Wednesday, 30 April 2014

It's better than it looks!

It rained through the night and our little contraption worked, however, the Sun Room leaked in several places. As Huffle gets up before anyone, he had the job of placing towels (the best ones of course) in strategic places and when I came down, I placed pots and collectors too just in case. It actually didn't rain too much so it wasn't a huge problem.

Huffle went off reluctantly to work and the boys went off to school again in wellies and waterproofs, though today they did get to play outside. I rang the school and left a message for Smallest's teacher to speak to her about him doing all these tests. She rang me back later and was very surprised as they haven't been doing any tests. She said she would speak to him privately and then rang me back to say that she had explained things to him, that they were doing 'research' not tests and that she originally told him he was to try and work independently but then explained that that didn't mean he couldn't ask for help. She thinks he is feeling better about things and when he got home ok asked him if he felt better. He said he did.

I went off to my exercise class today. We worked on squats, shoulders, sit ups and th usual plank and push ups, after the normal 30 minute aerobic workout. Then I rushed home, checked on the water situation and went off and had a cup of tea with Al who I met at knitting. We had a lovely chat, a cup of a tea and a muffin. We talked about everything from gardening, knitting to kids and families. She is lovely and she invited me round because she remembered me saying that I missed popping to my friends houses for a cup of tea.

I came home, had lunch and watched the Internet men climb a telegraph pole. I was having problems with internet today so hopefully they fixed it.

The boys came home and I made chocolate chip muffins because yesterday's disappeared - naughty mice!!!!! I made dinner while the boys played table football. Huffle came home and we all ate and then we played U-Build Monopoly (which was much better than we remembered). This is a game Small bought for himself a couple of years ago but we never enjoyed playing it. We don't actually know who won because we forgot that the winner had the most money. We know that Small was bankrupt though! (Huffle edit - I won)

The boys played on the IPads after Huffle set them up with Club Penguin. When we set up his Club Penguin account in 2011, we used our Bell email. We forgot the penguins password so tried to reset it but used our new email. Obviously this account didn't exist so I sent an email to the penguin accounts who said it was because the email was set up in the bell account. So we sent a password change with the bell account but forgot the password for that account too. We used a security password but they said we got the answer wrong. In the end we made him a new penguin. How confusing!!!! Huffle and I played table tennis. 2-1 to him.

The rain continues and now it is really foggy. BOOOOOOOO.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Rainy Daffs

We awoke to rain and it lasted all day. Unfortunately, the roof we had fixed, leaked and we had to set up our little contraption of a water bottle, bucket and tape on the kitchen window in order to stop the basement being flooded. I rang MrBasement - he will be here on Saturday morning to sort it!

The boys went off to school wearing wellies and waterproofs - there was only indoor recess for them today so you can imagine how crazy they were when they came home! Why do I have to suffer because of the rain????

Daffodils are coming out but are very wet!!!

Huffle worked from home today and I went off to the Garden Centre. Even though it was raining, Jan and I still worked outside. This time we worked in the Grass Garden, cutting back huge Miscanthus and grasses. it was so windy that our huge steel wheelbarrow got blown over and all the grasses we had cut went flying across the garden. After two full wheelbarrows and just over an hour of bending, cutting and raking, we finally gave in. we hadn't realised how wet it was. We were soaked to the skin. Into the greenhouse we went to get dry and warm. Then we were called in the house for coffee and had Jan's Banana Loaf with it. Yum Yum. After coffee we went back to the greenhouse and potted on peppers and tomatoes until I could bear my cold wet clothes no more and I came home after buying some lettuces and parsley for the front planters.

Huffle and I had lunch. I made a soup for dinner and muffins whilst watching the end of Jamaica Inn - such a good three parter drama.

The boys came home from school and we painted in the basement. Huffle doing the ceiling and some of the walls and me doing the paintwork, cupboard and stairs. We helped Small with his Science Revision and then he did his Maths Problem of the Week. Both boys had showers, we had dinner and then we played a couple of games of Tumbling Monkies and a game of Home You Go.

When it was bedtime, Huffle found out what was bothering Smallest. We knew something was worrying him. He has been having a series of tests at school and for some reason he has been thinking and worrying about it. I told him he shouldnt be worried as it more likely the teachers that are being tested and not him. by the kids doing the tests they can see what the teachers are teaching. I don't know, I'm not a teacher but it seems very young at 6 and 7 to be doing lots of tests. I will leave a note for his teacher to ring me. I think they should be telling the kids what it's all about, not leaving them to be worried about it all! Poor little thing, once we had discussed it as a family, he fell asleep instantly, hopefully he has a clearer mind now.


Monday, 28 April 2014

Oops where's my trousers?

Last night Smallest got out of bed, took his clothes off and wandered downstairs naked in the dark. Huffle heard him and got up and shouted down (at that point not knowing who it was) that we were upstairs in our bedroom. Smallest walked upstairs and into Huffle's arms and burst into tears. We asked what was wrong and where his clothes were but he just cried. When we got him back into his own bed, I asked him again what was wrong and he said "I told you". I asked where his pyjamas were and he said "I'm trying to put my trousers on" but he was holding a top. After talking to him this morning we think he had slept walk as he remembers nothing until he woke up in Huffle's arms. Small has slept walk a few times and I used to do it as a child all the time. We hope this is a just a one off. We asked him today if anything was troubling him and he said no.

One of our beautiful Amaryllis flowering for the second time

The boys all went off and I headed off to do some work in my Far Away garden. Today the owner was there so we had a good chat while moving plants. It was a beautiful day today. The Mum and I worked hard for a couple of hours and then had a walk around the garden discussing what else we could do. They have asked if I will come over the Summer too so it looks like this is a longer venture than I originally thought. They also said I could bring the kids when they are off school and they can run around the garden and play on the trampoline.

I needed some groceries so I stopped off at a supermarket. I must have looked a sight as I was in my gardening gear and shoes and my hands were really dirty, still I needed food and it was on my way home.

Once home I had lunch, watched a bit of Crimson Fields and skyped Moo. We had a chat but I lost my internet connection. I sorted washing, cleared away from breakfast and put the shopping away, had a shower and then sat on the porch and knitted till the boys came home. They sat and had an ice cream and we listened to the radio and Smallest read his library book to me.

Small did some homework, Smallest did a few chores before playing on the IPad and I made dinner.

Smallest caught this cheeky chipmunk in our Sun Room. He hid under the sofa for ages and kept peeking out to see if we had gone!

We all ate when Huffle came home and then Huffle and I played table tennis, moved the table football and did a bit of painting and polyfilla'ing.

The boys went to Cubs and Beavers and had a talk from a local Police Officer.


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Twenty Two Trees

The boys went off with the Cubs and Beavers this morning and planted trees in the Rouge Valley for the 10,000 trees organisation. Smallest said he planted 16 trees (with help) and Small and another boy planted 6 trees (with no adult help). They planted White Spruce, Pine and Pecker Tree (Smallest told us this one but apparently it is a troop in Clash of the Clans, one of their games).

Huffle and I dropped off the kids and approached one of the leaders (as per the email) who didn't want responsibility for our children and told us to speak to another leader. We spoke to the English leader who was happy to take responsibility for both children as well as his own three (his wife was there too). It seems a different way of thinking here to what we are used to. Our kids want to go to Cubs and Beavers but all the Dads go too because they want to spend the time with their sons (because that is what their Dad did). Huffle and I are grateful of the odd hour we get to ourselves to get those jobs done that we don't really want to drag the kids around to. We don't see that as strange.

Huffle and I visited five different shops including a new garden centre and picked up some herbs and perennials plus a new spade. Our lunch consisted of a baguette cut up with a blob of philadelphia for me and a couple of slices of ham for Huffle. This was consumed in the car park waiting for the boys to get back. They finished off the baguette in the car when they got back and we came home.

The boys collected some more bricks and played on the IPad on the porch while Huffle and I planted and dug up some more grass. I finished off the round paving in the middle of the garden and the boys tested it.

Huffle working hard next to my circle paved bit.

Our new solar frog lamp we bought in the sale. We are testing it's effectiveness before we buy one for Grandad.

Smallest went off to play at his friend Malcolm's house for a couple of hours and Small rode his bike and helped us in the garden.

Then, not content with the fact we had done more than enough, after a game of table tennis, we moved the TV cupboard back into the basement and the snowboards and boots into the new cubby hole. We couldn't get the table football through the door (as there is now a wall there making the space much smaller) so we will have to take its legs off another day. We still need to finish painting the skirting and the ceiling but it's nice to have it as a working space again.


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Root, Root, Root for the Blue Jays

Today, after breakfast, we drove to Toronto to see the Blue Jays play the Boston Red Sox (baseball). It wasn't exactly warm but the sun was out intermittently and the roof was closed so we were warm enough without coats (well apart from Huffle who is getting older and needed his thermal top and a coat!).

We stopped for a warm drink and a little something before the game in a little coffee shop on the harbour and then walked along the harbour watching the boats and ducks.

Today's game was a 'Junior Jays Saturday' which meant there was plenty of entertainment before the game. The boys got to drop a baseball down a maze to win a prize. Small won a water bottle and Smallest won a 3D placemat which we will use as a poster on his bedroom wall.

Once at the Rogers Centre, we found the games and played, had tattoos and took silly photos. Then we walked the steep slopes to the 500 seats. This time we were at the bottom on the 500's so not too far up. We had no-one to our side and no-one in front which meant we had plenty of room.

It was day two of the three day play for the Blue Jays and Red Sox. Red Sox won yesterday and they ended up winning today too, though it did get quite exciting towards the end when we nearly drew or won. It was a long game but the kids were really good apart from one small incident involving one child accidentally sitting on the other and an elbow being put in! Both boys enjoyed the game. Their favourite players were Encarnacion and Bautista (as well as Carp the fish man who played for the Red Sox).

At the end the kids had the opportunity to run around the bases. We queued for quite a while and got to go on the pitch. The boys ran round the bases (not being allowed to slide though) and appeared on the big screen. They loved it and Huffle and I were very pleased we got to go onto the pitch. It was a bit of a mad free for all as the bases were cordoned off and you let your children run off around a well supervised pitch but weren't allowed to follow them or get to the end quickly as you couldn't go on the grass (or AstroTurf). One woman lost her four year old daughter and was inconsolable (I checked back later and she had found her thank goodness). We found our boys and took them to have a slice of pizza back at the harbour.

We watched the planes landing and the seagulls trying to get some food from us and then walked slowly back to the car. We had a good journey back, the boys playing on their DS'.

Once home a quick bowl of yoghurt in front of the TV and bed. It was a long day but very enjoyable.


As promised, a small selection of some very beautiful photography from Aunty A and her West Highland Way and Ben Nevis walk.


Friday, 25 April 2014

It's because I am English

A day where no gardening was done. It started out as a warm day which got cooler and ended in rain. Huffle worked from home. MrBasement came and did some finishing (he still has one more small thing to do). Huffle and I have some painting to do and then it will be completed and we can move some stuff back in.

I left Huffle with his annoying telephone conversations (annoying to him not me!) and went off to knitting. I took my pair of socks that needed stitches picking up correctly on both so I can cast them off very loosely and not so tight that I can't get my feet in them like before. However, it was so busy in there today, our work table was full and there were many many people dropping by to talk, buy or peruse. I never did one single stitch and El decided I could leave my socks with her and she would sort before next week. We sorted out my wool and patterns for Knit-A-Long after everyone else had gone and I started on my first square this afternoon.

I popped to the shop and bought a nice baguette and Huffle and I had lunch together before he carried on with his work interspersed with Hoovering to get away from the computer. I did some dusting, washing and knitting. I didn't get on very well as I wasn't reading the pattern correctly and had to start again many times.

The boys came home and I got Smallest's dinner ready while they prepared for swimming then we all went to watch Smallest do fabulous backstroke (his teacher said), front crawl and try breast stroke (which he only has to know how to do but doesn't have to do it). It was mid term progress report day and his teacher said he was very strong for his age and his endurance was amazing for his size. He was very happy with his swimming. Small played on the IPad while Smallest was swimming and then went and did his class of Lifesaving which he enjoyed. He asked if we saw him do this and saw him do that, but we said it wasn't a very interesting class to watch as there was a lot of talking that we couldn't hear and they move down to the other ends of the pool a lot. Still, he did well. While Small swam, Smallest ate his dinner, Beef Stew, in the reception. Later on as we were leaving, the receptionist said "your son is so very polite. He says it's because he is English". I said I didn't know where he got that from but that he is probably right and she agreed.

We came home, ate dinner, washed the swimming gear and watched TV. Everyone is very tired.

I would like to say a WELL DONE to Aunty A and her friend JustA - They have just completed a 96 mile walk on the West Highland Way and then climbed Ben Nevis. She has some amazing photos and promises to send them to me so I can show you. What clever ladies they are.

Here is one from today - I am guessing this is from Ben Nevis.


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Celebrations are out of date!*

Huffle went off to work very reluctantly. He is not a happy bunny at work at the moment. The boys went off to school happily. I went off to help in my 'Far Away Garden'. The sun was shining and was really warm but still quite chilly in the shade. I stayed for two and a half hours and wheeled barrow after barrow full of plants of rocks to the new garden up the hill. The Lady worked with me mostly and we moved a lot of plants. We both gave in when we ran out of steam completely.

I then drove 50 minutes away to "Suffolk's" house where a lovely Carrot and Corriander Soup was awaiting me with strawberries and an orange club for afters. She wanted to move her plants and have grass instead. I helped her clear a substantial part of her garden (and got to take the plants away with me) and now she is going to seed it.

I came home with five minutes to spare, made myself a cup of tea, emptied my car of plants and soil and sat on the porch waiting for her boys. Small said "Oh I thought you'd have done some gardening Mummy!" WHAT I HAVE BEEN GARDENING ALL DAY - CAN'T YOU HEAR MY BACK SCREAMING?

The boys had an ice cream, Small did his homework and Smallest had a bath (and so did Smelly). Small had his shower and then they played on the IPad and computer. When Huffle came home we dug some more grass up and planted the new plants (well he did most of it as I was kn@ck3r3d). We had dinner and the boys cleared the table and the dishwasher before going back on their gadgets. I had a nice long soak in a hot bath and Huffle carried on planting.

BEDTIME for Smallest and he sat on a stool in the bathroom reading to Huffle who soaked in his bath. Small and I read more Harry Potter.


*so we ate some


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

St.George, Snow, Sleet and Spring Pah!

When I got up this morning, I was greeted with "don't look out of the window Mummy". "It's sleeting!" IT WASNT SLEETING, IT WAS SNOWING. SNOWING AND LANDING ON THE GROUND. C'mon now, it's the end of April, nearly May, how can it still be snowing? I told Huffle we needed to move and Smallest said "Yes, we need to move to England!".

Huffle went off to work and the boys went to school. I watched the end of Jamaica Inn (new series on BBC - thanks Grandma) and then got ready and went to my exercise class. It seems to be getting easier but it was still hard work, especially on my hamstrings which I pulled yesterday clearing works garden and then moving all the stones in ours.

After my shower and a quick clear up, I went to N's house where the two K's were and we had a lovely lunch followed by crochet for a couple of hours. I taught the K's how to start a Granny blanket and helped N along with her hat. Lots of laughter and silliness and plenty of crocheting.

When I got home, MrBasement and Dilbert were there putting on the skirting boards. MrBasement has too come back tomorrow or Friday to finish some bits but it's looking nicer.

The boys came home and I helped Small with his homework about Gears and Axles and then the kids played on the IPad while I made dinner. Huffle came home and the boys all played football together.

HAPPY ST.GEORGES DAY. I told three people it was St George's Day, Smallest told his friend in class and Small told his teacher. None of them had heard of it before.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Pan, Parsnips, Playing and More Poo

Last night Huffle and I watched The Making of QI which was really interesting and funny. However I also dreamed that I was very intelligent and was entered into an Intelligence Test which was compered by Phil Jupitus (except he was Scottish!). I was locked in a room while the test went on until I had to go out and find something but I couldn't understand his Scottish accent. I had to read a recipe and buy a pan to match the recipe but I couldn't find the recipe either. I had text messages wishing me luck and there were lots of people in the place from my past, my present and people I didn't know. BIZARRE!!

It rained during the night and the chimney didn't leak and neither did the kitchen into the basement - wahooo. Well done MrBasement Jnr. It was a very drizzly, foggy miserable day. The boys went to school on wellies and waterproofs, Huffle worked from home and I went to work. Today Jan and I cleared the car park bed which was full of high grasses and perennials which we cut back to the ground. It was back breaking work and we were happy when we were called in for coffee. Today Jan had made Maple Syrup Shortbread Squares which were absolutely yummy. We finished our job outside and then stopped when it started raining more heavily. I filled up five bags of Duck Poo and took them home with my two parsnips which MrsM had just dug up. I planted them from seed last year so I got to take my pick.

I came home, emptied my car of goodies and went in to make lunch. Huffle was on a call so I waited for him and started to try to make the shortbread we had at coffee time. I also made a parsnip soup for my dinner and a Banana Bread for Small. We had lunch and then skyped Moo.

My shortbread came out of the oven and wasn't quite right. It tasted good but looked weird. I will have to wait for the proper recipe. We went out and emptied the Duck Poo on the beds - all ready now for planting.

The boys came home. Small had two friends round to play and they went off on their bikes, played basketball and football. Smallest played on the computer. After Huffle had finished work he and I raked the leaves off the garden near the barn and then moved a load of stones and rocks and the underneath weed mat.

The friends went home and we all had dinner.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Pokemon, Poo and Ping Pong

Huffle went off to work this morning and left the kids and I at home. It was a gorgeous day with temperatures of 21*. I daren't say it was too warm so I won't, but it did feel quite humid and I had a headache on and off all day so maybe a storm is brewing.

MrBasement arrived to do the floor and the kids and I went off to buy Smallest a pair of trainers. You should see how worn out his others are, we had to throw them in the bin! We ended up getting him some trainers and crocs and they both got a couple of tee-shirts and then they spent some of their money. Smallest spent his birthday money plus some more and bought himself a Pokemon Tin with cars in and extra cards. He was very very happy with his purchases. Small decided he wanted more cards (I don't know why because he has many) so he bought some too. We also picked up some groceries.

Once home, Pokemon opened and oohed and ahhed at, we had lunch. The boys chose to eat in front of the TV so I had mine in the Sun Room watching Crimson Fields. While they played on the IPad, I dug over the remaining veg beds and added top soil and sheep poo. They are now all ready for some Duck Poo from work to finish them off.

I called the boys outside and they went to Small's friends to see if he wanted to come over and play. They brought him back with them, played for five minutes and then went over to play at his. Smallest stayed with me and we and an ice cream, a game of football and a couple of games of Swingball.

MrBasement nearly finished the floor and is coming back Thursday to do the step, put some wood up, mend a light switch and put the skirting on. He said the roof went well and that we need to check the chimney when it rains as they are not completely convinced it is 100% rainproof as the roofer before made a hash of it and they may have to come back later and re-shingle it again.

The boys got me some bricks from under the Pool and I carried on with the path while they played Pokemon Battle with their cards.

Huffle came home, showers were had and we had dinner. Smallest and Huffle and Huffle and I played table tennis to test out the new floor. Not bad! The balls don't bounce as well as we would have liked but better than before.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Who Lives in a ship like this?


After breakfast today, Huffle and I sent the boys onto the Porch while we hid eggs and made up a treasure hunt.

The hunt started up in the loft where they found mini eggs, Swiss wrapped eggs, a couple of cream eggs, kinder eggs and some surprises. One of their clues was "The animals went in two by two......" They thought for a while, looked through Smallest's CD's and then found a tin Ark. "Oh Noah's Ship!" they said. They found a couple of eggs cuddled up with Smallest's Smelly.

After they found them all in the house they went outside and found some in a birds nest, next to Big Baby Cyril, in the basketball net and down the bottom of the back garden.

Some were in the car and the mailbox and finally in the Compost Bin, which actually said give to Mummy but they didn't.

We had a play in the garden, with the football and Swingball and then ate our lunch on the porch in the sunshine. I had an idea about bringing a rock from the back into the front for our stepping stones. However, the rock was very large and very very heavy. It took four of us, three bits of wood, two shovels and a huge tarpaulin to heave it to the front garden, dig it a hole and get it in (it took a long time but it does look good).

It has been a beautifully sunny day, a bit breezier than yesterday but a good day. We got a bit more of the garden done, the boys have a bucket full of eggs which we will steal some of later when they have gone to bed - not really ;)

We all had a nice Roast Dinner which Huffle and I cooked while the boys biked up and down the road until Smallest fell off and scraped his arms, head and tummy because Small stopped unexpectedly!!

Tomorrow Huffle is back at work and I have the boys off with me.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Nî hāo

An amusing story from The Telegraph today about a sighting of the Loch Ness Monster viewed from Apple Maps. The story mentioned that the last reported sightings in 2013 included three false reports. One was a duck, one was a wave and the final one wasn't even seen at Loch Ness. Hilarious.

MrBasement and his son arrived this morning to fix our roof. It needed new flashings. I didn't realise that meant they had to take all the felt and shingles off the roof too. Anyway they got on with it and by the time we got back from our walk, it was all done. Super, now the basement can be finished.

After breakfast, we got the bikes out and managed to fit both Small's and Smallest's bikes in. We headed to the Lake again but this time from the other end. It was nice and warm and the walk started with a short stroll to the park, a play and then a walk along the trail, by the water, past a lot of interesting characters including the man who walked at 45* with two cross country sticks suitable for a seven foot man, a bunch of Chinese kids (one who nearly crashed into me because he was showing off cycling with one hand) and adults which prompted this response from Smallest:- "I like to say hello to Chinese people to see if they say hello back in Chinese".

Smallest found a worm, called him Bob, wanted it to be his pet and was finally persuaded to put it in a plant!

At the point where we stopped last time, we sat on our bench in the sunshine and ate our Easter Cakes and had a drink, before heading off to another park where we played Tick (or is it called Tig?). We walked/cycled back and ended up doing 9km in all. Brilliant. We had burnt (earnt) enough calories to go and have fish and chips so that is what we did.

Then we came home and sat in the garden, played football and did a bit more grass moving for the path in the front garden. Small went off and played with his friend who lives at the back of us and Smallest and Huffle went to the Tire and bought two plants

We had a mini Easter Egg hunt where Huffle and I hid some mini eggs in the garden

The boys had their tea in front of TV and Huffle and I went through the Summer box, found some new clothes for Smallest (that used to be Small's) and got the kids to try on last years sandals, crocs etc.

Everyone is tired. Everyone should sleep well tonight. All bedding has been changed from Winter to Summer quilts and sheets etc. That's it - I am officially declaring it Spring. Smallest and I have pink faces from catching the sun - oh dear - we are so delicate.