Thursday, 31 March 2011

Busy busy!

Yesterday flew past, and I think that today is going in the same vein - but then it is nearly Easter, or at least the Easter holidays from school, and it seems that just last week it was Christmas! I haven't had a chance to think about spring cleaning, or Easter much either [although I do have that 58p leg of lamb at the ready!] so it's time thoughts turned homeward.

Home. Where one of my dear relatives should have been yesterday and wasn't, and then my two girls were left wondering where everyone was when they got home. UJ was going to come here to lunch with the FH at the lunch club, as he does every week, but then he was going to have to nip off to meet my dad and MB off the coach from their latest holiday. He would need to take my dad's car as they had 4 suitcases, and he has a Vauxhall Corsa and wouldn't fit it all in. So the FH and I were mystified when he arrived here at 11am in his own car - then he said that dad's wouldn't start! When they went to lunch, the plan was that the FH would go to do the taxi trip in the Volvo, and UJ would stay here........I went off to school for meetings at 1pm and 3.30pm, came home at 4.45pm and there was no one here! No children, no UJ. My lightbulb went on in my brain and I started to wonder where the girls were.....they were at a friend's house around the corner, thank goodness, after they had tried to get in over the back gate. They had managed it, and got their key in the back door but then been frustrated to find that I had left the other key on the inside! They were remarkably forgiving, but I felt rather angry that the menfolk hadn't followed the plan, and the FH had taken UJ along for the ride!

Last night, the EFG was at Brownies/Guides where she volunteers and the FH and UJ went to the History Society talk in the village, about a local Roman excavation, which was interesting. I took the chapel Steward to the Circuit meeting, and so the YFG went next door to our lovely neighbours and had a great time, playing with them on the XBOX and eating pancakes! She probably had the best evening of the lot of us!

And so to today.......I'm really looking forward to Easter and the school being closed for a couple of weeks - I am looking forward to sleeping in a few times, to cleaning the house properly and doing things with the girls! I'm tired now. Hugs to everyone, and take care of yourselves.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Gold Partridge Orpingtons

The parent birds - now two years old and still looking lovely!

Another group of GPOs. Pullets are from my own eggs, cockerel is from some bought-in eggs. All went for sale on Sunday.
The parent birds again - look at these markings!

Just gorgeous - but then I am biased! These are without a doubt my favourites.

Spring shots

A good example of a Brown Sussex pullet - gone to a new home now via the auction on Sunday. Mine were the only BS in the auction, and they didn't make terribly good prices - I think that is because they are such a rare breed that people don't know about them. They are lovely birds, decent layers and quite docile. I love them!

And here are three more of them. They love to perch on this ladder-type construction in their pen. When you get one on each "rung" they look funny, but the one at the bottom had just jumped off her perch and mucked up that shot!

One of my two Barred Plymouth Rock pullets. I don't particularly like this breed as I find them a little bit boisterous but they are a means to an end - I need them for the Brussbar breeding programme, so I have to have them. I need to keep them for a year, so I might just breed them straight this year, and have a few to sell later.

And this is the pullets' unrelated husband. He and his family are about 2 weeks older than the girls, but he is the only one left. I took a chance on him and put his brothers in the pot, as one of them had a habit of going for the back of my legs as I walked away from them. This is the best-natured of the three of the cockerels so he got the reprieve!

The pen of mixed layers. There's Goldenburg in the midst of the Light Sussex! She is four years old now and still going strong. The LS are a mixture of five older hens and all the pullets that their eggs produced last September. The cockerels are gone as all I want from these are eggs to eat.
Some of the seeds I want to get sown this week - courgettes, tomatoes, peppers, kale, and cucumbers.

The FH has put these Kestrel potatoes to chit in the verandah....I thought that they had to be somewhere dark, but they seem to be working. He has some huge black pots to put them in, so they will be going in soon too.

Blossom on the plum tree - has yet to produce a plum, and there is a noticeable absence of small creatures to pollinate it, so I doubt that there will be any plums this year either. It does look gorgeous though! Excuse the overgrown lavender in the background.

And the apple trees are just coming into leaf - they do it the other way around with the leaves coming first and the blossom later.

Showing you all my hard work with the fork, digging this lot over. Three beds done and three to do - that one top middle is where the strawberry plants are and it is in dire need of weeding before they start to grow....they have already started to grow!! I need to get on with that.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Get fresh - and real!

Two things made me stop and think this weekend.

The first was on Saturday when I was reading the paper - we buy a paper on the weekend for the tv listings - and I came across an article about "just how fresh is fresh food at the supermarket?" - short answer appears not to be very fresh at all. Apparently, eggs could be almost a month old, bread 10 days since it was baked, apples 6 months since they were on the tree. There are two sides to this - I do understand that it is perfectly possible to store apples (my granny used to keep them in boxes in the coal shed, each one painstakingly wrapped in paper) and we used to eat them, knowing that they were every so slightly wrinkly and soft because that is how they go when they have been stored like that. But expectations of the masses are rising, and it is no longer acceptable for an apple to be wrinkly - now it has to look as if it plopped off the tree this morning, fresh and firm, and so today's markets provide us with an apple which has been in cold storage for months to keep it looking "right".

Bread - well, there is a world of difference between the loaves that my grandfather rose hours before dawn to bake in his bakery so that the village could have fresh bread on a daily basis and what is marketed as fresh bread today. It is no longer baked in the villages, but in supermarkets and shops where it might actually not be made from scratch but just part-baked to finish it off. And so it has to travel further....and so it can't get here that fast, so it has to have preservatives and junk added to keep it longer so that it still tastes "good" when it finally arrives at the shop, up to two days after it was made, and then sits on the shelf for a couple of days, before being brought home to sit in a bread bin for a day or two. SO different from home made bread, often made and eaten the same day, or at least made yesterday and frozen this morning.

It appears that legally, eggs can be up to 10 days old before they even get to the supermarket, so how they call those "fresh" I don't know. When I tell someone that my eggs are fresh, that usually means laid that day or the day before. We have on occasions had to go and raid the henhouses to get eggs for a neighbour and that means that the eggs they used for their omelette were only hours old. That's fresh!

I'm not even going to go into fresh fruit and veg, flown half way around the world in some cases, or washed in loads of chemicals and put in bags in other examples. Plot to plate in 10 yards is the best we can do here and even when we get things from UJ, it has come less than 20 miles, and has usually been picked the night before. And fruit juice - the mind boggles - frozen, concentrated, reconstituted, the variations are endless. Can we no longer squeeze an orange?! Or even better, just eat the orange and get all the fibre and goodness from the whole fruit, instead of just the juice, which is very high in sugar.

And then there was counterfeit food! John Craven Investigates is a regular feature on Countryfile on a Sunday evening on BBC1 - an excellent programme, and one we usually watch. Here we learned about honey that may not be what it claims to be, the subtle differences between "produce of"/"sourced from" and a barrowload of other terms which people can use to mislead the general public to make their produce appear more attractive.

All this made me count my blessings and give thanks for the place I live and the opportunities it affords me, the lifestyle I am able to choose to live which allows me to grow food and preserve it simply, the family I have with the years of wisdom to share and learn from, and the skills I have learned and continue to acquire to support my aims and ideals.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Good things all round

Today has been an all round good day.

The FH toddled off early to the poultry auction with his friend, and came home happy that they had all sold. He wasn't that happy about the prices that were achieved, but then again he isn't sure that he heard the prices right for all the pens. Each pen is supposed to be at least £25, so it wasn't too bad. Some of them made more, so I will look for the cheque in the post in a couple of weeks, and see what I get then.

After he left, I sorted out the remaining chooks into breeding pens. There are now several ready to be producing hatching eggs - Lancelot and his wives in the Brown Sussex team and Butch and his harem in the Gold Partridge Orpington team (must trim their bottom feathers!) and then each breed also has a reserve cockerel and five hens to grow on for next year's breeding as they should be a year old before they are used for breeding. There is a trio of Barred Plymouth Rock, which are for the Brussbar programme. The flock of Light Sussex are just for eggs, and have no cockerel - he made a good dinner a few weeks back. Now there will be three pens empty in the system, so I am going to attempt to grass them over so that I can rotate the chooks around later in the season and give them access to grass.

Lots and lots of washing has been out on the line, blowing madly in the breeze and has come in smelling most divinely of fresh air - no need for fancy conditioners here to add the freshness! I have also done some gardening and potting up, weeding and generally tidying - it has been lovely to spend some more time in the garden and I have enjoyed the day. A friend came along and bought some books, and then when I was picking up the YFG from a sleepover this morning, I noticed that a lady I know had a bike for sale, just like mine, but for only £30 - so knowing that the EFG's bike is worn out, we went and had a look! It is a good bike, and the lady is only selling it because she has a bad knee, so I bought it and the YFG rode it home. The FH will check it over for me, but I am pretty sure we will be making good use of it - it was a bargain!

I have made some more bread today - mixed early this afternoon and cooking now in batches. Smells are wafting around and making the house very fragrant!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

I have a man!

Provocative title this morning!! It has seemed that the primary teaching profession has become dominated by women, and indeed, the first three people to want to look around the school with a view to applying for the headship have been women. But now, I have a man wanting to look around.....hence my title today. One man, three women - he's outnumbered before he starts, but on the internet, he looks as if he has the experience, so we'll have to wait and see what he's like next week, and whether we sufficiently inspire him to apply for the job.

Today has started slightly overcast and chilly but I am hoping that it at least stays dry so that the chooks who are going to be sold tomorrow don't get muddy. They will be selected tonight in the last hours of daylight, separated and thus be ready to be boxed up early in the morning. They don't like that bit, but they'll be OK - I hope that they all find good new homes.

This afternoon I'll be cleaning the hen houses out, and maybe trying to get another veg bed dug over as well. Lots to do in the garden at this time of year - and I think that tonight is clock-change night as well so I must check that as we don't want to be late anywhere in the morning.

Better get going - washing to hang and all that!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Catching up

This is one of the magnificent horses we saw at the show on Sunday.

Sunday morning dawned bright and clear, and we went off to the show after chapel. We got to the show by lunchtime so the first thing we did was to find a spot for a picnic. We went with another family so the FH was outnumbered by 8 females and he wasn't really sure what to think!! He coped admirably...

We saw some beautiful horses, and had a good look around all the stands. The FH did the best in the shopping stakes, acquiring two new shirts, and a new reversible leather belt, and some of his favourite cheese from the food hall. The girls had a go on the carousel in the background of the photo above, as they love to do each time we go. We spent lots of time out in the sunshine and fresh air, and we all slept very well Sunday evening. It was a lovely day with some great company.

Monday was back at school; measures are being put in place to support people so I can step back a little now, thank goodness. I also showed my first headteacher candidate around - and she was lovely. I must be careful not to "like" any of them more than any other - but I am sure that I will like them all as I do tend to like most people unless they are really objectionable. I have another to show around tomorrow and another next Tuesday. Of course, as they book their appointments, I am getting their names - so it is only human nature that I am going to look them up on the internet....there are three or four people with the same name as the woman who is coming tomorrow so she could be the one who is relatively local, she might be the one from Northamptonshire, or she may be moving to the area from Essex. The local one has a Twitter page and I have learned no end from that - if it is her, she is a grandmother, has two daughters, one of whom has a son, loves gardening, preserving fruits and veg, baking, will be doing the Race for life........there are all sorts of personal things about a person which is all freely available in the public domain that is the internet! I have also been able to read the latest OFSTED reports from the schools that the other two are currently at - luckily they have less common names!!

And then there is the Frugal Queen issue. There is a link to FQ's blog in my blogroll. I am so sad about this, as someone nasty has upset FQ to the extent that she temporarily closed her blog, and has now only brought it back to allow 100 people to subscribe to be her followers to whom the blog will be available. It is despicable behaviour to upset someone like this, and it is such a shame that all her wisdom and inspiration will no longer be available to the wider community. I think that she should follow Rhonda-Jean's lead and write a book when she finishes teaching as she has so much to offer, and is a true inspiration and leader in frugality. She will be hugely missed.

Hugs to all.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

School and more

Yes, I was back in there yesterday - thought it would just be for assembly but ended up being all morning, went home at 1.30pm for an hour and then had to be back to prepare and do a staff meeting at 3pm for half an hour.

I enjoyed gym last night in the sense of being somewhere else and taking my mind off the situation, but I had terrible cramp in both my feet for several hours, which ended up with the Head Coach telling the EFG to take me to the kitchen and put my feet in some hot water to relax the muscles. That helped for a couple of hours but by 11pm I had to have a hot bath as the spasm had gone into the shin of one leg - agony!

The FH managed to get four adult FREE tickets to the Shire Horse show tomorrow so I am hoping we are all fit and well and raring to go tomorrow, and that the weather is good enough.

We're off to gym again this morning, so I must get some washing hung before we go!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

It just got a lot worse today

and that about sums it up. I was called in at 9am unexpectedly, and I got home again at 6.15pm.

I am shattered, suffering serious brain strain, and totally worried and confused.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


We've had a "cracking" number of eggs today - 15 - the highest daily tally from this laying season so far! Having been out this afternoon, the eggs hadn't been all collected this afternoon, so when the FH told me he had brought in 5 this afternoon and promptly sold them to a lady who came to the door, I was pleased at the sale. But then I wanted an egg to make a quick microwave sponge pud - and there were no eggs! I had to go rummaging around in the hen houses in the dark to find an egg - and I hit the jackpot and came in with 10, taking the day's total to 15!! So pleased that they are getting into the swing of the idea...and they are getting so much better at actually laying in the nestboxes.

Been a busy day - rather brain straining, so I am off to sleep now - good night!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Bad day in school

The smelly stuff is well and truly beginning to hit the fan, and I may as well have a bed made up in the school as I am spending hours in there. I was in there yesterday for a couple of hours, and have at least five hours of meetings there tomorrow. Life is a huge challenge at the moment to cope with it all, and to support those who are at the sharp end. Tempers are getting very frayed, a lot of people are worried to death, and me, I keep saying, "Look on the bright side" or "Let's think positively!" - I'm sure someone will want to wallop me soon, but that is the way I think! So, I'm sorry, but I am managing to go to work at gym, to look after the chooks, and the family, but there is almost no housework getting done (What's new!?!) and I dare say I'll be noticeable by my absence here until perhaps the weekend.

I must try to get a working camera sorted out and take more photos!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Restful day - not!

Sunday being a day of rest....I wish. I had two loads of washing on the line and the chooks fed and watered before 8am, off to chapel to help lead the service at 9am, and I was home, making marmalade and bread soon after 11am......then it went pear-shaped for a little while whilst I took some time out to eat lunch and watch an old Bronson video with the FH. The girls went out - my sister came and picked them up at about 11.45am and took them back to town with her. The YFG wanted to earn some more pocket money for her new phone, so my sister offered to let her do some jobs for her, and the EFG went to her friend's house for the afternoon.

The FH and I pottered in the garden after lunch and cleaned out another chicken house, and then I went off to collect up my girls again. When we got home, I knocked the dough back and left it to rise again, and then it was baked whilst I was cooking the supper. The FH helpfully did the ironing during the day, which was a load off my list. I also arranged collection by courier tomorrow for a beehive which is off to Burton-on-Trent. That will be picked up in the morning, and should be at the purchaser's address by Tuesday evening.

Tonight I have helped the FH to move some chooks around from one house to another, shut the rest up, and had a bath. The girls are still moving around upstairs, so I must go and hassle them towards their beds.

Hope you have all had a good weekend. I count 12 jars of marmalade, 6 loaves and 17 rolls as a success for today!

Saturday sunshine

I didn't see much of the sunshine in the morning as we were in the gym until 1pm, but when we came out to glorious sun and light breezes, we all exclaimed what a lovely day it was. I had thought that showers were forecast, but they didn't make an appearance here.

After gym, the YFG and I began the trek around the town for the new school trousers she needed. She did an exceptionally deep deep knee bend on Thursday evening for no known reason, and she totally split the crotch area wide open. I did mend it with my needle and thread, but she said that they were getting rather tight anyway and she was afraid to wear them again in case she split my sewing apart. Mmmm - doesn't say much about her confidence in my sewing. Anyway, we started in Tesco, because that was where she usually gets her trousers, but there were none in her size, so we tried the Factory Shop, where there were some horrible specimens, which felt strange and looked stranger, and so to Sainsbury's, where there weren't any at all. Summer dresses for primary school kids, yes, trousers, no. And so to the official school outfitter in the town. They had them in, of course, a whole rail of them. Twice the price that they would have been in any of the other shops, but you do notice that we went there as the last resort. So she got a pair, after over an hour of searching, and we came home........

Whereupon I had a cup of tea, got changed and went to clean out the big chicken house. I put the shavings and manure directly into a deep veg bed, where I think I may grow the courgettes this year as I hope they can tolerate fairly "hot" conditions. I know you can grow pumpkins on compost heaps, so courgettes being the same broad family may be OK. All this chicken poo has to go somewhere, and the compost bins are getting rather full. The brown bin will get it all next week, but it can't cope with two weeks' worth, I'm afraid, as then no one can move the bin! The FH was out there as well for some of the time as there were some minor repairs needing doing to the chooks set up - doors that had dropped, etc so he was kept busy for an hour, then he did some pottering in the greenhouse.

Baked potatoes and various fillings for tea, and then more washing to be hung out, and the service for chapel this morning to get sorted last night. I finished that up and went to bed at about 11pm, completely worn out for the day - I like those days, where you know you have really earned your rest at night!


Yesterday's news programmes and newspapers were full of information and pictures of the devastation of Japan following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Thousands of people are missing, whole communities completed destroyed, acres of land trashed with debris and homes and lives swept away in the tidal wave that hit the land. It is tagged as one of the worst natural disasters, and it really puts life into perspective. It strikes me that life in Japan has always been a little bit fragile because of the Ring of Fire position it sits in on the edge of the Pacific basin, the fact that it is an island nation and so it is vulnerable to the seas, and the sheer population density of the country. Although they are on the other side of the world, and I know no one in Japan personally, my heart goes out to the Japanese people as a nation, both those who were there at the time, and all their relatives scattered across the world who will be emotionally affected by it all even if they are not physically harmed. Remember them in your thoughts and prayers if you will.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Looking forward...

to the weekend! It's Friday again already - can't believe how quickly the weeks are flying past. It is Lent now, so only 6 weeks to Easter and we should be feeling by then that Spring has really sprung - the seeds should be in the pots and we should be getting the garden into full swing. Can't wait!!

I made an early start yesterday and got three banana cakes and a batch of flapjack in the oven first thing, but I still haven't done the chooks - they are on the agenda for Friday or Saturday, depending on the weather.

I'm being a bit lax on the Lent front this year and not setting myself any challenges to do anything extra or give up anything - I don't feel able! There simply isn't time in the day to do any more at the moment, and as for giving up something, it would have to be something boring like crisps or cake or puddings, and then I would feel that that was a bit of a cop out, so I am copping out completely! I should, I ought to, those are words which induce feelings of guilt, so I am putting them aside and just doing my best.

Yesterday we had a surprise - my sister has asked me to change the week I had booked at the caravan in Norfolk for a different week - so instead of going in the Summer term's half-term break, we'd be going in August. I did say that I wouldn't be going for the whole week even if we went in August, as at £40 a night, I don't want to pay out nearly £300 for a week in a caravan when we had a week in a fully-equipped house for that price last year. I know that the travel costs will be less, but we had decided not to have a "holiday" this year and just to go away for a few nights, which was what I had booked originally. She had a bit of a "dig" at me, saying, "What do you mean, you can't afford a week?" but what I can and cannot afford is down to me and the choices we make as a family. A whole week there can also get rather claustrophobic, as we feel that we are on top of one another in the caravan, and the girls have to share a bedroom, which they find difficult. As the EFG said last night when we were discussing it, the whole thing involves so much more than just paying for the caravan, as we visit shops that we don't go to usually, and we appreciate eating out at least once whilst we are there, and then if we want to go swimming or visit local attractions, there are other costs involved - and it all adds up! Wise words from one so young. So we'll see. We went to Scotland last year because the sister in question mucked up the booking at the caravan before, so I can see us going elsewhere for a couple of days this year.......

With the help of the lovely assistant secretary at the school, I finally got the applicant's pack for the Headteacher post finished yesterday, and emailed off to the personnel provider, so that they have it ready for the hordes (we hope!) of people who will be requesting it from next week!

STOP PRESS - my sister has just phoned me and said that the caravan situation has been resolved and we can still go when we had originally booked it for in the June half-term!!! Excellent news!

And so to Friday's jobs: more washing, delivering some eggs to a lady in the village, a couple of phone calls, sorting out the service for chapel on Sunday, and some paperwork - and then to pick up the girls at 3.30pm and off to gym we go!

Have a good day - the sum is shining here at the moment but my thoughts are with the people of Japan after the earthquake and tsunami that they are experiencing today. God bless them all.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Wednesday wanderings

It's my mind that has been wandering - I start something, think about something else, nip off to go and do something else, and I've lost the plot for the day completely! I had plans this morning that included cleaning out chooks, making banana bread, putting clean clothes away etc and instead I have had to have various conversations by email and telephone and I haven't got much of that stuff done at all!! I did get the ironing finished up at lunchtime, and the YFG has been cleaning the kitchen up tonight to earn herself some extra pocket money, so the chores are still getting done...

I have just watched Guy Martin on BBC1 on a programme about a narrowboat, and I can't recommend it highly enough! I sat there the full half hour with a smile on my face...he is like a younger version of Fred Dibnah in his inquisitive nature and his old-fashioned respect for the likes of Watt and Crapper, but he is a bit more lively in his presenting style, and I would say appeals to a much wider audience. I hadn't a clue who he was last week when I watched the first episode but to those in the know, apparently he's a motorbike racer from Lincolnshire with fans worldwide - who'd have thought it?!

The girls are watching Waterloo Road now, whilst eating their tea. The FH went out to lunch and is now asleep with a banging headache - I think a bad cold or a touch of a fluey illness is on its way for him. He'll be off to bed shortly, I think.

Night, all!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Thank heaven for sunshine!

A glorious sunny day here in the Fens - the chooks are happier in their straw, there are two lines of washing blowing in the breeze, the FH is eating his lunch in the verandah, enjoying the warmth, and I have been outside doing things for an hour or so this morning - it is so lovely to be able to get outside in the warm weather!! I know it won't last for ever, but what will?!

On that note, we were fascinated to watch some of Prof Brian Cox's programme on BBC2 last night about the Wonders of the Universe. The YFG was glued to the tv, and you could see her trying to understand the huge numbers he was talking about in terms of the years that the sun has left, and the earth as well, before the universe becomes nothing, and the "arrow of time" being measured by things changing.....the YFG wondered if he had swallowed a dictionary as he knew so many big words, and was convinced that he didn't really Know all these things, he was just reading them off cue cards!! We explained that he is pretty bright, a professor indeed, so he probably does Know these things! I notice that Amazon have his book for £10, and the Book People have it for £7.99, but I would have to pay postage from them.....I might get it.....I might not!

The thing that made me think last night was about being a Christian physicist. How do people manage to keep a faith, when all this information tries to convince one that there can be no God? I don't know - I'm glad I am not a physicist - but I decided that if the earth and everything in the universe will be gone eventually (can't even begin to try to remember how many trillions of trillions of years he was talking, so "eventually" should cover it!) then why can't that be part of God's mysterious plan? It is something I want to understand more about in the future.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Quick wave

Morning all - up early this morning to get things ready for the booksale. I have to leave here in about an hour, so will be letting the chooks out soon, and chivving the girls up to get ready for school! Hope all is well with everyone - hope to check back later.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Dry weather - hurray!

I was over the moon last night when the weather forecaster announced dry weather for the next five days - the chance for the hen runs to begin to dry out a little at last!! Mud is a big issue, and as much straw as I keep putting down, it still doesn't help if the rain is near constant.....but a few dry days will give us all some respite from the gloop - thank you, weather - and I don't mind if it does have to be cold with the dryness, as long as it is dry!

And the other big news for us yesterday was that it was actually dry and windy enough to get some washing dried on the outside line - all that damp weather previously has meant that it was a waste of time pegging out, but I have a basketful of delightfully fresh smelling towels which blew in the wind yesterday - a wonderful smell.

The hens enjoyed themselves yesterday after I had given the hen house its weekly clean - fresh shavings and chopped straw make a wonderful bathing opportunity for them, and they all come rushing into their sections of the house as soon as I open the doors up again, and they make such a kerfuffle in the shavings that it is a joy to watch them enjoying themselves - and there are young hens laying their first eggs all the time now - they will soon all be in lay.

I had a quick dash to town yesterday in between the chicken shed cleaning and a school meeting, so that I could put some cheques in the bank and get change as I am running a booksale tomorrow morning at a local school so that the children get the chance to spend their World Book Day vouchers. It will be an early start for me as I have to be there for 8.15am to get set up and ready to sell from 8.45am! Should all be done by 10am though, so I can come home and put my feet up with a cuppa for a couple of hours before gym.

Today I have no school meeting, thank goodness, and only an afterschool gym club to run later on. I don't have to go anywhere or be anywhere until about 2.15pm so I can move a little more slowly this morning.......I have spared a thought for the Head Coach who should right now be in the air on his way to his week's holiday somewhere warm - Lanzarote? Tenerife? - not sure! He and his wife had to leave home at 5am this morning....

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Tuesday torment!

I cursed modern technology yesterday and was rather angry with myself too! I spent a good hour and a half on a Word document which ran to several pages - I have to prepare an Applicants' Pack for the Headteacher vacancy at the school. It will be printed and comb bound as a booklet, so it will be quite thick.....and with just one click of the mouse in the wrong place, I lost the lot yesterday afternoon. I hadn't saved it whilst I was working on it, and despite another hour's attempts to recover it, it has gone........and so I will have to do it all again, hopefully today.

That put me in a bad temper, I am afraid, and I wasn't really in the mood to go and be nice to a load of little girls at gymnastics, but as is always the case, once I got there, I was able to focus on the gym and forget the rest of the world and its troubles - and I was soon fine again!

One thing I have got to refocus on again is MONEY!! We are not poverty stricken, we are not on the breadline, but we do have to be careful to make the best use of every pound that we get our hands on - and what with the rising prices in all sorts of areas, it is beginning to feel like the money is slipping through our fingers too quickly. I am not going to say that I don't know where it is going, because I do, but I feel that it is moving through the system too quickly - it seems that no sooner do I fill the car with petrol than I am having to go back for more, and it is the same in other areas - the weekly shop is costing more each week, it seems, and I really want to stop and get a hold of all of this before it escalates. Thinking cap on again!!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Methodical Monday

Yesterday was a more peaceful day! The FH took the YFG to Cambridge in the morning to the orthodontist to get her braces checked, and she came out with the wires having been altered, which means that today, she is in pain and can't eat a lot! Back to the spaghetti hoops and macaroni cheese for a couple of days, I think. I am sending her to school with a most unhealthy lunch, a slice of soft ginger cake and a Muller corner yoghurt, but also with £2 so that she can buy something from the cafe if there is anything there that she thinks she can eat.

Whilst the FH was out, I took advantage of the quiet to do one of the Davina workouts for half an hour! Then I had a shower and hit the ironing pile again - and got through it.....but made more by changing our bed and doing a load of washing. It was very damp and drizzly yesterday so I am still not able to hang washing right outside, it only gets as far as the verandah, so that is where I will be hanging it all out this morning. I am very envious of people who are saying that they are able to hang washing outside!!

At 1.30pm I was at the school for a meeting with the Head about the procedures for recruiting a new Head since she is retiring. That lasted until nearly 3pm, when I then came home and grabbed a pair of the EFG's jeans that need shortening, and went off to the town to pick the girls up from school and take the jeans to the shop. We stopped off at the supermarket for supplies, a friend's house for a quick chat, and the Post Office, and got home by 5pm.

The YFG has been asking for lasagne for a while now, and it is such a faff to make that I keep putting it off, but I made it last night - one to eat and one to freeze! The second one was bunged in the fridge last night, so that will make it into the freezer today.

Some darling girls we know who are triplets have their birthday today, so I wrapped their gifts last night and popped along to their house quite late when I knew they would be in bed! Chatting with their mum meant that when I got home last night it was gone 10pm, and time for bed.

Today the EFG has a GCSE Maths exam, so she is a bit nervous and says she can't remember much, although she does OK in tests, so I have my fingers and toes crossed for her. She did an English paper yesterday on John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" which the other kids did the week before half term when she was off sick. She thinks it went OK!

And so off into the day we go again - hope you all have a good one...