Saturday, 28 August 2010

1 Down, Many to go.

With life whizzing away due to busy jobs and play times... not to mention the fact that my brain has melted and dribbled out my ears after 8.1 weeks with the sproglets, I had forgotten something momentous: Today is the day.

'What day?' You may well ask.


Just now Hubby appeared in the kitchen wearing his most alluring jeans... the ones where you get to see his bottom and his knees (but not, thank god, through the same hole.) He'd been mowing. I was stirring a huge vat of hot, garlicy rata-mamma, due to the daily glut in the garden....

'We'll have a special BBQ tonight and we shall drink an entire bottle of Larches Elderflower Champagne. Sorry, I haven't got any of the real stuff!'

I was intrigued and then instantly distracted: The 7yo and the 5yo started loudly petitioning for champagne and I negotiated for a cease-fire. They were only placated when I promised to make up a cocktail (non alcoholic) of our own fruits; blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and plums... yummy.... Now my attention drifted back to ..... what the hell was I doing?.... Oh yes Rata-mamma (ratatouille for those confused) oh and hubby..... patiently smiling at me....

'We're here a year today,' he reminded us.

Wow-wee, can't believe it really. It actually seems like forever, like we've always lived here. The weather is almost identical to this time last year - spots of rain followed by sun.. it all seems like yesterday.

If you're new to the blog, or you've never read the start of our story, maybe you'd like to start at the beginning? Try clicking here: Once upon a time.....

Well, how-de-do-do?

Blimey, I've just found this 'puter thing under a stack of recipe books!

I'm sure you're out and about being Summery rather than inside reading blogs, however on the wild off-chance that you ocassionally glance at your communication link to the world, let me assure you that I will shortly be blogging at full speed again. Yes, the kids go back to school in 192 hours!! (She power punches the air and then feels guilty....)

Family Archer have had a ball, really we have, (hence the lack of blogging,) but 8 weeks... really?... Never fear, I've saved up some of our silly highlights to amuse you in the darkening days.

In the meantime, check out these mad grannies in the link below.

Larkin About in Kidderminster

We saw them the other day on a 'new shoes' trip to Kidderminster. They really brightened up a rather dull, damp day. They were supporting the Arts Festival (KAS) which had a great line up for kids; not to be missed if you're about next year.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Pretty things....

The auctions have pretty things with history. According to the auctioneer our dresser came from Talgarth Mill. Cute eh?

An Introduction to Camping

I love camping, the romantic version; the one excluding washing up or a wee in the middle of the night. So, ignoring all bad bits, I pushed my rose-tinted specs up a bit higher on my nose and announced to la famille that we were going proper camping, (and not just in our own field!) The 7yo and the 5yo have never been camping before but husband has, he immediately excused himself, pretending he had to work! Good one! To be fair it does pay the bills. Undaunted, I set about borrowing equipment from my sister and began the hunt for a camp site near to the mid Welsh coast.

I felt so smug when I spied a gem of a site AND, billy-bonus, they had space for us.

It was three hours drive to camp, almost as long as it took to pack the car! But it was so worth it: In a little village that couldn't even boast a pub, a white washed cottage lay in ten acres. Each pitch was mowed into a figure eight; a big circle for your tent, a small circle containing a fire pit for warmth or cooking.

We had an absolute ball: The whole camp came together the first night to sing songs around a camp fire, to cook popcorn and melt mallows. We made FIRE at our own pitch, always a big hit with kids, and I caramelised sausages (OK, I burned them a bit!) but we invented Double Chocolate Chip Melted Mallows.... yuuuuummmmmmy, and soon the charcoal taste went away.

The weather was fab, always a help, and the beaches stunning. Check out our snaps. Thank you Naturebase Holidays for a safe, wonderful, child-friendly time.

Tired after a long beach day..... so looking forward to caramelised sausages!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Farmers at The Larches

Busy? You betya!

Since last we spoke The Archers have been playing at being farmers. There's the daily harvest from the walled garden, the burping of the Elderflower Champagne in the cellar. There's cleaning chickens, collecting eggs. The daily push back at mother nature is becoming an hourly task as I strip weeds from vulnerable sweet peppers and physically remove caterpillars the size of an infant's arm, from the cabbage. [Note to self: cover the cabbages next year!]

Tabby, our most jock-like cat, is very helpful on the cabbage front; by hiding under the plants, he finds he can stop the process at source by eating as many butterflies as he can catch, - 'bout 9 a day, we reckon.

Benny, our James Bond-like cat, has been slightly lack-lustre for a couple of days. A less compliant prey appears to have caught him on the face with a claw or tooth, this caused an abscess and a fierce temperature. I am chucking tablets down his neck morning and evening from the vet and already he's vastly improved.

To ensure a plentiful winter I'm cooking and freezing vast quantities of ratatouille at the moment. (My recipe, so the kids are calling it Rata-mamma - Good name!)

The plums are a week away from ripe, the blackberries any day now and I'm sure I saw some sloes down the field - vodka-everything here we come.....

The other day we ate a plate of food with food miles of almost zero; local pork chops with my garlic, our potatoes with local butter and our chives, our apple sauce and our Rata-mamma. For pudding there was cherry pie, (thanks to a donation of local cherries by a farmer.) Quite special really.... Hugh Fearnley-Wotsit would be so proud...


We three, the sproglets and I, went to a friend's house at the beach for a couple of days. 4 mums and 8 children was really fun, I kid you not. The beach on the welsh coast was beautiful, 100 miles away on tiny winding roads, it was originally a little fishing village. The sandy protected bay was great for the babes who ran in and out of the sea all day long. The only bad part was that I erased all my photos from my memory card.... I'm very cross with myself. Hubby thinks he may have a magical programme to reinstate them - we'll see.


As I write, a tractor is tractoring (what is the correct verb I wonder?) up and down Home field outside my window, it is turning the golden hay. I can't believe that we arrived to The Larches only last year - the 28th August. Funny really, as it seems like we've been here forever and I wouldn't change a thing.

The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon