Monday, 31 December 2007

New Years Eve

Will and Beth enjoying the Sims

Playing Sims on New Years Eve

Watching Jules Holland

It's Jules Holland again

The bubbly

Happy New Year

A New years eve stroll around the garden

I was the first one up this morning and remembering my birthday Witch Hazel I was drawn out into the garden to see how it was doing.

Witch Hazel

It seemed unchanged but on close examination I saw a tiny sign of life, one bud just revealing its yellow centre, a promise of things to come.

Blue kept me company, she is a shy and cautious cat in the house but friendly and curious in the garden.

The clematis armamdii is at a very exciting stage will be lovely in a week or two and

the colour created by the weeping salix was lovely.

Solitary Goldfish

The solitary goldfish was enjoying the air although the pond is so congested I just hope he wasn’t gasping for it. He used to have three or four companions but one morning I woke up to see a magnificent heron by the pond and since then I have only seen this one. Hope he isn’t too lonely.


Here is Blue in the apple tree at the back of the garden, the pruning of which is yet another garden job to be done.


The viburnam is one of my favourite winter plants in the garden, its pale almond pink really brightens up the grey days.


As does the beech hedge, although not neat and tidy this year as we missed the moment it is still beautiful.

Clematis in waiting

Another of my favourites is this clematis which looks totally dead but will magically come back to life and produce drooping deep burgundy flowers to glisten from its shady corner.

On the whole the garden seems a bit behind this year, I was expecting bulbs pushing through and the Hellebores at least in bud if not in flower. Am I deluded and thinking of the end of January instead of December or has it perhaps been too warm, does the garden need a good freeze to begin to grow again?

Potted cat
As I go back in Blue settles down in a pot of grasses, which seems to have become garden furniture for cats, to keep an eye on her domain.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Happy Christmas

Hope you are all having a great christmas day, glimpses of our christmas can be had here:

Merry Christmas from the Staffords

But not too bad

Quite early


And another


A Hit

DS light

Fresh orange juice

Damp grey winter walk

suffering from sudden foot growth

sunset, loughborough 4.00pm christmas day

Thanks every one for your wonderful presents.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Twas the night before the night before christmas

Beth has been getting more and more excited about Christmas, and with it more and more noisy, so it was relatively easy decision to allow her to accept a last minute invitation to a birthday sleepover.

So the packing commenced: first the babies had to be dressed, swaddled and tucked into their car seats,
next the case packed with provisions for said babies, oh and a spare pair of knickers for Beth.

They were delighted to see each other and I tried to capture this,

Oh well, third time lucky.

Happy Birthday Bea
Happy eighth birthday Bea.


Beth is dyslexic amongst other dys's and became so stressed in school from the demand to perform and be independent before she was ready that for the sake of her mental health we deregistered her and she is now home educated. We have taken it very easily and done no school work at all, just lots of outings, educational tv, cooking, sewing and being read to.

On Saturday she asked to read to me for the first time in months, and read all the way through 'The Tinder box' with very little help. She worked really hard and by the end I was totally exhausted from holding my tongue and letting her work the words out.

just as we started home education in October 2006 another home educator, soon to become a good friend advertised free books from a school that had recently closed down. This book from the Ginn reading scheme was one of the books I picked up then. It is well pitched for Beth as it is a classic fairy tale so the plot is good in spite of the limited and repetitive language. In fact the repetitive language is an integral part of this style of literature.

We were all delighted and luckily I had a potential birthday present hoarded away so could immediately underline how pleased we were. Beth absolutely adores the slings for her babies, but I think she was just as delighted at the progress she had made with no painful enforced practice. She has of course been practicing all the time, but with material she chose, at a time that suited her and for as long or short as she wanted, usually just signs, birthday cards and notices, baby steps of reading.
And shortly after that Bruce remembered last christmas eve at midnight when Beth had read Jack and the Beanstalk from beginning to end, we couldn't say no inspite of the time.

Monday, 26 November 2007


I recently received two damaged bean bags from a fellow freecycler, Beth had been wanting a camouflage bean bag for a long time and as we are trying to save money I wanted to make it.

These bags hung around the house irritating Bruce for far too long until I decided that I had to bite the bullet and buy some material and get the job done. The cheapest fabric I could get was a double duvet set, which simplified the sewing somewhat as I just cut off a corner and pleated the top before sewing in the zip pocketfrom one of the original bags that stops all the beans from falling out when you open it. I then cut up the button fastening from the duvet and attached some of it to fasten the bean bag. It was quite simple and quickly if untidily done, it is good enough.

Good enough is all my sewing ever gets as I am fairly dyspraxic, but it is a useful skill if you are not perfectionist about it. Beth has inherited my dyspraxia and that is my excuse for the state of the living room as we worked

I used my lovely old Bernina and as I did I realised it must be nearly 30 years old, how did that happen. It is still a fantastic and reliable machine only having had to be repaired once in all that time .

The result was very satisfactorily received, Beth said 'We make a good team, I have the ideas and you do the work'. Duh.

And Beth is not the only one to appreciate it.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

To the park

Beth loves the park, still! I blame myself, by the time she came along I had put in 20 years of parenting. Don't get me wrong she was very much wanted but on the playground front I was burnt out, so she missed out a bit when she was younger.

But it's not too bad doing the park scene with a child this age, apart from a very short session of pushing a swing and the obligatory continual looking at the clever things she is doing (which never quite work when I am watching) I am more or less allowed to entertain myself.

Here I am well wrapped up and reading Eat That Frog a book that tells you how to stop procrastinating and achieve your goal. I can always hope!
I also get a little bit of exercise on our trusty tandem, which can't be bad.
And the views from Beth's favourite play park are stunning.
And on the way home we indulged in some leaf play for photographic purposes.

I can't remember what I bribed Beth with but I definately had to bribe her. She very scathingly accused me of treating her like a toddler although claiming that she would not have wanted to do this at any time in her life. I had fun though.
A much better examples of this can be seen here on

Friday, 16 November 2007

Asbestos in the floor

We have been having a lovely mild and prolonged autumn but we had the first severe frost of the season in Loughborough today so I was very glad that I didn't have to be anywhere early. I wasn't too happy though that it was because the older two were ill and still in bed so didn't need a lift to school.

My eldest daughter Jo and her husband Nick are in Australia on an extended honeymoon and the day they were due to go the ceiling of their kitchen collapsed under the weight of boiling hot water spurting from a joint in a pipe above. This meant they had to delay leaving and also that I have been popping in every now and then to let various tradesmen in to deal with the damage. Today it was the turn of the asbestos tile removers as tiles under tiles under the ruined laminate had been found to contain asbestos. They were quick and efficient but could not remove three of the tiles as the kitchen had not been removed as it should have been.

However, when they had gone I discovered that these tiles were underneath the washing machine and could easily have been removed if they had just moved that. Maybe they had their reasons for not doing so but I can't think what they could have been. They had come all the way from Essex to Nottingham for this job and were being put up in a hotel as they had another job the next day. They were rather bemused by this as they thought it likely that people from Nottingham were working in Essex as we spoke. So much for saving the planet. As they explained it was the disposal of the tiles that was problematic will they have to come again for three tiles? This is something I should probably try and find out. But as they found it very surprising that I could have a child old enough to own their own house they can of course do no wrong.

It was absolutely freezing in Jo's house and I was very glad to get into the car, turn the heating up full blast, and head for home. However the waning light on the way home forced me to stop and try and capture the beauty of the scenery. It is a lovely drive from Nottingham to Loughborough and I have often wished I had my camera with me when making the journey and luckily this time I did, and only two young children as passengers so I could do as I wished. Older kids and husbands are often not too keen to humor my wish to interrupt journeys to take pictures.

I absolutely love the way the light was hitting the trunks of this hedge.

We had a friend of Beth's with us and they had a sleepover that night. I had to take this picture as I was so amused by the way Beth's friend was managing to sleep soundly with her knees in the air while Beth hogged the bed.

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