Friday, 27 November 2009

Happy anniversary

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary! We've come a long way in those years, been through a lot and had a lot of ups and downs with health issues and financial struggles, but we still love one another.

This morning I had to go to school to meet with the Chair of the Governors, which took most of the morning up. By the time I got home, there was just time to have a cup of tea and then I wanted to make a start on all the baking. I got 5 dozen mince pies made, although I probably still need to make another 10 dozen, but I'll do some more tomorrow. After picking the YFG up from school at 3pm, we went off to gym - we got home at 9pm to a lovely roast lamb dinner. It was gorgeous!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Thanks be to whoever invented online shopping!

My new chicken house - well, what it will look like when we have put it together!

I have just spent an hour and a lot of money, and done some serious shopping online, all from the comfort of my chair here, with the aid of the poor old debit card.

Lakeland, Tesco, the Cartridge People, Amazon, the Book People and something called Surfdome have all benefitted from my custom this evening, and it is such a relief to be able to say that I have done some Christmas shopping at last! I did get the EFG's CD that she had on her list in Tesco this afternoon, and picked up 200 bonus clubcard points in to the bargain, but apart from that, the cupboard was looking pretty bare. The poor postie will have a heavy bag for a couple of days, though!!

And eBay - I bought the new chicken house on Monday night whilst the FH had taken the EFG to band. I only went onto the site to see if people were still selling hatching eggs as I am hoping to get the incubators cranked up in February to get some earlier hatchings in 2010. There are a few eggs for sale now, but I was just browsing and then I saw this gorgeous range of chicken houses being auctioned and only making silly money for what they were. So I got one (that one, up there!) for just £62 plus the p&p - and it arrived this morning. Now we just have to put it together! It was necessary as the floor has all but fallen out of the oldest house we have and the FH's health has hampered him from doing the necessary repairs. That old house has been in use for over 8 years, and could do with a revamp anyway, so we'll probably put it aside for 6 months and let it dry out, then recoat it with Cuprinol, put in a new floor and then it'll be ready as a house for new chicks in the spring.

Kinder neighbours

One of our neighbours came striding towards the house this morning, definitely a woman on a mission! I was apprehensive as she came to the door, but she had a broad smile on her face, so I was able to relax and welcome her in.

She had come to offer us free firewood - we just have to fetch it from the town. Her daughter works for a company which has daily deliveries on pallets, and the pallets are stacking up in the yard so she needed to get rid of them.

The FH went over there this afternoon with the lady, met her daughter and found out how it all works with regards getting access to the pallets, and brought a trailer load home. She'd like him to fetch several loads to make a dent in the heap, and then fetch some each week! Fires will have to burn here night and day to keep up with that kind of supply, so we have a friend who also has a fire and will be speaking to him about helping us out...

Those are the kinds of friends and neighbours who really bless us.

November days

November is always a very full month - so much to get done in the preparations for Christmas as well as the autumn clearing up in the garden. So I am sorry that I am not here much this month. I'll get back more regularly soon!

Last Saturday we had a fantastic evening at church - we were invited to a 60th birthday "do" and it was wonderful. Instead of a party, it was a band concert - the birthday boy wanted to raise some money for the chapel so he put together his old band and had a blast! There was a chap on saxophone (he had three different sized ones), a drummer who also sang, a guitarist who sang, and the organiser who sang and played keyboard. There was also Ernie - who just sang, but boy, how he sang! They did a mixture of music - country songs like "Crystal Chandeliers", ballads like "If tomorrow never comes" and inspirational music such as "You raise me up" and then there were some fab sing-a-long medleys. They played for two hours - and we could have listened longer! There was also a raffle, and then refreshments and cake. We were delighted to hear the next morning that the evening had raised £600 for the chapel funds - an amazing blessing!

The wet weather has caused us some inconveniences here - my poor chooks are a bit muddy, and I am having to dry the washing round the fire, but it is nothing to the devastation in the Lake District which the people of Workington and Cockermouth have suffered so our thoughts are with them. I have never suffered that kind of flooding so I have no idea how they are coping with it all, but I know I never want to live in a place where that might happen. We are incredibly lucky that the Fens are so well drained! Flood management is a big thing here and there are areas like Welney Washes which do flood each year in the winter, but the water is contained within huge banks.

The woodburner is in full service now - a roofer came and put the extra section on the top of it, and braced it very firmly to the roof, so we are enjoying cosy evenings in the lounge with it on. It gives out a good heat and gets the washing dry, although I am careful to open a window a crack to let the moist air out as I don't want mouldy spots anywhere! Two neighbours on the estate have also said that they want to get one as well so we have obviously started a trend, although our immediate neighbour is in opposition to the trend and started ranting on about it to my friend D in the doctor's last week and poor D had to tell the woman to be quiet!

I missed the occasion on Sunday which was "Stir Up Sunday" when I should have made the Christmas pudding. I'll be honest - I don't usually actually make one!! My sister has been known to make some and let our uncle boil them up for the required six or so hours in the old fashioned copper which he still has, but I can't be doing with that much steam in my kitchen! I buy a small one from a supermarket for myself which will be wheat and dairy free and then I will also get a larger one for the family. I know that the YFG won't touch it and the EFG only eats it as a vehicle for the brandy butter - she isn't interested in it with custard.

We are coming up to a week of baking - it is the village Christmas Bazaar on Sunday when I am helping my friend M with the refreshments there and have been asked to make mince pies, but I will also be making things for the church's cake stall. We are also having a Coffee morning at church the following Friday and then on Saturday, another chapel are lending us their ladies' choir for a concert of Christmas music for the evening. More mince pies/cakes/biccies required for those - no wonder I am heading out to the shops this afternoon to stock up on the flour, oats, mincemeat, margerine, etc..

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Governor politics

I'm going to be honest and say that there is governor on our board whom I really do not like, and he has had three digs at me tonight, and I am peeved. There, I've said it, out in the open.

He's probably not chuffed that I was nominated vice chair this year and he didn't get the job, but he took it off me the year before and I didn't mind, so what's he got to worry about?! He rarely volunteers for any of the jobs, but made these cracks tonight about me volunteering for everything. What is the point of being a governor if you are just going to sit on your backside and watch everyone else do the work? I've just been co-opted back on for another four years, so he's going to have to put up with me a while longer!

Apart from all that, my dear neighbour's father is stranded in Cyprus, with possible lung cancer and needs to come back to the UK for treatment as the base there can't give it, but we are struggling to get him back here as the medivac plane can't bring him - he did serve in the RAF years ago but is now 88 and apparently not eligible for transport. We don't know right now whether a civilian flight would accept him, given his fragile state of health, and so both M and her mum are stressed and worried and her poor dad was just in floods on the phone this afternoon. It is just possible that they would allow him on the civilian flight if he had a nurse with him, and the EFG's godmother is a nurse, and is willing, but we aren't sure if her qualifications are suitable for the job, so there are things to find out. They were here for Christmas last year and went back for the summer in March, and were due to come home to M for Christmas again this year, flights are booked and all, but now his health is deteriorating badly. If you are inclined, please say a prayer for them.

Monday, 16 November 2009

MIA - What a week!

Well, I was truly "in action" as it was a really busy week with something happening out of the ordinary every day.....where to begin?

Monday was interesting because a fellow Governor and I had to go to the school at 3.15 pm to do a Building inspection - sort of health and safety - and we had never done one before so it was steep learning curve. The Head and the Caretaker knew what they were looking for, and we spent nearly two hours poking round all the classrooms, investigating stuff. It was interesting, and we had a long list of things by the time 5pm rolled around - nothing too major and all easily actionable.
After that, I came home for a quick cuppa and then took the FH and EFG to band practice - one to participate, one to listen, and the YFG and I went to the gym to set out the apparatus with the HC for about an hour. We got that sorted out, fetched the band brigade and headed home for supper.

Tuesday morning I had an earlier-than-usual start as I was at the gym at 8.45am to help with some classes for the kids at the school as a favour to the head of PE there. The kids were having an immersion day (whatever one of those is) and a lot of them were doing various sports for the morning. They were Y8 and 9 and so were consequently quite large! It was amusing but also irritating that some of the girls weren't in the mood to even have a go at a lot of it, in case it mucked their hair up - seriously! One of the teachers confided that the age they are at is a bad one for trying new things as they are very self-conscious and don't like to be the centre of attention when they are doing PE. If that is the case, I don't understand why the teachers asked us to do gym with them all morning.......we weren't impressed with their effort or attitude so I will be a bit reluctant to do it again.

I was able to pick a friend's little boy up from school for her at 3pm as she had to be elsewhere, and then went back at about 3.45pm for the YFG; her Performing Arts class had been cancelled as the teacher hadn't turned up (an external company runs this course) so we were called to pick up our kids. The YFG and I trundled off to gym at 4.30pm for the 5pm class and were there until 8pm.

Wednesday was a pretty run-of-the-mill day until 3pm when the YFG was involved in a football match for the school in an inter-village tournament in another village nearby. That was a new experience for both of us! They won one, lost one and drew two, so all in all they came third of five teams; holding their own and doing pretty well, I thought. All the dads and coaches/PE teachers/Headmasters shouting on the touchline was a pretty raucous noise and not one I was prepared for - this was a "B" team event, and they were Y5/6 kids, not Aston Villa vs Chelsea!

Thursday morning saw me clambering round the window sills at the church, helping with a pre-Christmas spring-clean! I was cleaning the windows, and then I brushed the outside of the windows as there was rather a colony of spiders on the outside of each one. The sun shone in a little brighter when I had finished. I then did some hoovering and we were all done by lunchtime.

In the afternoon, I loaded up the car to take books to sell at a shopping evening for the NSPCC not too far away, but over the county line into Norfolk. There were people of a rather more affluent nature there, but they still didn't spend terribly well, unfortunately. It was a well-attended evening, and I did a little shopping myself. The downside was the torrential rain when we had to clear up - I had the back door of the Volvo estate open so I could load up all the boxes and then when I went to put it down, an absolute torrent of water came off it and fell all down my legs. Wearing sodden jeans was no fun and so I stopped the car in the dark half a mile further on from the hall and took them off!

Friday morning the whole family was up before daybreak so that we could all be ready to leave the house shortly after 7.15am as the FH and I were at a big show for the day and the girls went to our lovely neighbour until it was time to go to school. The show went well, although we were on our feet all day - but it was good fun and we do enjoy being together at things like this. On the way home, the FH dropped me off at the gym and I taught two classes; the YFG had got there with a friend, and then the HC brought us home at 8.40pm. I had a really good evening at gym as the first class was great and then I coached the boys' class with a volunteer helper whilst the HC took the YFG and her friend S for an extra hour's coaching, just the two of them working hard together. I enjoyed leading the class for a change, and it was a pleasure!

Saturday I grabbed a lie-in until 8am so I didn't get to gym until about 10.15 with the YFG for the second class. We have been working with some of the older girls to put on a little display at Christmas so we spent some time on that, which is a challenge, trying to get all the girls to co-ordinate their arms and legs to go in the same direction at the same time AND stay in time with the music. We have a few more weeks to practise, thank goodness.

We went shopping - food from Sainsbury's and hamster things (bedding and stuff for the bottom of the cage) from the pet shop, where the YFG also bought her two hamsters a new cage as the tank they had been in was not working out for them - too much condensation! She bought quite a posh one with lots of accessories included, so they got moved to their new home once we got back. They spent a lot of time investigating everything, and seem to have settled in really well.
After the shopping we then came home to get the school uniforms washed and all the shopping put away. Saturday evening was largely spent conked out, watching Strictly and just getting up at intervals to re-boot the washing machine! An early night was in order as we were all at the show again on Sunday.

The girls like to come to some of the shows with us for the shopping opportunities that they provide. They were given a £5 each and told not to ask more more - they stretched those fivers to within an inch, both coming back with a good haul of goodies for their money, including legwarmers (They do say fashion comes in cycles - I remember having a royal blue pair in the 80s!), cosmetics, sweets, and bits of stationery. The YFG was looking forward to having a go on the ice rink, but we watched some others on it and decided not to bother as it was just plastic tiles on the floor and people were not able to skate properly, so we thought it wasn't worth the £2 they were charging.

There was an interesting phone call from the EFG at one point in the afternoon; we had taken our little trailer as we had books to return to the boss, and the girls used it as their retreat, somewhere to go and play on their DSs and to picnic. It has a roller-shutter door on the back, and they get in and pull it down most of the way for warmth and privacy. The EFG was out there alone and some helpful soul pulled the shutter right down and put the clasp in so she was trapped. The person obviously (we hope!!) didn't realise that she was in there, so she called me on her mobile to have me send the YFG to let her out. We all had a good laugh over that, her included!

Last night, we were home by 6.30pm so that the girls could watch the Dr Who special whilst I fixed a quick bangers and mash tea - and it was so quick I used Smash!! My dad rang to say that they had had news of a death - the man that dad worked for for years and years, and who is my sister's godfather died yesterday morning. He was just six months younger than dad but his health had been failing in recent weeks. It was the end of an era as he had been a prominent coaching company owner in the area for about 25 years, although the company had been bought up in the 80s by a bigger company. In coaching history, he's there in the books! (By coaching here, I mean the bus industry, not sports coaching).

I ironed the school uniforms and the gang were all in bed by about 9.30pm although I watched a film until about 11pm. Today I feel quite worn out, and have just finished off the ironing and done another load of washing but nothing too energetic at all!

The FH has also had the swine flu jab at some point this week, but I can't remember which day - may have been Thursday evening. The Jane Austen tapes have also been posted to Carole this afternoon - what with the postal strikes at the start of the month and then rushing around last week, they had been delayed. Hope you like them, and enjoy your ironing as you listen. They should be with you within a couple of days!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Another weekend passed

This weekend has been very enjoyable in a number of ways. Saturday morning was gymnastics as usual, but I taught the little boys' class as their regular coach was away. That was an experience as I had not taught them on my own before and it was interesting to see what they could (and couldn't!) do. There were only 4 of them this week so it was a good little group for an hour. After that, I worked with some girls and then helped the choreographer with a group of girls trying to learn a routine for a display at our Christmas event in the middle of December.

Saturday afternoon was a bit of rushing around to make some more refreshments for the church evening. I only got the chocolate cake made on Friday, as I ran out of time, so I had to make the cheese scones on Saturday afternoon, and the Twinks biscuits didn't get made at all. We also had a bit of a last minute escapade with the music as the EFG had not finished the playlist on the laptop for the evening's music so I had to help her with that. I had thought that she would do that whilst we were at the gym in the morning, but it was not to be. We got it done in time, anyway. Then the FH's cousin arrived with his wife and daughter at 4pm to come to the church with us. There was apparently a few comments from the daughter about not coming to church but the FH didn't give her the choice and she had to come. Why come to someone's house knowing that the whole point of the visit was to go to church if you didn't intend to go to church? (She's in her forties so it is not as if she was made to come!!) My uncle also came for the evening, arriving at about 5.45pm but he had already eaten so it didn't matter that the rest of the gang were munching the sandwiches when he arrived.

The evening itself went very well; the other ladies of the church had made a lovely spread of sandwiches and snacks for the interval, to which I added my contribution, and there were some excellent raffle prizes, too. I've learned to pick up things that might be useful for raffles whenever I see something nice that is cheap or reduced as we are frequently asked for prizes for various things! We had a good attendance from the members of our church as well as from other churches on the local Methodist circuit. All in all there were probably about 45 people there, which is a good turnout for a little village! We raised £120 for the church funds, so I was very pleased with that. The singing went well too and the general opinion was that people had enjoyed the evening and are looking forward to doing it again!

Sunday morning saw us back at church for Rememberance Day at 9.30am, which was a good service. After church, we did various jobs around the house, had baked potatoes for lunch, had to nip out and do some shopping, and then I cooked a roast dinner for tea. Whilst that was cooking, the girls cleaned out the rabbits and the EFG had an unfortunate accident, falling over in some mud and ending up needing a bath. She took her bath whilst the YFG went to our friend's house to pick up a new pair of bantams; they are Gold-laced Sebrights, which hatched in the summer. They are happily investigating their new house this morning, and seem fine. They cost me a bag of corn and one of layer's mash, so they were cheap!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Christmas Cake recipe

I thought that some people might be interested in my Christmas cake recipe.....

It is from Family Circle magazine (now no longer published) and I first made it in December 2000, so it has been around a while!

This makes one 8" round cake.

On Day One, I mix together:

8oz raisins, 7oz sultanas, 7oz currants, 6oz no-soak dried apricots, 2oz glace cherries, 2oz chopped mixed nuts, 2oz chopped mixed peel, 7tbsp brandy and 6tbsp orange juice.

This is mixed together and covered, and then frequently stirred again throughout the next 24 hours, so we are now onto Day Three - Day Two is spent stirring and enjoying the aromas!

Day Three - grease and line the tin. Preheat the oven to 150C/GM2.

Cream 8oz softened butter with 8oz dark brown sugar. Gradually add in 4 beaten eggs, each with a little flour. Total flour to be added is 8oz so use a little at a time and then add whatever is left with the spices: 1tsp cinnamon, half a tsp ground allspice, half a tsp ground ginger and quarter tsp grated nutmeg (fresh if possible). At this point, I also add in the grated zest of a lemon and an orange.

Once the basic mixture is together, the fruit can be very gently folded into it.

Then I put the mixture into the tin for baking, levelling it off and making a small dip in the middle. It needs to cook for about 3 hours - it may take a little longer but no more than 3 hours and 15 minutes. When a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, it is done. If it is getting too darkly coloured, I just pop a double layer of greaseproof paper over the top to shield it a little.

Leave it in the tin until it is completely cold - I leave it to the next day. Then take it out of the tin and take off all the greaseproof paper wrappings. Re-wrap in fresh paper and then some foil as well, and store in a tin in a cool place until we need to marzipan/decorate them.

In addition to the brandy we used to soak the fruit, I also make fork holes in the base of the cake and pour a capful of brandy over it, probably three times between now and when I will put the marzipan on.

Historical cake tin

I have just unwrapped the Christmas cakes from their greaseproof paper, ready to be re-wrapped and then encased in tinfoil and put in a tin until the time comes to marzipan them, nearer to the big day. It struck me that one of the tins I use is a very old one, which my grandfather used in his bakery, and which my father gave to me years ago.

Since my grandfather was at least the second generation to run that bakehouse, it is possible that that cake tin is over a hundred years old - antique, in fact! Apparently, once the bread baking was done for the day, the bakehouse used to produce some fruitcakes, and this is one of the tins they used to make those in.

I don't make fruitcake very often as the FGs don't like raisins and sultanas in their food, so it doesn't get much use on a regular basis but I do find it good for the seasonal baking as it is a very solid tin and allows the cakes to bake evenly.

I have had an hour outside this morning, feeding and watering the hens, moving a rabbit house around, watering a couple of rabbits which the YFG seems to have overlooked this morning, and then doing a bit of general tidying up around the garden. The Partridge Orpington/Black Orp/Gold-laced Orp run has also been moved along the grass a little as the rain is turning everywhere to mud. There looks to be one Partridge Cockerel and four hens, and I think that the Blacks and the Gold-laced might all be hens too. Having a ready-made group of Partridge ones will be excellent come the spring and I shall try to breed another lot from them next summer, and I shall be looking for some more Gold-laced eggs to hatch as well, as one on its own is not a lot of good, except for looking pretty!!

Now I am going to make a chocolate sheet cake, some Twinks and some cheese scones for the Songs of Praise evening tomorrow - although I am not kidding myself that they will all make it there as the gang here love the cheese scones with a passion - better make a double batch!!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

A quiet day at home

I have had a peaceful day today with the FH. It was less peaceful after 3pm, but it was still good all in all! This morning, as I couldn't find anything I could eat that I wanted to eat for breakfast, I made a crumble out of some pears and pineapple that were lurking in the fridge. The FH and I enjoyed that at about 9.30am once all the animal chores were tended to, and then we settled down to the morning's work: laundry for me as it was a good, blowy day outside so I was getting stuff washed and out on the line, in between ironing the last lot!

The FH was sitting at the table, sorting out the hymns for the Songs of Praise evening we are organising at church on Saturday. It took him quite some time, and in the end I had to help him. Lunchtime came and went, and then all too soon it was time to fetch the YFG from school and chat with some of the mums. I have missed that lately as the YFG has been cycling to and fro to school but now that the weather is colder and a lot wetter lately, she is more reluctant and I am the mum-taxi service again!!

After school, we went to town to get the EFG some football boots as she is playing rugby for the rest of the term and has been told she must have a pair as the ground is so slippery. There went £25 very quickly - she has such wide feet that we had to get a pair of men's size 6.5! The YFG also got a pair of black school shoes for a more reasonable £8. We took a neighbour with us, and went to Tesco as well, so our neighbour could have a look around. She is older and has no transport, relying on her family to get her out of the village, so she appreciates a ride out now and again. Her family are very busy, working full time, so it is hard for them to fit in, I suppose.

This evening, I am going to get out some cookbooks and do a bit of menu planning, and then do some knitting. I know it is gone 10pm already, but I will probably stay downstairs until about 11pm tonight! I also want to look at some cake recipes for the Songs of Praise evening.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

And the lights went out..........

Most inconveniently, last night at the gym, there was a power cut! We had just finished the first class and the girls were arriving to start the second, when all but the emergency lights went out. The resulting dim lighting was not sufficient to take a class so we had to pack up early and send the kids home. Result was an early night all round - and the HC gave me some more of his delicious Picasso potatoes.

Today I have finally made the Christmas cakes - the last pair are in the oven right now and the house smells divine! I have made two loaf shaped ones and two round ones - I am sure that one loaf will get eaten rather soon and will never make it through to Christmas. The others will be wrapped and stored somewhere safe until nearer the time, although I will have to "feed" them with brandy regularly.

I just have to rave about a new book I bought - it is just Gorgeous!! It is called Gorgeous Christmas and is by Annie Bell , continuing in her "gorgeous" series. I already have the cake book so when I saw this one for £4.99 at the Book People, I had to get it, and it didn't disappoint.
The photography is superb so it is almost worthy of being a coffee table book, but the recipes are great too: puddings, baking, leftovers, gifts, "hand-me-rounds", the big birds - chapter headings which just don't do the recipes justice. Look it up in the library, ogle it in the bookshop but find one somewhere!! I'll be trying some of the ideas out soon, so I'll report back.

We have had the YFG's parents' consultations this afternoon - she's doing very well in all areas and could do with a little kick up the backside in Maths. She is showing a lot of potential and knows her number facts, but is frightened of having a go in case she gets it wrong, apparently. However, the level that she is recorded as having got to now is not a significant improvement on where she was when she entered school two years ago, so I will be making some enquiries as to why this hasn't been picked up before...

Monday, 2 November 2009

Jane Austen

I haven't forgotten about the tapes giveaway - what with the holiday and getting ready for it, I just haven't got round to doing the draw........I will do it now......the winner is...Caroline!

Hopefully they will make the ironing less of a chore for you, Caroline. Please send me a comment (which I won't publish) with your name and address, and I'll get them in the post this week. Fingers crossed you like them.

Everyone else, watch out for some more giveaways in the weeks to come as I am in a decluttering mood and there may be more treasures in store.

Note to the Mom over the seas in Ohio - a new neighbour got me some pumpkin from the base and I made your pumpkin bread today but she got the 29oz cans so I ended up making four loaves instead of two......and news from your old house - the beautiful pantry I so envied has been made into a downstairs shower room!! To explain that to everyone else, the Mom rented a house not too far from here which was a Methodist manse - it was vacant because two local Methodist ministers were married to each other and only needed one of the manses, instead of one each, so there was a spare for a while. It is a gorgeous old house with lovely big rooms, and there was a great pantry. Now that the new minister moved in about 18 months ago, he happens to be our minister at our church - he's the Superintendent of the area. I was telling him that I loved his house and that I was envious of the pantry as these modern houses are sadly lacking in the pantry department, and he said that it had been made into a shower room; I am sure that his family are finding that useful! You can see I have a serious pantry-envy problem, I can tell! I did have one once, I promise.

I haven't made the Christmas cakes yet as the YFG was too busy today with friends and going with the FH to his art club. Unfortunately she is back to school tomorrow so I think that I will have to make them on my own anyway.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Scents of autumn

Yesterday it was the colours, today the smells! This afternoon, I prepared and chopped all the dried fruit for two Christmas cakes, and they are now soaking up brandy and orange juice in the kitchen until tomorrow, when they'll get used to make the cakes.......can't wait - then the smells will really be good!!!

This morning's DIY service at church went well - we lasted just on the allotted hour with no problem, and the music, played from the EFG's laptop, worked well. I was relieved about that. Now we have to do a Songs of Praise evening on Saturday with the same method - say a prayer for us!! It should be fine, but I am sure that someone will want to sing a hymn we don't have the music for. Always the way!

We had a late lunch at 2pm of my sausage plait, lots (nearly said "lashings" there!) of gravy, roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli, then I made a microwave sponge pudding with pineapple. That lot sorted them all out for the afternoon!! They have only just managed a little sandwich and cake for tea, and now I am going for my Sunday night treat, Doc Martin on the TV and my feet up on the sofa. Uncle J has been persuaded to stay for one more night, and the YFG is looking forward to helping me with the baking tomorrow - might take some photos too if the weather stays fine.