Sunday, June 19, 2011

Crops v fathers day.

This weekend, over at ATDML there is a cybercrop going on with 12 brilliant brilliant classes and a few challenges with prizes thrown in. Now from my selfish point of view I think this is very bad timing as I am desperate to get out the paper and glue and scrap away for hours. Instead though since the weekend clashes with Father's Day I spent yesterday shopping, cleaning and baking in order to have the kids and their spouses over for an afternoon/evening of bubbles and pizza.

I did have a great time with the family though, we had build your own pizza which in my tiny kitchen is always cause for either a laugh or lots of bad tempers. Yesterday we went for the laugh (although I think towards the 'getting very hungry' stage a few tempers were getting a tad stretched, especially when we run out of pizza base mix and had to send out for more!).

So this morning, after I had once again cleared the kitchen, and been out to buy and deliver my own Father's day gift, I finally got to play in the craft room.

The first class on Friday caused me all sorts of problems to start off with, I found the perfect photos but in the poor light of my craft room couldnt really see the papers I was choosing and it wasnt until Sat. morning that I discovered they didnt match each other at all. I couldnt get either knife/ruler or my woodware cutter to cut a straight line for love nor money.

Eventually I finished it off this morning and am more than pleased with it despite the problems with it. A great class and one I would use again for multiple photos.

Supplies Fancy pants Key Lime paper, Bazille, thickers, papermania holographic butterflies, free magazine stickers,

Photos from when Kelly and I went to London for a free studio photo shoot.

The first challenge was a tag inspired layout or card, which was great since I needed to make cards for both my dad and my Father-in-law. This is a little bit of a cheat as the tag comes from a tag swap I did way back in 2003 when I first joined UKS. Unfortunely it doesnt have the name of whoever made it on it for me to credit and I cant find the notes I made at the time. It certainly inspired this card though.

The second card followed the sketch challenge the girls put up, and after going through lots of scraps I finally found these papers and also rediscovered why I hate rub-ons.

Just to finish off for the moment, one more song for the 30 day challenge. This is Day 25, a song that makes you laugh. I first heard this when my uncle in Australia came over for a visit and dragged my dad round shops looking for it on vynl. He finally tracked down a copy and played it on my parents radiogramme which shows how long ago it was. It works so wonderfully with the irish accent and I can listen to it time and time again and still end up with tears running down my face from laughing so hard. Enjoy.

Murphy's bricks (The Barrel Song)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Still on the list

Another song from the challenge.

Day 10 A song that makes you fall asleep.

Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple 1975

Ooookkkay. I can hear you all saying, how can you possibly fall asleep to that one???

Well obviously I cant but here is the story

When I was about 14/15 I was pursuaded by my 'mates' to partner a guy who was a friend, to his brother's birthday party as he didnt have a date. I was only doing him a favour as I only saw him as a mate but he obviously took it to mean so much more because the next thing I knew I was being dragged round to his house to meet his parents and his brother!! And worse still led up to his room to listen to music.... oooops! Well his idea of music was Led Zepp and Deep Purple albums as background to an afternoon of snogging - not on your life, so the only way I could think to get out of it was, at the earliest opportunity, to fane sleep until finally (several albums later) he woke me up and took me home!

And you all thought the 60's/70's were the time of free love!!!!

Well another day off and again Martin and I started in on
The List The trouble is we keep finding other things that also need doing - is that the way of lists?

Anyway he mowed the lawn while I attacked the bindweed, then he needed to go and buy a smaller sander as ours was too big to get into the spaces in the small bedroom where the window sill had been replaced and plastered in. In the meantime I decided that the area where I store all the plant pots and gardening paraphanila needed clearing up so I could get to pick the raspberries. In doing that I unburried the little wooden wheelbarrow planter that Ollie and Kelly had given me as reward for being Mother of the Bride at their wedding (instead of the usual bunch of flowers). It needed a bit of work so I started to punish it with a hammer and some nails, Martin soon came home and put a stop to that, and ended up replacing all the screws that held it together.

None of these jobs were on The List

Neither was taking the bed down and putting it in the attic (done after sanding down the wall lso that there will be room for a cot), or tidying my craft room, or .... Oh well at least stuff got done, even if it wasnt the ones we had intended doing today.

I have settled for an owl theme in the spare bedroom and as well as buying some Owl bedding I started to make an owl mobile. Laura dropped in and did a bit of quality control on it, we came to the conclusion that it was too small (despite me following the pattern to the letter), that I really cant do blanket stitch for toffee, and it doesnt match the bedding so could I make different ones?

Mm back to the drawing board.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

On Safari

Today Dad, Mum and I were out visiting gardens again as we joined the Broomfield and Herne Garden Safari. The weather hadnt really improved much from last week, and this time the gardens were way more spread out so it involved a great deal of jumping in and out of the car, and attempting to find parking places as all those that had turned up for it followed each other round the circit of gardens.

The folk showing their gardens had obviously put lots and lots of hard work into the event, but the gardens themselves were not as spectacular or as full of inivative ideas as those the week before, but it was still a great way to go round and nose at how others live, and to meet and chat with some lovely people.

One or two gardens did stand out though, both mum and dad were particularly taken with the garden totally crammed with plants with only a small narrow pathway around and through it.

At every turn there was another ornament or wind charm to keep things interesting and where tropical plants were neighboured next to english roses.

My favourite was the one where we finally collapsed for a cup of tea and cake, not just because of the refreshments and rest but because it was full of all my favourite cottage garden flowers.

I wasnt too sure about the beautiful olde cottage

with this in the back garden.

But I am pretty sure tthis one was dad's best find of the day, the garden that surrounded a working farmhouse, complete with pigs (they had to be teased out with apples just for dad as they had actually just gone to bed for the afternoon). There were chickens, ducks, sheep, and horses the other side of the garden fence too, and a huge veggie growing area.

Another surprise was this garden, I wonder if Kelly remembers? I am told to mention bread and marmite???

Friday, June 10, 2011

The rules

I didnt fancy doing these in order so I thought I would post all 30 challenges here and highlight as I go. And I am going for two together today.

day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play

I had, eversince I was real small, wanted to play the guitar, but several things stopped me, not least being that mum and dad didnt have money for lessons let alone an instrument. Plus I had no idea where you even started finding out where to get lessons from. When I was 17, I walked into the classroom one lunchtime and one of the girls had bought in her guitar and was doing an extremely good job of playing this!

Layla by Derek and the Dominoes 1970

Of course even more determinded to get my own guitar after that, my first full time job pay packet went on buying one. I still didnt know where to go to get lessons so with the help of a self teaching book I managed to pick out both the chords and the tune to that classic that everyone first learns to play!!

House of the Rising Sun by The Animals 1964

I have to admit thats as far as I ever got in learning it, and it then found its way to the attic where many years later the neck managed to fall off. Mind I dont think I would ever have managed to be as good as the master Mr Eric Clapton!

30 Day song challenge The rules:;

day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Listen to the music

I just discovered the 30 day song challenge on FB - ok I am probably a bit behind the times, but what the heck, its still great fun.

Day 01: Favourite song - well thats a no-brainer, its just got to be Summer Breeze by The Isley bros. 1974

This version has Ernie doing the most amazing guitar solo ever!!!!

I remember when it was first released (yes I am that old) Our 'local' was The Neptune, a pub right on the actual beach at Whitstable and I can clearly remember sitting on the beach, drinking a pint in the blistering sun (its always summer in your memories isnt it?) and listening to it on the radio (no ipods in those days, I dont think even Sony Walkmans were around then). Then some of the guys thought it would be a laugh to go swimming fully clothed. Of course there is always one, and Findus (nick name) lost his specs in the sea. He had to wait until the tide went out to find them but since low tide was around half ten that night, it was too dark so he had to come back just after dawn to look. He did find them, but it gave us all a laugh.

A few years back I introduced music into my reception class, we had music to tidy up to, music to work to, music to sit still ready for quiet/listening time to. I would try to theme the peices of music I chose to use, so obviously for the summer term the children were exposed to this song. I only had the full 7 min long player version but only played the beginning, just enough time to sit down and show they were ready for story time. That is unless their behaviour that day had not been quite up to scratch. They knew they had upset me if I made them listen to the whole song, beginning to end (without talking because it was Miss's favourite song which was not to be spoilt by talking children) Usually by the end of it we were all alot calmer. The children soon got to know and love the song (often they would beg me NOT to turn it off!) and other staff members walking through my class room would find it really amusing to see 30 reception age children singing 'Makes me feel fine, Blowing through the Jasmine of my Mind'.

They just really do not make songs like this anymore :(

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Our list

Today both Martin and I had our days off together for a change, so as we lay in bed deciding what we were going to do today, I made a verbal list of all the things that needed doing. Martin said he had forgotten what they all were by the time I had finished reeling them off, so while he made a cuppa I typed up a long long list of things to do in the house, the garden, and at the shops. I pinned it up in the kitchen and told him to prioritise it!

Our starting point was Compare the Market dot com, as his car insurance was due - only days after mine which is real bad planning. Getting a quote involved looking to see if Martin's points for speeding had come off yet which meant we had to carefully take the bits of tatty paper making up his driving licence out of his wallet and lay them out on the table. The points had come off so I decided it really was time to change paper for photo id license!!

It wasnt on the list but its really easy to do on line now they can use your passport photo and signature plus its lots cheaper than I had been led to believe, so that job came smartly after the insurance quote while on the laptop.

A cup of tea later and we hit the garden, Martin to weed the patio, me to sort out the greenhouse (the packet of cress I had dropped on the floor had now sproated all over the place and needed weeding, plus everything has grown so quickly I needed to get everything tied up to the canes). Despite the lack of rain this year my garden is probably growing the best it every has done, and I have bumper crops of everything on the go. Mind I do have an ongoing war with snails to fight and I'm not sure you is winning, but I reckon we will be eating salad twice a day from now until the end of August. We had home grown cress and rocket in our lunch today.

We ploughed through the list - finishing the filling of holes in the little bedroom, putting the curtains back up from their annual wash, Martin finally replaced the makeshift log in the hole in the wall with a proper brick, he took the old high chair to the tip and we sized up the old cot sides to see if they could be used as a fence around the pond (they can).

Mart reckons we got about 25% of the list done which considering the length of it, and that a lot of it involves hitting up Ikea again, or carpet stores, or other shops, was a good days work.

Monday, June 06, 2011


Woohoo, blogging 2 days in a row, will I manage to keep it up though?

On Sunday Martin had to work straight after his golf so I persuaded Mum and Dad that they did want to go to St Nicolas at Wade where the residents were opening their gardens in order to raise money for their church. The weather was a bit miserable so Dad wasnt all that keen but Mum was eager to get out of the house as a falling out with the next door neighbour was causing a bit of tension.

There were 18 open gardens in the village, we managed to miss both parking areas despite following the signs to the letter so pulled up in front of garden 16. There was a one off payment of £3 to visit all of the gardens and we thought it was a real bargin since the first one we walked round was so beautiful.

The guy who owned the place was really friendly, and after we had tramped all over his plot, admired his bridge and 'moat' (really a long narrow pond, fully stocked and with a proper plank bridge across the middle) told us the best way to see the rest of the gardens was to walk the short circular route around the nearer ones and then move the car to the other end of the village to see the rest.

Despite being grey and overcast it wasnt cold so we left our coats in the car and walked to the next garden. This one was much smaller but the lady was obviously a plantsperson and knowledgably chatted to us, giving me the names of the plants I had recently admired in Yalding garden (Allium Christophii).

The next garden was close and although it didnt have much in the way of planting, had some impressive trees used imaginatively to create breaks in the lawn area. We spent a great deal of time in the stunning garden of the lady in the ex council house. It had been a labour of love for three years but had an unbelievable amount of flowers in it, and most of them in bloom too.

So a great start and although it had by now started to spit with rain, we were having a great time, so started off for the last two gardens on this part of the circit. Of course they were way further than it appeared they were on the map, so after quite a slog to get to them we were rather dissappointed that the next garden had little more than gravel with a small flower border around it, and most of the garden given over to a shed where an elderly lady was to all intent and purpose holding a garage sale.

The next garden totally made up for it though. These last two gardens were those of semi-detached chalet houses, and the contrast between what was extensively identical plots was amazing. Where one had been virtually barren, the second was stuffed full of both flowers and vegs, a riot of cottage gardenness. It was also a bit like a maze in the way the garden had been broken up into a series of little gardens by large plants and hedges. But the biggest surprise came at the end of the garden where an old gun armoury had been converted into an underground eating area.

We still had to find our way back to the car. From the map it looked like we were just half way round so we had the choice of going back the way we had come or continuing round. We decided to continue round, and set off. No sooner had we done so then the rain started to come down a bit more in ernest, it also turned out to be a tad further than we thought, in fact for two old age pensioners and their totally unfit daughter it was quite a trek.

By the time we finally got back to the car we were rather damp, very cold as the wind had got up, and in need of a comfort break.
The church advertised facilities so we moved the car up the village, and went into the church. Once we were warm and more comfortable we treated ourselves to a cuppa before planning our route to see some more gardens.

It would seem that we had seen the best of the bunch though, as some of the next 4 gardens were either not gardens at all (one was a front room emptied of furniture but hung with a few local artists paintings mostly of a Picasso nature, and art by the local Y2 school children), or were little more than a large bit of parkland type garden set to grass,
a few hedges and an unfenced swimming pool.

It was now raining very hard,

we were cold, and wet despite getting our coats out the car for the second half of our tour, so we decided mum would sit in the car while dad and I took in one last garden, and then we would call it a day.

The final garden we visited was huge and wrapped round an extremly large and expensive looking house - the front drive was bigger than my house and garden put together. There wasnt actually much to see in the garden as a portion was set aside with tables for cream teas (we were accosted three times asking us if we wanted one) and the rest of the huge area contained a full sized tennis court, a swimming pool (fenced this time) 3 trampolines, a climbing frame and a table tennis table. Dad and I had a bit of a game in the pouring rain, but neither of us was much good, so we called it a day and went home to the warm and dry.

It was a shame about the weather but we still had a laugh, enjoyed most of the gardens and had a really good day. Thank you residents of St Nicks!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Out of the habit

I seem to have got out of the habit of blogging, but I want to put that right, so here is a very long catch up post!

Lets work backwards!

Yesterday was one of those perfect days. Despite a wind, it was hot and sunny. Kelly, and Ollie recently returned from an unsuccessful 4 days in Ireland with her in-laws and a more successful 2 days camping in the New Forest with Helen, Alan and kids, had persuaded us to go up and give them a hand putting their new shed up. Since it was one ofi Martin's rare Saturdays off we weren't that keen but Kelly is good at getting her dad to agree to stuff and so we were all ready to set off to help. We were more than happy when she phoned to say they had overlayed, hadnt had time to do the prep work, and now there wasnt enough time to do the job before the start of the England footie game (which they all wanted to watch and which had been the carrot to get her dad helping!).

So instead we used the morning to do a few other little jobs before going up to Croydon for the football and a BBQ.

In the event we ended up going to visit my mum and dad to collect the 30 year old high chair and cot out of their attic. It used to be mine for my two girlies, and since I dont recall giving it to them I can only believe their complicated tale of how it got to be in their attic. Never the less, I intended to clean it up to use for the new addition who is now only 6 weeks away from joining the family properly. Laura went for her 34 week scan on Friday, everything is progressing ok and baby is all the right measurements and right places. Everyone is getting excited as we all start gathering equipment and baby stuff together.

In fact as we arrived back home, it was to find Laura and Wayne's car on our driveway, they had come to collect the crib and other bits that had been being stored in our spare room. She wasnt impressed much with my cot and insists she is going to look on ebay for a cheap cot to put in our 'nursery' but I still reckon with a lick of paint, new hardware, mattress and bedding, it will be stunning. I am off to do the 'drinks can' test on the strutts later today to see.

It was gloriously hot and sunny in Kelly and Ol's back garden, the lads tackled a couple of jobs involving drilling and Kelly and I had a go at the flower bed. The neighbour had just had a new fence put up, and most of the flowers had been trampled by the contractors, the rest totally unsuitable for the narrow flowerbed and smallish garden so we pulled most of it out ready to start from scratch. I wasnt much help since the day before I had managed to stitch through my own finger trying to 'sew-in-the-ditch' of my quilt though.

Martin managed to break the prongs off the fork, digging rubble out of the flower bed!

We then watched the footie and finished with a scrummy BBQ meal (huge steaks, home made kebabs, prawns and sausages followed with home grown strawberries and icecream) and I arrived home full, and happy having seen all the members of my family in one day.

We have done well for meals too this week, on a whim I asked Martin when he got home from work on Friday if he fancied going out for tea with Laura and Wayne (who have also both had the week off). I had meant a quick eat in somewhere like the Harvester, but in the end (after a few false tries) we ended up in the Red Lion at Herne and had a huge two course scrummy home cooked meal, great company and rolled home just after 10!!!

Martin had been off on Thursday, and I was eager to try out my 2 for 1 garden entry ticket I had got from Gardener's World mag. I wrote down 3 gardens I thought were worth the trip, but then gave the book to Martin and let him choose. Amazingly he came up with two of the three I had written down, so we set out to Yalding.

Most of the drive is motorway but the other side of Maidstone you are in the heart of the Kentish countryside with some pretty amazing houses (a few of which were up for sale and I would have happily bought with a couple of large lottery wins!)

Yalding is divided up into lots of little garden plots to dipict gardens through the ages from the Medieval Apocathery to modern day organic, and was a lovely place to visit.

The gardening is mostly done by volunteers and there is also a small cafe doing amazing and cheap food. We werent hungry enough to eat but we had a huge pot of tea for the small price of £1.80, drinking while watching other people tuck into huge scones or home made pasties.

Me, sporting my new hair cut, and trying to train Martin to take a half decent photo - this is the fourth attempt to get me in the shot!

It was still only mid day so we decided to give the second garden a go, the 2for1 ticket having saved us a small fortune. Merle Place Gardens are tucked even further back in the countryside, but we were safe in the hands of Mrs SatNav. That is until we found Merle Place Road blocked by road works and according to the workman, the gardens were just the other side with a very long wait. Much to Mrs SatNav's disgust we turned around and despite her insistance in trying to steer us back to the blocked road we managed to find another way in.

Merle Gardens are the gardens of a private residence - well a huge manor type house really, and has


formal beds, as well as parkland, tennis courts and a swimming pool. The people from the house work the visitors but the children, home for school hols were having a terrific time in the pool - much to the envy of all the hot visitors. We had a delightful time wandering around and only left when tired leggies and hunger forced us to look for a country pub to enjoy a pint and a packet of crisps.

We hadnt had any lunch but there was meat waiting in our fridge to be cooked so I was happy to settle for a packet of crisps to tide me over. We pulled up at a likely looking pub, then as we got out something prompted me to say to Martin 'I bet they dont have any crisps'. He fooied the idea, saying all pubs have crisps. He ordered our drinks then requested the crisps - 'We doont do bar snacks' said the barmaid. Too late to leave as we had our pints, we sat in the garden sorrowfully. Martin did nip down the road into the village to look for a shop but he only found an estate agent so mornfully we finished our drinks and set off home. Still it didnt mare our day and we enjoyed our day out.

The beginning of the week off had seen me spring cleaning the house, washing curtains and such, plus getting the garden a bit straighter. Everything is growing at an amazing rate due to the unseasonal good weather. I think we are now into our 11th week with no significant rain, and I am having to do lots of watering to keep everything alive. On Wednesday Ann came over for the day, we had a lovely time catching up on each other's news, only spoilt by the times I had to run up the garden and chase off the seagull that kept landing in my pond and attacking my fish.

I have lost over half the livestock most of it the gold fish from Laura's wedding. The weekend before last I borrowed dad's pump and while he supervised (mainly shouted at) me, I emptied the pond, cleaned it all up and put everything back straight. I was pleased to find I had 6 newtons and 2 frogs, so glad the frogs are finally coming back after the red leg virus attacked the colony 2 years ago. I had thought it to be the Heron eating the fish as Laura and Wayne, walking over here from their place because they had locked themselves out, had spotted one down by the Brook, but it now appears it is a seagull and I dont really know how to defend against it short of a BB gun!

So thats how my half term has gone, more stuff tomorrow (I promise)