Saturday, 30 June 2012

1-2-3 JUMP!

Another scorching hot day. 34* before mid morning. Don't know what the humidity was but it was very very warm. Our friends, The Burlington Bertie's, were visiting today. They got here about 10:30am and before we could say "oops you've lost your keys!" we had to go off to a nearby Go station to drop Mr Burlington Bertie and Huffle off for their day at the Blue Jays Baseball. It was agreed that Mrs BB and Muffin would come home with us later but that Mr BB would head for home from Downtown. That was the point that he realised between his home and the Go station that he had lost his keys! Off the 'big' boys went (nothing we could do about the keys there and then!)

With two cars, we drove into our local town for the Strawberry Festival. The whole of the Main Street was blocked off so we parked in a residential part not too far away and walked through the streets. It was packed. There were stalls both sides selling food, crafts, all sorts.

Mrs Fried Sausage - this is for you (she moans my photos never show other people and she thought we were the only ones here - many many people!)

Muffin got her face painted while the boys had a freezy (ice pole) and strawberry sweets.

We all had a strawberry sundae. Ice cream with lashings of strawberrys and strawberry sauce in the shade of the church. There was practically no shade anywhere - mad dogs and Englishmen!!!

We talked to the Tae Kwon Do lady and entered a draw for Smallest to get a months worth of training free.

Smallest had a go at pressing apples into Apple Cider. We looked at lots of lovely things. The kids got free freezies and we got free water. We walked the length of the road and then decided to find something to eat. We tried to find sanctuary in an air conditioned restaurant but there were two lots of six people before us and they had been waiting for ages already, so we walked next door but that was just a breakfast place. We ended up in a pizza place and had a slice each with the intention of trying a corkscrew potato on the way back. A man held a potato in his hand, inserted what looked like a drill in one end and turned it, it cut the potato like a corkscrew, really thinly onto a skewer and then he deep fried it for a few seconds. It looked yummy. We didn't get one in the end because by the time we got back to that stall, no one was hungry and we were too hot and tired!

The kids wanted to go on the fun fair so we took them and they had three rides each. It wasn't the best fair but they were happy enough. They went on a cross between a waltzer and a roller coaster.

Small came off feeling dizzy. Smallest and Muffin loved it. Then Muffin went on the Fly, where you lie on your tummy and it goes round and up. The boys went in the Fun House, now we know that here, if anyone promises fun, it's not going to happen. It was a series of mirrors in a kind of maze, which they had no trouble getting through and then two wibbly mirrors. That was it. It was over in less than two minutes. The boys came out and I sent them back in. The person in charge didn't want them to go back in but I said they could. He he, naughty Mummy,

All three of them then went on a penguin ride - Moo was supposed to go on but she was scared! They had a quick go on a 'throw the ball up a ramp and try and get more points than is actually possible' - I think it had a shorter name than that! None of them won anything.

Muffin had a Slush Puppie without the ice (we renamed it a Puppie).

The rest of us had a lovely ice cream. We managed to find a seat in the shade for a while and then walked back up the street. Moo bought us a lovely iron welded hummingbird eating from a flower for our garden. Muffin bought herself a glass necklace and Mrs BB bought herself a butterfly for her outside wall. We entered the kids in a competition to win a massive teddy bear and Smallest and Muffin sat in a fire engine. We then finally got back to the car, put the air con on and drove home.

The first thing the kids did was to jump in the pool. They had a great time and instantly cooled off. We sat and watched them on the deck.

All three of them were jumping in shouting 1-2-3 jump and we were trying to take photos of them in mid-jump.

yes, it is possible to walk on water

..and levitate

Then it was time to go and pick up Huffle from the Go Station. I left everyone at the pool, picked him up and we got some food to bring back. We found a place called "Nothing but noodles" and we went in to see if they did anything else (how silly does that sound?). They actually did all sorts of different pastas, very fresh, very nice. Here, noodles means Pasta. Silly Billies. We took three different pastas back and some garlic bread sticks. ummmmmm nice.

The kids and Huffle played ball and catch and then it was time for Mrs BB and Muffin to go home. While we were chatting on the drive Moo found Mr BB's keys hidden under a plant! They must have fallen out when he had a quick go at the basketball when he arrived.

Good day, lots of fun, lots of sun.

Boys went to bed, we sat on the porch swatting away the Mossies!

Apparently Mr BB wanted his and Huffle's photo on the Jumbotron (scoreboard) at the baseball. They didn't show it, so hopefully this will partly make up for it.

Hey badda badda badda badda shawing badda, can't hit it,can't hit it, can't hit it!

Friday, 29 June 2012

She got one out to get one out!

This was the photo that greeted me this morning when I got up. Apparently he dressed up in his dragon outfit and Huffle took a photo. He looks like a wrestler - which he is happy about. He wants to be a wrestler when he grows up, as well as a chef and a footballer.
Scary Boy!

Today was the first day of the school holidays (well actually it was a PA day). Huffle went off to work as usual. Moo had a lie in. (as usual). When I got up, both boys were watching TV. I used the time to clean, tidy, empty dishwasher, fill it again and sort through a huge pile of paperwork the boys brought home from school.

After breakfast, Moo caught up with her emails - her friends in Codderland where she lives (our name for it!) have had terrible storms and hailstones as big as golf balls which have damaged their cars.

The boys played in their bedrooms and then played on their DS' whilst waiting for their friend to turn up. I got 5minutes of reading on the front porch and then Pol and Pod came. Pol had to go so Pod found the boys and they played nicely together. We decided to go in the pool so the boys got ready and went in.

They were jumping, splashing, canon balling, bit of swimming, swimming in the water, under the water, lying on the Lilo, sitting on the ball. Lots of fun was had.

We stopped for lunch and Pol came back with some extra supplies. The boys ate theirs on the picnic rug.

After lunch they got the sprinkler out that Moo bought them after they broke ours. The water pistols came out as did the water squirters. Pol and Pod had to go shopping so they left and we had an ice cream and got back in the pool.

This time I went in. Small suddenly gained his confidence and started swimming by himself. We blew up a big rubber ring and we had Mummy Tours around the pool. It was very very very hot today. Our new thermometer measured 35* at one point. We stayed in the shade mainly. The pool is still a bit cloudy so we shocked it. We tested it at the end of the day and the levels all seemed fine. Think we need to shock it again at dusk and hopefully it will be better tomorrow.

The Pool lady
This Dragonfly kept landing. It was huge and beautiful
Mid air jumping

Huffle came home early (he shut the office early for Canada Day weekend) and came and joined us in the pool. We stayed there till gone 6pm and then had a BBQ dinner. Sausages, jacket potatoes, beans, salmon and garlic veggie mushrooms. Ummmm very nice. All topped off with a beer. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh. 🍺

More mid air jumping
Everyone chilling
The boys
Little Chef and Big Chef
A quick game of cricket

The boys went to bed, we sat outside as the temperature was lovely. We assessed the pool, shocked it again, put the solar blanket on it, removed some wood and drank our tea on the front porch.

We would like to wish Aunt Pear all the best on her retirement (not that she is old enough to retire officially) from her job. Hope you now have lots of fun doing the things you want to do xxxx


Thursday, 28 June 2012

Schools out for Summer

Last night whilst everyone was asleep Mr Racoon tipped over the compost bin and was about climb in when Huffle and I scared him away. I couldn't bear to clear up another messy bin strewn around the garden, so we brought the bin in.

Later today when Small was wheeling all the bins out for recycling, we tied the compost bin up with bungee cords. If he gets in tonight then he is a very clever Racoon. While Small was carrying the recycling out I said to Smallest "could you please help Small put the bins out?" "I can't at the moment Mummy, I am sitting on my ball" said Smallest innocently. "I am sitting on the ball over the Chipmunk hole!" he said. Both the boys laughed and laughed. A chipmunk seems to have made a tunnel from next door to our garden and Smallest decided to put a ball over the hole and sit on it to stop it coming in and stealing the bird seed. Funny boy!

Moo, Smallest and I went to the last assembly at school this morning. It was very long. I received a single yellow rose as thanks for my volunteering. I had to walk to the front and collect it - very embarrassing but a nice thought. There were a few teachers leaving including the current head teacher and they had a funny song presentation to them to wish them well in their next jobs. There was a huge slideshow that went on and on and on and on. The seats were uncomfortable and we didn't get out of there till way past 11am.

We went to the library and Smallest coloured, I chose books and Moo read a magazine in a comfortable chair! I registered them for the Summer Reading Challenge. We were hungry, so we popped to the local town and had a cake and a drink before going off to buy the various chemicals needed to keep the pool up and running.

Smallest had a red velvet ice cream

Of course we had to buy floats, noodles (waddles in UK), rubber ring etc. The pool is just a bit too deep for smallest to stand in and he is not confident enough to swim by himself (we haven't swam properly since being here apart from him and Moo going last week), so we thought if he has lots of things to help him float, we might not have to go in with him all the time. Especially as they are in and out and in and out constantly.

It seemed to take us ages to get the various things we needed and we weren't back till gone 2pm. We decided to have grilled cheese sandwiches but on the BBQ. He he, they were lovely, not perfect but good enough. Then we got in the pool. It is still not clear sparkling blue but it is getting there. If it isn't clear by tomorrow afternoon we have to 'shock' the pool by throwing more chlorine in. It is very technical.

We got the vacuum out and attached it after watching a demonstration video on YouTube. It didn't seem to be working brilliantly.

Moo stayed out of the water today and I went in instead. It was freezing to start with and I gingerly lowered myself step by step into the pool. I was about to take one more step off the ladder and I realised I was already on the bottom. I don't know why I expected it to be deeper! Smallest is gaining in confidence but he fell off the Lilo once or twice and went under but he righted himself and it didn't put him off. We have to watch constantly though and there is no way we can let them stay in on their own.

Tomorrow we have a friend of theirs coming for a few hours as their Mum has an appointment. I told her to bring his swimming trunks so they can go in the pool together.

Small came home and joined us immediately. He was quite good with Smallest. Even helping him when he fell off the Lilo. Before we knew it, the time had gone on and it was past 5pm so we got out, showered, cleared up and had dinner outside. Huffle came home as we were playing basketball and he joined us.

Ice poles before dipping in
Go smallest
Go Moo

Apparently we were quite noisy and Mrs Royal came to see the boys playing but by the time she came, they were in bed. She went up to say goodnight. They were very silly. Smallest was dressed in skeleton hands, pirate hat and patch yielding a lightsaber. She asked him if that was how he slept!

Mrs Royal stayed and had a cup of tea with us. The house across the road has a girl who graduated from the boys school today so there is much frivolity over there tonight. I think there will be a lot of noise from there till late!!


Huffle was out picking litter for charity tonight. Good Lad!


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Whose Greener? Me or the Pool?

The boys were packed off to school this morning with freshly baked Blueberry scones for their teachers. They decorated their boxes and I packaged the scones so that they wouldn't get too damaged. We told them to carry them carefully and not to throw them around the bus. It seemed that the scones got there in one piece and the teachers enjoyed them. Smallest's teacher even sent home a thank you.

Moo and I got ready early and were in the forest by 9:30am. Today we walked with 'NoCustard' and 'TeaLady' both friends of Mrs Royal (who couldn't make it today). We walked for just over an hour at a good pace up and downhill. A very good walk with lots of chatter.

Moo, NoCustard and TeaLady
We then drove to our local town to look for a pet shop to buy 'Little Show' (the family fish's new name) some food. After driving up and down the road and then walking up and down the road (as if we hadn't walked far enough) we found the shop and it was closed. We decided to have a coffee and a scone in a cafe and by the time we came out the shop had opened.

We came home and decided to start digging the front garden to make the bed bigger as we had more plants to put in. I edged it and Moo and I pulled up the grass, got the soil off and added the soil back to the bed. It was a long hot job and we had to stop for lunch on the front porch. Moo wouldn't let us stop for long so we carried on and were interrupted by the pool men arriving.

They ummed and ahhhhhed about whether to drain it or just throw the chemicals in. In the end they dredged it, threw the chemicals in, filled it and then set the filter and pump going. Then one of them started to give me an in depth lesson on how to maintain in. (this is normally at a cost of $120 but he said as we were new to the house, country and a pool, he would do it for free and anything he had missed, we could pick up on the internet or ring the company!). I never realised how complicated having a pool was. He said to be thankful we only have a small pool else we could spend hours on it each week. I wrote the instructions down and Moo listened. Later I will write them out legibly and go through them again, and then again with Huffle so we all know what we are doing. However I have a feeling I am going to be responsible for the pool maintenance. Here was me thinking we could hire a fit young man to do the job for me whilst I sat and lounged and watched!!!! No chance!!

After the pool men had gone, we carried on with the bed.I then drove to the beer store (not for alcohol - well apart from one bottle of wine for later) and bought some top soil to add to the garden. Then we planted the plants. It looks good and we made it big enough to add a few more.

The boys came home just as we were tidying stuff away. We gave Gram (think it might be Graham but they speak differently!) the bus driver some scones as a thank you for driving the kids. The boys wanted to see the pool. We told them there was nothing to see, it was still green and not ready yet but we were surprised, the colour was still green, but not as green as when the pool men left. It should become bright blue in a few days, then we can vacuum it.

We sat with our feet in the water (it was cold) until Small decided he wanted to go in. So we let him. It is only a four foot pool so he could easily stand up but Smallest is just a bit too short. Whoever, after a while he decided he wanted to go in too, so Moo went in with him. (very very cold).

I hope she stops complaining now that it's not like a holiday!!!!
I am going to wait until I can see the bottom. Small did ask if there might be a shark in there! Ooooh well, let me see!!!! No, definitely not! But just in case, I will still wait until it has cleared and is a lovely shade of blue! Tomorrow Smallest, Moo and I are on a mission to buy chemicals, floats, and all things pool related.

When the boys were shivering plenty and wanted to get out, we all moved inside, got showered and had warming soup. The boys ate their last tin of Heinz Tomato Soup and Moo and I had a homemade Tomato, Carrott and Lentil soup. Huffle is playing baseball late tonight so he will have his later. We did send him a photo of the three mad people in the green pool!

Small came home with his school report today. He has done really well. His results are mainly Excellent and one Good. He has improved on most things, stayed the same on a few and only one thing he lost a + (not sure why!). I am very impressed and pleased with both of their reports. Huffle hasn't seen Small's yet but I am sure he will be suitably impressed too.

Both kids will have different teachers next term. I have to make sure they both write and read all summer long to keep up the good work.

Whilst Moo and I were eating our soup, we were chasing away Mr Chipmunk. We filled the bird feeders again and he has found his way there. So we wound some more thistles around and sat and watched. He managed to climb half of a small tree and jump from the tree to the feeder, avoiding the thistle. Crafty little thing. However since then we have seen a Yellow finch, Cardinal, Blue Jay and a chickadee. Ahhhh lovely. NOW KEEP AWAY Chippy!




Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Tie them up and throw out the rubbish!

I went off to work this morning leaving Moo and Smallest about to have breakfast and Small going off for the school bus.

Today we tended the vegetable garden, the alpine garden and the tomato beds. There was lots of tying up, tidying up and picking of peas, arugula wasabi (ummm very nice but hot tasting rocket - I came away with a bag full). We watched the owner prune back a lovely weeping purple beech. He disappeared under it as it was too low to the ground to get at it normally.


It was fascinating to watch. He just snip snipped here and there and made it look amazing. There were loads of cyclamen seedlings just appearing. Oh good, I love them, hope I can grow them too!

I learnt that I should have sown my broad beans in March as they hate the baking hot sun and that runner Beans here are called Scarlet Runners and are primarily grown for their flowers! Anyone that grows them to eat them (apparently not a well known thing here) get their seeds from England. Lettuce can be sown again in August. I came home with my bag of arugula! Some lovage which I will make into pesto and some oxygenating weed for the goldfish (who still hasn't had any food as Small's friend's mum has not brought any round - will have to buy some tomorrow now that I know it is a goldfish!).

I came home because I was hungry and Moo, Smallest and I had lunch together. They had played lots of games and were in the middle of hungry frogs when I arrived. After lunch I went shopping on my own, yes on my own, what a joy. Well it wasn't but a least I got it done quickly.

After I got home and put all the shopping away, Moo planted some more runner beans and I planted some courgettes. We decided to pop round to The Royals to find out if we were walking tomorrow. Drew was there and we stood talking to her and Mr and Mrs Royal for ages. Small came home on the bus and the driver saw us and dropped him off at their house (normally I have to run after the bus shouting Small, smallest, I'm here! behind you! We stayed for a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Moo taking the rubbish away.

Drew, Mrs Royal and Mr Royal

Moo found some more rubbish

Fighting boys!

It's Ribena, not wine!
We outstayed our welcome as usual and came home. The boys played football with Moo and then came and helped me make pizza. Huffle came home early so we got to eat together outside.

Small told me it was his class party tomorrow and could he make cookies! I never get any notice. I told him he could make flapjack and I told him what to do.

We all played football. There was a lot of tackling and diving and cheating (moo!!!!!). I went in and made Blueberry scones for the teachers. They didn't rise much, not sure whether I put too many blueberries in. Moo will test them later and see what she thinks.

I rang Mrs Burlington Bertie to see if we could change our plans for Saturday. Originally Huffle and Mr BB were going to the Baseball (they still are) and Mrs BB, Muffin, me and the boys and Moo were going to the beach and for a picnic. However, on Saturday in our local town, it is the strawberry festival and it is supposed to be really good. So that is what we are doing instead! Apparently there is a big tent filled with strawberries and cream - I might be exaggerating a bit!!! Ummmmmmmmm.