Saturday, 31 July 2010

Photo festival!

These two photos (above) show the two bigger runs coming out of the back of the new hen house. The Light Sussex crew are in one of them and the young growers are in the other. There have been a few little spats through the wire, but everyone seems to have settled in well. The growers find the leap to get back into the house a little challenging but we have made the sliding door into a temporary ramp for them and that has solved the problem.

These are the baby rabbits born to Alice (named after one of our favourite Twilight characters, Alice Cullen). They are growing well, but we don't know how many of them there are just yet. They are also in the shed in their hutch.

This shows the interior of the shed - it is divided into 8 sections. The little boxes on the floor are the nestboxes - the chooks can access them from their side of the wire and we can flip up the little lid and collect the eggs from our side. The rug is covering a window so that the cockerels don't start crowing too early each morning - it is uncovered during the day to let the air through.

Here are some of the runs on the front of the shed - to the left of the picture is the GPO run, then the SLWyandottes, then the Brown Sussex gang with Lancelot at the helm. The far run on the right is for the three Gold Laced Orp cockerels and the young female.

A melon growing in the greenhouse.

Pepper plants, in the greenhouse again.

Tomatoes in the greenhouse - a lovely variety I shall grow again called Garden Pearl. We are having the most success this year with the cherry varieties such as this one, as well as Sweet Millions and Moneymaker.

The neighbours are enjoying our cucumbers as much as we are - the three Telegraph and three Burpless plants are doing very well and producing loads!

The cucumber plants do look a little like a Triffid attack in the greenhouse, though!!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Moving house

Tonight, in the rain, we have moved some of the mini flocks of chickens into their new house! It is always easier to move them at night as they don't see very well, so they don't run around to get away from you and generally, you can just pick them off the perches and move them. It worked OK and they are installed in the new house - there is the pen of Light Sussex, the Silver Laced Wyandotte pair, the Gold Partridge Orpingtons and four Gold Laced Orpingtons as well. Another pen contains the 13 hatchlings which are now about 6 or 7 weeks old. Lancelot, the Brown Sussex cockerel, and his three wives also took up residence tonight. I'll be out there taking photos in the morning when they all come out into the runs!

I am so disappointed tonight - I took some photos today and have just come to the computer and discovered that the memory card was still in the slot in the pc and has been there all day - so the photos I took today are stuck on the camera's memory as I don't have any way of getting them off it! Shame as they were some good ones too, so I will just have to try to redo them in the morning.

This afternoon, I cleaned the lounge carpet with the "free/donated" Vax carpet cleaner. It took an hour and a bit, but it has made a difference! It didn't get every single mark out but it got a lot of general dirt out - the first time that carpet has been cleaned in six years, so there was some dust and dirt in there. I did the stairs as well - quite a workout for me, especially as I had done the Davina workout beforehand!!

I've been to the library today and picked up some Annie Sanders books ( I love "Busy Woman needs a Wife") and a couple of Jeffrey Archer novels as well. I wanted a Sidney Sheldon one called "If tomorrow comes" but it wasn't on the shelf, so I'll just keep checking for that - I had a copy years ago and loved to read it again and again, but it was given away in one of our housemoves, so I don't have it any longer! I'm off to bed now with a cup of tea, to make a start on one of the books - don't know which one yet...

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Chicken shed

That title reminds me of the film called Chicken Run where all the hens are trying to escape! I am hoping that our new chicken shed and runs are going to be escape-proof so that I don't have to keep chasing chickens around the garden. The new shed is nearly finished so I will plan to take some photos tomorrow - I am really pleased with it. The FH has been working really hard on it lately and it is all coming together at last. I had to do some digging today in one of the new runs, and it was hard work, but it will be worth it when all the hens are moving in and I can enjoy watching them scratching and dust bathing in the dirt that I have dug for them.

This afternoon we headed over to the big city and saw our old neighbour, her son and her mother, in the new flat they have moved to. We miss them dreadfully here, and it was lovely to go to see the new place that they are renting now. Her mother is over from Cyprus for a couple of weeks in the summer holiday, and she kindly brought the FH a real sponge from Cyprus to use for his art. He was thrilled that she had remembered! The girls spent some time with the little boy, playing on his Wii, whilst the adults were chatting. It was good to know that they are safe and well, and living in a secure place.

I am being tormented tonight by the sound of cheeping still coming from the white incubator - there really shouldn't still be anything viable in there, but I left it on for a couple of days after the last hatch as I usually do, just in case! The cheeping started this afternoon, just after we got back, and so perhaps there will be another chick in the morning. I reset the blue incubator with another 25 eggs last night.

Before I set the eggs, I tried to dowse them! I had never done it before on eggs - the FH can successfully dowse for water, but it was a new thing to us to try it on eggs. I held my wedding ring suspended from a piece of cotton, over each egg in turn. Some made the ring go around and around, and some made it swing back and forth. Apparently, the first are male and the second are female, so we have marked each egg with the sex we believe that the chick could be, and when they hatch, we will have to try to get them so that we know which chick came out of which egg so that we can put different coloured rings on their legs, and then when the sex is distinguishable, we will know whether it works!! The YFG had a go at some of them and mostly got the same sexes that I had achieved, so she was excited, too. This could be very important for us in the long run if it turns out to be reliable, as it will save us hatching too many cockerels. I read about it on the internet from someone who had had 88% right one year when he tried it. That is pretty good going, I thought!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


I came down this morning to find two chicks in the white incubator - I hadn't expected that. The due date I had marked on the calendar had been and gone so I had just about given those eggs up as duds, when out popped these two gorgeous chicks. Welcome to the world!! They are probably GPOs I think - will have to count the other eggs and see what I have left. There were six GPO eggs and six Brown Sussex in there. Now that they have hatched, I am going to leave the incubator on for another few days and keep my fingers crossed that they have some more friends coming out soon. The one cheeping in the blue incubator didn't make it out in the night, and may not do so at all now. Hard times.

Today has been one of those days - I am so tired I could sit here and fall asleep!! I've done my exercise workout for the day: I did Bottom Fit yesterday and Top Fit today. Yesterday was weigh day: I had lost a pound and a half, same as last week. Overall that makes a total of 8lbs lost, so I received my "half stone" award sticker. Makes all the sweating worthwhile - and I know I have lost inches too!! Yay!!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Laundry maid day

In and out, up and down, the clothes went around in the washing machine and then I hung them out in between pootling around doing other things. Much of it got dried but then the clouds came over and the last load of towels had to be hung under the verandah. There's always tomorrow!!

The FH and the girls went to their day of art at the village hall, only returning at 2.30pm with their portfolios. The whole six hours until 4pm had proved to be too much for the YFG to handle and she was ready to come home that bit earlier. The FH and EFG have both produced pictures but I have yet to see the YFG's work - perhaps she will show me in the morning.

This evening the family has split up and gone two ways. The FH took the YFG to a free band workshop in the chapel. She used to play the cornet with the EFG in the town band, but then got fed up with it and gave up. Something has sparked her interest again and the notice in the chapel at the weekend that there would be learning sessions for "new" players from 5-7pm on Mondays during the holidays soon had her asking if she could go. She has thoroughly enjoyed it, apparently, has been given an instrument and is looking forward to returning next week.

The EFG and I have been to the cinema to see "Eclipse" which we have both been looking forward to seeing for quite some time. It was brilliant, and I will have to get it on DVD when it comes out so that I can sit and watch it again...and again!!

The latest on the chicks is that the 11 are all doing well and that there is another chick in an egg in the incubator - it is cheeping and we can hear it but we can't tell exactly which egg it is in, and there is no sign of it trying to emerge yet. I am hoping that it will make some progress overnight as it will soon wear itself out if it doesn't get out soon.

Tomorrow I have to go and buy more chicken food!!!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Reality check

One of the three that were fluffing up in the incubator has had to be dispatched this evening. It was extremely unfortunate but not only were its feet deformed but there seemed to be no vent opening on its backside and part of its insides were protruding, a bit like a hernia, but there was nowhere for the faeces to be expelled. A very sad moment.

The remaining 11 are all healthy, eating and drinking well and snoozing now! They are in the lounge under the lamp, awaiting any further brothers and sisters which may hatch overnight. The other incubator's hatch is due tomorrow, so we will be hoping for some success there too.

The weekend has passed in a bit of a blur. The first BBQ yesterday was very much a girlie event, with the hostess and her daughter, another coach and her two girls and then me and mine. Another two girls and one of their mothers joined us a little later, and there was much hilarity in the garden with table tennis, water fights and lots of games on the trampoline - and with 6 gymnasts in attendance, a little bit of showing off too!!

The second BBQ was more of a family get together between us and our friends, the P family. We went to their house and they had set up a lovely table in the back garden, where we all sat round chatting until quite late. The children had a lot of fun together, and we stumbled home at around 10.45pm.

This morning, the FH took the girls to church whilst I attacked the clean up! My uncle, aunt, cousin and cousin's husband were here at about 2.15pm for a cuppa, and they had a good look around as it was the first time that my aunt and uncle had visited us at this house. My aunt has had cancer treatment and it was a delight to see her looking so well. My cousin is rushed off her feet with a beauty business and working as a dental nurse as well, so it was good for her to take an afternoon off; she does a lot of work with brides, so weekends are often very busy for her.

They left just as our second set of guests arrived - the Head Coach, his wife and her mother. We had a fun time with them, and they brought along some rather potent wine, so I got a tiny bit giggly later on!! HC's mother-in-law is a wonderful older lady and she is such fun to be around, so we really enjoy her company. She took a photo of my cousin's husband and said that she thought he could be her new toy-boy!! We had a lovely meal outside in the conservatory together, and they left to take Alice home shortly before 8pm.

Tomorrow the girls are going to Art class with the FH for the day, as the art teacher is running a special day from 10-4. Unfortunately for me, the girls have been tidying their rooms, so my day tomorrow will consist of rebooting the washing machine at regular intervals as I struggle to wash all the stuff they have unearthed from their rooms. Mind you, I have done my room as well and found a little to contribute to the heap as well, so I can't say that I am completely innocent!!

More chicks

Just a quick update - we have nine in the nursery box and three still drying out in the incubator. No sign of any more coming out at the moment...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

New kids on the block

Five are out of the incubator already this morning, and into the nursery box. There are more hatching still, so we will update when the hatch is finished.

We think that the yellow one is a Light Sussex, but until the adult feathers come through, it is a bit difficult to tell; Light Sussex is definitely dad, but mum could have been one of five LS or a Sasso or a Buff Orp cross, so we'll need to watch and wait with this one.
The others are GPOs and Brown Sussex - once they are out of the shell, it is hard to say who came out of which shell, so the feathering will sort them out as they grow!

We were meant to be at the cinema this morning, but I don't feel up to going out at the moment, so the YFG has gone with our friends, and the EFG and I will go Monday or Tuesday. The YFG joked that she wouldn't spoil it for us by telling us what happened, but we laughed and said that it wasn't a problem - we have read the book whereas she hasn't!! Hoping that having a rest this morning and generally not rushing around will mean that I feel better for this afternoon's events.

Friday, 23 July 2010

The weekend starts now...

It is going to need to start with an early night, so I won't be long before I am off to bed.

Saturday is going to be fun - but busy! We are kicking off with a trip to the cinema to see "Eclipse" before we head home to go to a mid-afternoon BBQ at the home of the choreographer at gymnastics, along with some other gym friends. Then, we have to come home and grab the FH to go to another BBQ at a friend's house in the village! Must save some room for more food there!

Sunday morning brings church - and then my aunt, uncle, cousin and her husband are all dropping in at about 2.30 for a cup of tea. They live up past Wisbech so have a fair trek into this area of the Fens, but they aren't staying to tea, although they were invited, as they have to get back. This will be the first time that this uncle and aunt have visited us in this house. This uncle is UJ's brother. Then at 4pm or so, A&K are coming to tea, and bringing the lovely Alice along with them for the evening, although they won't be staying late as K has to go back to work on Monday after her two week holiday, and they will be taking Alice home as well.

So Saturday we are out and about, and Sunday people are coming here, but it is going to be a very social time for us all!

In the blue incubator we have a chick pipping at the shell, so that may be out by morning as tomorrow is their due date - exciting! The other ones in the white incubator are due soon after, so I shall have to get the nursery accommodation set up again.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Hard times?

You wouldn't think that this country was in the grip of economic hard times, really, now would you? People are throwing money away - really! A couple of Saturdays ago, the YFG picked up a discarded £20 note from the grass at the village show - just lying there, crumpled in the grass. And now, just this afternoon, I picked up a fresh £10 note as we walked into Tesco. I can't believe that people can be so cavalier with their cash as to drop that much money!!

I'm off to make a donation to the Salvation Army in recognition of our good fortune these past few weeks. It wouldn't feel right to keep it all to ourselves!!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Holidays start here!

The end of term has arrived!

The girls are both tired after all the excitement of the end of term festivities; the YFG has had a fantastic time today in London. She had never been to London before so she came home reeling off the list of all the things that she has seen today - the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and the Thames, as well as Lee Mead in "Wicked". Apparently, it was fantastic and they had seats in the front stalls so that they had a great view. The coach arrived back in the village at 8pm so it was a long day, but they all enjoyed it.

I picked the EFG up from school today at 3.20pm as she was chickening out of bus prefect duty this afternoon - her thoughts were that the kids were going to be "manic" as it was the end of term and they would be murder on the bus because they knew that it would be September before any prefect could report back to the school what they got up to. "Save me!" were her words - I do think she is prone to exaggerate sometimes, but I see where she is coming from. We went to the other town, to the shops and got a few bits, put my Premium Bond winnings in the bank and went to the library. I have "discovered" a new favourite author to go on my list with Katie Fforde - she is called Jane Greene and I have read a couple of her books now and really liked them, so I found two more in the library. Must go to the library more often in the holidays.

One of the rabbits had some babies today - she made two nests in her house, so there must be a few of them. We have moved her hutch into the new chicken house as it has a peculiar roof and there is a lot of rain forecast so I wanted to keep them dry. Hope she likes it in there!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Catch up with all the news!

We are fast approaching the end of term here in the Fens, and there has been a lot going on!

Saturday was the last gymnastics session, and it went really well. By the time I had been to Tesco and done the shopping, I was ready to collapse. It was a very full-on kind of day, and I also had in the back of my mind that I was helping to deliver the Sunday service and needed to get some things ready for that.

Sunday morning, we took the service and were pleased and relieved at how well it was received. We have to do another one a week on Sunday, and then again on the 31st August, so we are getting plenty of practise in. After that, I cooked the Sunday roast, and we enjoyed that. After clearing up, I took the YFG to the local RSPCA centre where they were having an open day. It was huge and there was loads to look at and do. The EFG preferred to stay at home and snooze! When we came home, it was time to get things ready for tea, as we had visitors coming. We planned a traditional Sunday tea, with sandwiches, sausage rolls, mini pork pies, crisps, and then cake and pavlova. There were eight of us all together and we had a good afternoon and evening chatting together until the guests left at about 9pm.

Yesterday, on Monday, the EFG felt sick at school, so we had to go on a mercy dash to fetch her home at about 1pm. Luckily she was never sick and returned to school today. Monday seemed to fly past - after school, the YFG took part in a school talent show with two of her friends - she and T were the backing singers, and the other girl did the most - that girl was fantastic! And they won!! Later on, it was weigh in day at Slimming World and the good news is that I lost another pound and a half. I had been hoping for two, but I'm not complaining. As the FH reminded me yesterday, all the exercise I am doing will mean that I am hopefully building a bit of muscle, so it will be more important to take my measurements often than to take too much notice of the scales.

Today, I went to school this afternoon for the Leavers' Assembly. It was great fun as the children in Y6 including the YFG acted out sketches of events that had happened in each year of their primary school careers. It was hilarious in parts, and they had a lot of fun putting it together. They also sang, "I did it my way" except that they changed it to "We did it our way" and they did!! The Headmistress gave them each a Certificate of Achievement - the YFG's says hers is for her enthusiasm for learning. The local Rotarians presented each child with a lovely dictionary, and they also gave a couple of prizes; a boy and a girl each received an award for service to the school and community. There was a cup for a child who overcame a problem to achieve at school - the deaf child was given that. Then there were also a pair of boy and girl's cups for progress across the child's school career - and the YFG was the proud recipient of the girl's cup!! She was a little disappointed to hear that she has to give it back after a year, but we'll take a photo of her with it so she can remember it all.

Tonight the YFG has been preparing two packed meals for her trip to London tomorrow as her class is off to the Apollo theatre to see "Wicked" and they are all really excited!

The EFG's end of term has been a little quieter as she is not leaving one school and moving to another - she is moving from KS3 to KS4 though. Her GCSEs begin in earnest in September and she has already been set homework for the holidays to prepare work for the Art and Design course. She has been nominated in 14 subjects for a Certificate of Effort and Progress - again! This brings with it a £5 WHSmith voucher, so she has kindly donated it to the funds as she recognised that I am going to have to buy her a lot of art materials, so she thought it would be good to put the voucher towards some of it all.

Tonight I had a major fright when I was out doing the rounds, shutting up the chickens. I could hear what sounded like heavy breathing or snuffling in the lavender hedge behind the "orchard" of fruit trees. I couldn't imagine what it was at all - I wondered if it was a fox that had got into the garden and couldn't find its way out again...whatever it was, I dashed back into the house, slamming the door behind me and told the FH he had got to come an investigate! Being my hero, he came out and wielded the torch in that area. He soon found the culprits - two hedgehogs sniffing round each other!! They were really making a lot of noise, just sniffing each other, nose to nose, as if they had just met and were sizing each other up. We are hoping that they might be Mr and Mrs and that there might be little ones in the offing!

Friday, 16 July 2010

I can't believe it!

After nearly 7 years with not a whisker of a win, I received a cheque this lunchtime from the Premium Bonds! Don't get excited - I'm not a millionaire - but I am £25 richer!! That was a lovely surprise.

Proud mama!

One of our Dutch bantams, Leah, has successfully brought 4 GPO chicks off the nest this morning. She had 5 eggs, so she has done well. We have only glimpsed them briefly, but they are all looking hale and healthy.

The other Dutch bantam, Lana, is currently sitting on four duck eggs, so I am not sure what she will think when they come off - "What have I done?!" springs to mind! They take an extra week to hatch, but I know she has the patience to wait a little longer than usual.

I will take some photos when Leah brings her brood out to the grass in a day or two. The first big hatch are looking gorgeous now, the second hatch are out on the grass during the day but being brought in at night, and the incubators are still warming the latest lots of eggs - they are due on the 24th from one incubator and the 26th from the other so we have a while to go on both of those yet.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Thunderstorms today

The latest hatch were enjoying their first day out in the big wide world, pecking away at the grass in their run. They were able to hear their bigger brothers and sisters nearby, but couldn't see them. There was no shelter in their run as it was a temporary idea, and they were coming back into their box for the night. We were sitting in the verandah enjoying a cup of tea, and then the heavens really opened - all of a sudden, there were torrents of rain - on my poor little chicks!! I went dashing out there with covers to put over the run to protect them and I ended up looking like a drowned rat!!!! Had to get changed it was so bad.

After the deluge, the sun reappeared, which was good, as I think they needed a little sunshine to dry them off. We ate our supper out under the verandah tonight, which was lovely. The chicks are now safely tucked up for the night, and I am just going out to do my rounds of all the others.

Finding the time

I have been pleased at how easily I have found half an hour to do the exercises each day: instead of feeding the chickens after I have dropped the YFG off at school, I go out and do them at 8am once I have done the lunchboxes and made sure she has breakfast on the go. The EFG leaves at 7.55am so I know she is ready and off. The chickens take me about 15 - 20 minutes at that time of the day, so I am back in the house by 8.20, usually still in PJs, so that is when I rush upstairs and put on some exercise clothes and stick my hair up in a ponytail, and clean my teeth. We leave for school at 8.35am, and I am usually home by 8.45 at the latest - and as soon as I walk back in the door, it is exercise time! I'm done by 9.20, and then I hit the shower and get ready for the rest of the day.

It doesn't work as smoothly as that on days when I need to be somewhere early, but I can juggle it around a little. And for the summer holidays when the kids are lounging around a little more, I will just be doing it a bit earlier, before they surface in the mornings!! Any rude comments, and they will be banished from the lounge or made to join in.....

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

I can't believe it!

What is it with my children and their toe nails?? First the EFG with her middle toe - that was last week's visit to the doctor, and now the YFG has something similar festering at the side of her big toe. We are soaking it in salty water, putting teatree oil on it for disinfection purposes, and using the cream that big sis got for her toe too. If it isn't any better tomorrow, there'll have to be another trip to see Dr someone or other, depending on who is available.

Gym tonight has been interesting. The Head Coach went on holiday to Malta tonight so I'm in charge this week and it is both a little daunting and quite exciting. A helper, an Assistant Coach and I managed the two classes tonight, and we had fun. Setting all the equipment out was not so much fun, but I had done most of it before anyone else got there and it was just the bits I couldn't manage on my own that I had to leave till the cavalry arrived.

The weather's being interesting - a drop of 12 degrees in daytime temperatures mean that it is so much more comfortable for doing things outside! And the rain is good for my parched lawn - I don't water grass, so it has been a little yellowed of late but it'll recover....or die. Tough love!

I managed to do most of the "Bottom Fit" section on the Davina DVD this morning - it was hard work, though, and my legs ached afterwards, and the sweat - I was dripping! 200 squats in a sequence in the middle of it just about did me in completely but I had a little break here and there by just marching or jogging on the spot when I absolutely couldn't go on. I'll improve as I practise it, I hope - and the set of weights arrived, so I am going to do "Top Fit" tomorrow so that I can try them out.

Sending huge hugs out to Dorset to GTM whose cat is missing - a terrible worry for her. Hope Malory comes home soon.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Go Davina!!

Yes - the workouts with Davina and the healthy eating this week have reaped the rewards - a 5lb weightloss!!! Amazing.....won't be that dramatic next week, but I will be keeping up with the exercise and good eating plan, and hoping to lose two pounds to get to half a stone off.

The joke's on him!

I had a call this afternoon on our landline from a mobile phone company representative who was calling from "3". He started asking me whether I had a PAYG phone and then how much credit I bought each month. I knew what he was up to, planning to get me to take out a contract with that company, so I hammed it up a little!!

I told him that I use about £20 worth of credit every six months (that's not so far off the mark, actually, but I do spend a little more than that) and he laughed!!! He had the cheek to laugh, and then he asked me about the kids, as he knew that there are kids in the house as one of them answered the phone and said that they would pass the phone to "Mum". He said that he was sure that the kids used their phones more than that, and I told him (tongue firmly in cheek) that no, they used a lot less than that as we all use mobile phones for emergencies only "and we don't have many of those" and the silly chap laughed again.

So I told him off!! I got on my high horse and ranted that it was because there are so many people wasting their money on rubbish like mobile phones that this country is in so much debt, to which he replied that the country is not in debt. I advised him to learn a bit more about politics and watch the news more often so he knew more about what he was talking about, and then concluded that we were both wasting our time continuing with the conversation and hung up. My friend, D, then burst out laughing, so I joined her, and we had a good laugh at him.

People like him have it tough. He is only doing his job, and he wants to do it well to sign up as many new customers as possible so that he keeps his job, which is important in a difficult economic period like this. I do understand that - BUT he laughed at me for being careful with my finances, and I will not have that.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Davina and friends

I have managed to do the Davina workout 5 mornings this week and I am so chuffed! Weigh day at Slimming World is tomorrow so I will be hoping that it has all done some good!! A spot of gardening now and again and some walking about also counts towards some activity merits, so that's even better. And I have tummy muscles....they ache some days, and I haven't even tried the "Bottom Fit" workout yet - the "Top Fit" involves weights, so I have ordered some from Amazon - until they get here I am using cans of grapefruit and being very careful not to lob them through the TV!! I think I will watch the bottom one this week and see how bad it looks - may have to psych myself up to it.

That was the week that was

And boy, didn't it go quickly! I can't remember half of the stuff we got up to but obviously I didn't spend too much time on here..sorry!

There was the trip to the doctor with the ingrown toenail with the EFG - middle toe, which was sore - that was Friday morning. The YFG brought home a rather fab school report which I was thrilled with. Considering she's only been in school three years and is now about to go to secondary school, she has done incredibly well. There was also the trip to the school play on Wednesday which UJ came to as well - it was a modern take on Noah's Ark, from the parrot's point of view - rather fun. Saturday saw the YFG on the Gala Queen's float as a princess - posh frock, new shoes, tiara, fancy hair do AND mascara....the day was SO hot, but it was fab. I got home from gym, quick shower and up to the field, but she had taken her finery off by then - there are some lovely photos though so I haven't missed out completely. UJ stayed last evening for a meal under the gazebo in the garden, so that was fun too.

Next week - last week of gym before the holidays and only a week and half of school to go too!!!
We are looking forward to the summer holidays - yay!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The weird and the wonderful...

The weird is all the comments I am getting from people in Asian (Chinese/Japanese??) characters. There is no way I am publishing comments I can't read - I have no idea what on earth they say!! Then I got one today where the comment was in English, but signed by those characters again - presumably they could represent someone's name, but I won't publish something I don't understand as it could say anything!

The wonderful is surviving my first day on the Slimming World healthy eating plan, without going too wrong. It has changed so much since the last time I used it (hence the size of my backside!) and there is quite a lot to get my head round...I had hit my heaviest un-pregnant weight again, and decided that enough was enough - I'll be 40 in two years and I am not going to be fat as well as 40!! I have also done half an hour's exercise to a Davina DVD today, so that is more than wonderful, that's more like a minor miracle, especially as I have done it for two days in a row. Davina says that you should do it three times a week, but I can't do it like that - I need to do it every day (or just have weekends off, perhaps, when it is going to be difficult to get the privacy in the lounge!!) as I would keep saying, "Oh, I'll do that tomorrow.." and we all know that tomorrow never comes! Hopefully between SW and Davina, I'll be a darn sight more svelte by Christmas....

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Weekend news

Yesterday just seemed to go on and on, and by the evening, I would have been happy to declare that the things I had done in the morning had happened on Friday, so long ago did it seem!

We did gym first thing, starting with the Tots group at 9.30am and that went really well. Sometimes the kiddywinks are losing interest too soon and they just seem to have no attention span at all - and then I keep looking at the clock, desperate to get to the end! Yesterday was totally different and went much better - we must be doing something right.

After that group, we had development and competition girls - 6 of each - and boys - 7 of those, I think. The boys only stay for an hour, and then the girls really went to town. The development girls were working on some new things, which they really enjoyed and had a good go at all of them. The comp girls were all working on beam and bar routines, and we were having a laugh explaining the need for "oomph!" in the routines - they need to have an air of "look at me!" about them, rather than performing in a solid manner but without pizzaz! We worked on the oomph and pizzaz with all the girls.

After gym, we hit Tesco and the YFG went off with the shopping list and a trolley and did the bare minimum weekly shop (must have a count up and see how much of the £100 we have left!) and I went for a wander to see if there were any bargains to be had - and found one! School shirts - boring but a must-have. The secondary school is a shirt-and-tie school, so the YFG needed new shirts with collars that close together, and the EFG could use a couple of extra ones, so I was pleased to find a three-for-two offer on shirts - two packs for the YFG and one for the EFG. I also needed to buy the FH some paint for his art lesson tomorrow as the YFG had helped herself to some of his when she had made the model fire engine a few weeks ago.

We got home and had something to eat, mooched for a while, got changed, hung washing out, and pottered in the garden until the FH and EFG came home later on. I also went to see my friend around the corner for an hour, and eventually came home and made the tea at about 8pm. After tea the FH and I watched some tv and I gave up and went to bed at about 11. A long but good day!

The YFG came blundering into our room to wake me at about 3am after being sick in her bed. Cue drama and I had to dash for a bowl, clean her and the bed up, and then try to get her settled down again on a crudely made bed. At that point, I removed my alarms that had been set on my phone to get us up for church and decided that we all needed the sleep!

The YFG was absolutely fine this morning, thank goodness. She badgered the FH to take her to the local car boot sale, which he did, and was glad he did as he found an enamel plate which he has been wanting for art, and at only 50p it was a bargain. We had a snack lunch and then the FH took both girls to town as the EFG was playing her cornet in a band performance at the bandstand in the park.

This evening, UJ had come over with beetroot, fresh peas and other goodies from the garden so we are being spoilt. We have had fresh lettuce and cucumber from our garden with our tea tonight - this is the life - lots of fresh from the garden produce - plot to plate in 10 yards just can't be beaten!!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Swings and roundabouts

The YFG burst in from school at 4pm with a bit of a miserable face and my heart sank! Happily, though, that was just about the routine for getting back on the bus this afternoon - apparently one has to run to get a seat near a friend! She got home safe which was all that mattered to me.

The day has been interesting - she has had various classes: technology, art and English, from what I can remember, as well as PE and a period with the form tutor. Those went well and she got around the school OK, with some help. What was the slight downer for her was that she has been put into a form/tutor group without any other children from the primary school here.

We received a letter on Tuesday telling us the tutor groups, and then she spent most of yesterday asking everyone which form they were in, and came home wailing that no one else was in hers. I had to go to a school meeting last night so I mentioned it to her teacher here, who told me that she had been promised by the transition team that the 17 children from the village school would be spread evenly across the 7 tutor groups - not difficult: 4x2 and 3x3 surely? So I confidently explained to her last night that she would get there this morning and it would become apparent who was there from the village. Somebody somewhere made a "whoops!" because she was right though - she was alone in the tutor group.....

This is not such a big deal to me as it seems to her, because she can't really yet understand how different subjects are taught in secondary school and how your friend A who is in your Maths class might not be in your English or Science classes. It turns out that they would only spend about 20% of their time in that tutor group and she may well be in English/Science/Maths groups without anyone else from the village so she may have to just smile and dive right in to making some new friends. She is generally a friendly and popular sort of girl so I think that she will be fine once she has made a few new friends.

She has been interested to see how many of the teachers have said, "Oh, you're X's sister, aren't you?!" and there have been quite a few. The EFG has a good reputation in the school, and the YFG is in the shadow of that, to some extent, so she is going to have to stand up and say, metaphorically speaking, that she is her own person and not actually that much like the YFG in many things - she's polite and well behaved, but not necessarily interested in or good at the same things, so the English teacher may have her expectations dashed whilst the PE teachers may be pleasantly surprised at her enthusiasm - the YFG does it, but not with much aplomb!

I have had an interesting day and made some unexpected contacts and discoveries but that's another story!

And they're off..........

The EFG has taken the YFG to the bus stop and they will just be getting on the bus now - the bus doesn't actually leave the village for another 15 minutes as it has a lot of little pickups to do, but she is on her way to her first taste of secondary school!! They were both up shortly after 6 this morning, and I remember the FH saying at some point that the YFG seemed to be ready to go and it was only half past six, to which I muttered that I wasn't getting up until 7am! For the last half hour before they left, she kept looking at her watch and asking how long until they could go - I detect an air of anticipation and excitement!! I hope the day lives up to her expectations....