Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Hi Ho Hi Hi it's off to work we go....

Our garden - Rudbeckia

Everyone slept well because it was a bit cooler. Smallest didn't get up until 7:50 (which is a miracle). After breakfast, the boys and I went off to work at the Nursery. Jan and Wil were also there and we spent an hour emptying old pots. Soil in one wheelbarrow and weeds in another one. Small emptied the barrow for us and any plants we found, we were allowed to take home. I took six ferns and three hostas. Then the boys and I made a new garden by weeding and planting up Morning Glory, Salvia and another climby thing I can't remember the name. We stopped for coffee/water and a coupe of amazing brownies that Jan had made. MrsM had bought the boys a magazine about Toronto and a packet of HobNobs to take home. Wil and Jan both said they hadn't heard of them and MrsM said "that's because you didn't grow up in England!".

After coffee break, Smallest and I planted up six different varieties of Squash and Small helped label them. The boys went off exploring the gardens and I did a bit of weeding and clearing. We came home with our ferns and hostas, an Anenome from Jan, biscuits, magazine, some salvia flowers and two geraniums. The boys did really well today and MrsM told them if they come again, she will pay them 1c per pot that they empty. They are ready to go back next week. Smallest said it was more fun than being on the tablet. Small didn't say anything!

The boys had lunch in front of the TV and Huffle and I watched Kevin McCloud in the Sun Room with our lunch.

I left all the boys at home and did some food shopping and they all helped me unload and put away back home. The rest of the afternoon the boys played on the Wii and I talked to Moo, sorted out her FaceTime issues and had a good chat about gardening while I made my dinner. Huffle had made a Beef Chilli in the Slow Cooker earlier so that had been bubbling away all day.

It rained from lunchtime onwards today and yet we still took the boys to their respective football games. Tonight I took Smallest to his Rep practice and Huffle took Small to his game.

I met Malcolms Dad at the practice and he was complaining how both his sons (same ages as ours) were at different places. I offered, out of the goodness of my heart, to take Malcom home after the game, saving him an extra journey. He thanked me and left. I sat and watched Smallest practice and had a quick word at the end with his coach who says he is very happy with Smallest. Malcolm then asked if I could take him to where his Dad and brother were instead of home. RANT ALERT. I lost my bearings a bit and ended up nowhere near where I needed to be, so changed track and came home, dropping Malcom off first. I rang the doorbell, Malcolm walked in and closed the door behind him. Not saying thank you and not letting his Mum know I was there. I asked him to let someone know I was there and he said OKAY and turned away again. GOOD GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT CHILD? Eventually I made him understand that I needed to see someone in order to leave him (in case he was home alone - he is only eight after all!). In the end, someone (could have been anyone) half came out and waved and said what could have been a thank you. I actually walked away at that point and said FORGET IT. I am absolutely fuming. The child never spoke once to me, never thanked me. The parents obviously don't care who is with them, or what they do with them. THATS IT. I'M FINISHED WITH THAT FAMILY! So rude - I have just filled the swear jar just telling Huffle what happened. Not only do people think it's okay for them to leave my kids on the drive without checking I'm here first but it's also okay for me to drop their kids off without checking anyone is home. Why didn't his Dad just leave him to walk home from the local town then? SERIOUSLY PEOPLE SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT HERE!!!!!!!!



Monday, 29 June 2015

Hot wired

A sunshiney hot day today. The boys and I played Junior Monopoly and they went on their tablets while I laid three slabs, a stepping stone and did some weeding.

We all had lunch (including Huffle), attempted to clean the pool and then the boys and I cycled to the tennis courts and had a few games of tennis.

It was really hot and we had no energy so we didn't last too long. We cycled home and went straight to the pool.

The boys went in and I sat and read and blew up the big rubber ring.

Later, Huffle came out and we tried to backwash the pool but once again it went off and wouldn't start again. Huffle opened it up and one of the wires was very fried. We contacted MrBasement for some help.

He suggested it would be okay as there is more than one Ground Wire and we backwashed, Rinsed and got it back working again. It is spluttering along, will it last the season?

I mowed the grass and the boys trampolined. There were a couple of incidents where Smallest got a bruised knee and Small got a foot in the eye. Huffle raked the grass and I attended to the eye patient. I put a bag of frozen blueberries on his eye and sent him to the sofa. Unfortunately, the bag opened and there were blueberries everywhere, all over our new sofas. Whoops. Luckily they are a dark grey and there was no staining (that we can see). However, he did get a blueberry tattoo on his back and one stuck in his belly button!

I made dinner with the help of everyone. Smallest made the couscous and Huffle squeezed the lemon and collected garlic chives (and was my sous chef, fetching and carrying), small collected salad leaves from the garden and washed them all and between us we made fish cakes with lemon Aioli. Very yummy.

After dinner we all played football down the bottom of the garden. (The football from yesterday was played by Smallest's team on another field but they forgot to inform us. Smallest was very disappointed his team played without him).

Showers, TV, bed!


Sunday, 28 June 2015

C'mon Roy

At 3am the skunk reappeared and left its stink under our bedroom window. Luckily, I smelt it rather quickly and jumped out of bed, shut the windows, put the fan on and sprayed Febreze into it. I also used the lavender cream under the nose trick. It worked and we soon got back to sleep thank goodness. I hope this isn't going to be a regular thing!

It rained all through the night and for most of the day. We played a full game of the new Catan Seafarers (I won!). There was piano playing, Chess and Draughts playing, bird house painting and frog planters painting (the bottom so they can sit in the garden and not be ruined).

We did a bit of cleaning and sorting and after dinner went out to take Smallest to his football practice. Huffle had emailed the coach earlier in the day to check it was still on as we had had a lot of rain this weekend. He did get a reply saying they were checking the fields and would let us know shortly. As it got closer, we then emailed another coach whose child does the same football as Smallest and asked him if it was still on. By the time we left we had no replies from either of them. When we got there, the fields were locked and were empty. As we were early we drove around and then parked up outside. No-one turned up and no-one emailed. This is the second time now and Huffle is furious. Poor Smallest is just disappointed as he wants to play. They have asked for more money from us but until they start letting us know what is happening each week, they will be getting nothing! DISAPPOINTING!

We came home and decided to go for a walk in the Hamlet. It rained lightly but it wasn't too bad. On the way we passed a dog (whose owner we knew) and he came out to greet us, walk with us and then wandered home. On the way back he found us again but this time he had a friend. The two dogs ran around us, jumped up us (in a friendly wet dog kind of way) and went in our general direction. A woman asked us to call our dogs back as they were sniffing her dog and we had to tell her twice that they weren't ours! She didn't believe us as she watched us walk until out of sight (though the dogs came with us so I can understand why she was suspicious).

When we were nearly home, we checked one of the dogs' collar, rang the number and left a message saying it was loose and where we were. I then rang the owner of the one we knew and left a message saying his dog and another were heading on up our road together. Then I got a message from 'Roy's owner saying someone was looking after his dog and he would contact them. I also got a call from the one we knew who said he was on his way to get both. We herded the dogs back towards their home and they were picked up. Good deed done for the day. Smallest wanted to know why we couldn't keep them and Huffle most certainly now does not want a dog under any circumstance.

Despite the fact that we spent considerable time and effort in keeping an eye on the dogs, phoning their owners and texting to keep them up to date with what was happening, the owner of the dog we didn't know did not contact me to thank us!!!! DISAPPOINTING!

Back home and dry, the boys watched TV before bed.



Saturday, 27 June 2015

A dog is for life, not your bag!


Today we braved the huge crowds in our local town for their annual Strawberry Festival. Normally, this time of year it is so hot we struggle to find any shade, however this year it was quite cool. We all went out with fleeces on!

We parked nearby as all the streets through the town were closed and pedestrianised. Usually Moo is here and we wander slowly along checking each stall and occasionally stopping while Huffle and the boys race ahead stopping every now and then in order to let us catch up. I also don't often take money with me and have to find Huffle when I want to buy something. Today I took my own money, but they all stayed with me and were happy to peruse.


We stopped at all the free things and got ourselves a few recyclable shopping bags, the boys won a couple of water bottles and a solar light, a couple of bead necklaces, and some fruit and they also managed to filch many sweets. One of the places was offering photos of the kids with dress up stuff but wanted to give us a free insurance quote for the privilege. I told the woman that Huffle worked in Insurance and dealt with all of our personal insurance so she attempted to talk to him, "I worked at ********* so you'll have trouble convincing me" at which point she gave up but still let the kids have their photos done (they actually turned out really bad because they cut off Small's head and the printer ink was running out).

Smallest gets to hold a lizard

Standing on the side of the stream, we were able to watch the ducky race.


Strawberries were bought (well it was a Strawberry Festival), ice creams were tried and we bought ourselves a lovely garden ornament. We searched the food trucks looking for some lunch and ended up driving to the burger place we like. It started to rain lightly so we came home.

We entered a competition for free ice creams with this photo

The boys played on the trampoline for a while and then played on their tablets while Huffle and I read the rules of the new Catan game. Small then played it with us. Good game with lots of different ways of playing it once we figure it out completely.

We finished watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and then watched the Women's World Cup while our big flag hung on the front door.

Obviously we watched on Canadian TV so it was biased commentary and the ref was very biased against us but we let the kids stay up till the end. When we won, we opened the window and shouted and then I put the English Bunting up and Huffle put the porch lights on (Mr Scrooge never does that normally) and posted to Facebook the fact we were taunting the Canadians. I was hoping TheRoyals and D from across the road would join us in a celebratory dance in the middle of the road but as it was still raining heavily - we left them in peace.

Can you see Huffle peering through the door window?

Funny, we would never have watched that game if we weren't in Canada.


Friday, 26 June 2015

Expecto Patronus

Today wasn't officially the start of the Summer Holidays, it was a PA Day but we still had lie-ins and stayed in our PJ's all morning. The boys ate breakfast in front of the TV and played on their gadgets and I did load after load after load of washing, putting it on the line, taking it off, drying and folding.

After lunch we went to Suffolk's house where we took Suffolk and Luce and drove to the sewing shop. We showed them last months quilt square and received instructions for next months square plus our material. This one looks very hard!! I also bought some Star Wars material for Smallest's quilt. Next we drove to the music shop for Luce's music stand and the boys chose a piano book each. Small had a Pop and Films one and Smallest had a Disney one. We then all went to the pottery place and picked up our Frog Planters. We are very happy with them.

Smallest's Charlie Frog

My frog - Pasty. (Because it looks like a Cornish pasty).

As it was a hot day again, we went to a local 50's diner and had an ice cream milkshake. Yummmmmmm. We stopped for a quick play of football and a cup of tea at Suffolk's and then came home by which time it was 6pm.

Huffle picked up pizza for us and we watched a bit of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Huffle had found videos of the kids today when they were 3 and 7 respectively. They were hilarious. Both singing Christmas songs, Smallest watering the garden in the snow, Smallest setting up a chess set. Funny boys.



Thursday, 25 June 2015

School's out for Summer '15.

For the first time in ages, I slept right through. Hurrah. Huffle didn't though. Something woke him up and he is convinced that something flew into the window insect screen next to me during the night. I wonder what that was? Glad it didn't get in. He was very tired today and had call after call after call.

Today was the boys last day at school this term. Wow, where did that time go? I spent the first part of the morning cutting up flapjack, putting it in little bags and tying round lovely ribbons. I got the boys to write a card for each of their teachers and the bus driver.

After they went to school I went to The Royals and did a couple of hours of gardening. Today we tackled one the side beds. MrsRoyal has a quintessentially English Garden with full shrubby beds and repeat planting to draw your eye along. I like it there as it so different from many of the gardens around here. We took out lots of Forget-me-nots and I planted some of them in the meadow part at the end of their garden. I forfeited my coffee, snack and chat today in order to get myself cleaned up to go to collect my pottery.

Almost our whole class (including our teacher) met at the Gallery and oohed and ahhhed over each other's pottery pieces. Of course, everyone's else's were much better than our own. Some of mine surprised me on how they had turned out and a couple of pieces I really liked. We packed them all away in protective baskets and went off for some lunch. We had a lovely lunch and chat and sat in there for over two hours.

TopLeft&Middle - candle holder. I quite like this one. TopRight- supposed to be a bird feeder but a bit worried about putting it out in case the squirrels hang from it and break it. What shall I do with it?
MiddleLeft - Maple Syrup Jug. Very happy with the colours on this one though I expected it to be a little more red. Love the tones inside.
Middle - I made these for Smallest with a frog stamp. MiddleRight - supposed to be a Spring Roll Plate. I have no idea what I will use this for.
BottomLeft&Middle my fish plate, should have been three colours but it looks like it ran. I can't imagine using it to serve fish and I have no idea where to put it.
BottomRight - used teabag holder. Love this, it is my favourite. Love the colours and will be using it all the time.

Aunty A's pots. Her fish is sitting in the cabinet for safety in case she decides she wants to come and claim it one day. Her Sushi Roll Dish and Jewellery holder is sitting by the Guest bed (or her bed as she likes to call it).


The boys came home with tons of stuff, schoolwork, thank yous from teachers, Year Book, nice notes, sweets etc.

Tonight it was football. A game for Smallest and his coach Huffle and a practice for Small. Smallest scored two goals tonight. I went with Small armed with my wellies and umbrella. What a strange day weather wise. It started quite cool, then got hot and then it rained really heavily. Since lunchtime it has rained on and off. The pitch was very squelchy. I sat and talked to one of the Mum's there and it made the practice go very quick.



Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Say hello to your little Ant!

Another night of not sleeping all the way through due to Smallest waking us up at 3:08am (Smallest says that's what time it was) because he had an bad earache. Huffle went downstairs to get some pain killers and some olive oil and Smallest cuddled me in bed until we gave him his medicine and he went back to bed. Of course then it took too long for me to get back to sleep because it is the dreaded hour, my mind starts whirring and I worry about stupid things.

When we got up this morning, he was fine. Huffle thinks having his fan on constantly, aimed at his face/ear all night long possibly doesn't help, so we will get him to keep it off for a while. Huffle saw the kids on the bus for me while I had a day on the Rooftop of The Royal York and did some gardening.

We tidied up the beds, planted Amaranths, Mint and Nasturiums and built and erected the tomato cages. We worked for about three hours in the scorching hot sun with virtually no breeze and then we went and had a lovely meal on the Library Bar.

I had Maple Glazed Salmon with new potatoes, garlic broccoli, carrots and baby courgettes. It was beautiful. I had a lovely glass of wine. We braved the traffic and went home, it was very very busy.

I had enough time to have a cup of tea on the porch and cool down, pot up a couple of plants and then the boys came home. I was using the hose and the kids ran through it to cool down too and then went in the pool. I sat with them for a while before making dinner. When Huffle finished his work, he also went in the pool and they all played until dinner was ready. They ate outside in the shade.

Small was telling us a story about talking to someone at school about an Aunty (we pronounce it arnty) and someone asked him what he was saying. They told him that it was Aunt (pronounced Ant) here and he said 'how do know the difference between an ant and your aunt'. They said that they call an 'ant' a little ant and Small said 'what if your aunt is little?'. Yeah good point Small!

Today the kids brought home all their schoolwork as tomorrow is their last day before the Summer Holidays. They also got their report cards. Small got 7xA, 6xA-, 5xB+, 1xB (his lowest mark was for Dance). Smallest got 1 Satisfactory mark for Organisation which is no surprise at all and 2xA, 5xA-, 5xB+, 3B. Both seem to have mainly improved but it's hard to tell too much as the teachers are on taking part in a 'lawful job action' and we only got A's B's etc and no individual teachers comments which is a shame.

I made Flapjack for the teachers and bus driver and the boys wrote a little note for each. Eight weeks of Summer now and we don't find out which class they are in next term until August time. They both have a good idea where they will be though. Smallest's teacher that he had this year is leaving which is a shame as she seems to be a good teacher. We also have a new Principal starting in September.

The boys played on their tablets and Huffle mended the Redneck Windchime.




Tuesday, 23 June 2015

40 years Man and Boy!

Last night's storm was horrific. Just as Huffle and I went to bed it started. Huffle lasted about five minutes before he scuttled off to the basement. I started to watch a bit of TV, trying to ignore the loud thunder and then I realised that Small was awake. He came and got in with me and we watched about ten minutes of a Disney Film but we were too tired and tried to go to sleep. We couldn't as it was really hot so we went and checked on Smallest who was fast asleep and then went down to see Huffle. He was on his executive chair (which is a laying down beanbag) under the basement stairs following the weather channel. Why does he do that? Why does he put himself through watching all the warnings and scaring himself?

Smallest and I went back to bed and snoozed whilst the thunder shook the house and the Lightning was a constant bright light flashing in the sky. In the end we went and watched it from the landing. We have never seen anything like it before. If it was sheet lightning then it was many many sheets at the same time. The thunder got louder and more violent. Finally it subsided a little and I sent Small back to bed. I think I fell asleep but not for long because it all started again. Very very loud and very very bright. It felt like the thunder ripped through ground. It was quite frightening and then I realised both boys were awake. We all went down to the basement where there are no windows so we couldn't see the lightning and the thunder seemed far away. The boys and I went back to bed and Huffle finally came up around 2am. We had a very brief power cut too.

Huffle seemed to fall asleep instantly but I felt sick and headachey and couldn't breathe, the pressure felt so high. I put the fan on and opened the windows and eventually drifted off. At 4am it started again but this time we were too tired to move and went back to sleep. It was very hard getting up and out of bed this morning. Neither of the two boys heard the 4am storm thank goodness so they weren't too bad.

When they went to school, I went off to the Nursery where we filled in the empty spaces in the tubs we planted up last week, moved lots of plants from the greenhouse to the benches outside the house and got stuff ready for The Royal York tomorrow (I had to cancel exercise in order to go). I came home with a few plants and a tired head. The morning's weather was fine and cool, then very hot and humid, a little rain and then breezy!

Jan accidentally threw a plant pot onto Flora's back. The silly cat never moved (it was a flimsy plastic one!).

Aunty A's peas and leeks
This was our coffee break snack. Someone had made a cake for MrsM. Yummy.
Peter Rabbit's radishes (Beatrix Potter).

My attempt at a Kokedama (as shown on Gardeners World).

I had lunch at home on the porch whilst Huffle listened to the Cricket or Golf and then I went off to the garage to fill up with petrol, find out about new tyres and then off to get some food shopping done. I went to a place I always used to go but haven't been to for ages. It was an experience and much cheaper but I lost my shopping list so had to wing it!

Back home we emptied the car and I put away everything and Facetimed Moo in time for the kids getting home. They played their piano pieces for her and we chatted about gardening. I made dinner with the help of Smallest while Small made Flapjack for his school party tomorrow.

After dinner, Small and Huffle went to football. I had a text from him at half time to say that the team were 6-3 down, he was getting annoyed because the opposing team could play and ours couldn't and he was shouting at the ref for missing fouls. He also said the team and the coach knew nothing (well he actually swore but I don't need to put that!). The score ended in 8-6 to the other side.

Smallest and I played Mario Bros and then finished off a Harry Potter book. We checked the bookshelves for the next one which is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He is very excited to start that one.



Monday, 22 June 2015

Betty brought berries

I didn't sleep well last night. I was awake from 1am until sometime around 3am. So annoying!

It was quite a hot and humid day. This morning I hosted a Knitting Morning with Bet, Jacq and Suffolk. We hepled Jacq start to knit and she promised to keep practising. Bet brought her lovely Aran knitting and we sat and chatted over Banana Bread and Mixed Berries. It was very nice and we all said we would do it again during the Summer.

Huffle and I had lunch together and then we planted a few plants and started to clean the pool. After several problems with the vacuum, I gave up and waited for the boys to come home to help. They actually got in the pool and Small sponged the bottom and sides using his snorkel mask and Smallest used the brush to sweep away at the bottom. I decided to do a backwash but half way through the pump stopped. MrBasement suggested what to do via text and Huffle got it working though it was very hot - maybe it had overheated! The boys carried on playing in the pool after all cleaning was done and Huffle joined them. All was well until Smallest fell down the stairs that lead from the pool deck to inside the barn. He cried so loudly that we thought he had done some serious damage to himself. Luckily it was just a few bumps and bruises. He went and had his shower while everyone else cleared up. He is all sorted now, just some bruises.

I made dinner and Huffle and I planted out the last of the plants we bought at the weekend. After dinner the boys went on their tablets. Huffle made us all charge our iPhones/tablets/IPads etc. There is a severe storm warning ahead possibly from 1am through to 6am. NOOOOOOOO! Need sleep!

The boys went to bed and Huffle and I watched Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell which is THE most bizarre thing I have ever watched full of magicians and raven kings and magical fairies and much weirdness. As we finished watching this weeks episode, a spider crawled right past me on the sofa and I jumped up in fright. Huffle thought I was imagining a raven flying out. Why does he let me watch these things just before bedtime?

Huffle has placed candles and torches everywhere, in the kitchen and down in the basement. I guess he knows where he will be heading later then! We just read there is a tornado warning 3 hours drive North from here.


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Someone's gonna get a leaf in the head!*


I fell asleep early evening whilst watching TV and then overslept this morning and still felt really tired. I'm blaming the weather.

Huffle sat and watched the Golf whilst the boys and I prepared a pancake breakfast. The kids presented him with their gifts and cards. We bought him a Seafarers Catan Extension Set, and a couple of bars of Lindt Chocolate. Smallest made him a sticky out tongue face in pottery, a play dough fish and a poem about him.

Stinky, grumpy, tall, strong,

Sibling of Uncle Grump,

Loves making burgers,

Fears Thunder and Lightning,

Needs SLEEP,

Gives me food and water,

Would like to see me beat Malcolm's football team,

Resident of Ontario.

We sent him back to the Golf while we prepared his performance. We set up the garden with bunting and made a Ninja Warrior set with hoops, rolling logs, warped slide, monkey bars, trampoline skipping and a trampet jump to a flag. Despite the fact that we were a little unprepared and underrehearsed, it didn't go too bad. In the end, we crowned Huffle our Ninja Warrior for being the only audience member.

Then we moved up to the pool and played there for a couple of hours. The sun was hot, the water was about 22/23*. We had two whirlpools, the boys had a spear war and then there were plenty of divebombs. Huffle facetimed Grandad and I read my book.

Mid afternoon we went out for dinner where we met a waitress who asked about our accent and told us about her sister and boyfriend who lived in London but said the food was much better here (Canada) than in England, London especially. WHAT? If you say so! We took Smallest's football kit with us and he changed into it and then we went to watch the Batting Cages while we waited for Smallest's football training to start. There were far too many people saying 'there you go' which we have now worked out is instead of saying 'that's it' or 'well done'.

At the football, the normal coach was away so BobbyDeNiro stepped in and took over. He wasn't a bad coach but he did use the term 'offensive' just a few too many times for my liking. I think, MrDeNiro, that may be a hockey term!! One of the Dad's played football with his son (not on the team) behind the goal that the team were playing. The ball kept going onto the pitch and disrupting the practice. Huffle and I mentioned too many swears which Small unfortunately heard and now we have to add to the swears jar!! I also need to mention that the same son also had a leg in plaster. Do we think this is in an appropriate game to play whilst a leg is healing? At one point the kids were practising running round a cone (or pylon as the term is here) and then trying a goal kick. This was one kid against another, the quickest one gets to try to score. One of them didn't ever go round the cone and the one time they were against Smallest (the only one that DID go round the cone) I shouted CHEAT. The coach asked the players if he had gone round the cone and I shouted NO HE DIDNT. Huffle suggests I listen to music so I don't get myself into trouble and it won't bother me so much. WHOOPS!

Small and Huffle played catch and I relaxed in the beautiful early evening sunshine. *we heard the coach saying "someone's gonna get a leaf in the head" but he actually said "someone's going to get a cleat (studs on bottom of football shoes) in the head". Small thought he said LEAF! The coach's son is well known for crying if he loses at anything. Today he lost at the penalty shoot out. Smallest said he heard him say "my eyes are watering because I'm so competitive".

We came home and the boys had a quick tea, shower and off to bed.

Beautiful Lily but no fragrance!