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Cowes

It was summer. No really, it was. The sun shone, there was no rain and we all moaned about how hot it was. So that was that then. In amongst the sunny days there has been the evidence of urchins who have been to visit. And learned to ride bikes.

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Lessons

We had them to stay for a couple of days whilst their parents selfishly went away for a much deserved break!

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Urchins

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Slip sliding away

What larks we had…

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Larks

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End of the cone

A fun time was had by all. They then reappeared a week later…

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Boys

And all was going swimmingly until some one (not the next one) was caught weeing in the pool…..

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Washing basket swimming

Well, boys will be boys…

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Well now Dear Reader, we may have had a hurricane, we may have had further torrential rain and high winds and we may have had ‘Amber alerts’ (which do make me giggle) but despite all of this, we had a rather lovely Saturday morning last weekend. And so it was that we found ourselves on the beach with two out of the three small folks.

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At their ages they don’t need much amusement beyond stone skimming and shell collecting and there was plenty of both

SONY DSC There was a small spot of rain but we were not deterred

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It’s a real treat to still have weather that’s reasonably good enough to get out with a coat and hat for a blustery walk. It blows the cobwebs away and it’s great to see so many folks out and about with dogs and kids just enjoying what we have on our doorstep.

We made some shadow pictures although TG does look alarmingly like the grim reaper..

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We’d all had enough after about an hour or so and as Madam had decided that cookery was the afternoon’s activity of choice, off homewards we went.

The cakes went ok despite much arguement discussion about the best way to crack and egg. Observe the concentration…

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The biscuits however didn’t quite go to plan and drew a withering look and a “well they ALWAYS work out fine at OUR house Nanny” from Madam…..

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It was one of those – look awful, tastes great moments but the Smallest Baby Boy was not deterred by such minutiae as the look of the thing and pronounced them most ‘licious Nanny

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Whatever the weather (well unless it really is slinging it down) it’s great to get out and about. It gets dark so early that there is no excuse necessary for lighting the fire and relaxing with a glass of wine in front of the Autumn telly schedule. It’s time for gravy and plenty of it, stews and pies and mash and root vegetables, custard and cakes with cinnamon and mixed spice. The festive season will soon be upon us and I am preparing for a marathon of children and friends. We cooked for 15 last Christmas Day – wonder if we can top that this year? This weekend I shall be making Creole Christmas cakes and the Christmas chutney is already maturing nicely along with its very best friend the runner bean variety. There are plenty of things to be getting on with if the weather doesn’t play ball but if it does then I feel a few more trips to the beach and walks coming on. Be rude not to!

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This was going to be a wordless Wednesday but as the whole of the last week seems to have been pretty much wordless here,  I thought i’d sit and type a few.

God, isn’t the weather bloody awful (well it is if you’re in England anyway ) and I for one am sick of being cold and wet. The ACL and I have managed to do precisely NOTHING in the garden and it’s just so frustrating. This situation isn’t helped by TG calling from South Africa with tales of golf in the sunshine. And although I know that he works very hard during the week and does awful hours, I can’t help feeling just a tad hard done by. Much as I would like to join Mr & Mrs Folly who are heading over there in a week or so, I can’t because of work and parental responsibilities! So I’m saving my hols for when he gets back and have a little surprise booked for him in July…

In the meantime Dear Reader we have Vag Mons to look forward to at the weekend – bookings are cracking on apace and I am practising my moans (although not when The Child is in the house – he would be hideously embarrassed!). For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about have a look at You Tube – Vagina Monologue moans….that’ll be me Saturday night – I am a little nervous!  Apart from that it’s just been wall to wall work…remind me again why I took this job?

So there you go, a few words of not much consequence and to leave you with, a few pictures I came across whilst looking for a pergola we once saw in Italy and want to replicate. So let’s Dear Reader, dream of sunnier days, the smell of freshly mown grass and a nice cold Pimms on the lawn. I can taste it already!





Ok – I know they’re all of Italy….I like Italy – makes me think of holidays past and sunshine!

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It’s very dreary Dear Reader is it not? A typical British February of rain, fog and misty moisty mornings when cloudy is very much the weather. I had hope that, when January was over, the malaise that had settled over me might lift, but I find myself still in hermit like mode. I did however, venture out last night to a play reading. The play, set in an old people’s home, has been written by the lovely Mr Wilson (a fellow thesp and all round nice bloke) from right here on the (not so) sunny Isle. It was a lot of fun to read (and nice for him I’m sure to hear all the parts done by ‘real’ voices) and hopefully it might get an airing at some point in the future and I actually missed Holby for it! Apart from that, I haven’t really moved outside the door…there was a spot of tree pruning over the weekend as my still aching muscles will attest to but that’s been about it.

It looks like this in the mornings when I get on the floating bridge to work

It doesn’t exactly fill you with the joys of Spring first thing in the morning does it?!

And the whilst I was looking through some old photos I came across these which are pictures of a painted hoarding in Cowes which I must have passed a million times without really looking at. If you look closely at the above pic of the floating bridge, you can see some of the buildings in the paintings (just about through the mist!)

They are fabulous in a drippy almost impressionistic kind of way and should you find yourself in Cowes high street, have a look at them. We’re all guilty of not looking at what’s right under our noses at times aren’t we?

Looking at the weather forecast I think the hermit stage might go on for a bit. Lit fire, crap telly, the odd film and a glass of vino collapso to take the pain of February away…not so bad really when you think about it!!

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I am NOT going to write about the snow. No, really I’m not. Why? because I think that everyone is just about sick to death of it that’s why! Unfortunately we as a country are pretty rubbish when it comes to dealing with weather of any variety and yet again the country has ground to a standstill because we are, as always, unprepared. Fortunately for us here on the normally fairly sunny Isle, it only lasted two days but that was quite enough for the Christmas fair that the ACL and I had produced 200+ jars of delight for to be cancelled….they are now gathered awaiting their fate on the dining room table. We have managed to sell around 50 to friends but with another 200+ to go we could be eating chutney still next Christmas.

I have but one pic of the snow to show you all

It is the perfect house for a picture postcard look of Winter.

Anyway, what does a girl do when husbandless on these cold Winter evenings (no comments from the back please!)? Why she makes Christmas cards of course (honestly Dear Reader, I thought better of you than that!).

A veritable plethora

And I must say that I did enjoy my cuttin’ and stickin’ evenings in front of the fire, telly on, wine to hand.

Tonight the ACL and I will be watching the results (for those of you overseas that’s the X Factor & Strictly Come Dancing – not anything too taxing you understand – just in case you might have thought I was talking elections or something…) and trying to get the Skype to work so that TG can tune in from South Africa. I know, I know, it’s sad muppetry at its zenith – but hey, we don’t care!

Stay warm Dear Reader wherever you may be.

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This is Amber the chicken. She is orange (obviously), fat and at times unbelievably stupid – I know I should be hugely insulted but hey, how many of you out there have a chicken named after you, orange, fat, stupid or otherwise? She (or her sister Clarissa) managed to squish the new born chicks that the ACL was trying to nurture not once but twice and so to that end the ACL, or rather her husband  Harley Man, has purchased an egg incubator to see whether they’ll have more success…watch this space for cute fluffy chicks, fingers crossed.

I was thinking about baby chicks which led me to think about Easter, which in turn led me to remembering school assignments which centered around ‘things I like best’ themes (it’s a long way from Yarmouth to Newport at stupid o’clock in the morning) – and so on that basis in a Spring stylee here goes:

The Spring bulbs pushing their way through the soil and becoming a splash of much needed colour in a still very bare garden – the snowdrops, hellebores, daffodils and then later bluebells carpeting the copse at the bottom of the garden. The primroses that I have unearthed from their Winter slumbers buried beneath the debris of the Autumn and which are now yellow and pretty.

The million birds that live in my garden and seem to get up at 4 in the morning busily nesting – since the demise of the cat they are around in abundance unlike last year when they abandoned me in the face of a prowling and very naughty ginger nutter. They swoop and flutter all day singing as though their very lives depend on it and it’s a joy to listen to.

Blue skies and enough warmth in the sunshine to make you feel that Spring might just have arrived. Friends are digging gardens, planting seeds and making vegetable growing plans and it feels like the very long and cold Winter that we had might finally be over and we are coming out of hibernation.

And randomly and therefore in no particular order, newly cut and neat hedges, bright polyanthus in the shops, bunches of daffodils and tulips, 4 days off (ish) at Easter to look forward to, lighter evenings, the clocks going forwards, putting my Winter coat away, planting the vast quantity of seeds that I seem to have acquired, feeling the need to lose some of the Winter blubber (I succumbed to a chocolate brioche this morning…) in order to look lithe and lovely marginally thinner by Summer because those layers of clothing will all too soon be gone, getting some colour in my pale Winter cheeks, apple blossom and seeing Mrs Wren teach her babies to fly (she lined them all up on the pergola and pushed them off one by one last year).

I feel more positive as Spring is here and there is the promise of Summer in the offing. I feel energised and enthusiastic. Long may it last!

P.S. Happy Paddy’s Day!!

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I can’t believe that it’s been more or less a week since I last got my act together and wrote anything – but there you go. It is. Maybe it’s an age thing but the time seems to be flying past faster than ever. I can remember as a teenager each hour seeming like a day and each day like forever. If only that were the case now. Think how much more I could squash into a day!

So what have I been up to? Well there was Cirque du Soleil, a most astonishing of spectacles. A myriad of movement, a riot of colour with acrobatics that made you gasp and clowns that had me in stitches. I went along feeling a bit ho hum about the whole thing and not, if I’m honest, really in the mood, but it was truly marvellous. Not as marvellous as Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake but then to be fair that was semi naked men in feather trousers….calm Amber, calm!

And then there has been the weather,. I am British therefore I shall discuss. Well, what a difference a month makes. After all that rain, then all that snow we seem to be moving back into the realms of ‘yay I can get out into the garden again’ land.

My vegetable beds that looked like this

Now look like this

And have been dug over ready for action. The seed potatoes are being chitted in the greenhouse and I’ve been online and ordered the last of the seeds for the year. The ACL has planted 250 onions and we have great plans for the vegetable garden this year. 

We’ve cut the hedges

And Spring seems to be in the air

Mrs Mutterer’s little glass bottles have been put to good use

And contain all the odd spice leftovers like Mace, Fennel and Fenugreek seeds…

Oh yes. And whilst The Other Child was off riding, the smallest baby girl came to play eat Nanny out of house and home

 ‘Look Nanny it’s all in my tummy’

Now then. Must get on. Things to do. Cushions to sew. You know how it is…

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