Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Following the babies

In a previous post here, at the very end I showed a picture of a mummy waiting patiently on her nest. She is in a small climbing bush near our front door, it's not very thick but it is a bit prickly.
Anyway despite the thorns we've all been keeping a close eye on the nest. We have lots of birds nesting in the garden but not usually so visible. We did once have a robin build her nest in a half-used bag of potting compost (very near to the ground) and we loved watching the babies grow.

Sarah asked me what kind of bird it is, we think it's a greenfinch. She's very pretty, small and quite beige with flashes of pale green.

Before the weekend we looked in and saw these

and a couple of days later it looked like this
just some twitchy, fuzzy balls and 1 egg

And today we saw this
a tiny open beak, waiting for mum!

We think it's a greenfinch but the eggs are confusing us slightly, the bird book says eggs are smooth, glossy white to pale beige with blackish markings. However ours look pale blue, although I've only really seen them on camera as I've been pushing the camera into the bush rather than my face!

We have a lot of bullfinches around the bird feeder too, they are a beautiful bird with a vivid red face. I've tried to get a picture of them but without luck so far.
Hopefully they will all thrive and I'll try to capture their next stage on camera too.

Monday, 28 May 2012

A Slower Pace of Life

The weekend is finally over and I'm exhausted!
there's been a lot of this......as the weather has been so lovely.

 There's been a couple of sessions of ballet....
to prepare for the exam Sunday

Before the exam there was this...                                                  Little Miss had her first game and was delighted to take 1 wicket, although they didn't win the match.

Number 2 son was playing in Northants Sunday so he and the builder left early and number 1 son is playing for his club nearby.

I've been driving like a mad woman both Saturday ans Sunday to try to get everywhere on time, I slightly miscalculated today as I decided we needed to leave the cricket before the end to get to the ballet in time. In my muddled brain I calculated we needed an hour and a half to make the 20 minute journey!! Not sure what I was thinking but we were over an hour early (at least we weren't late!).

My speedy driving isn't helped by the fact that I've been driving the builders truck through these very narrow country lanes. He had to take my car to Northants as it's much more fuel efficient. There was a slightly hairy moment when we met a caravan along one of these lanes, I managed to reverse into a ditch but no damage done!

But we did squeeze in a vist here in the middle of the mayhem...

All in all a busy but fun weekend.

Why the title of this post? Well I happened to catch an old episode of "Escape to the Country" on TV on Friday evening and they featured our area of the East Coast - apparently this is the place to be if you want a slower pace of life - shame no one told this family!!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Thoroughly Plastered!

Sadly it's not me who's plastered but the kitchen ceiling!
Work on phase 999 of the house re-renovations are continuing, albeit a little slowly due to sunny weather/cricket matches.
So many matches had been rained off that we now have a backlog and someone in this house has a match pretty much every day of the week! I say someone because mostly I have lost track of who is playing where and for which team!
Even Little Miss has her first match on Sunday, a couple of hours before her ballet exam - fingers crossed for an injury free game. And all this in GCSE fortnight (or is it 3 weeks? I've lost track) for number 1 son.

Anyway back to the kitchen re vamp.....
I emptied all of my kitchen cupboards just after Gran left us, as I cook a lot I didn't want to pack too much away so decided a good plan would be to lay everything within easy reach in the dining room. We don't use the dining room much so it wouldn't be a problem.

But I have learned to expect the unexpected in my life with "the builder".....I came home from work the following day to find not much progress had been made in the kitchen, the builder however, emerged from the dining room looking a little dusty, to say he'd decided to knock through into the extension!! Can you picture the mess, sadly I didn't photograph it! A very thick layer of grey concrete dust over everything - the pictures on the wall, the ornaments and, of course, all of the food!! Luckily everything was sealed but good grief it was a mess. He smiled at me like he deserved a medal for tackling such a big job!

We now have a gaping hole into the room next door and there that particular project ended, hopefully I won't have to wait 7 years for it to be completed, although I don't think I sound convincing!

But on my return home from work yesterday I found a newly plastered ceiling in the kitchen, he'd taken the old one down as we're changing the lights around a lot. It looks great when you look up, but this is what it looked like when you look down....

I think the floor is plastered too!
I know he's a tidy workman when in someone elses house, but then I guess they pay him in real money and not banana cake & custard!
I'm not sure I'll manage with the only remaining light... the electrician comes Monday to fit proper lights (17 of them!)

 Well if everything else is plastered I may as well join in... shame the glasses are buried under inches of rubble and dust!!

Anyway on a slightly different note it looks like we'll be having babies soon ....
this nest is just by our front door so we're trying hard not to disturb mum!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A few more Gran-isms

Well I dropped Gran off at the airport today for an 11am flight back down to Devon and we were both a little teary eyed. As we only see her once a year you never know, at 92, how many more visits there'll be.

She was wheeled away in an airport wheelchair by a very nice porter - she doesn't need a wheelchair but has discovered that by asking for one she'll board 1st, move around much faster and someone else will carry her bag!! She's a smart woman and always has been! As she disappeared I heard her say to the porter, "that's my Grandaughter you know...". I imagine he didn't get a word in edgeways until she was installed in her aeroplane seat!

I hope she enjoyed her time with us, it's very quiet here today. I've realised that at 92 you can do and say exactly what you like. Luckily no one heard her as we waited outside primary school on Tuesday and she said "there's a couple of mums in that playground with very large bottoms, they ought to lose a few pounds!"

And the man on holiday at our local who she chatted to while we ordered a meal won't forget his encounter in a hurry. She asked him to guess her age and he guessed at 83, which pleased her enormously. But then he asked her to guess his, she said 80. When he gasped and looked horrified she said "is it higher or lower?" I think he was around 50!

I think she's always liked a joke, at least I hope so. When she was telling us that her house was around 120 years old, the builder asked if she'd lived there from new!!
He had to run fast to escape a clip round the ear!

I thought I'd end this post with a lovely photo of Gran taken over 20 years ago at our wedding, she had a glass of sherry (do people actually drink sherry?!) in each hand and just after this was taken she was balancing a third on her head!!

You may spot the wedding reception venue in the background.... any guesses??

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

How many cream teas can you eat in one week??

Well it's been a great week, busy and very wet but I enjoyed it, hopefully Gran did too.
She flies home at 11am tomorrow and will probably need to put her feet up as soon as she lands! I know I'm worn out and I'm not 92 (I just feel like it sometimes!!)
We started off slowly and built up speed as the week went on! Our first trip out was here...

Sheringham, on the Norfolk coast.
It was a dry day, a bit blustery on the seafront though. Then we had a cream tea with the most enormous scone I'd ever seen, before coming home in time for the school run.

Gran accompanied me on various trips to cricket, gymnastics, school and shopping and pretty much every day we managed a coffee and cake shop - that's my kind of shopping trip!
She came to watch Little Miss take part in an inter-club gymnastics competition. Her first with this club as she's only been training there for 6 months. She quite new to gymnastics but she's quite well suited to it - she is very bendy!! Some of her joints over extend and bend the "wrong" way. Her wrists will allow her to turn her hand a full 360 degrees  (it makes me feel sick to see it!)
Anyway we watched her perform various routines and then waited for the medal presentation before we could go home. I thought she'd done well but we did not expect to come home with the GOLD medal, yes the GOLD!!
Gran was over the moon to have been there and spent the rest of the day texting her friends to boast!
We've had lunch with friends and met other friends for coffee, all of whom love her to bits. She talks a lot, even more than me which my friends find hard to believe! I'm ending the week with a very sore throat!
I took very few pictures this week so this post is becoming a bit too wordy I'm afraid.

All in all I think Gran has enjoyed her stay with us, although I'm sure she's exhausted. And we'll all miss her once she's flown home. I'm not sure if she'll miss the wreck of a house we now live in..... or the layer of dust on all her food!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Waiting for Gran

Well I think we're just about ready, as ready as we can be with a completely dismantled kitchen!
Some progress has been made on the kitchen, the new cooker is connected and should slide into place tomorrow. The new kitchen hasn't yet been ordered as "the builder" always like to negotiate the price down to within an inch of it's life - I'm hopeful we can place the order before the end of this week.

All cricket has been rained off which has resulted in a very grumpy household, it's been dry-ish today so they're all at the training ground, including Little Miss who has decide that this year she will be a cricketer (as well as gymnast, ballet dancer and trumpet player). I think she was swayed by the glittery sight of the medals handed out to all juniors at the end of last season - the "thank-you-for-turning-up" medals.

I have attempted to do lots of baking in my very limited work space, I've filled the freezer with meals and cakes as my Gran arrives tomorrow.
She flies in at 2pm, from Exeter in Devon. It's around an hours flight which is so much better than the bus journey of around 9 hours! Gran is 92 years young and has been quite a jet setter in her time. She was widowed shortly before her or my Grandad had retired so has lived alone for many years. Her 2 children, my Dad and his sister live hundred's of miles away (on opposite sides of the UK).

She's the kind of person I hope I grow up to be! She takes a keen interest in all the childrens sporting activities and will want to see shool reports and certificates and trophies when she gets here.
I think she's secretly a bit of a Marilyn Monroe as she only wears pure silk to sleep in and always has a splash of Chanel number 5!!

This is Gran taken a last summer with Little Miss.

Last year unfortunately the flights were cancelled so Little Miss and I drove down to see her - the longest drive I've ever done by far.

She's travelled all over the world and went on a Mediteranean cruise for her 90th birthday. She couldn't understand why people were amazed, because, as she said she's never been on a cruise before!
Anyway I hope we're ready, Gran like to chat and will no doubt wear me out over the next 7 days! She'll be visiting every coffe shop in the surrounding area, calling in on many of my friends who have asked to see her and attending various matches and sporting competitions.
I hope we'll cope!!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Brassed Off!

It's been a funny old week, lots of scheduled cricket matches for all the age groups, lots of squeezing heavy kit bags into the car or the school bus...and every single match has been rained off! (you may have heard me cheering!) We have had so much rain in this part of the world that we've had flood warnings everywhere! Yes thats flood warnings at the same time as we have a hosepipe ban still on due to the drought!! It could only happen in England!

We live near to a series of waterways called The Norfolk Broads, very popular with holiday makers on boats. The holiday makers are easy to spot, they nearly always wear a sailor hat (or pirate hat if you're on a stag weekend) with shorts and a raincoat. Anyway the rivers are in serious danger of breaking their banks in many places - luckily we're not close enough to be affected.

Well due to some unexpected spare time the builder (husband) has recommenced work on our house, work that was actually started some 7 years ago. As you can see he really got stuck in one day while I was at work...
And, I know what you're thinking, he didn't move anything or put anything away before he started!! We have a thick layer of dust over absolutely everything we own. He could have closed the dishwasher!

I must NOT complain though and must praise every move he makes just to keep the momentum up! I am now left with virtually no cupboards and just one set of drawers holding up a wonky piece of worktop.
Picture before the worktop was added but new cooker moving in!

This may not sound too bad and progress is being made BUT... we haven't ordered the new kitchen yet AND my 92 year old Grandma comes to stay for a week in 8 days time!!

However the real reason I'm brassed off is this
Yes  it's a cornett, and not one full of ice-cream I'm afraid to say!

Little Miss decided a few weeks ago that she'd like to take up a musical instrument, and her instrument of choice was, she said, a trombone!
Bearing in mind that although she is 9 years old she is still tiny and as light as a feather I wasn't sure this was the best choice for her. Extend the trombone, topple over face first, is what I imagined! Probably the same thought as the music teacher had as he recommended a cornett.
She started lessons on Friday, and seems to be following in the family footsteps.... she does not have one musical bone in her body!! Early days I know but however good she gets I feel it will remain VERY LOUD!
And why did no one tell me they get to bring their instrument home at weekends??!!