Sunday, 28 June 2009

Messy Drawers and Woodworm in the Piano

What sort of silly eejit goes out to the garden and starts watering, raking beds and weeding in her best trousers? Mind you, in the middle of the Service this morning I suddenly noticed they weren’t as clean as I thought they were (melted chocolate?). What sort of an example is that to be giving? Well, as the fridge magnet says, ‘If you can’t be a good example, be a terrible warning.’ ( My girl’s favourite).
It was the Sunday School Prize-giving today so the children sang and presented a Drama, all ten of them. Although 14, and well past Sunday School age, B was hauled in to play the villain, along with a 2year old who needed helping up and down the Chancel steps, it was unintentionally quite funny, the Two Ronnies or something. Still they all did a good job and it was a simple, pleasant, if slightly chaotic Service.

The woodworm in my piano seems to be multiplying, or at least, popping out to say ‘hello’, like the rhyme about the burp. The piano tuner sloshed woodworm chemical all over the piano innards in April but I think I’m going to have to dismantle it and repeat the job. He said it would be necessary but it does stink so. I don’t appreciate them one bit. Granny was always waging war on them and there were frequently pieces of furniture out in the yard when we arrived, but I guess it’s only really a problem with old furniture, and second-hand pianos. Ah well, a job for the morrow.

Before Church, when I was preparing the music, words and pictograms for the children, I was rummaging in the jua kali drawer for decent markers and found several items I’d mislaid. It made me think about something I read online the other day about tidy people with messy kitchen drawers, and perfectionists who sometimes judge their disorganised brethren. The point the article was making was that crafting in all its forms is about loving the recipient. An analogy which occurred to me this morning is that we are all a bit like messy drawers, full of treasures, useful but forgotten things, precious things to be kept safe, hidden items, and yes, rubbish too! (Speaking personally my rear end is almost as square as the aforementioned drawer, and that melted chocolate could have something to do with it, or rather the rest of the bar…) That would make an interesting sermon, ‘Messy Drawers I Have Known’. Hmmmm…..actually sounds a bit risqué…

B decided we’d have frankfurters for lunch, so after Church we headed in to the supermarket. Unfortunately we noticed a special on books, and even more unfortunately it included a Nora Roberts and a Jill Mansell. Blew the budget, what –ho! Two favourite authors in this house and B ‘bagged’ the N. R. for when she’s finished ‘My Sister’s Keeper’, which is making her very angry! Its good to have to consider the premise at the centre of that book, strong meat for a 14 year old perhaps but she is a Thinker.

All the recycling was loaded into my car-boot earlier, tomorrow is going to be some exciting day!

It’s just rained quite heavily, thank goodness, so I went out and weeded the veg beds. The scent of the broad bean flowers was lovely- I wish my sweet pea seedlings had germinated. Whilst weeding, the French beans explained why they aren’t doing so well. It’s because they are too exposed to the wind, and the onions have smelly feet. It was a bit difficult to understand them as their accent is so strong. Now I am wondering whether to dig them up and plant them in the (now ready! hooray!) sheltered box, or are they a lost cause. I think they are still sulking about their Six Nations defeat, but we mustn’t mention the Rugby!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The End of the World and a Daft Dog

Yesterday at lunch B remarked that she’d heard that Scientists had predicted the end of the world within the next few years and she hoped either it wasn’t true or that she wouldn’t be around for it.
H: Why?
B: All that chaos would be bad for my cholesterol.
H: (befuddled) Huh? D’you mean stress levels?
B: (pause, then doubtfully) Maybe…

Needless to say I laughed!

Ben-dog spent the afternoon leaping and pirouetting around the kitchen chasing flies, or maybe it was just one tricky fly. Finally he thought he had it cornered under the table with the microwave on, so he took a flying leap at it. His front paws skidded across the top of the kitchen compost bin and fell into the crate with cleaning stuff. Ben didn’t notice and took another snap at the fly thereby compounding the paw problem. Realised he was stuck and tried to lunge backwards, hit his head off the underneath of the table and brought down a rain of items off the top of the microwave on himself! He then had the nerve to turn round and gaze reproachfully at me as though the situation was MY fault!
Dilly calls the dogs ‘Thick Dog’ and ‘Stupid Brother’, justifiably! Back in their adolescent years she once threatened to can them and send them out to feed drought- stricken Africa, which we thought was rather sick. But since the girls grew up in Kenya and lived alongside people who were utterly dependant on the rains falling on time twice a year, she was, in her own deviant way, being quite practical…well, maybe? We adore them really, the dogs that is, not so sure about the girls….

The Hub has driven to Dublin today with the contents of Dilly’s flat which he retrieved less than a month ago! The lease was up on her flat so Dilly moved out, and since she didn’t have a job for the summer decided it was better to store her rubbish in the attic at home. Then when she and some friends were up doing the Shakespeare Festival (sleeping on floors) they were offered various part-time jobs in College and the Theatre, enough to justify taking on an apartment over the summer and for the next academic year. Hence the returning of ‘stuff’! With the drop in rent they’ve got a place within walking distance of College, paying the same as they were for much further out last year. So that’s good. Her Gran bought her a Bread-maker for her last birthday so I was just packing up flour and ingredients from the press. I wrapped the margarine in layers of newspaper so I hope it arrives intact to her fridge and not a dripping greasy puddle.
I started making all our bread about six years ago when I read an article in 'Prima' magazine concerning the amount of salt hidden in food, and bread in particular. Our growing girls were putting away large quantities of bought bread and I just couldn't ignore the possible damage to their health. Of course there's no comparison between bought and home-made bread, hot out of the oven all crumbly and butter melting and dripping down their chin? I was working full-time so I bought a Bread-maker and that, basically, was that! We're on our second Bread-maker as the first wore out beyond repair though the Hub kept it going beyond its normal life-span...handy marrying an engineer, I do recommend it!!!

Yesterday I got two squares made for the small quilt-wall-hanging I’m making. It is a Wedding present for a teacher at school so I am making twelve 6inch blocks. I’ve tried to choose blocks relevant to the couple- teacher and farmer. Yesterday I foundation-pieced a red tractor, and then paper pieced a ‘Bachelor’s Puzzle’ block! I also found a block entitled ‘Shortcut to School’ which I’m going to do next and of course a ‘Little Red Schoolhouse’. The first two turned out ok, without too much unpicking, or swearing…

Thursday, 25 June 2009

An Outing and some Achievements

Another lovely day, very hot and a little hazy. B Decided this morning that a trip to the Crafter’s Basket in Cliffoney was necessary for card- making supplies, and as I wanted some fat quarters for the next project we upped an' offed. It’s about ¾ hour drive for me so I try to wait until there are several things I need before going. Also it’s a disastrous shop for me, and now both the wool and fabric sections seem to have grown in the past five weeks…well, what can I say? It’s lucky the Hub laid down the law about unnecessary expenditure the other evening!
Anyhow, we went via Sligo town as I needed petrol, and then up the coast through Grange etc. The views were only gorgeous, pale green sand-dunes, deep blue sea over towards Mullaghmore, the garden at the road sides full of flowers, and the wonderful sunshine. It was a lovely drive.
B had €20 to spend and inadvertently gave the lady great amusement as she assembled her items and then sat on the floor in the middle of the shop to work out how much money was left and how many buttons and lengths of ribbon she could get for it. She got some great choices, I will have to be very honest and not raid her stash!
I got four fat quarters and two yards of a flowery cotton to make myself a new shirt, and a copy of the magazine ‘Irish Quilt and Craft Magazine’ ,by the Fennel Shed. Why have I not come across it before? It’s ace!
We returned through town again to get my passport application signed and posted. I keep forgetting to do it and now my brother has invited me Dad and I to London to go to a Prom Concert, in July so it’s become a bit pressing. Well, despite getting into a tizz it was all eventually sorted and is even now winging its way to the Dublin passport Office…I hope…
Anyhow I am full of virtue today as last night I stayed up late to do the ironing after it cooled down. We had the hall roof windows open until gone 11o’c, when was the last time we had such wonderful summer weather here? And secondly, I finished the wall hanging this evening which I’ve been quilting for the last few weeks, on and off. It’s looking pretty good, without too many boggles. How is it I can piece a top flat, and then acquire spectacular boggles in the quilting and binding? Its why I do so much finishing by hand, which has definitely improved matters but… well there’s room for plenty more improvement. When the camera returns from Spain I will try upload a photo.
Needless to say B and I were out longer than we intended and when we returned the Hub was just beginning work on the raised bed I’d asked for on the patio. I was staggerblasted (staggered and flabbergasted you know) and it took him no time at all. He’s on morning shift this week, which usually entails a lot of bad temper and grouchiness, so it’s great having it done. I keep going out to admire it, but the midges are joining the audience now. Whilst he was working it was very entertaining because the dogs went out to see what he was doing. Ben stayed to supervise, that's his forte, whilst Bertie took a quick look and then sidled off around the corner preparatory to making the Great Escape! Unfortunately I saw him from the Hall window so he didn't get very far, and then he compounded his guilt by trying to look innocent.
Since we got home B has been enthusiastically cutting, pasting, learning to sew on buttons and curling bits of ribbon. She now has three cards made, and for a self-confessed non-artist, they are pretty good. I’m just glad she’s found something that blows her hair back!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Of school concerts,child holiday labour,and hedgerows

It’s been a slow few days as I think I did too much last week and have been moving at a snail’s pace the last three days. Any spare minute and I’m dozing on the sofa …
This morning I put Dilly on the 7.15 am bus for Dublin with a suitcase almost the same size as herself. She met a school-friend at the station so I left them talking a mile a minute. Then I came home and cleared up the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and clothes washer, and generally tidied away the debris of last night.
Yesterday morning at school we had our School Concert where each class sang to everyone else. There were no parents or visitors and it was a very low-key affair compared to the Christmas Carols when we sing round the Churches. The purpose of the Concert was to give the children a light hearted musical ending to the year, and also to build a little community togetherness. It was a lovely ¾ of an hour with lots of clapping and laughing.
Afterwards I had some errands in town, including having passport photos taken. I don’t know how Immigration ever sort the good guys from the bad as those ridiculous little photos make everyone look like master-criminals! I consider myself a moderately ordinary person, but from my photo I’d definitely be hauled in for questioning…I also got B a magazine with ideas for making occasional cards as I intend to put her time to good use this summer! And I am trying to find a hobby to interest her: I think everyone should have an interesting ,time consuming, and preferably useful, hobby. Am I very old-fashioned?
In the evening my parents came to supper to spend some time with Dilly before she headed back to Dublin to work for the summer. It was a lovely sunny evening and the evening light on the mountains around us was beautiful. I made curry and chapattis, the usual Kenyan Sunday dinner (despite it being Tuesday!), and, as Mum was bringing Strawberries, I made shortcake, which I for got in the oven. Mmmm, bit brown-ish black, but it tasted ok apparently. (I can’t eat anything with gluten).
The farmers around us have been cutting their silage and the fields are all golden green. The hedgerows on our lane are gorgeous too, clouds of dog daisies and celandines. The meadowsweet and cow parsley are just beginning to flower and the low-lying red robart gives a lovely pink-purple haze to the stone walls. The leaves on the trees are still green and healthy with lovely dark shard underneath. It’s a great year for foxgloves and honey -suckle too. I love summer hedgerows, well I love them at all times, but they are particularly full at present.
In the veg beds the broad beans are bursting with flowers, so there should be a good crop coming. The French beans are ever so slow, I had to go and speak sternly to them today- here we have fabulous hot sunny humid weather, perfect for growing and they are wasting the opportunity. The mange tout,lettuces, raspberries, and strawberries are doing well, apart from the one raspberry the Hub beheaded with the strimmer. Very miffed.
We’ve just seen the flooding around Gweedore on the RTE News: not one bit amusing. Roads and bridges washed out, I hope the Council soon have clean water restored, as in this hot weather it’ll be essential.
Sos is having a whale of a time in Madrid apparently, she’s managing one text in the evening, if she managed more I’d be more concerned. The friend with the sheepy quilt has two sheep done!
The Jehovah Wittness ladies were calling today, I don’t know why they return as I made it plain years ago that I’m a working member of my Church and happy to remain so, but its good to have others’ points of view and know that crisis’ of faith hit all denominations. I finished the hand quilting on my wall hanging today and started binding it before I keeled over on the sofa, it’s a shame to waste the gorgeous weather, but I’m wrecked. I’ll just make soup and bread for the Hub and B’s supper, then go out and give another pep-talk to the beans! B is watching ‘Friends’ re runs and cackling deafeningly so I need to move before I become hearing- devastated…

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Father's Day and two favourite recipes

In which our heroine samples her own baking rather too liberally for the waist band of her jeans, and Sos starts for Spain.

Middle daughter, Sos, Headed to Dublin on the evening bus today, the first part of the holiday in Spain. Their flight leaves at 6am tomorrow so they’ll be in the airport overnight. Two parents suddenly started to have hairy conniptions last night about their children going away. After some thought Mum had the great idea of discovering the name of the Irish Embassy’s Third Sec. as well as the Embassy telephone number. I don’t know whether that will lay any of the fears to rest but it was all we could come up with.
Personally speaking, I don’t know how anyone brings up children without absolute faith in God’s providence. When my children are away from me I can only ask that God holds each one in the palm of His hand and doesn’t let them stray away from His plans for them. Many years ago I read an interview with a father whose son was killed by guerrillas when working in South America. After months of grief, horror and rage, the father heard the still small voice of God telling him, ‘In all things give thanks.’ It’s stayed in my head and although I’ve not had to practise it I hope I might have such courage as he demonstrated. But relying on the Lord is the only way I can let my girls out of my sight with any degree of serenity.

Would you believe that we all forgot Father’s Day? I rushed into the newsagent after Church to buy a card for the girls to give the Hub, and then rang my Dad when I got home. He’d walked down to the kiosk to get strawberries so I left a message for Mum to relay! He must have got pretty wet as it has been a very damp, grey day.

My family were watching ‘Top Gear’ earlier and there was the most wonderful steam train on the program. I just love steam engines; I reckon the Harry Potter films wouldn’t have been nearly as magical without the wonderful shots of the Hogwarts’ Express at the beginnings chugging through such beautiful countryside! When the Hub retires we are going to go on all the world’s longest train journeys- not that he knows it yet, its just something I dream of doing. My folks travelled the Trans-Canadian Railway a few years ago and they truly loved it, and the scenery was fantastic.

This morning’s Old Testament reading was about David and Goliath (1 Samuel Ch.17 v. 32-49) Three different people got three different points from it, which just goes to show how relevant the Bible remains, I think. The Hub was taking the morning Service at an old People’s home- he read how David discarded the King’s armour and went out in faith to do battle. Our Rector preached a message about standing firm in God’s Truth and power, even when it would appear that we are weak and out-numbered. What I got from reading and preparing the hymns was that David was prepared to risk everything, including his life, in order to fight the enemy of God’s people. Would I have the courage to do that? I’m very much afraid that I wouldn’t, even if I thought I would. Anyhow it was thought provoking for sure.

Yesterday when baking, I found an old biscuit recipe from an American friend which we used to make at College when we were having a girls’ gathering. I’ll post it below as its really easy and very good. Needless to say they disappeared very fast. Another thing I made was Mandazi, Kenyan doughnuts. They are utterly different to doughnuts here, substituting spice for the sugar, and not yeast based. We love them but they are quite rich so I don’t make them too often. They were swooped upon and before any of the visitors even arrived!

B wants a motorbike, preferably a vintage one!! She’s torn between saving towards a return trip to Disneyland, or a motorbike. Such decisions for a 14 year old!!

Jam Squares

2 cups oatmeal
1 ¾ cups flour
1 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¾ cup jam

Combine all ingredients except jam. Set aside 2 cups mixture, press remaining mixture into greased pan (smaller pan, thicker biscuits, larger pan, thinner). Spread jam over base (usually need to add little hot water to make it spread) and sprinkle with reserved mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-ish minutes.


1 ¼ cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamon
Pinch salt
1 egg
¼ cup milk
oil for frying

Mix together. Roll out to ¾ inch thick and cut into triangles. Fry in hot oil until golden. Makes about a dozen. Smaller triangles wil turn out crispy, larger will be chewy. Traditional Mandazi are fairly chewy.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Of teenagers, ham, and quilted sheep

In which our heroine fills her home with dotty teenagers, listens to stories of France, and teaches a friend to hand-quilt...

Well the amaryllis seeds are planted and in the hall under plastic. It will be interesting to see how long they take to germinate, the book says between 14 and 35 days which is a bit vague really. I guess being tropical the variables are pretty wide.

B has slept off the late nights from the French Trip and has now got her voice back too! She must have talked for three hours straight on Tuesday evening when she returned. They saw and did so much; the time was really put to good use. The tone was set when she descended from the bus and greeted me:
Mum, Mum, I put on three kilos when I was away!
Really? (as I twisted to see how she was different).
Yes! In my luggage!
And, unlike her eldest sister, she did NOT fall into the canal on the cycle trip! I’d known for several years that a student, complete with bicycle, had gone into the canal one year, but they had conspired not to let me know it was MY daughter, since no harm had been done. She’s not called Dilly for nothing you know! Should I be retrospectively mortified I wonder?
On the way home, in Belfast Airport sniffer dogs were being trained and the students were asked if someone would carry a bag through Customs as part of the exercise. The teacher agreed and B and Co. were really interested to talk to the dog-handlers and find out a bit about how the dogs are trained.

Yesterday the house was full of teenagers. Sos and friends are going to Spain for a week as a ‘finishing school’ celebration. They have organised the whole holiday by themselves and it will be the first time any of the seven have been away without adult supervision. It will be good for them to have to cope and there will, no doubt, be great stories on their return. They leave tomorrow evening on the Dublin bus as their flight is 6am on Monday morning! Yesterday they were sorting out what they wanted to do in Spain using the internet as well as the guide book. Later others arrived as one of the girls is returning to Korea next week and they wanted to say a proper good-bye to her, not knowing when, if ever they’ll see her. It was a lovely day with the house full of people, mothers and sisters, as well as Sos’ friends.

At lunch time one of the girls, who is obviously not used to dogs, left the packet of ham on the edge of the table whilst making her sandwich. I glanced across the kitchen to see the dog quietly edging up to the table, trying to simultaneously watch me and the ham. You could practically see the cogs turning in his head trying to figure whether he could get to the packet before I could get to him! He reckoned without human’s ability to talk, Sos moved the ham out of his reach, so he had to try and pretend he hadn’t been up to anything. Difficult when we were laughing at him!

In the evening everyone went off to parties: teenagers to an end of school party at a friend’s house, and the family to a midsummer party. I was doing ‘taxi momma’ and had also to buy another box of cornflakes, as Dilly came home and ate the lot, not knowing there was a sleepover intended. Two carloads returned here and at 4o’c I went to bed, leaving Sos and Co. in the kitchen drinking tea, grazing steadily, and arguing over what film to watch! Whew!

This morning I was out early as I was teaching Mum’s God-daughter the basics of hand quilting. She has made the most gorgeous little quilt for a friend’s baby: twelve black and white sheep appliquéd onto lime green squares. After some discussion she decided to do two rows of echo quilting around each sheep and then perhaps a quilted buttercup in the corners where the blocks join. The fabric and design of her quilt have real ‘wow!’ factor, simple, and really well sewn. It was really enjoyable working with her and helping her to start the quilting off.

When I returned home it was to find everyone slouched around on sofas suffering from being up so late. Sos’ friends had been collected, Sos was at work for the afternoon, and Dilly had returned from staying the night at the midsummer party. Everyone had had a great evening and there was lots of general catching up with people to report. The art of conversation is alive and well in the North West!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Spiky Fringe and Destructive Gardening

Perhaps I should beging the day's post the same way some Victorian writers used to title their chapters, you remember...In which our time I will!!!

So much for the lovely weather- we are now having torrential rain and almost gale force winds. The broad bean plants are lying flat in the veg bed. I was going to have chard for supper but cutting it in this wind will be quite a challenge, well not so much the cutting as the catching before it blows away!

Yesterday morning I was teaching class music in School so the night before I took the scissors to my rather long fringe, wide peripheral vision being essential when teaching, both in the interests of safety and discipline. I never get it right so I am now sporting a hedge-hog spiky cut, very flattering to a dumpy forty-something. NOT! The children are preparing an end of term concert and were full of mad ideas for amusing each other. It was interesting to listen to them working out how to present themselves and their songs, and exciting also to see the practical application of the term’s music work.

Yesterday lunchtime, on the way in to his shift at work, the Hub stopped off to take the chain-saw to a couple of big branches in the folk’s garden. (It’s called ‘destructive gardening’!) Cutting them down was not a problem, but stuffing all those whippy branches, wet leaves and chunks of tree trunk into my small hatchback to remove them was something else! Mum and I would make good wrestlers, you know, those woman wrestlers from South America I think. Reminds me of the children’s old joke: How do you get Pikatchu into a full bus in rush-hour? Pokemon!
Sad, I know!

In the post yesterday was a letter from some Missionary friends saying that after a year's break back in the States they have come to the conclusion that God still has work for them in Kenya and so they will shortly be heading back there. They have several ideas for reaching out to various peoples, and building support networks. Working out in the Mission Field is not easy, obviously, but I think that sometimes Churches here at home over-look the Mission Fields right on their door-steps. Our present Clergy are working hard at motivating the local congregation to embrace out-reach as a way of life. It’s hard to stick one’s neck out in your own home-place and open one-self to potential ridicule, but it is also so obvious that there are many lonely and needy people here. It is as necessary for people to live God’s love at home as it is to send people out to distant places, and just as hard work, in a different way. And sometimes I just feel plain stupid!

Dilly arrived home at lunchtime today from Dublin, complete with wet laundry, clean but wet. And yes, I am thankful for small mercies! Luckily she has work for most of the summer in Dublin as funding her University studies is proving rather more expensive that we’d envisaged. She and some friends have also found a flat for the coming year and are collecting their belongings from all over the place as they have been staying on friends' floors this past fortnight. Student living at its most normal!

Mum’s god-daughter wants to start hand-quilting so on Saturday morning I’m going to meet with her. She has just recently begun patchwork and quilting and is so enjoying it. I think that it is good to be with people who are just beginning to learn something I love. It makes me remember the joy and excitement when patchwork was new and the possibilities were endless. Well, they still are, but occasionally I get bogged down in methods or colour-ways I feel I should do, rather than my quilts being purely imaginative and experimental. There is room for both.

Well our heroine has to get supper now!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Tropical Leitrim!

It’s been another warm day, decidedly muggy in town. This morning I wanted to finish putting up the photos in School (attaching brackets to the frames, then screwing them to the walls), so the Hub came with me to speed things up. The heat in the classrooms, even with windows open and doors propped to catch the breeze, was amazing. The children were doing class tests too, poor things. We failed to finish the pictures, but hopefully an hour tomorrow will do it. They look so good in their neat rows and so much safer attached permamently to the walls.

After lunch we sat out in the folk's garden for tea. It was just lovely to sit out and do nothing. Except for Mum who kept leaping up to chop bits off bushes and dead-head flowers, and then went off to fetch the plant books in order to identify a yellow shrub. She’s decided that it is hypericum, not genestra, although there was a bit of a barney because she wanted it to be potentilla, and I knew it wasn’t that. Dad pretended to doze, occasionally opening one eye to do ‘Paddington stares’ at me! (Note to self- argue respectfully with one’s mother when one’s father is sitting by…)

Thinking of plants, the spathyphillum in our bathroom are flowering beautifully at present. Although tropical, this muggy weather suits them very well, and they are such luscious plants with the shiny green leaves and pristine white flowers or bracts or whajemies.
Another thing this warm weather is good for is rotting down the compost. I was just talking to a field mouse whilst emptying the vegetable peelings into the outside compost bin and she said it’s quite delightful in the bins at present, and the fruit peelings add delicious variety to her diet.

My amaryllis bulb flowered at least two months ago, probably more, and I’ve been watching the seed pods grow fatter and fatter. On Sunday they burst open so yesterday I collected all the seeds, except for the few which fell into the printer, and then looked up books to see how best to germinate the seeds. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have lots of amaryllis plants flowering all at once? Mum says they grow wild in Hong Kong and are lovely to see. Granny’s ‘Gardening in East Africa’ book says to spread the seeds on a sandy loam with very light covering of soil, and then keep them in a light warm place under glass until they germinate. If I planted out the tomato seedlings I could use that tray for the amaryllis, but perhaps a rummage in the re-cycling place on the Quays would turn up another seed tray- I find amazingly useful items there, and the man who works there is great at helping me load up my car with other people’s rubbish! I fould a big old tim tea caddy on Saturday, very useful for planting a petunia in. Anyhow, planting the seeds is my next job…time and tide may wait for no man, but the ironing is generally quite patient!

Yesterday I spent most of the day with a friend: we sat in the sun drinking tea and setting the Irish education system to rights. If only the Minister for Education, O’Keeffe, had had time to stop by he would have learned so much to help him!

Middle daughter, Sos, spent this morning in town going round shops to see if there were any summer jobs going. She is a bit late starting since she’s only just finished sitting her Leaving Cert, but not surprisingly, the outlook isn’t good. A friend suggested an idea for a small business so perhaps she will set that up. She would like to learn to drive this summer, before going to College. She isn’t one to let the grass grow under her, so when she returns from next week in Madrid she will have time to get on with something. Its certainly a summer of firsts. This evening B returns from France- she’ll either collapse straight into bed, or she will talk all night, there’s no guessing which it’ll be.

And lastly, when I have figured how to download, upload, sideload, or whatever, I will start putting photos in. So far, no good!

Monday, 15 June 2009


Well I've grabbed the bull by the horns and have started a blog- I think it could be a swift, steep learning curve, but as long as I don't fly off into hyperspace I'll be OK. My children are the computer fundis (experts), but I like to pretend I am sort of competant.
With the lovely weather that's been in it this last fortnight the Hub condescended to attack part of the garden at the weekend so that I could plant out part of the plant nursery taking up the driveway...the part of the driveway closest to the front door where he would like to be able to park on wet days! He chopped and swore through weeds and long grass, then hacked everything out in chunks...including ALL the spring bulbs. Then he spent another few hours retrieving the bulbs from the compost bin. Great start! Or as the eldest daughter would text, 'Urr'.
I've been dress-making in the evenings over the last fortnight as the youngest daughter, B, was going on a week's School Trip and didn't have enough clothes to last a whole week. School uniform has many advantages, but it turns holidays into laundry nightmares. Two skirts she needed; I made one with blue patchwork in a band around the middle to eke out the fabric. The second skirt was made using two pairs of torn jeans, ripped apart and resewn in panels. Both turned out ok.
Now I have begun a green knitted dress for the eldest against winter smart-wear, its tough being a student and having to fund one's own wardrobe so I thought I'd help out. She chose the wool herself and its a lovely soft shade of green.


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