a Sundae each with the jelly and angel delight they made yesterday plus a bit of ice cream and broken biscuits. Very nice boys!

This evening Huffle and I started watching Godless (Netflix). Think it's going to be good.

 

Saturday, 13 January 2018

The penguin volley

First thing this morning, the temperatures were -31* (real feel). It got slightly warmer, well not warmer but less freezing cold, later.

After breakfast, we watched the Leicester game. Can't believe it was a draw! I got on with my knitting whilst watching. (I am knitting a sitting sheep as a tryout for MissHorse's next project. I did one many years ago but it's a challenging one for her as it involves increasing, decreasing, shaping and picking up stitches).

Afterwards we all went out to Smallest's football game. Today it was against our old club so we were desperate for a win. We were met at the door by BigFrank and Huffle had a good chat with him while I caught up with Angel. It's been a long time since her boy, Dan, was in the same team as Smallest. The game was quite tense as the boy that caused all the fighting at the last big game we were at, when we were at the old Club, was playing in his own inimitable style. This prompted Huffle to shout "still the same old *boys name* then, to which his Dad, who also caused a fight at the aforementioned game, shouted "it's soccer not water polo". The Coach shushed us and came over at the end and said calm down, no need to be like that, that's not our level! Huffle said "yes I am at that level, I like that level". Unfortunately the other team won by 2-1. It was disappointing as we would have loved to have beaten them. Smallest was very upset by his teammates lack of quality. He didn't get to play in the position he wanted and the Coach wasn't our favourite today.

We went off for a nice dinner and a couple of games of Monopoly Deal. On the way home we popped to the shops for some essentials and came home for a chill. Smallest went in the bath, Small read and Huffle and I had a a cup of tea.

We all played a dice bowling game which I won and then Huffle and Small went to Small's football game where they also lost. Small wasn't too pleased with his coach.

This evening, Huffle and I watched Dunkirk. Very powerful. Very good.

 

Friday, 12 January 2018

Great iciness

All school buses were cancelled today. It seemed very strange at first because it looked like a Spring day, a rainy Spring day though. Small couldn't get to school unless I took him but then the forecast was bad for when he finished school so he stayed at home. Smallest wanted to go to school so Small decided to walk him there. He said the weather was horrible. It was very foggy again but also the rain had washed away most of the snow so there were huge puddles everywhere. The paths were not walkable so they had to walk mainly in the road.

Foggy @ 7:30am
Rainy @ 9am

Huffle worked in the loft, Small played on FIFA and I had a lovely FaceTime with Yahoo where we chatted and laughed a lot. I made a Sweet Chilli Relish and Small came up and played Kingdomino with me while it cooked.

By midday, the rain had turned to freezing rain. The windows were iced over completely and we could see the cars were getting covered too. Small and I made Cheese Toasties for lunch and we watched the first episode of TheMagicians. Huffle went back to work and Small and I cleaned and cleared his desk and put away the last of his Christmas presents. He played on FIFA and I knitted in preparation for MissHorse's lesson which later got cancelled due to the weather.

Icy at 12noon

I decided to go and pick Smallest up from school an hour early and braved the car journey to fetch him. It was hailing and then snowing horizontally. The roads weren't too bad but I could tell it was going to be tough much later. Lots of parents were collecting their kids and the Principal was trying to make the teachers leave early as some of them live far away.

The snow continued and it got heavier and heavier and the wind got more wild. I made a start on dinner while the boys played and then crocheted until dinner time.

Snowy @ 2pm
Yucky for the rest of the day

After dinner we all played Kingdomino and then Take2. Small went and read in his room, Huffle went for a bath and Smallest and I played with the helicopter and made a paper DarthVader with one of his Christmas presents.

It sounds wild outside but I don't want to look.