Tuesday, 21 February 2012

One of those weekends

It was one of those weekends.

On Saturday we were due to see Paddington at Rotherham Civic Theatre. I has already lost the tickets for this event once in the extension detritus, but had grovelled and been sent replacements (listen up Sheffield Theatres). Then we went to B&Q to buy paint and to fight over lampshades with the kids. At some point during DIY hell the replacement tickets must have fallen out of my pocket. I thought for several awful minutes that I'd lost them forever. I think Phoebe would have lynched me. Paul retraced our steps around the shop and found them.

The show was...well...it was an amateur musical which included a man in a bear costume (which looked a lot like the one my cousin wore to our wedding). Musicals aren't exactly Paul's cup of tea at the best of times but Phoebe's face was such a picture it was all fine. Frankly it's a good job B&Q don't sweep up too often.

On Sunday Paul went to work again and I took the girls to the Family in Art exhibition at the Millenium Galleries which we all loved. I must go back when I don't have to go round at break neck speed (three year olds aren't brilliant at reading the signs and number mad Tilly just kept reading the dates the pictures were painting and working out how old the artist was when they died). There were a couple of naked pictures that took a bit of explaining/distraction but generally brilliant.

Then we went over and had lunch at my friend's house. Lovely.

Until we left.

I opened the boot to put in the borrowed Lean Mean Grilling Machine and Slow Cooker (that were meant to stop me going insane during the following cooker free week) and the newly purchased pot of pink paint fell out and hit the floor of a listed building private car park. Nicky and I set about scraping the paint up with a child's bucket, spade and shoe covers accidentally brought home from the swimming pool. Numerous hasty trips back and forth with a bucket (adult sized this time thankfully) and watering can and a lot of sweeping effort on Craig's part followed. Phoebe kept saying "There's fairy dust all over the floor" and "what about my bedroom". I was just grateful it was emulsion frankly.

Before we left Tilly tripped over a stick (approximately three inches long). All in all it was like some kind of slapstick comedy.

Anyway the weekend is over as is half term and things have settled back to normality. A microwaved rice, using friend's washing machine, dust on the sofa sort of normality anyway. Roll on next week.

Friday, 17 February 2012


It's taken them a week to stop falling out...just before going back to school as usual. They are upstairs playing in a den I made them. I added an extra bit on the back which made it even "cooler" as now it has a "conservatory". That's middle class playing if ever I've heard it.

Their relationship is pretty normal I think. They love each other to pieces, get into bed together when they can't sleep, hug each other, and have even made up a special gesture they do to each other which means "sisters". They also bicker, fight and drive each other, and me, crazy.

This morning we were discussing what they wanted to be when they get older. Tilly said "scientist" as always. Phoebe said "when I grow up I'm going to tell Tilly what to do". Ah the balance of power is always a tricky one.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Always the Same

Tumble Dryer whirring
Radiators groaning
Full warm tummies

Not leaping on Mummy this morning
Cooked plums for breakfast
Happy huggy children

Baking, hairdressing
Swimming, stories
Pudding that isn't always yoghurt

Talking and listening
Listening and talking
And a bit more talking too

Staying but a little while
House as if we live here
Wish it was nearer

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Food Glorious Food

I had high hopes for myself during the last bit of the extension. I was going to manage admirably and not winge. And what's more I was still going to manage to give my family healthy varied meals despite the lack of a kitchen. Yet again a bit optimistic.

Healthy varied cooking is not exactly happening. So far we've been eating a lot of rice. Since that's pretty much the only carb you can do in a microwave. I've semi-successfully managed jambalaya and Chinese salmon (both you will notice with rice). And I can heat up a mean tin of beans or soup. We've also tried a variety of ready meals and I can confirm what you might already suspect, that they are all vile.

But my mum had thoughtfully provided me with a slow cooker and I thought Sunday was the ideal opportunity to use it. I had all the ingredients and recipe for lamb stew. Of course as it came from the charity shop I didn't have any instructions, or total confidence in it's cooking ability but went into it with a positive outlook. This was going to be an easy way to ensure a healthy dinner for everyone when we'd had a day playing in snow and painting walls. Perfect.

It takes 8 hours to cook a stew in a slow cooker. Seriously. 8 hours. This meant I had to actually get up earlier than usual on a Sunday and start chopping vegetables before I'd had my first cup of tea. Not so easy so far then.

Then I had to find somewhere to plug it in. Not ideal when you have no kitchen and the dining room is in transition mode between it's old position downstairs and it's new temporary position in an upstairs bedroom. I plumped for the currently empty new bedroom and plugged it in on an extension cable. Brilliant, now we could forget about it.

Following the snow play we returned and Paul did some decorating. In the new bedroom. For the next few hours the stew was moved about a bit while he tried not to splatter it with paint. Apparently you can't look in it as it slows down the cooking (dear lord not any slower) so we just checked that the outside was getting warm and hoped it would be fine.

Maybe it would have been. But Paul was being tidy that day and at some point in the afternoon he did some hoovering. Uplugging the stew in the process. I discovered this some time later and plugged it back in hoping that an hour out of it's 8 hour cooking schedule would still leave it edible. At 5pm I put in the weird flour and fat thickening balls and turned it up. It congealed and looked unappetising. I checked a carrot. It was practically raw.

I cried.

We had pizza. Which Paul had to collect on foot in the snow because no-one would deliver.

Since then I have arranged for the girls to eat at lots of different houses. And bought some more baked beans. We just have to get to Friday. Then my mum can fix everything.

Friday, 3 February 2012

John Peel's Shed

Last night Paul, Stan and I went to see John Peel's Shed. Not his actual shed of course. I'm not sure how to describe it really. It isn't a play, more a monologue interspersed with some projector and LP action. I have never seen a more unassuming man than John Osborne.

The show is based loosely around the LPs that John won from John Peel's show many years ago, and I particularly enjoyed the reverie with which he carefully put the records back into their sleeves after they had been played on his record player. Much of the music he talked about discovering in his teens and twenties was similar to the discoveries I made myself.

But most of the piece was about his and the nation's love of radio. It had some laugh out loud moments but in general it was simply the kind of thing I enjoy. A dialogue about something that matters to me delivered in an unusual way. Plus he gave me hope. He had an idea and he achieved it. Maybe one day that will be the same for me.