Sunday, 29 April 2012

Home Made Laundry powder

I started out with these ingredients, and Rhonda Jean's recipe from her book, although it is on her blog as well at

There are four bars of soap in that pack, and I needed to use two of them.

So I grated 2 bars of soap, with an old cheese grater, and then put it in a bowl with 2 cups each of borax and the soda crystals.  I gave it all a jolly good stir and put it into a tub with a lid, and included an old tablespoon measure which I can keep specially for this purpose.  Two tablespoons per load is the recommended measure.

I have done two loads of towels with this new mixture, and not only have they come out clean as required, but they smell faintly of soap, which is quite pleasant.  I didn't add the essential oil although I might do in future.

And the cost?  Very impressive!

The pack of soda crystals cost 99p for the 1kg, and I used 350g, so a cost of 35p.
The borax pack is £1.29 for 500g, of which I used 400g, so that cost £1.03.
The four pack of soap currently costs £1.33 at Tesco, and I used two of the four bars, which cost me 66p.

Total cost is £2.04 for the batch of laundry powder.  I then did the boring but predictable thing - I measured how many loads at 2tbsp each I would get from the batch and realised that 30 would be about right, hence a  cost per load of just 7p.  

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Washday blues

The rain still keeps coming and I finally had to do some washing today, so it is now hanging in the verandah, and spread across airers in front of the fire - it Has Got to get dry by tomorrow evening so I can iron the uniforms for Monday morning.  All the shirts and t shirts are on hangers so that they take up less space.

Today I went to the hardware shop in town to try to buy some borax substitute in order to make my first batch of Rhonda Jean's recipe for home made laundry powder.  I can't make the laundry gloop until I save enough containers to put 10 litres of it in, so I am just aiming to make the mix of grated soap, washing soda and borax. I bought some, so I am going to make that tomorrow - I am using the last of a bottle of Surf Small and Mighty which I bought months ago when one of the supermarkets had an offer on it.  I will have some washing left to do tomorrow and can try it out - I am quite excited in a homemaker's way!  I know it is not rocket science, but if I can wash the laundry with such cheap ingredients, I will be very happy.  Fingers crossed it works.  I know that there is not much fragrance to it, so I bought a small bottle of lavender oil in Boots today so that I can have slightly scented linen for a few pennies.

The chickens have had the run of the garden today as I nearly lost a welly in the run as the mud is so gloopy and deep.  They have been very very happy out on the grass and scratching up the bugs in the gravel as well as turning over the veg beds once more to find tasty worms.

I hope you are all coping with the rain - I am thinking particularly of friends in Dorset who seem to have a lot of flood water rather close to home.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Osprey watch

The daily visits have risen on a consistent basis, whether I post or not, so I am concluding that some of you are visiting me as a gateway to the osprey webcam.  In order to further support your interest, I have put the link to the osprey watch blog on the sidebar now so that it is easier to find.

I am finding it very interesting to pop on to the blog each evening to find out what has been happening on the nest, and I do enjoy a quick peek at the webcam a couple of times each day - it has been lovely to see the bird sitting there peacefully, but not so pleasant to see her drenched by heavy rain.  She is persistent, though, so I am hoping along with everyone else, that she is rewarded towards the end of May with some chicks.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


 This week I made one of these, and it was very much enjoyed!  This kind of cake is not made here as often as it used to be, and consequently on his six monthly check up with the cardiologist today, the FH has lost 4kg, and they were pleased with him.  Unfortunately they have given him a pretty potent drug today which has a rather unpleasant side effect, so he will be losing more weight pretty rapidly this week!!  Let's think positively - he only has to take it for a few days.

This is the courgette pickle I made last summer when we had a glut of courgettes, and it was set in the cupboard with a label which indicated that it needed to mature until at least November.  The FH has been eating it with cold meats, cheeses and in sandwiches, and reports that it is even better now for a longer maturing period.  He has asked for more - perhaps I should get round to sowing some courgettes seeds!

Life is getting particularly difficult at the moment in that I am spending long hours in school.  There are some significant developments going on just now, and they are going to lead to further work which will take time to reconcile to get the school back on an even keel for September.  

This means that the house is continually untidy - I managed to clean some bathroom washbasins today and fling some bleach down the loos this morning, but I could have done more if I had had time.  The constant rain is hampering the laundry - why wash something if all the drying spaces are full of damp stuff already?!  And I even went to the length of looking on the internet for a tumble dryer this afternoon - I saw the prices and soon reconsidered, so don't worry, I haven't succumbed.

The YFG has recommenced the piano lessons and is beginning to prepare for her Grade 1 exam.  She will start back at ballet on Saturday.  She needs a ballet leotard so I went to the local shop for one today - I was so relieved to find that they are more reasonably priced than the gymnastics ones, which are nearly £40 each, but then she wears those for far more time each week.  Ballet ones are half the price, but then I had a shock when the chap said that the character skirts are £55.  I soon decided that we will look for a second hand one!  It is ridiculous to pay that much for something she will wear for less than 20 minutes a week!  Getting things into perspective, I wouldn't pay that much for a skirt for everyday wear.

The EFG is working very hard for her upcoming GCSE exams - we have a timetable fixed to her bedroom wall so we can see exactly when they are all to be held.  She starts on Monday with two full days of Art.  She went to help at Guides last night but found that she wasn't really needed and spent the time looking through her folder, so she has decided that she probably ought to be using her time at home with her work.  Guides can go on the back burner for a few weeks.

I am longing for better weather again, as I am sure most people in the UK are.  May is on the horizon already, so I do hope that it will bring us more springlike weather.  I do feel for all those people whose homes are threatened by floodwater at this time, and hope that you are all safe and well.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Banking on us

Listening to Stephanie Flanders on the BBC news now, I have just heard her say that the economic recovery depends on consumers spending money..........what money would that be, then?

What with the rising prices of fuel and food, the changes to the taxation system and the benefits for families, and the general malaise in the country, I am not sure what money the bigwigs think that we might all have spare to spend on getting Britain out of recession.

As a family, the girls have held sway today, and we seem to be going on holiday in the Skoda - packing it will be the challenge of a lifetime.  It makes economic sense - I can get almost 600 miles on a tank of diesel for £55, so I am sure that that would be enough diesel for the week, and more!  But we will have to be very canny with the luggage and think twice about what we want and need to take along...The FH was having doubts today that we can afford to go on holiday, but I soon put him right - the accommodation is already paid for, and we have our pot of spending money, so all we need now is some food, which we would need anyway if we stayed at home.

Spending here will continue to be kept fairly strictly under control.  I went into the Co-op today for a packet of pork chops, expecting to pay about £3 or £4, so I was very pleased to come out with a reduced £1.75 pack and even more pleased to be able to report that that was all I bought!  We continue to track our spending on a spreadsheet, and I can see how we are doing against all the annual figures.  Some sections are doing better than others, and so I know where I need to think more creatively.

I hope you are all keeping track and managing your money, rather than letting yourselves be managed by money, or lack thereof!

RIP Rosie

The EFG's aged and beloved female rabbit, Rosie, died last night.  When the EFG went out to them yesterday evening, she knew that Rosie was leaving us, and she called me out there to see her as well.  She sat in the corner of her hutch, quiet and peaceful, not moving at all.  She let us touch her, stroke her, and talk to her.  We said our goodbyes, blessed her and wished her peace.  This morning, she had indeed gone.  UJ has taken her body home with him tonight, and he will bury her under the trees in his orchard, where she can truly rest in peace.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Cheerio! Adios! Dasvidanya! Auf Wiedersehen!

I'm not ticking someone's boxes any more as I have one less follower tonight than I had this morning, I think!

Whatever it is that you are looking for, I hope you find it somewhere, and wish you all the best for the future, whoever you are....I'm not going through the list to see who has gone!

People's lives change and their aims and ambitions are also continually under review too, so I am not surprised that someone would change their mind - I regularly review the blogs I have in my sidebar, and if a blog is not interesting to me any longer, it gets the boot.  Sometimes it depends on what I am looking for information and support with in my own life, and by whom I want to be inspired.  Life changes and we need to make sure we change along with it.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


The YFG has brought home a medal!  It was an overall comp in which everyone had to compete on all pieces, and then the scores were combined to produce a final result.  The YFG got the silver in her age group and her friend from the club took the gold - we were very pleased.  All round it was an excellent day as we took 13 girls in total, and 11 brought back medals - fab result!

Shattered tonight so have just cooked some food for tea, fed the hens and collected the eggs, done a load of washing and hung two more loads up, made a cake for the lunchboxes and have got to do the school uniform ironing and then I am off to bed!  Imagine what I could have achieved if I hadn't been so tired from the day out ;)

A morning wave!

Just popping in to say Good Morning!  We are off to chapel this morning to the service, and to say Good bye to a dear friend who is 80+ and moving to Northamptonshire to live with her daughter.  We will still see her but she will only return to the village occasionally to see other family members who remain here.  We are all a bit sad that she is leaving as she is a wonderful person and will be very much missed.
After that, the YFG and I are heading northwards to a gymnastics competition, in which she is participating this afternoon.  We have 13 gymnasts taking part, and this is the first time our club has entered this competition so we don't really know what to expect!

Hope to let you know how it all went later xx

Thursday, 19 April 2012


I've been mulling things over now and again, and thinking about what we want out of our lifestyle.  Not the deep and meaningful "what we want out of life" - no, I'm leaving that for another day.  I've had time to think about why we live the way we do, and what we want to get from living like this.

I think the girls "get" that we don't spend a lot of money on consumables in order to conserve money for things that matter, that make a difference in the grand scheme of things.  If I explain that I need to save for the EFG's travel fund, they understand that that is important.  Telling the EFG that she can't download yet another Vampire book for her Kindle is taken stoically when she grasps that they are not at the top of the priority list.  The YFG is also on board, easily seeing that she does gymnastics already as well as Guides, and that if she wants to do ballet, she can't continue Guides as well - there is a set amount of money in the Activities budget and it won't stretch to two things.  That sort of attitude and understanding is great.  I don't want any comments about being mean not letting her do both; it is about education for their future.  In the big wide world, young adults don't get a lot of financial information, and we as parents are the first line for them.  We need to be strong and not give in to childish demands, and help them understand the ways of the world.  Tesco won't let you leave with all your food if you can only pay for half of it, for example.

Children also need to grasp the concept of working in exchange for payment.  There are always jobs that the girls can do in exchange for money.  They each have a daily job that they are required to do as a contribution to the household, which both are now used to doing although it took some nagging to get them into the routine. But if something is not worth their effort, why should it be worth my effort on their behalf?  So if extra pennies are wanted for extras that they desire, I am quite happy to help them to achieve the extra cash, but I don't often just buy whatever it is they want.  

This is reflected in our lives - they see us save up for items, they hear us discuss whether the sofas will get replaced this year or next, what might be a higher priority for the household, which car to take on a long journey to get the best miles per pound of fuel, etc.  These sorts of discussions are openly held, and the girls participate and add their opinions - they want to take the Skoda to Yorkshire, and it would get the best mpp but we wouldn't get all the luggage in, so we are still talking about that one.  And the sofas? No, not on the list this year!  Higher priorities are the travel fund and the maintenance on the house....

Thrift in our daily lives is evident.  I put on a waterproof jacket this morning and looked it at, muttering to myself about the mud around the hem of it, saying that it was probably still Kindrogan mud.  I went on a geography residential field trip to Kindrogan Field Centre (it has changed a bit since I was there - 5 of us slept in an attic bedroom that was nothing like the bedrooms in the tour, and definitely no en-suite!) in Perthshire when I was 17.  My mum had to buy me a waterproof kagoule and trousers, and although the trousers have long been passed on, the kagoule top is still in first class condition 22 years later.  Similarly I was wearing a jacket the other day that I have had over 15 years, and it washes well, keeps me warm and I find it really comfy for the garden and popping to the village, so why would I pass it on?  We don't live terribly disposable lives, and I am doing my best to instill the same values in the girls, although I am fast discovering that the YFG is probably destined to be a model, if the number of times she changes her clothes in a day is anything to go by; that is a work in progress!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

One eye

I'm typing with a running commentary from the OH and YFG (who ought to be in bed, I know!) as they are watching "127 hours" and I really wish they weren't! They are waiting for this poor chap to saw through his arm and escape from the boulder he is trapped under....I am trying very hard not to watch, and every time he looks like he is getting a knife out, I am covering my eyes - too squeamish to watch stuff like this!!

Today has been long and hard, and I am ready to stop and do some knitting. I had an easy morning as I knew the later part of the day was going to be a long one, so I pottered around and did odd jobs for a while. I had a bath, and then some lunch, and then it all kicked off.

First was a meeting at school about the arrangements for pre-school, then I moved on to teach an after school gym club, still at school. I dropped my assistant home and then had to go to an office for a meeting at 5pm. There have been some interesting and challenging decisions to make there, quick trip to Tesco to get some eye drops for the YFG, and then home. Driving through heavy rain was hard work on the concentration front, and as soon as I got home, the EFG was ready to go to Guides so off we popped straight away there. Luckily I could then come home and collapse! I made myself a wheatfree pitta bread, and made a cup of tea - enough!

Tonight I've caught up with emails and contacted a lady who has bought something from me on ebay, so I have to get the delivery of that organised.

I think tomorrow will be a doddle compared to today - housework is on the agenda, along with some ironing, so I can give my brain a rest....

Hope you have had a good Wednesday. Savings are still being accumulated here, although the new tin is still starving!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Empty tins

This is the tin we opened this morning - bought for 99p from a Card Factory shop in the early months of Spring - I think they were getting it together for Mother's Day a bit early!

I liked the tin straight away because it made it clear whose money it was - mine!!
And this is the new tin - in Her Majesty's 60th year of reigning, I thought she was well-qualified to watch over my pennies this time. These tins are rather common at the moment, so there are probably some in a cheap shop near you, if you live in the UK!

And so, drum roll, please .......

£141.76 is the holiday spending fund!!

This is what we will have to spend on days out, treats like ice cream, and maybe a meal out on the last night or so. We have some visits planned to various attractions, and we are likely to spend most of it, but we can do so without a shred of guilt as this is what this money is meant for!!

Counting up

I am opening one sealed pot today!

We had a discussion here and thought I would do a pot for each term, so the pot we have already is being opened today and a new one will be begun.

Today's the first day of the summer term for the girls, so a fitting day to start something new.

The money in last term's tin is the spending money for the holiday in Yorkshire...

I'll be sharing more once I have counted the dosh!

Osprey blog

She's laid an egg!

I have found a blog to go along with the webcam at Loch of the Lowes, so here is the link but I think I will have to find somewhere in the sidebar to make a more permanent link for that.

It is very interesting, and there is lots of information about what the osprey is up to, what is happening on the nest and why, and what else is going on in that area. Do have a look!

[Edit on Tuesday night - she's laid another one this afternoon!!]

Monday, 16 April 2012

A fresh start

The Summer term commences tomorrow - so we have new beginnings.

The beginning of the end for the EFG - her last few weeks at secondary school, as she will have finished all her exams by the second week after half term in June, and so she is now on the home stretch of this stage of her education.

Spring is really here now and so I have begun the grass cutting season - the front lawn was done on Saturday and the back today. It is very satisfying to see the short, uniform grass rather than the rather untidy thatch that the winter had left! The rabbits will be glad to get out of their cages in rotation and spend time on the lawn in the run - I think Guiness might get the first honour!

The EFG spent her morning at school today doing an art workshop in preparation for her upcoming exam. So the YFG and I dropped her off at 8.50am and pootled off across the fields to the lovely Cambridgeshire town of St Ives. It was a very pleasant journey, and I called in on a friend, and then we mooched around the town market. It has been years since I looked around that market, and it has changed and moved on, now boasting stalls selling mobiles, for example, and yet it has stayed the same in that the veg stalls still stand in exactly the same spot that I remember! We didn't have time to go down to the river and feed the swans, but on a longer visit, that would have been where I would have enjoyed lingering. We popped into Poundland and spent a few - we don't have one in this area so it is a novelty to see all the things that they can manage to sell for just £1!

This afternoon I spent time in the garden, doing the lawn mowing as well as tidying up all the strawberry plants and talking to the chooks. They are laying at least 20 eggs a day now and so I need to find some new customers!! I gave two dozen away today - one to a friend in the village who does our hair and the other to my friend in St Ives.

And what of the weekend and the meditations? It was a good weekend on lots of levels. Friday was hectic, with the YFG having a friend here overnight on Thursday and then having the friend stay all day on Friday, having a marathon Wii session. The friend is an only child so they do enjoy playing together when they get the chance. Another pair of little friends had already been invited to tea, so I cooked them Toad in the Hole, and then chocolate buns for pudding. They went home well stuffed at 7.30pm and I took the girls and we went babysitting in the village. We had a very relaxing evening, watching tv and reading, whilst the little girl remained fast asleep all the time we were there - we never even saw her!

On Saturday, we spent most of the day at home until I took the girls out in the late afternoon to do a spot of uniform shopping. The EFG needed a pair of black trousers that she could wear for this half term to school but which would still be useful when uniform is no longer needed. We got two pairs of cheapish ones from Asda, and popped in to some other shops whilst we were out. It was a lovely ride home across the fields again. I do enjoy driving in the countryside at this time of year!

Saturday evening the girls decided to have a sleepover together on the lounge floor in their sleeping bags, and watch some films. They have their moments of togetherness, and this was one of them - sometimes they seem to really get on, and at other times appear not to be able to stand one another!! So I encouraged them to spend time together, and indulged them - I didn't wake them on Sunday morning and the FH and I slipped out at 9.15am to go to church and left them sleeping.....

Today has been lovely too, although the YFG was very very quiet this morning. Eventually I extracted the problem that she was worrying about - some homework - and so when we picked up the EFG, she was able to nip into school and have a word with the teacher who was in school as it was a training day. She has been back to her normal self this afternoon and much happier!

This evening I have turned up one of the pairs of trousers for the EFG to wear tomorrow and we have watched Silent Witness together. I bought two large pieces of topside this morning at reduced prices, so I have cooked them both this afternoon and now 16 portions of beef reside in the freezer - 4 dinners for 4 people - half with accompanying gravy made from the juices as well! Can't wait to dig into that one Sunday lunch time!

I hope you have all had a peaceful and relaxing weekend. We are back into the fray tomorrow: the girls are off to school and I have a meeting at school here in the morning, followed by gym in the later afternoon and early get some rest!!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Who is your Guru?

Life can get over informed, don't you think? I've been reading too many blogs lately, I feel, and don't know whose advice to follow for the best!! I feel like I have information overload, a chronic shortage of time caused by spending too much of it on here, and too many choices to make...and I could easily begin to feel drastically inferior, reading of people's housecleaning routines, beauty routines, workout schedules, etc.

Sometimes I wish I was like Shadow, the cat, answerable to no one, with no responsibilities and no expectations beyond food in my belly and somewhere to curl up and doze.

But I am not like that, and I do have those things to consider.

First things first. I'm taking a few days off from here - and from all other blog reading too - and I am spending the weekend in the real world.

With my husband and children. With friends and family. Doing some housework, some exercise, some garden work, some chook cleaning out, some decluttering, some ironing...taking care of life!

Knitting, reading, talking, cooking, creating, learning.

Finding MY way. Finding out what works best for me. Thinking, plotting and considering.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Only this weekend before we dive right back into the Summer term, GCSEs, church plans, holiday plans, gym competitions....

See you all next week x

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Loch of the Lowes Webcam

I have turned the photo of Lancelot in to a quicklink to the webcam at Loch of the Lowes where Lady the osprey has returned for the 23rd year, apparently. So when I want to have a quick look to see how she is doing (no eggs yet), I have an easy link. Feel free to use it yourselves, although I have put it there for my own convenience!!

Taking time equals appreciation

The YFG has been saving up since Christmas for a new phone as hers died a death last term. She has managed without one, but I have to admit that I like her to have one so that I can get in touch with her if I want to when she is out and about. It's a bit tricky ringing a house phone when she is at someone's house for the first time, and whispering to her, "Are they OK? Are you having a nice time?" especially now that she is at secondary school and mixing with people whose parents I don't know. She is able to send me a text and let me know that all is well!

She finally had enough money last week and we ordered it, and it was delivered this morning. She was so excited, so pleased with herself and all her strategies to acquire the money - and that is what I want to encourage in my children. I don't want them to look for credit, to be impatient and think that they "deserve" to have everything straight away.

The EFG has similarly bought herself a new camera this week. She has also been saving up for it, and wanted it for her coursework with art. I encouraged and motivated her and she is thrilled with her new piece of technology....taking lots of photos already!

I am trying to help them to realise that work brings rewards, and that they have to be patient. I don't want them to move out of here when they are older and expect to move into a house of a similar size and standard, for example. I lived in a little rented house at university for a year, with electric heating we couldn't afford to run, cardboard thin walls, and nearly two miles from the college so I walked everywhere all the time. We worked hard to get where we are today, and they can't expect to have everything they enjoy here straight away. I understand now that if they work hard and save very hard for several years before they get into marriage and children, they can put themselves into a better position. I just have to help them to understand that, rather than wasting income on gadgets, furniture and cars!!

I am reading Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel at the moment and really enjoying it. I will need to read it again with a notebook at my side, and I can't wait to get some of the right yarn to try knitting a dishcloth! I love most of the ideas she has, and Love the book!

I had to buy some cucumber seeds tonight as the seeds I had bought the FH had sowed and they had bolted and were useless, so I needed more. I like to support heritage seeds, so I buy some from The Real Seed Catalogue but remembered the name incorrectly and ended up on a website selling cannabis seeds!! Needless to say, I closed that one down rather quickly without making a purchase, and swiftly looked more closely for the site I really wanted!!! Shocking how easily these mistakes can be made.

Monday, 9 April 2012

End of first quarter

The end of March may be a week or two ago, but I have just got round to sorting out the end of the quarter's figures, so that I can compare the first three month's spending against the whole budget for the year.

Several points have come to light:
  1. The Council Tax has gone up, so I needed to adjust that budget slightly, since it was made before I knew whether it would go up and by how much. An extra £40 required in there.
  2. The electricity budget is plodding along on track but it is past the time I should have been looking for a cheaper supplier. On the "to do" list this week.
  3. The TV licence pot can be reduced - the FH will turn 75 at the end of the year, so since ours is due in July, we will only pay about half (although I don't know whether we pay it all and then get a rebate, but it will all come out in the wash!)
  4. The Grocery budget is OK, but we have to reduce the average amount spent per month in order to compensate for stocking up which took place in the wintery months. With the garden in production later in the year, this should all even out. I will keep a careful eye on this one!
  5. I have money in a pot for RAC membership, but I may take that out with Tesco vouchers. I will have to weigh up the pros and cons of that. Now that we no longer have the motorhome, I may change back to the AA, as we have a friend who is a patrolman and he gets commission on sign ups. I'll have to check into all the possibilities for this one, too.
  6. The cars are both insured for the year, and it came in at £62 more than I had budgeted, so I have had to put that into the pot. It is OK though, as I have a newer car than I had when I set the budget, so it is to be expected that the insurance was a little more.
  7. I have reduced the pot for school trips as the EFG will be out of school between the middle of June and September, and I can't imagine that they will spend the whole amount I had set aside in the Autumn. Since the YFG will not be going on a skiing trip for £999 next year, I am fine with this!
  8. I had overestimated the cat food bill, so that pot has been reduced a little.
  9. The medication bill has had to be increased. I take a daily medication which I cannot get on the NHS in the brand I need - they prescribe a generic which doesn't agree with me, won't prescribe the brand I need, so I have to buy it myself...
  10. Wavering over whether to include the interest on the ISA which has been paid or should I only include the savings I have made this year from actual income? Have yet to decide on that one!
What with all the changes, I have reduced the overall budget by £16, so that is theoretically £16 to put to savings...

And the SFT Sealed pot challenge? The pot is 3/4 full! I am so pleased - and can't wait to get it full. I haven't weighed it lately, but it is getting heavy. We have decided that we might open it for holiday spending money in the summer half term, which would still leave the rest of June to the end of September to save for a birthday treat for me! I think that however much is in there, we probably wouldn't spend it all - we have decided what we want to do when we are on holiday, so I know roughly how much cash I need for the days out....but more of that another time!

Hoping you have all had a peaceful Easter and been able to spend time with those you love. We have had UJ over for lunch yesterday, and then my Dad came over in the late afternoon for some time with the girls and us. The EFG and I have had a quiet day together today, and the YFG went out last night to a sleepover round the corner, and just came home about an hour ago. It is nice to have her back.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Birthday Mum x

I have been taking some time to remember my mum today. She would have been 71 today, so I bought some flowers and put them in a nice vase on the table to remind me of her birthday for a few days. I don't go to her grave often for she isn't there; she is here, with us, in our hearts. My dad, bless him, looks after the grave for us, and my sister puts flowers there sometimes.

Mum knew the EFG for about 18 months before they were separated. They would have had such good times together as the EFG grew up, and she would have loved the YFG as well. I remember her pushing the pram around Cupar, sneaking little star shaped chocolate to the EFG (can't remember what they are called!?) when she thought I wasn't looking - I think I have made up for all the chocolate they would have shared, though, so the EFG hasn't missed out on that!

The girls do miss out on grandparents, in a way. My dad is lovely to them, very proud of them, interested in all they do and want to achieve, and supports their ambitions, but there is only the one of him, and the other three grandparents have all passed on. He is 83 this year, and slowing down. The girls do their best to keep him up to date with the technology, though, and he is very pleased when they put his photos on DVDs and pop them in the tv for him to share with us.

Funny how the pregnancy was never mentioned because I was 400 miles away, on the end of the phone, and it could be avoided, and I was an unmarried mother, so not quite respectable. But once the EFG was born, named after my own grandmother, the outpouring of love began, and it never stopped. The EFG and her Granny spent the second week of February together in Cupar that year, although my dad had offered to take Mum to Malta, and she said, "No, let's go and see (the EFG) again" so they came. Mum died just a few days after they returned home.

It does me good to remember each year, remember the love, remember the sharing and the history we had. The good times as well as the rough times which we got through. Our faith. Our love. Her generosity and hospitality. Her kindness as well as her sharp tongue at times. Her thriftiness, her love for us as children, and her support for us as adults. Her dedication to her big brother and her mother. Contentment. Hard work. Afternoon naps. Sewing dresses for our dolls in secret for Christmas presents - fantastic outfits made in velvet. Three of us in matching summer dresses one year.

I hope I am doing enough to make her proud still. Not what she hoped for me, nor what she had as ambitions for me, but perhaps a different path to a similar achievement one day.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

All done in!

The girls broke up from school on Friday, but that wasn't the end! We still had gym on Saturday, two church services on Sunday and then gym Holiday Club Monday to Wednesday for 4 hours a day. Today feels like it has been the first day I have had "off"....

And what have I done? Washing, deep-cleaned the hall, some tidying in the kitchen, emails and invoices for various things, listing on ebay, more washing, moving the ironed clothes upstairs, etc.

The FH took the girls to meet his sister at their parents' graves - an annual visit. He bought a new pair of shoes on the way home, and then this afternoon, the girls went out on their bikes - they delivered some eggs to a friend, posted an Easter card to my old Kindergarten teacher, took some Easter gifts to friends, and then visited with a little friend for the afternoon. They came home just in time for tea!

Tonight I have been doing some work on the Sunday service, and the girls have been designing posters for the Craft Club ladies for tomorrow morning - we are doing a sponsored knit for the Samaritan's Purse appeal and the ladies want to advertise for spare wool.

UJ is coming for lunch on Sunday, so I am hoping to find something good in the depths of the freezers, and we have so many eggs that I am going to have to start making lemon curd again - the girls are laying anything between 14 and 25 eggs a day at the moment - the day that the clocks changed, the explosion of egg laying began, and they haven't looked back yet! I'll make some kind of cake for the weekend as well.