Thursday, 29 April 2010

Anticipation...and hiss...

I'd been desperate to see it...actually not so desperate that I'd buy it, rent it or borrow it...but nonetheless when I saw that Slum Dog Millionaire was going to be on telly, I leapt about a bit and planned a picnic of wine and crisps. Husband groaned, he hates anything like that, y'know, smushy love stuff set in foreign lands. Bless, he can't understand why the telly can't just play back-to-back CSI's forever?!!

Having watched it - and I almost didn't get to the end let me tell you, I'd like to know what the heck the fuss was about? Yes, interesting film, interesting setting, cool sound track, but brilliant? Ooh-ahh-padded-bra good? No I don't think so.

Please say I'm not the only one!!!!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Spring Song by me....

I can hear the curlew mew,
Soft the bleat of lambs.
I can see the wind progress
Through fields of sea-green land.

I can feel the warmth on me,
I can hear the trees.
Nature wakes, life renews,
Sweet the buzz of bees.

[I'm not sure of line 4.....anyone want to offer an alternative or another verse?]


Sunday, 25 April 2010

7 sentences I thought I'd never (have to) say

1. Get that dead mole off the kitchen table!
2. No, you may not have a real gun yet. (To husband!)
3. Take that Shetland out of my garden!
4. Take that bloody Shetland out of the kitchen!!!....(Can you see a theme here?)
5. Please get the chickens out of the car.
6. I'm too tired for wine...
7. I might actually vote Lib Dem.......
8. Doesn't that Poo smell lovely?.....

Please let me know your unmentionable sentences.....

Friday, 23 April 2010

Tadpoles for Tea

Phew, have found (huff puff) another new way (huff puff) to get (huff puff) fit. Having chased ( my breath back now) the cats to retrieve bunnies (Olympic blog post) I now race to my sitting room sash window, fling it open, hurl myself through the gap and sprint to the pond waving my arms while meowing. If I have done the moves correctly one tarty duck and her two pervy lovers take to the air in frightened flight and countless tadpole lives are saved....oh and I won't have to join a gym but I may require a chiropractor. Genius eh?

The only slight issue is, I'm having to do this every forty minutes and soon I have to leave for school run. I realise that I cannot take all the tads with me, so I fear there will be a massacre while I'm out. Oh well.....could do with a gun really, then we could eat the ducks!!

Sun's out, house is clean'ish, beds made and luscious Ludlow shopping is done....c'mon bring on the guests...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

An Award, por moi......

I won a Sunshine Award from 'Cross the Pond. I'm really chuffed and would dearly love to say thanks in the stylee of Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love....Do you remember? OMG it was BAD! Lots of tears and perfect make-up...arghhhhh

Anyhow to stay true...(I'm in a pink ball gown right now clutching a candlestick - closest looking thing to an Oscar in this house!)...there are some rules that go along with accepting this award (there's always a catch!):

1. Nominate 12 bloggers. (Ok)
2. Put the award logo onto your sidebar or within a post. (Check)
3. Link the nominees within your post. (Will do below)
4. Let the nominees know they’ve received this award by commenting on their blog. (Okey-dokey)
5. Share the love and link the sidebar logo to the person from whom you’ve received this award. (Not entirely sure what this means but I do love you big time 'Cross the Pond)

So, in no particular order I would love to nominate some wonderful bloggers that inspire me to write but more importantly to READ. I have nominated them all for their writing skills and in fact there are even more recommendations on my blog but I could only nominate 12!!:
1. Tattie Weasle Honest and very funny...
2. Smiffy's Blog Feel like we're chatting in the kitchen....
3. A Hungry Bear Won't Dance Wow this girl is a genius with food and words....
4. How I Like My Coffee She speaks my thoughts, very funny....
5. Not Waving But Ironing Absolutely hilarious...if I'm a bit down I sneak to her site for a pick-me-up...
6. Madame Smoking Gun at Scene of the Crime Another one for laughs and superb one liners....
7. Ladybird World Mother True life but funnier...v good
8. Natural Selection Beautiful writing STUNNING food and easy to follow recipes that are seriously upmarket...Michelin Stars from me
9. Brenda at Giving My Family a Break The love of my life and my first ever follower...a really good family read
10. Stickhead at Slightly South of Sanity Very, very funny .... she's made me laugh out loud lots of times
11. Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman Foodie with attitude,really good writer
12. The Mads at The MadHouse Adorable mum hugely honest and big time crafty (As in good at craft) I use her and abuse her ideas to entertain my children....

So I think it's clear that I like laughing and eating and I particularly like it when the two happen at the same time (even if it's not too pretty.) Phew! Can I go now? Off to edit my children's book....All keep your fingers crossed please for a book deal this year....

Monday, 19 April 2010

Olympic Team

I'd like to put my name down for the Olympics, not for seats, I'd like to enter myself for the sprint. Actually, is there a race where your cat has a baby bunny in it's mouth that is squealing like a stuck pig and you have to lash about the garden vaulting hurdles of raised beds and chickens in order to retrieve said bunny in an effort to ensure that it doesn't join the rest of the dead headless uneaten bunnies under the barbeque? [sod the punctuation - I'm too tired to punctuate] Oh. There is no such race? Best scrub my name off then!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Food and Will the Shetland pony

Will has come as a guest of The Larches! The children are ecstatic. I was determined not to be happy but he is sooo cute. Clearly my life of poo will be extended to horse poo. I already have a BA Hons in child poo, cow poo, chicken poo and very occasionally cat poo (the worst.)

This morning I drove to Ludlow in Dizzy Disco. Dropped the 7yo to her friend's house so that they could play at being pop stars and apply makeup badly while the 5yo and I went PROPER shopping. Having bribed him first with a handmade pizza from De Grey's the patisserie I bought myself enough time to purchase naughty desserts; creme brule, marzipan treats and fruit tarts. While the 5yo still munched happily we bought bacon at the butcher DW Wall and then we toddled off to the Monkland Cheese Shop to sample and buy local brie, a round of blue and a really delicious hard goat cheese. Interestingly The Telegraph (British National newspaper) had sent a food writer to Ludlow who was loitering with a photographer. She was glamorous and certainly knew her she encouraged us to spill the beans on our fave foods us food-aholics in the shop blossomed while the 5yo repeated over and over 'Can we go yet, can we go yet, can we go yet? Pleeeese..?' Heathen!

Weather's looking good for the weekend. Menu is sorted, just beds to make and then I'm going to have me a glass of something chilled in the garden before guests arrive.... Oh hang on there's someone at the door....

....My neighbour just brought Timmy round to visit. He's a tiny lamb and his mummy died. I seriously thought she was seeing if I wanted him... YES I DO, HE'S GORGEOUS! But it turns out she wants him too and he was only over for a visit....shame, but possibly a lucky escape for this year, as there's rather a lot on at The Larches...Oh well, back to the beds..

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Sheep rustling....well almost...

Due to my previous post I have been advised by a very kind fellow blogger not to get too distressed by my attempt to clean the house before guests arrive. Thank you Natural Selection. Deep breath....

Just as well really as one of my stable tenants has just ridden up with a lamb slung across her saddle which had been clipped by a rubbish motorist. We have now spent the best part of 30 mins travelling the hills and dales searching for a mummy sheep..... Secretly I wanted to keep said lamb to raise myself but I know that wasn't nature's intention.... BUT I still have several of the 5yo's bottles and teats that I could fashion into sheep bosoms... Ok, Ok I hear you! Baby lamb is best left to search for his mummy .... We certainly placed him with all the mummy's with the black spots that graze across the hills and he was eating grass so I'm hoping he'll be ok ....

Having carried the cutie in my arms I now smell rather interesting and am once again very smug about having purchased Dizzy Disco at the auction. As the vehicle smells like a farmer's armpit I feel the lamb must have felt very at home in the footwell.

When we arrived back at the house the 5yo and the 7yo were really misty eyed, I presume the country-side is so full of new joys and interests for them....

'Mummy?' they said.

'Yes Darlings?' I replied putting on my flowery pinny and whistling for a garden robin to come sit on my finger...

'Can we play Nintendo DS now?....'


Gone Raving Bananas....

I'm starting to twitch, one of those nervous twitches in the eye and upper cheek. I'm considering a large gin and tonic...or maybe vodka which would be harder to detect on the breath. I know I'll abstain because the nearest hospital is an hour away and I don't want to be drunk in the air ambulance. I'll abstain purely because I think we're due an accident here at Chez Larches and the reason I feel this so strongly is because we're on the tail end of the three weeks of the Easter holidays and the kids are just moving from their feral phase into their gremlins-after-a-midnight-feed stage. It's. just. beginning. to. Tick. ME. OFFFFF.

Breathe! ....Coffee.

I've got two sets of guests coming this weekend and I want it to be pretty for them...One husband and wife team are blessed with no kids and so I feel it's extra kind that they should come such a long way out of civilization to see us. In fact I was just talking to them on the telephone, describing how to find our house by looking at Google Earth (that's what I call rural!) and in the background the kids were shrieking and the 5yo was crying. My friends sounded unsure whether they would ever [bother to] find the house......
'Please don't cancel,' I whispered into the phone. 'I need you..'
I'm pretty sure they're still coming, maybe they'll smuggle me out with them and pop me into a sanatorium on the way back to Oxford...Is Bath still good for madness cures?.......

I'd like my guests to see the house clean. BUT. Every-blinkin-time I leave a room to tidy the next one the sproglets are in behind me, mullering my work. Breeeathe...

Husband called to see how I was today, it was a kind gesture, he's lovely, but before he could speak I shrilled,
'Please don't give me another job to do for you. Please, I can't do another thing!!' Poor hubby.

I notice The Entrepreneur - my agent has emailed today to ask if I'd seen the latest writing competition. Apparently it would "...suit you [me] down to the ground".....I haven't even seen my creative SIDE in 3 weeks....I'm hopelessly brain-dead due to over-exposure to under 10's.......

Maybe I've got that old people's lose your mind disease, after all I am 44! (I can't recall the disease's actual name for the time being but I think it begins with an A. I probably couldn't spell it even if I remembered it...) I have at least one symptom; I keep calling husband by son's name and vice-versa. Also I often point at the 7yo whose name I cannot recall and say, 'You, yes you the blond, go tidy your bedroom!'....the family merely smile with pity as they wander off.....

Roll on Monday. Back to school. Back to writing. Semi-clean house. Just me and the dead rats, the chickens and the kittens at home. Bliss......

Summer holidays last for 9 weeks..........arghhhhhhhhh!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Wonderful weekends....

Friends came for the weekend and we had a lovely time in the hot, hot sun....that's not even a joke. Shropshire IS the new Caribbean! It must have almost reached 20°. (Shut-up those of you in warmer climes! That IS too Hot!!) We barbecued, we drank all the chilled Prosecco and a delicious bottle of Taittinger (thank you guests.) We were so relaxed that there was no head-throbbing in the mornings either.

On Saturday we explored Ludlow - to be highly recommended. The farmers market stalls oozed cheeses, olives and scrummy meats, although the hand-knits seemed wholly inappropriate for the heat-wave. We ate ice-creams and I brazenly stripped off jeans, football sox and boots to reveal milk-bottle legs which I dabbled in icy river water in a really successful quest for fishies. The kids finally prised their fishing net from my cold wet grasp - spoil sports!

The only bit I'm regretting now is the climb to the top of Ludlow Castle. Oh. My. God! I have hurt muscles I never even knew I had, my legs and bottom are killing me! I now know that I would have been a rubbish servant girl in the olden-days. I could NOT have run up and down those stairs all day fetching and carrying. No sir-eee. I'd have been fired from my position (or thrown in the danky-dungeon or drowned as a witch probably) for putting my hands on my generous hips and saying 'Sod off you lazy git, get it yer bloody self!'

Friday, 9 April 2010

Kissing a Rooster.....

The children seem to have decided that the rooster is way too aloof. He's positively stroppy in the mornings if I'm late from my bed, (it is the Easter Holidays AND I've got a code in my dose.achoo!) But does he care? No. He squawks at me nastily as I open his hen house door and struts around looking like Kellogg's evil twin.

The 5yo and the 7yo have captured him and are stroking and kissing him. Usually I'd tell them to put him down. He looks really cross, his comb is bright red and wobbling. But as he's been snooty with me in the past and he seems to have no etiquette d'amour with his hens, preferring to grab 'em by the neck and jump on, I am leaving him with my babies. Wouldn't be surprised if I next see him in the pram with a bonnet on....

Sunday, 4 April 2010

No Horses, No Ponies Thank you.

Wow we're really motoring, kicking ass in the garden department. Husband's petrol chainsaw is cooking on gas, if you'll pardon my mixed metaphor. Trees are being felled, parts of the garden revealed for the first time in 10 years. Dizzy Disco is thoroughly enjoying being a part of the gardening team as we attach a tow rope to him, driving off to pull out deep shrub roots.

The stables are really quite busy now, creating a nice steady- if little, income. All welcome. We have three very social parent/child combinations and a lovely man with a hunter and an unbroken Shetland. It's wonderful seeing the stables buzz and my two sproglets are included in mucking out, feeding and grooming. Occasionally, out of the kindness of someone's heart they are put on a horse and walked down to the menage. It's idyllic but I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO INTENTION OF GETTING A HORSE. The plan may be to re-start riding lessons next year continuing on from where we left off in Oxford before I was thrown off and needed ankle surgery! So ABSOLUTELY NO horses for the next few years. (Just so we're clear ok?)

The kids are outside most of the time now as the bottom of the bath will testify! The 7yo, a very creative girl, has invented a new game a derivative of paintball - she rolls wet clay, the colour of diarrhea, into a neat golf-sized ball and throws it at her brother. If it hits the 5yo and leaves a mark she scores a point. Generally he thinks this is pretty funny - weirdo! I, being the gardener just use the clay and molehills for planting! Boring I know but that's just me!

The pond is an interesting spot and so far only Daddy has managed to fall in! There are pairs of common newt and millions (I do not exaggerate!) of tadpoles who have escaped the egg sack and are now being predated on by all sorts of creatures that I suspect to be aliens from another planet.

The next door neighbour took his 2 pigs for slaughter. This morning we ate sausages made from the pigs we sporadically helped feed. I'm sure they tasted so nice thanks to that huge apple crumble we gave them in October! My children are beginning to understand the concept of raising meat to eat and with this in mind we are considering raising two little lambs who are mummyless. They are currently residing in a tree farm (no they are not living in the trees silly but rather in one of their barns, raised by two young brothers.) As soon as the lambs are comfortable on the bottle we may be considered for adoption. I had THE conversation with my offspring...

'Now, you understand that we will send these lambs to market when they're older?'
The 7yo nods enthusiastically licking her lips but the 5yo sort of looks at me side-on! I continued:
'You can have one lamb and you can have the other,' I said pointing to each child.
'When we sell your lambs you can use the money we make from the meat to buy something. What would you like to buy?'
The 5yo seemed to immediately approve of this concept.
'I'm getting Star Wars Lego.'
'Good idea. What about you?'
Daughter smiled.
'I'm buying a Shetland Pony and D and L (girls with horses at our stables) are going to break it for me.'

O shit, that SO backfired.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Envy, Jealousy, Thou Shalt Not Covet stuff....

I'm not prone to envy. I can look at others and think 'Ooo nice boots, skirt, hat, hair-do, nails...' without a twinge. I am resigned to the fact that I don't look as sexy as the other mums at school; my tummy wobbles when I walk and the under bits of my arms tend to swing a bit. Also, not being a thirty-something any more I find that unpleasant stuff happens when I run, (when I say run, I don't mean when I'm off for a power run, I mean when I have to lash about trying to catch a sick chicken or I'm forced to play hide-and-seek and I know the children will count to fifty as if they'd been inhaling helium, - y'know, Ruuuuuunnnnn.) But am I bitter?....not at all. Although I am big-time tempted by Lulu's new book, surely she is a witch who got a bit of the Philosopher's Stone before they destroyed it?!

(Picture from Amazon UK)


Lately I have found myself coveting, desiring and it's a need that must be filled in this life-time. I go hot and cold, tingling with anticipation. I check my hair as we approach the place where I might just catch a glimpse. I have a crush. My head has been turned and I'm ashamed to say I have been known to brazenly stare, even if my husband's in the car!...............I WANT that polytunnel that sits in the heather and gorse outside a rural property we pass on the way to school. IT. IS. BEAUTIFUL. Let it be mine! There I've said it; I've got polytunnel envy. That sounds like a REAL disorder doesn't it? I don't need a cure thanks, just the polytunnel.

I don't think I've ever been the envy of someone else. As far as I'm aware no one's ever thought 'Wish I had three chins like that...' or 'Wish my hair stuck up like that...' However I am proud to announce that my friend has confessed to me that she feels envy when she sees me. She has Larder-Envy.

I do have a good one.

We call it 'the dairy' because there used to be a dairy on the land (if I write diary one more time I'll scream!!!) although pantry and larder will suffice. We think it's lead-lined as it was freezing even in August and it is one of the reasons why I fell in love with the house. Like us it's not overly tarted up, rather it's practical and keeps Prosecco really cold - attributes we admire.

I 'spose the moral of the story is, go on, have a bit of envy and enjoy the envy someone lavishes on you.

The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon