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And so the holiday known as Easter hove into view and it was most welcome indeed. Now I don’t know about you Dear Reader, but I suspect that most normal people regard the words ‘bank’ and ‘holiday’ as a time for kicking back and taking things easy. Not so in South Lodge Towers, oh no indeed! There were times during my 6 day ‘holiday’ when the words ‘blue arsed’ and ‘fly’ were far more appropriate.

SONY DSCThere was to begin with – the decorating of the kitchen. Thursday (precious days ‘real’ holiday) – move all clat out of kitchen, of which there is much, and clean. When you have as much clat as we I do then this takes some considerable time. When you (well I mean I) painted around the fridge and dresser last time as opposed to moving them because your husband was abroad working, then this leads to much mingingness behind said pieces of furniture. Thus, cleaning took quite some time too. We repaired to the pub at 6.

Friday – painting and the fraughtness of said pursuit. Lots of dark mutterings, getting in each others way, pointing out of bits missed and grumpiness thereof and quite a bit of general tutting….we repaired to the pub at 5.

SONY DSCSaturday – holiday let changeover day. Let’s not even go there. Suffice to say that I shall not be picking up after strangers for too many more years. Wine open at 4.30.

Sunday. One of us played golf. The other one of us washed and put all clat back into newly decorated kitchen. One of us fell asleep in front of the football. One of us cooked a lovely turkey dinner as it was Easter Sunday. I’ll leave it to you to guess which was which……

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And so, by the time Monday came around I was wishing that Easter had never bloody existed. I therefore INSISTED that we leave the house before breakfast. Have someone else cook that and lunch and dinner and leave the decorating and endless cleaning behind. And so we did.

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We took ourselves off to Freshwater Bay, had a breakfast of sorts (Dandelion Café – no we don’t do breakfast just sandwiches – how about toast – no just sandwiches….bread….toast…really not… I refused to be wound up and so a cheese and ham toastie was all mine) overlooking the bay in the beautiful sunshine. It was so lovely it felt like being on holiday (at last). We walked up to the Tennyson monument which was a goodly stretch and then visited the lovely Kev in his lovely garden for a cuppa. After a few thwarted efforts at obtaining lunch – you explain to me why places are closed on a scorching bank holiday in one of the UKs most popular holiday destinations, we finally ended up in Seaview for a restorative snifter and some grub.

SONY DSCAfter seeing the small folks who had been away we ventured back to the West Wight for dinner with the Folliers at the Wight Mouse. We left home at 9am and returned at 11.30pm and FINALLY I felt as though I had relaxed and had a holiday of sorts.

SONY DSCIt was a lovely day and a good way to get back to feeling almost human again. I had taken an extra day off on the other side too and as TG was off mainland overnight golfing, had the house to myself which was rather nice and very peaceful.

SONY DSCI’d love to be one of those people who can be at home and do nothing (I live with one of those) but sadly it just is not in my nature. I see all the things that need doing and I hate to sit in an untidy room in the evening or constantly look at unmown grass and endless weeds. I should take a chill pill I guess. The Child is home for the next bank holiday and we have a christening to attend but apart from that I might just put the chill pill theory into action. Or I might not….so much to do so little time…..

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*Yes that dot in the above photo is the monument. It was like the sketch from Father Ted when Ted explains really close and far away to Dougal…

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Well now Dear Reader, Spring is in the air and all is well with the world. My absence here, not that I’m sure any of you noticed, has been due to having other fish to fry elsewhere which have been taking up lots of time.

I have long harboured a desire to make my bits of scribblings more than they are and I have been working hard to get myself out there to whoever is interested. This has been one of the most frustrating things in the known universe as it seems that these days, e mails and voicemails are things to be summarily ignored and there are very few people who bother to get back to you even if it’s only to say that they aren’t interested.

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Finally though, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, things have been slowly getting themselves together. I have been asked to write a gardening piece for a new digital magazine, have written some ad copy, have had a piece published on a ‘writers for writers’ website and may have got myself a copy writing gig. I have to say, that most of this success can be laid firmly at Twitter’s door. What a useful little tool that has proved to be and considering the fact that I only really started to use it properly in January, has reaped me much reward.

SONY DSC So things are moving forward. Slowly but surely. The ‘big’ project has ground to a bit of a halt as I wait for various people to do various things which is beyond frustrating and beyond my control. But I shall keep plugging away and hopefully get it on the move again. So it’s been a busy time. The holiday let is booked up for pretty much the whole of the Summer which will keep us out of mischief and the house like a Chinese laundry but it’s a relief when the bank statement comes!

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The pictures in the post are of the weekend just gone which was glorious. We’re at a funny stage in the garden where all the primroses and tulips are out and so are the geraniums from last year which all survived a Winter in the greenhouse. I slaved like nobody’s business yesterday and came in bleeding and bruised after my efforts. But it is really starting to look good out there and the veg is coming along nicely in the greenhouse. Madam Rainbow spent the afternoon with me sunbathing and generally getting in the way and it was lovely.

I also finished off these little fellows which I had a mind to sell but wasn’t sure if they were ‘Eastery’ enough

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Maybe not. There were also some others that I made for smaller peeps to go with their chocolate chickens.SONY DSC

So there you go. As you can see, I haven’t been idle and there’s plenty more where all that came from. Little acorns Dear reader. Little acorns.

 

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Neglect

Oh poor neglected Reader.

I will update you with all over the weekend.

Promise!

A little something I wrote that those lovely folks at Cultured Vultures  have published! Yay!!

 

In Praise of the Comfy Knicker.

 

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Somebody (and I can’t remember who) told me that between 30 and 40 the years start to speed up and between 40 and 50 they positively zip along and you spend your life wondering where all the time has gone! This so absolutely true and despite working only part time these days, the time is passing by in a most unseemly manner. The mornings are squashed full of projects, writing and small children and the weekends are equally full of small children, gardening and all the things that didn’t get squashed into the mornings. I seem to be busier than I ever was, which is a very good thing, but I’m frustrated by all the things that I just can’t seem to make happen. Grrr!

Anyway the past weekend went by in yet another blur of frenzied activity. There were seeds planted by small peeps, a gathering of 14 at the Indian to welcome the Folliers home, the pub attended in a rather too enthusiastic manner, a spot of clothes shopping achieved and an article submitted to a new source (please let them like it, please, please). The ‘big project’ (of which more when it comes together) is proving to be frustratingly slow and I have become a frenzied voicemail hater. There is a show on the horizon in which I shall be playing a Scottish medium and a film treatment in the treating as well as other creative thoughts in the thinking……my oh my and heavens above.

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It’s great to be busy, really great, but it was nice to have a small amount of almost down time at the weekend (if you don’t count the endless questions and steward’s enquiries over EVERYTHING). The Small Boy told me that he REALLY loves me and the Eldest Girl had more than a few hugs about her person. They make my heart glad. My own lovely children too marked Mother’s Day with beautiful bouquets and chats. They make my heart glad too.

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The week ahead will include the ‘project’, my new book club where I’ve met some great new people – it’s up the drive this week so not too far to stagger home – (who knew how much wine flowed at book clubs!), a meeting with a new Twitter friend and hopefully fewer bloody voice mails to be unreturned!!

Whatever the weather Dear Reader and with the days flying by, enjoy whatever it is that you might be doing, your own projects,your small people and your gardens. I know I shall even if I do, as my Nan used to say, meet myself on the way back.

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Spring Production

Isn’t it astonishing Dear Reader what a difference a bit of sunshine makes. We had the most fabulous weekend her on the beyond sunny Isle and the weather was such that I got a touch of sunburn in tropical Shanklin on Sunday! Everything was going swimmingly until the winter sickness came to pay a visit on Sunday night and TG and I were laid low for a day but let’s not dwell on that….no really, let’s not!

Lovely weather always seems to spur me into action and the weekend passed in a blur of cooking and gardening as well as visits from the small people and seeing the lovely Ms M. Now, I know that it isn’t the summer by a long way and that this is ENTIRELY unseasonal, but strawberry jam seemed just the thing to make on Saturday. I can’t say that the strawberries were of any great provenance (Tescos value Spanish actually) but oh my, the smell in the kitchen was glorious.

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The best thing about strawberry jam is that, as long as you add some pectin, it’s easy peasy to make – gratification guaranteed in about 20 minutes…

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And perfect for snackage around 4ish with a cuppa

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I had made it a la Mary Berry to go with some scones but when it came to it, scones were a bridge too far as there was rugby to be watched and the Paddys to be cheered on. What a match!!

Sunday was an even more beautiful and so I headed to the front in Shanklin for a coffee and a catch up with Ms M

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These fabulous days are the ones that make me realise that I am so lucky to live where I do with all this wonderfulness on the doorstep. It makes a body feel good.

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We chewed the fat for an hour or so and off home I went to spend some time in the garden doing a spot of planting. It’s always difficult to know when to start putting the veg in as the soil is still quite cold and claggy but I reckoned that the peas and broad beans could stand it so in they went with a few rows of carrots for good measure.

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One of our local garden centres has started selling seeds by weight so you can have as many or as few as you like which is a brilliant idea if you don’t have vast acreage to plant up which I don’t! Usually I end up putting in miles too many of one thing and not enough of another so this is a great solution. I also bought some first early and main crop spuds which are merrily chitting in the greenhouse. As well as all that, the Hollyhocks, Sweetpeas and Lupins are on the go – oh yes and some ‘anamatoes’ as the Eldest Girl calls them.

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All in all it was a brilliant weekend. All the best ingredients to get to a Sunday night and feel that not only have you achieved a lot but that you’ve had fun doing it (until the lurgy struck that is). The sun seems to have gone again but it’s mild enough so hopefully the seeds will think that spring is here and show their faces. Fingers crossed!

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The staff of life

Once upon a time long long ago Dear Reader, when you were but a twinkle in your daddy’s eye, I lived in Ireland. I lived there from when I was around 2ish until I was 17 and left the Emerald Isle to go to drama school in Guildford. I have absolutely no hankering to go back there (and in fact the sunny Isle is not unlike the Emerald one) but don’t visit my mother often enough there as she constantly reminds me. I don’t feel that there is anything there for me any more and I have lived here in the UK now for 30 years. I see my mother here several times a year – in case you thought that I’d heartlessly abandoned her, but there are one or two things that I still love about my Irish years – music and poetry is one and Tayto crisps and soda bread are some of the others.

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Soda bread. Much beloved of the Irish the world over and a doddle to make. When we were kids, my mother making bread was more of a threat than a promise and when it snowed and we were stuck up the mountain, often home made bread would be produced…..The very best soda bread came from Lily Cahill’s shop in the local town of Rathdrum and slathered with butter it was the best breakfast and tea staple. I haven’t made any for years not least due to the lack of availability of buttermilk which doesn’t seem to be stocked by any supermarket here more’s the pity.

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And so I improvised with a dollop of natural yoghurt mixed in with the milk which seemed to do the trick. The beauty of the soda loaf is that there is no yeast involved and little or no kneading which suits me just fine.

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It must always be marked with a deep cross which I’m sure Catholicism has some hand in but actually also makes for ease of portioning should you wish to share.

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It was a lovely thing to behold and made the house smell like days of yore. TG and I had hunks thickly spread with butter to accompany some vegetable soup that I’d made and it was grand.

I may have had another piece with our friend Paul’s honey…

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Now I remember why I was an overweight teenager……oh well!

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