Friday, 31 August 2018

Icing on the cake

Well, the icing for the cake IS done.    I cna't post a pic, as it contains pictures of my Aunt and Uncles.  It looks fine.     The printer is much faster than the old one, and it works wirelessly,  which is fab.  It's so fab that I'm thinking about not stashing it away in a cupboard.... but I don't know where I'd put it.

I'm up to my fingertips in a spreadsheet for the rest of the arrangements.

It's going OK.  I've spent hours washing up.  We got all the party stuff down from the loft, so I've been washing the plates, 'glasses' and semi disposable cutlery.  And the platters.    I also bought some chiller platters from Cater Speed, who offered inexpensive next day delivery, and the base price of the items was the best I'd seen.    I can see that these chiller platters would be good to use anyway,  so I'm wondering where I can store them so I have easy access.

All the new glassware has been washed, by the dishwasher.   I've borrowed fold up tables.  DB brought round some fold up chairs,  a massive coolbox,  and some other bits.   Our electric cool box is plugged in so it gets really cold. The ice maker has been churning out ice for 2 days now.  I've also frozen some large tubs of water,  so that normal plates can stand on them and keep cool.

I've had one food delivery,  and I'm going shopping tomorrow to buy the salad type perishables.  I've placed a panic order for Sunday morning, which contains frozen snacks.... this means we can heat them up quickly if we're running out of food,    or keep them if we don't.

The lady at a local cafe is making sandwich platters, for a very reasonable price.   Sandwiches aren't difficult to make, but they are time consuming.   And this way, we can collect them on Sunday morning so we won't have to worry too much about fridge space.

DB also lent me his breadmaker, so I can make two loads of dough at a time.  I know I could make the dough by hand more quickly but this way the dough can be doing its thing quietly while I'm getting on doing something else.  It also means I can make the dough later in the evening, rather than having to start early in the day.  My wish list of breads is quite long. 

It feels really odd buying in the food rather than making most things ourselves.    If it was just for a few people,  I'd be doing most of it,  but there are just too many.

I expect it'll be OK.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Time flies

The bank holiday was meant to be a calm, quiet, relaxing interlude for me, leading into a potentially busy week.  It didn't work out that way.

DH was away,  and Other Chap (OC) was away,  so I've been going to do the allotment chooks each day.  It's been good to see them. I wish I'd thought about it more carefully,  I could have wormed them as I'm seeing them every day anyway.

The Littlees have at last developed a taste for green veg, so I've been buying loads to make sure they have plenty. 

Small Person and her family popped by on Friday so that I could finish her leggings (see previous post).   They were off on holiday.

My Friday evening was meant to be me watching my new box-set,  Once Upon a Time, Season 7. I planned to start watching in the early evening, and then to keep watching until my eyes could take no more.

I started watching the first episode.
And then I had a phone call from Small Person's dad, my cousin.   Their cat had come in and had obviously been hit by a car.Their vet was just closing, so they were sent to the emergency Vet,  a few miles down the road from me.    The cat needed to be anaesthetised for the xray,  it had eaten when it dragged itself home,  and so the xray couldn't be done until Saturday morning.   They were due to go on holiday that day.

No problem. Happy to help.  Cat could come here, assuming he was OK to leave the Vet.

My Saturday was spent phoning the emergency vets, to see if the necessary xray had taken place, and fitting in everything else around that.   The Vet explained that they had had some emergencies come in, and they would do it at 1. Then 3. Then 7.   Each time I was told that someone would phone me when it was done.

I later realised that these were, literally, emergency vets.   They take over a practice overnights and over bank holidays,  and they provide an emergency service for lots of surgeries in the area.   This meant that every animal that came in to them was an emergency of some sort.

DH popped home on Saturday,  and immediately set to work getting our summerhouse ready for looking after the cat.  He's not castrated (the cat, I mean),  so we had to protect the walls and the floor, just in case.     We excavated the loft to find a cat basket that had not been recently used by our cats,  and we also found some VetBed which was new and unused.   And a litter tray.  And cat litter.

On Sunday morning, I phoned again and they confirmed that they had now done the Xray. Cat had a broken pelvis,  an operation was unnecessary (there was nothing that could be operated on), and he just needed to heal.  I could collect him that afternoon.  Phone again at lunchtime.

While I waited I started pressing the grapes that Small Person's parents had given me.  A previous, test, pressing had shown that 1kg of grapes would yield about 950g after de-stalking,  and this would deliver about 860ml of juice using the slow juicer.    I did the whole bag,  a lot of grapes,  and stood the jugs of juice in the fridge to settle overnight.

I collected Cat, and installed him in his temporary accommodation, and tried to do some stuff relating to the upcoming party.

On Monday, I got up early to do the chickens so I could sort out a few other things.

I bottled and pasteurised the grape juice.....

, and I attempted to make grape jelly.   It didn't set, and I haven't had any Certo (pectin), or any enthusiasm,  to reboil it.

I went to Ikea, to get some cheap glasses for the upcoming party.   I will never again go to Ikea on a Bank Holiday.     Their stock system leaves a lot to be desired.  Usually items show as "in stock", "low stock" or "out of stock".  Some of the things I wanted were "in stock",  but when I got there they were no where to be found.  The two assistants I asked for assistance were no assistance at all.  I ended up having to go round again, scrutinising the displays and taking stuff off the displays to try and get what I needed.

I don't think I've ever spent so long in an Ikea.

I had planned to pop in to Costco on the way back, but Costco had closed by the time I finished.

This morning,  I had to get up early and get back to the emergency vet to collect the cat basket.  They'd denied having it,  which is why we had to excavate ours,  but it turns out they did.  Cat was due at his own Vet today, and I wanted to use his basket instead of our bag (better structure for a cat with a broken pelvis).

I also had to go and buy some more cat litter and a second litter tray,  and run some more errands including seeing to the allotmenteers.

The Cat's Vet apppointment took some time, and I was relieved to get home.  I need to go to Costco, but I just can't face it now.

I still haven't unwrapped the new edible ink printer, either.  That was delivered last Thursday.  I may have to forgo the icing on the cake.

Friday, 24 August 2018


I haven't managed to get a photo of all the recent makes for Small Person.  Here are two she tried on today.

This first one is Cora Culottes by Made for Mermaids. She loves this particular style, and I've now made her....5?. pairs.  She loves the way they drape and look like a skirt.

And here she is in a pair of LoveNotions "Leggins"

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Unattended Fabric

This is what happens when I leave fabric unattended...

Monday, 13 August 2018


I was cleaning the tops of some of the wall units.  Ever since I was a child at home, I've lined the tops of cupboards with wallpaper to protect them from the stickiness that is inherent in kitchens.  These days we don't use a deep fat fryer, so it's not quite so icky sticky,  but it's icky sticky enough.

To keep the paper flat I use old, out of favour, coasters.    I line the (few) open shelves as well - those that stuff is displayed on rather than in constant use,  and I put an old placemat on the shelf as well.  It looks marginally better than lining paper,  they are easily cleaned, and they are easily disposed of when they become uncleanable.

I smled to myself when I unearthed this...
.. I guess it must be getting on for 33/34 years old now.  I loved that picture back then.  It was very popular, and  I think I probably had that as a picture on a wall in my first house.   The mat is in susprisingly good condition.

While I was up there, I found two mats belonging to this set, also in surprisingly good condition:

That snail one was from a set of 4, I had to buy 2 sets to have enough.  I don't know what happened to the others.  These were also from my first house,  and I think it was when I started to have my own identity.       These didn't get replaced because they were grotty,  I think we moved house and I bought some new ones.

I suspect that I was a bit more careful of my placemats back then,  or I didn't use them much (we ate out a lot), or maybe I just changed them frequently.    It took me many years to paint the new kitchen in this house,   I just had an expanding number of tester pot swipes on the walls.  

I've lost count of the sets of placemats I've had and ruined.
My current table mats have been in use for... I don't know.  I've been semi retired for 12 years, and the mats were well established then.     I looked at them with a fond sadness today,  as I realised that they are all peeling, or stained, or damaged. 

They are by Rob Scotton, and they've been really really well used.    I don't think you can see the damage too well in the pic. 

I'm going to retire them, and get some cheapy ones to replace them. 

Housewifery happens

My middle stepson and his lovely family are coming to stay overnight shortly... and two weeks after that, a horde of my family (some of whom have never been to my house before) are coming for the day. 

There are a lot of family members, so it's entirely likely that furniture will get moved.

Cue: housewifery.

It's been forever since I last did it, so I might as well do it and then forget about it for another age.

I started at the end of last week, in the sitting room.  Sofas have been moved and vacuumed behind,  skirting boards dusted.  The fan cleaned. Top of pictures wiped.    There will, no doubt, be an accumulation of debris and detritis over the next couple of weeks,  but not enough to embarrass me unduly.

Then the downstairs bathroom and lobby. I've reviewed all the magazines and chucked a load.  Then the upstairs bathroom.  It's fully tiled, and I washed the tiles this morning. . I do realise that there isn't really any 'furniture; to get moved in either bathroom,  but the bathroom needs to be sparkling.  Do it now, then swish and swipe just before visitors happen.

I'm now doing the kitchen, which was a bit accidental.  I only meant to clear it up a bit, it's become a dumping ground over the last couple of weeks as various projects are finished and new ones started.  Somehow I  found myself cleaning under the coffee machine, which led to a behind the coffee machne clean, which led on.....   I've even hoovered up some cobwebs from the ceiling,  and I feel bad about that.  I like spiders, and I try to maintain a spider friendly house: clean cobwebs are not usually removed. 

I've resisted emptying the kitchen cupboards, but I'm ruling nothing out at the moment.  I suspect it may depend on how long it takes me to finish the kitchen.

I'm trying to pace myself.  In my younger days, I'd have done a mega long day of non stop vigorous cleaning.   Now,  I just don't care enough.  I do care,  I just don't think it's as important as I once did.

But I'm still cleaning.

My daughter in law will ask me if I've cleaned.  Last time she came, we made a pact that we wouldn't do it just because the other is visiting.     I would still have tidied. And I would still have cleaned the bathroom,  and cleaned their bedroom.   But I wouldn't have done this level of cleaning if it wasn't for the other visitors.


That's my break time over.  I've only done one quarter of the kitchen, and I'd like to get at least half of it finished today.


Friday, 10 August 2018


What else have we been up to?

I'm not sure I can remember everything.  Apart from chicken activities,  :
- we made some chocolate and Hazelnut spread in Thermy.
         - And then the following week, we made 3 more variations.  

- we made a courgette cake for Small Person's Mum's birthday.
- I made a test pair of Cora Culottes for Small Person,
    - followed by four more pairs
- I made a new pair of leggings for myself, but I haven't put a waistband on them yet
- I made a birthday card for Small Person's Mum

- I got SmallPerson to make a card for her Mum

- We played Cat-opoly.  A lot.
- We've watched the Back to the Future trilogy, which Small Person loved

I can't remember what else.

Next stage

We managed to last until Monday before taking the babies down to the allotment.   We waited until then because Small Person was going to be here, and we knew she'd want to be involved.  She messaged me each day over the weekend,  asking if we were moving the chicks that day and, if so, could she come too. please.

The move went well,  and they seemed to really like the new space to explore.  It has better shade than the garden at home, so was great for the good weather.  We went back down again at dusk, and were really pleased to see that they'd all managed to put themselves to bed.

They seem happy enough.   We've had to work at getting the Girls to remember to fly up;  the Boys haven't forgotten.

We know that Orange, Black, BlueBoy, Penguin and Brownie are Boys (Brownie is a miniature version of his Dad).   We know that Violet is a girl.  We think that Pink and Red are Girls.  

We don't know about Number Six.

The garden at home is very empty, and very quiet.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Stone the crows

Well, crowing happened.

Blackring and Brownie have been learning to crow for some time.  We knew both were boys, so no surprises.   lue Boy also started recently/       Sadly, Penguin has also started to crow.  When DH told me, I thought he might possibly be mistaken.  I saw and heard it myself shortly afterwards, and many times since.

Meanwhile, on top of the Gazebo has become a place of interest for the boys.

Small Person took the news about Penguin quite badly,  but she recovered herself by the next day.  We've already been telling her that Number Six is looking a bit boyish.... we haven't mentioned that we both, separately, thought we'd seen himher crowing.

Only once.  Each.