Thursday, 19 September 2013

Wet, windy Sunday

8am....Woken by beastly dog scratching doormat and wining for neighbours dog who awaits her on other side. Arise from bed in sleepy state and open door for dog to shoot past at rocket speed to join her friend. Bonkers I know that dog has social life too!

8am on a cold, less than lovely Sunday morning? Goodness! An extra ten minutes of warmth from my super squidgy feather duvet needed.

9.10am Ten minutes inevitably turns into an hour and ten minutes!!! Gently ease self out of bed noting slight ache in shoulders from yesterdays adult contemporary dance class, then reality of time kicks in and find self resorting to autopilot rushing round like mad thing trying to get children organised for swim class due to start at 11am.

10.20am Kids still watching morning T.V in pyjamas oblivious to urgent need to get out of door in ten minutes time. Usually calm gentle mother resorts to ogre in attempt to hurry things up!

10.50am Arrive at pool with ten minutes to spare before start of lesson thus allowing small boy time to play in pool. Pool unusually cold this morning and random children plus small boy set on splashing me.....grrrr!
Decide to swim in frozen pool dodging endless kids with giant floats who splash and get in way....

11.15am Carefully climb out of pool (due to precarious ill-fitting swimsuit) to beat mad rush of swimmers to showers. Weekly swimming has become forced drudgery on self in order to treat self to lovely warm shower as reward. Shower ensures hair gets thorough clean and is freed from shampoo residue. No shower at home!

12.30pm Arrive at Ditchley Estate office to do weekly clean. For once kids in 'helping mode' so job gets done at breakneck speed.

1pm Arrive home and cook suggested toasted cheese and onion sandwiches for lunch, remind self that I love sandwich toaster!!

2pm Client arrives with items to sew requesting collection before tomorrow...that means today.....

2.30pm Cleaning up of kitchen complete, mountain of school clothes examined for attachment of name tags.

3.30pm Sewing complete, kitchen calls domestic creativity to feed forever hungry children who having only just eaten lunch are already enquiring about dinner.....
Decide on creating pizzas so set to work with help of Small Boy to make dough. Opt to allow Boy to weigh and stir mixture and me to do handling...note boys ever dirty fingernails!

4pm Third time of asking finally get a child to take pizza dough to airing cupboard to rise whilst set about tidying up for third time today.

4.30pm Rather liking moment of being domestic goddess so remain in kitchen to create further delights. Whip up batch of cheese straws and large vat of apples for stewing, then proceed to tie up large pile of lavender that has adorned kitchen table for past two days. Miss P and the Little Lady happily play Miss P's homemade 'Petopoly' game....after ten minutes of peaceful play, loud shrieks are heard as Small Boy makes jumping over the board a game! Gently close kitchen door to block out noise....

5pm Client returns to collect named school clothes and is ever grateful for rapid service :-)

5.30pm Pizza dough is removed from airing cupboard and children re-enter kitchen en-mass to create their own masterpiece. Am amazed as always how creative one can be with pizza design. Little Lady creates run-of-the-mill pizza for me and I use half of dough to make large pizza for another day. Feeling proud of self and rather well organised to think ahead to another day!

6.15pm Main of cheese straws have mysteriously disappeared from plate and pizzas are nicely cooked. Always thrilled at how children eat what they make!

8pm After final clear up and nagging children to get into Pj's all sit down in front of snug fire to watch X Factor. Oooh continue sewing.....

9.15pm Two thirds of Smalls safely tucked up in bed clutching hot water bottles. Find self falling into deep cushions of sofa finally having moment to relax.
Arrrr, thank you wet, windy Sunday I've had a lovely day :-)


Monday, 9 September 2013

Supermarket no no

It's Monday morning and my alarm tinkled away at usual for me I hit the 'dismiss' button and slipped back to the land of the faeries for ten minutes which inevitably ends up being at least another hour. I can do that (and frequently do) as I don't have any school runs to do. My first moment of serious engagement for today is not until 10.30. The children are quite capable of entertaining themselves and cobbling together some breakfast whilst I relax and take in some well earned moments of peaceful slumber. Finally I have reached the stage where they don't depend on me or indeed rely on me, 'quite' so much, and it's wonderful!
Having drifted back off back to my rather comical dream that is far too 'for my knowledge only' to share, I am woken ten minutes (OK, 20 minutes) later by the dog yapping at full pelt. My lovely friend the Riverford man is outside dropping off my weekly delivery of fresh organic vegetables.
Normally I just ignore his presence and allow the dog to bark for the ten minutes or so that he's fumbling about outside, but this morning The Little Lady called from downstairs that the Riverford man was here and knowing that my utility room is full of old boxes that need returning for reuse, I just jumped out of bed at speed, tripped down the stairs whilst trying to pull on a jacket blurry eyed, flung open the door and trundled of to lug the load of boxes back to the front door, just in time to greet Phil, the lovely driver with a welcome smile! Arrrr hope he didn't notice that I have only just woken up!!
I have been ordering my fruit and vegetables from Riverford for many years now, gosh thinking back it is many years and have pretty much had the same driver throughout. You form a good friendship with these folk (if you get up and talk to them). In the early days of having children, he would be one of the only people of might see in a week, a friendly, familiar face bringing nourishment to the door.
Even though I select my fruit and veg on line so know what's coming, it's still exciting when the box arrives. When you select 'cucumber' you don't know whether that will be one long one or two short ones, plums may be a variety of colours and sizes etc etc. It's a little like unwrapping a present! Oh dear, I'm beginning to sound terribly sad'll know exactly what I'm talking about it you receive a box too!
How life has changed over those years.......having spent the past two years as a single parent my financial circumstances have changed dramatically, I barely have any spare income at all if any, in fact my income is really rather pitiful, but it's enough, our maker always provides somehow to ensure that we have exactly what we need ('wants' have to go on the back burner). Even with a minimum income the optimum nourishment of my children is a top priority to me. I might be able to get organic vegs cheaper from the supermarket but then I am faced with the temptation of the offers and other delicious looking 'pull-ins' that increase my spending and don't necessarily nurture me and my children on the insides. At least with Riverford or my other little haunt Worton Farm, I have limited choices and all those that are on offer are wholesome and pretty pure. I could do all my shopping with Riverford alone and avoid the hustle and bustle of the supermarket day perhaps. Until that time I continue to order my food from Suma wholesale coop (as a cooperative of course) and Riverford.
My brief catch-ups with Phil don't last long, ten minutes is long enough to put the world right...for now :-)

Upon closing the door and glancing in the mirror, I notice yesterdays eye makeup smudged down under one eye and my hair looking rather like I'm about to audition for a rock band....hey ho!!

Enjoy your Monday xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

(One of) Oxfordshire's best kept secrets

When I was ten years old, I told a girl that I knew there was going to be a sleeping bag in the Guide jumble sale the following weekend that I desperately wanted to buy. That girl bought that sleeping bag before I got there!

Life's events teach you many lessons, I'm very selective now about what information that I share with people and of course who I share it with. You should be very honoured that I am about to share one of Oxfordshire's very best kept secrets......

This one is sooo worth sharing!

Some things just have to be shared simply because if we don't, then they may not keep going. If something is good and you like it then tell the world!

Anyway, enough of my ranting and waffling and straight to the subject I am referring to. Nestled away at the back of beyond, near the disused quarry in Kirtlington Oxfordshire and next to the canal, you will find the most quaint and quirky little tea room ever.

This place does not possess the squeaky clean appeal of your average tea room but that my friends is exactly the reason why this place is so enchanting and well worth a visit.
A distinctly unmatched collection of tables and chairs carefully positioned under canopies, gazebos and apple trees, form the perfect relaxing spot for devouring a delicious slice of homemade cake, or in my case  some scrumptious quiche with salad, to be washed down with some peppermint tea.
There's not a hint of plastic to be seen, everything is served on vintage china and from silver teapots and trays. This place really is something special to write home about!

This sign was on the toilet door....

The lady who set up this delightful little venture, purchased her canal side plot as wasteland some years ago, and has transformed what was a dumping ground for canal dredging, into a very productive small holding. She is indeed a woman of my own heart. I have lived the good life in many ways but has yet have still not managed full self sufficiency, (it's a lot of work!) At present I am further from that dream than ever before. But I can dream and sitting at the heart of the canal side retreat on Sunday, satisfied my craving and desire for the time being.
I sat with my food eating slowly and absorbing the true delights of my surroundings with every mouthful......


The hand painted signs at the gate, the old prams (I had one for the smalls), hanging vintage teacups, patchwork quilts covering the sofas (yes sofas in the garden!!), chickens and doves roaming, an old caravan (oh how I would love one of these to spruce up and have as my garden bolt hole)...hehe, this woman is sooooo like me....

You can find out more about Jane's little tea room here, seeing is definitely believing......