Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Winter wonderland

The snow is still the big topic of the day - it snowed a tiny bit overnight here, but nothing much. The wind this morning was icy cold, though, and the girls wrapped up warm for their journey to school. I bundled myself up in many, many layers to go outside to deal with the chooks - it is taking me about an hour now in the mornings, so I need to be warm! I had 6 layers on my top half, a pair of leggings and a pair of tights on the bottom half under the tracksuit bottoms, and two pairs of socks. Then there were two scarves and a woolly hat to finish off the ensemble. I did look rather Michelin-man like!

When I came in from that expedition, I spent a couple of hours wrapping Christmas presents! It was fun, and a great relief to get the bulk of it done. There are a few things that haven't arrived yet, but they are mostly for the girls. Now the next development will be organising the posting of some parcels - mostly to the children of the girls' godparents in Scotland, and to a few other children around the countryside. I generally don't give presents to adults, but I make exceptions for my sister, my uncle and my dad, amongst others. If there are children in the family, they get the presents.

After lunch, I moved the chooks around and spent some time cleaning up out there. Then I got a little surprise as the new-to-me car I have bought from a local garage in the village was brought round, just to tell me that it has passed its MOT, had new brake pipes fitted and it is ready to go. I wasn't expecting it so quickly, so I told N that I would have to sort out the money for him and arrange the insurance, and let him know when I would be ready for the car! One quick phone call to Direct Line and the insurance was set for Friday, and then organising the money was another thing done. When the girls got home from school, I walked down to the garage with the YFG and we gave N the cheque for the car and let him know about the insurance, so we'll be going back to get it on Friday. It is a Vauxhall Vectra, 1.8l petrol engine, and it is an 02 plate. I am happy to be sticking with Vauxhall although I am moving from an Astra to a Vectra, and from diesel to petrol.

I made a vegetable stew with cheese dumplings for the family's tea, and then I did some batch cooking to make use of the oven - two Herman fruit cakes and a Herman lemon loaf, a chocolate brownie that I can eat and a lovely apple crumble. The girls and the FH have tasted the lemon Herman and say it is gorgeous, so that is a relief. The fruit versions will be going into the freezer when they are cold.

We have just watched the tv programme called "Turn Back Time" about the high street shops in Shepton Mallet - it is a fascinating programme and I can't wait to see next week's as it will be set in the 1970s - just when I was born.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Snow and more to come

The girls were eager to look out the windows this morning to see if there was enough snow to warrant a school closure - there wasn't, so they had to go off to the bus stop in the snow, well wrapped up in winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves. It wasn't good that the bus was late because of the weather and they had to stand at the bus stop for about 20 minutes but in this weather, these things just can't be helped.

I dragged the FH to the doctor's this morning about his awful foot problems and it turns out that he probably has gout! The doctor took some blood to try to get the diagnosis confirmed but also sent us home to make an appointment at the local cottage hospital for an x-ray to rule out any serious damage he might have done. We went to that appointment this afternoon at 3pm, and were in and out in minutes. We will have to look at some medication for that, I think, if it is confirmed, in conjunction with the boss at Papworth as some of the medications for gout are contra-indicated for use with his heart meds. One of the heart anti-rejection drugs could actually be part of the cause of the gout as well, unfortunately.

One of the cockerels has been moved tonight into the pen with the basic Heinz varieties laying hens. I need his pen in the shed for some growers who haven't had the chance to go outside yet, and it is high time they did, so clearing out his pen and moving them over will be on the list for tomorrow. I will put a piece of glass in the pophole so that they can see out but not actually get out for a day or two, before letting them out properly maybe on Wednesday or Thursday.

I do hope everyone is staying warm in this weather. We have lots of wood for the stove to keep us warm in the lounge, and the cupboards are well stocked too!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Fudge recipe and more

This fudge recipe has come from the Australian Simple Savings website, where a member posted it, saying that she got it from the Family Circle Christmas Special, 2008. Conscious of copyright issues, I am posting my version of the recipe here, which is ever so slightly different!!

So, here goes:
1. Grease and line an 8" square cake tin, making sure that there is a small overhang of greaseproof paper all the way round the tin.
2. Put the contents of a 395g tin of sweetened condensed milk in a microwaveable 2 litre Pyrex bowl with 1 cup of soft brown sugar, 125g butter and 2 tbsp liquid glucose (Tesco sell it). Heat uncovered at Medium-High/70% for 6-8 minutes. Stir it every two minutes with a balloon whisk. It will start to boil. When it does, heat for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute with a wooden spoon. It will thicken, go golden and boil rapidly!
3. Remove from the microwave and put on a heatproof surface - leave for a couple of minutes until the bubbles calm down.
4. Now add 200g good quality dark chocolate, which has been finely chopped. Stir it in until it has all melted and been incorporated into the fudge. Make sure that the mixture is smooth.
5. Pour the mixture into the tin, smoothing it out and levelling it off. Leave for 3-4 hours until it has set; it can be put in the fridge when it is cooler.
6. To store, it can be wrapped in greaseproof paper and stored in an airtight container in the fridge - it won't need to be stored long! Cut into small pieces when you are ready to give it as a gift, or to serve it.

Suggestions for flavourings - you could add 3/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts and 30ml Bailey's Irish cream liqueur OR use white chocolate and flavour with Cointreau, perhaps. Next on my list to try is rum flavouring with raisins. You can also do this basic recipe here with milk chocolate instead of plain - just make up your own variations.

I think a small selection of this would make ideal teacher gifts for Christmas, or for those relatives who have everything, need nothing and are a challenge to satisfy at Christmas!!

So, back to other things - the weather, for a start........the earliest laying snow for 17 years, extremely cold weather in November, the cold snap predicted to last for two weeks, temperatures falling to minus 17 in Powys last night, more heavy snow predicted........have you checked out ukweathergeek's site which I linked to in a post last week? He's definitely onto something, and this weather is already bearing out some of his predictions, and it is not even December yet!!

The YFG and I travelled to Ipswich yesterday for her gymnastics competition. UJ, the EFG and my sister also came to watch, and my sister took us all in her car, which was a huge relief to me, not having to drive all that way home after the competition. The comp itself was eye-opening! The gymnasts are all supposed to be "recreational" which means that they train for no more than 4 hours a week. All I can say is that I need lessons on how to achieve those kinds of results on that much training - the standard was higher than we had ever competed at before, and we did OK. There were 24 competitors on each piece, so the YFG coming in the top half at 9th and 10th on some pieces was an achievement. She worked really hard, gave of her best, competed in the right spirit, and had an enjoyable day. Our other gymnast in her age group did OK too. In the other age group, the 12+ group, we had another two girls, and they did extremely well - one got Gold on the Vault and the other managed Silver on the Bars, so we have produced some regional award winners!! I am so proud of all of them for all the work and effort they put in to training for the original county competition, and then to keep it up and do it all again yesterday - magnificent!

The other coach who was there with me from our club was pleased, as I was, to be exposed to that level of competition, and we both felt we had learned a lot. The even better thing was the chap who tutored me on both my coaching courses was there with some gymnasts from his club, and he was kind enough to come over in the YFG's session when he was in the same group for us on the rotations and could watch our girls, and give me coaching points for helping them to correct some of the things that they didn't do as well as they could have done. It was invaluable help, and the sort of guidance I could do with more of!

After that exciting day yesterday, I was not keen to get out of bed this morning, but I dragged myself up at 7.30am and had some breakfast and hot tea, before I went out to the chickens. The morning feeding and watering took me an hour and a half today because I fed hot mash, had to unfreeze all the waterers, and carry the water to the chicken sheds from the house. We didn't leave here for church until 9.40am (service starts at 9.30am!!) and I nearly thought twice about going as we were going to have to walk in late, but my luck was in and the service hadn't started at 9.45am!! I was so glad that we went as the preacher was amazing - he was an elderly gentleman of 83, bent over with osteoarthritis, walking only with two sticks, but he was a true man of faith and his belief and faith was so strong, it was a real privilege to meet him and to listen to what he had to say. He has been a Local Preacher since 1956; he told us that he almost died 17 years ago. He told us of his experience - getting to the "white light" and the voice telling him that he had to go back as he still had a lot of work to do on Earth. He was incredibly inspiring, and I do hope he comes back to preach to us again.

I thought of Froog's batch cooking methods this afternoon. I had to take the YFG to town to look for a pair of plain black tracksuit trousers for school tomorrow, so I popped into Tesco to look in the reduced section - and I struck lucky - lamb shanks, and stewing steak. So when I got home, I put the lamb shanks in gravy in one casserole and the stewing steak with some onion and mushrooms and gravy into the other casserole and all of it went into the oven together for a couple of hours. We have had the lamb for tea, and the beef casserole may well come out later in the week.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Here now but only for a moment

Just to say sorry - fudge recipe is coming! YFG off to regional finals tomorrow in Ipswich so we have got to have an early night........wish us luck!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Changing my mind

Tonight driving home from gym, I had a post forming in my mind about the skies in the Fens, inspired by the bright moonlight nights we are having and the clear days when the sun is shining beautifully.

However, things change. I have been incensed instead by the waste I see around me. My children are tucked up in bed tonight (as they should be at 11.30pm!) with blankets, duvets and the odd hot water bottle. We haven't put the heating on yet as the woodburner is blasting heat around the downstairs and when we go upstairs, we leap into bed pretty quickly, and with the blankets and hot water bottles, get warm and toasty pretty quickly too! Another family in the street has two bedroom windows flung wide open tonight because their heating is on too high so they need to let the heat escape. Whilst the more traditional among us wear jumpers in this weather, they like to sit around half-naked - the male members of the family are often seen walking around the house topless. What makes me even more cross is that this is a family in which both adults went bankrupt a while back, and now the whole family lives on various benefits. How is it right that they have enough spare cash to sit on their bums all day and heat a house to such epic proportions on taxpayers' money, whilst other people I know who go out to work and pay their taxes can't afford to do such stupid things - some can't even afford new shoes for their children. The government needs to work hard to redress the balance, and I applaud anything that makes people contribute to society in a positive way, through working and paying their own way, through paying fair taxes, through voluntary work (my personal way of contributing) or just by being more responsible with resources. I work, but don't earn enough to pay tax on my income, but the FH pays tax each month on his pension, and we pay the council tax too, so we are making our contribution, however small.

Rant over.

The fudge has been deemed successful by an independent judge. I took the plunge and gave a little of it away today to a teacher at the school, and to a friend. I will share the recipe tomorrow, and I think that I will have to make more!! I need to find a pretty but cheap way to package it as well....... I am inspired to get on with my eBay plans as my friend has sold a second-hand dolls house on there for £120 and is very pleased. I will be looking into that more after the weekend.

Monday, 22 November 2010

There's talk of snow

Already we are hearing that the snow is on its way - rather early, I thought! However, the temperatures here are well below average for the time of year, and I think that ukweathergeek hasn't got it all far wrong! I think that I have said before that I think he is talking a lot of sense, so I am taking notice of what he thinks about the coming winter - that it will probably be as bad as last winter, if not worse - and that he believes that the winter of 2011/12 may be even worse still. His blog makes interesting reading, so I check back there now and again to see if he has posted updates.

Today I have given the chooks some straw in their runs and they have had a grand time, scratching through it to look for tasty tidbits. It helps to keep their feet a little drier for a time, at least until they have pushed it all down into the mud.

The kitchen has also been in production today again - I found a recipe for chocolate fudge on an Australian savings website that I visit occasionally. I thought that it would be an excellent choice to make for gifts, but never having attempted anything quite like it before, I decided that it would be wise to try it out first. It was easy enough to make, but since I can't eat it, I will have to canvass opinions on it - the YFG thinks it tastes like thick icing but the EFG and the FH both said that they liked it. I may have to look for more independent opinions before I go into production. I will share it if the general thoughts are positive!!

The lunchbox tins also needed refilling, so I made some Weetabix Brownies and some cheese scones too. Several of the cheese scones mysteriously disappeared rather quickly, and I was only out of the room for a moment.........can't imagine where they went!

Tonight the EFG and the YFG have had trouble at their respective band practises. The YFG had ear-ache and said she couldn't play, but had to go along with the FH anyway. The teacher seems to have been a little disappointed that she couldn't take part, so she gave her a pencil and taught her to conduct a little!! The EFG has a huge "thing" on the inside of her lip where she has bitten it whilst she has been asleep, and it was too painful for her to play her cornet so we abandoned her band and went to the supermarket. In true stockpiling spirit in that I looked for all the bargains, the 3 for 2s and suchlike, I parted with rather a lot of dosh and filled the cupboards in anticipation of the snow and bad weather coming. The bargain hunting knocked nearly £18 off the final bill!! There is no point in the supermarkets being stocked if I can't get there to buy what I need, so I thought it was an opportune moment to stock up a little. I know that I have a little leeway in the budget this month as the FH's credit card has gone astray so he hasn't spent anything, so I know there will be no bill coming from that direction this month (hurray!), not that he spends a lot on it, mostly just for his petrol!

Lakeland received an order from me this morning in an attempt to get some of my Christmas shopping done! I managed to find an obscure little site to order a couple of "Gorjuss" items that the EFG had asked for, but the YFG's list has had to be revised as she had gone drastically over budget. When she gets round to finalising exactly what she wants, Amazon will be getting some business as well, as I spent sometime investigating best prices on the internet for the items on their lists, and Amazon consistently comes out the cheapest, and with free delivery and Nectar points too, it's hard to beat!

Tonight I have been assessing our income and wondering. I want to kill two birds with one stone and do some decluttering so it seems like a plan to sort out the "good" stuff and try to sell it on eBay or Amazon (sold a book on there last week!) at a time of year when people will be looking for bargains. I will have to have a good look at what I want to discard and see if any of it is fit to sell. Half of me would like to sell the Playmobil we have, but the other half thinks that it may still have a home here for a while yet. Someone still likes to play with it now and again.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Kitchen report again

I made the Herman mixture into two fruitcakes, and they have turned out well. When I took the two loaves out of the oven, I brushed them with a hot mixture of dissolved caster sugar with some orange essence/oil, so they smell gorgeous. One has been sliced and sampled, now residing in a tin, and the other is heading for the freezer.

Delia's mincemeat has sat in the oven for the requisite three hours, has come out "swimming in fat" as she puts it, and will now have to be stirred at very regular intervals for a couple of hours so that the fat coats the fruit and doesn't coagulate in to large lumps! Once it is cool, probably in the morning, I will add the brandy and pot it up. Smells lovely!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Kitchen work today

The Fen Kitchen is a busy place this morning - another batch of Delia's mincemeat is doing its 12 hour soaking, the Herman cake has just been fed and will be shared out today and then our portion cooked tomorrow - and there is a second batch of Leek and Potato soup bubbling away in the Remoska on the side. We had some earlier in the week and the family liked it, so I thought I would use up the last remaining four leeks to make another pot of it. They may not want to eat it immediately but it will be fine in the freezer until they do!!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Shhhhhhh! Don't mention it....

but I have to get some presents wrapped up tonight - it is the FH's birthday tomorrow! The YFG helped to choose one gift when we went to the shops at the weekend, and the EFG is giving him a regular birthday favourite of his - Maltesers! He will be going to his lunch club, but he will get a free lunch this week for his birthday. When the folks there have a birthday, the birthday boy/girl provides everyone with some sweets, so I got a tub of Celebrations for him to take to share. He has also asked for a lemon sponge at tea time, so I will be making that tomorrow too.

Today has been interesting - I got a bit of a panicked phone call from the school this morning asking if I could go along this afternoon on the regular swimming trip to the local town. One of the TAs was off so they were a person short. Luckily, it was the last session so the children were having a fun splash session, so I didn't actually have to do much at all except be there and a bit of supervision. It was lovely to watch them all having so much fun in the water!

Tonight we have been to gym, and then came home to a lovely stew that the FH had made. He didn't quite get as far as making the dumplings, which was a disappointment for the YFG but it was a good meal nevertheless.

The YFG is excited as she is going on a trip to London tomorrow to the Natural History museum. Her bag is packed and she is tucked up in bed, having booked her wake-up call for the morning. It is a big thing, going to London, so she is looking forward to it all.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

What is happiness?

I've been asked tonight if I am happy.......told that I don't sound very happy.....it's a bit of a blow, to be honest. I don't know what the right answer to the question is, and I don't even know if there is a right answer. So I decided to think about what makes me happy, and here are some random thoughts about it, in no particular order:
  • Sunshine
  • My family
  • Being tucked up in bed with a hot water bottle!
  • Listening to Classic FM
  • Reading
  • Being up to date with things and organised
  • A tidy house
  • Having time to listen to people and to God
  • A long hot bath
  • My chooks having a dust bath...........
I could go on, and on. The world is conspiring against me right now to stop a lot of those things happening, and I need to work out how to make them happen again. Let's look at them slowly:

  • The sunshine - well, it has rained a lot lately...can't do much about that - can't afford to move to California!
  • My family - yep, that one is doing OK, they are all here, well and healthy (or as healthy as they are likely to get in the FH's case - foot is still swollen, cough is improving)
  • Bed with the hot bottle - I get that one some nights if I remember. The trouble with that one is that I am so tired when I get to go to bed that I have no time to lay there and enjoy the feeling before I fall asleep!!
  • Classic FM - must sort the radio out in my car so it works again. In the house, I get to listen to the radio more during the day when the girls are at school, so I should get a decent fix tomorrow.
  • Reading - mmmmm, time constraints. Reading is done in snatches, sometimes only in the smallest room!!!
  • Up to date and organised - last week was manic so I am hoping to get somewhere with this one this week.
  • A tidy house........a little boy commented to me yesterday that I should go and look at his room because he had tidied up and so it might give me some ideas. Apparently I am now notorious for my untidiness, so bad that I need to take lessons from an 8 year old. ;-) I don't think it is that bad, really, but I will try harder this week!
  • Time to listen to people and to God - must try harder. The FH said he would take a photo of me the other day as it has been so busy this week that he had forgotten what I looked like.
  • Long hot baths - I have had a couple this week - bliss!
  • The chooks haven't a hope of a dust bath for months as they have just got mud, mud and more mud BUT I gave them lovely shavings and cut straw in their houses and they bathed in that instead and absolutely LOVED it. They are due for clean bedding again tomorrow so I will be able to watch them again.
There are things which are pre-occupying me at the moment - the amount of stuff I have to get my head around for the Chair of Governors role is mind-blowing, there seem to be medical appointments each week for someone (not me, thank goodness) to taxi people around to, gym needs some organising as we are currently putting together the arrangements for the Christmas party and thinking about how to get everyone who needs to go to Ipswich on the 27th, and I was in Bedford today for a 5 hour course on the role and responsibilities of the Welfare Officer in the club, and then there are a couple of girls here who just don't seem to want to go to bed!!!!

I am happy with my lot, with my plans, with my situation in life right now. I am not a bundle of laughs right now, I admit, but I never have been. I feel positive about life, positive about the future, and not unduly worried about anything - so it's all good, as the EFG would say!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The weekend is here - already

I can't believe how quickly the weeks are ticking along! Someone said to me today that it is only 6 weeks until Christmas - and it seems like only a few weeks ago it was January and we were wondering what 2010 would have in store.....once Christmas is here, 2011 will be just around the corner.

I have had to fetch the dehumidifiers from the shed - they have been stashed away for about 8 years, but I have been reading that some people are finding that they can get their washing dry more quickly by running a dehumidifier. I am quite desperate this weekend to get the school uniforms dry so I thought that I would give it a go. The verandah dries the washing well, but really only when the sun is shining, otherwise it takes a couple of days, which doesn't help at weekends when I need to get the things dry! Hence I have a couple of airers full of washing around a dehumidifier in the office.

Yesterday I went to Peterborough to the Christmas Festival at the showground. I took a friend and we had a mooch around for about 90 minutes, both buying some presents. I was a little disappointed at the stalls that weren't there - and had a good time catching up with several old friends who were there! Having had a stall at the show for about 5 or 6 years, we know a lot of the stall holders so there were a few catch ups to be had! I bought some more bags from the bag lady who was there in October, but she had a wider selection this time. I also got a couple of presents for the girls so they will have to remain hush hush for now.

Two weeks today the YFG will be reprising her gym routines for the regional final of her last competition - we have to go to Ipswich for that. It means that the five girls are still working hard at gym on those routines, as we know that the regional competition will be considerably stiffer than the county one was. It will be a valuable experience for them to compete on a bigger scale.

The Christmas cake was made yesterday morning before I went out - it was in the oven at 6am! The house smelled gorgeous. Now it has been poked with a skewer, enriched with a little more brandy, wrapped in greaseproof paper and tinfoil and put up in a tin in the cool of the utility room. The other cake in the house at the moment is Herman! We have been given some starter for the famous Herman cake - the YFG was quite disgusted at the thought of how old some of it may be, especially when I told her that my mum had a Herman cake about 25 years ago. It is sitting in a bowl, covered with a cloth, on the counter - the instructions seem to have changed a little as I think my mum kept hers in the fridge. The debate will be what to flavour him with - the FH is in favour of fruit, other opinion is in favour of cocoa, and it is possible that it would be lovely with a hint of lemon. Maybe we will be making more than the one.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Round up of the week

I've been mindful of not spending too much time in cyberspace, hence the lack of posts this week. I took the FH to the hospital on Monday about the prostate diagnosis; it was a very hit and miss affair. The consultant is a lovely chap, who did a scan and an examination (ouch!) and declared that yes, the prostate gland is slightly enlarged but that in a man of almost 73, that is sort of to be expected. Apparently, about 40% of men his age would be walking the streets with prostate cancer and never know. He said that in most cases, it is a condition that one dies with, rather than from. He is reluctant to do any more at the moment, because even if it was diagnosed as cancer, there is little that he could offer the FH because of his heart health and medication scenario. A biopsy is the only way to actually diagnose it properly, and that would introduce an infection risk, and given that there is no treatment on offer, it seems a pointless risk to take. So, for now, we wait. The doctor at the local surgery is to repeat the blood test in January and the consultant will see the FH again in February to reassess the situation.

Monday afternoon saw me at the optician with the EFG who now needs a new pair of glasses. At this practice, I have to pay for the frames, so she chose wisely and is only costing me £40. She's rather fed up with the current pair as she has had them for two years, so it is time for a change!

Tuesday afternoon I floated around the school for a couple of hours, being available to any parents who might want to talk to me whilst they were there for Parents' Evening. I shepherded them around the extension, and generally made myself useful, before taking the girls and going to gym for the second session.

Yesterday I went back to school to go and help out in the Y3/4 class for the afternoon - we did experiments with magnets and Newtonmeters for science and then some art work on William Morris. I really enjoyed that!

Got to go now as lunch is ready - back later!

Saturday, 6 November 2010


We really are back from Scotland, but you would be forgiven for thinking that we had gone away again, because I haven't posted here all week. In some ways, there has been so much to say that I haven't known where to begin, so I just didn't; in other ways, life has been too busy this week to allow me time to sit here and cogitate my thoughts about the week; and a leftover from the week's holiday has been a slight reluctance to lose the relaxation we enjoyed at the cottage - I just haven't wanted to get back into the same routines of reading forums and blogs. I am trying to be more selective about the things I give my time.

I kept a diary at the cottage, but I am not going to put it here because it will interrupt the flow of this blog. I think that I will have a holiday blog and put the days and photos on there - when we got on another holiday, it can be updated. The photos have made it from the camera onto the computer, but they still need to be edited and named, and some must be deleted because they are out of focus!!

So, back in the Fens, what's to do? The garden has been tidied up a little whilst we were away as UJ kindly dug over two of the veg beds. He also made a trough to feed one of the runs of chickens, and the chicks seem to have doubled in size! I needed to clean out the pens when we got home but I was unable to find any small bales of straw locally so in the end I bought a bale of horse bedding from the feed shop - it is chopped straw and woodshavings - and it is very good stuff. It may even be better than the straw as I think it will break down for the composting bin more easily. I have now found a source of straw and hope to get some next week, and then I will decide which is best. We definitely need some straw to put down in the runs as there has been so much rain that they are very muddy indeed. There are too many chickens here now and some will have to be dispatched soon - some to the freezer and some to the auction!

The house has had a bit of an autumn clean - I was inspired by the cottage as there was no clutter there and it felt so much easier to tidy up! I will be joining Wannabe Sybil on her clutterbusting missions this week and really making an effort to get rid of some "stuff".......

And Christmas is on the horizon - plans to be made, cakes to be baked! I have a favourite Christmas cake recipe from the old Family Circle magazine which I have been making for years, and will be doing so again this year - I usually do it at half term, so I had better get on with it this week. The mincemeat I made the other week has developed nicely! The FH came home from Scotland with a craving for a mincemeat pie, so I made some pastry last Sunday and made a big pie for here and one for UJ to take home as well as some small coconut tarts for the lunchboxes. Each of the pies took a whole jar of mincemeat, but they all said how much they liked it, so I will be making a little more!!

The FH and the EFG are both on Amoxicillin for their chest infections, the YFG has pulled a ligament in her hip and I have a sore throat tonight, so we are a right lot here. The FH's ankle and foot are still swollen too. AND he has to go to the hospital on Monday for investigations into his prostate gland. He has absolutely no symptoms of any trouble, but a routine blood test has picked up some marker in his blood so we have to go and have it checked out. Better to be safe than sorry.

I'm going to spend some time organising those holiday photos now, so I'll be back!