Saturday, 27 February 2010

A New Home!

Finally, I have set up a new blog here

Feel free to come and visit and if you do, don't forget to let me know!

Look forward to seeing you there...

Monday, 7 December 2009

St Nicolas' Day

The girls have been enjoying ballet classes which they started a month ago (now we are all very familiar with good toes, bad toes....) and so we arranged for them and their best friends to go to see The Nutcracker together. Such fun!

We had prepared all week by listening to the music and discussing the plot so they had a good idea what was happening, but LissaLou is truly her parents' daughter and still sat whispering (oh so loudly!) throughout, asking about or stating what was happening! They were very confused by the non-arrival of the Sugar Plum Fairy (whose dance was done by the leading character Clara) but were quite happy with our explanation that there weren't enough people to fill all the parts!Of course, the highlight for them was being treated to ice cream in the interval - thanks BFs' dad!
I would also like to give a plug for Specsavers, where I went for an appointment beforehand after perhaps six months without glasses. On hearing of my theatre attendance, the kind staff member insisted I couldn't possibly go without glasses, and whizzed them up for me in half an hour, rather than the usual three days! And all this despite him being an Arsenal fan!

Afterwards we celebrated St Nicholas' Day with our friends. I hadn't realised what a big thing this is in Holland, as all presents happen now rather than at Christmas. The girls were thrilled with their little gifts but given the rather undressed state the younger ones were in, I decided to leave out the photos! Instead, here is JoJo very much enjoying his chocolate gift and Bertie who kindly made a Caribbean dessert of fried plantain with ice cream and chocolate sauce. The main course was a traditional dutch meal of carrot and turnip (I think) with meatballs, gravy, cider vinegar and an additional mashed potato and kale dish. Delicious. And so filling!
Above - a little clue as to what the girls got...

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Man At Work

I never fail to be amazed at how hard Bertie works and what DIY talents he has. He is also following closely in the footsteps of his mother and has become a dab hand at recycling all the junk he finds lying around to create something much more useful. Now he is working full time and the sun sets so early, he is not seeing much of his garden (ahh!) but he got plenty done over the past few months, digging and clearing and chopping and weeding and building. Some highlights...

Growing lettuce in October? This is not Guadeloupe you know!It's all about motivation - even reluctant gardeners will help their daddy if the reward is some tasty raspberries next summer!
This used be a greenhouse but who needs two?! So Bertie removed some concrete, laid some pebbles (mostly dug up all around the garden - where do they come from?), put down the random bit of tarpulin found in one of the sheds and then finallylaid 60 kilos of sand! And it barely even covers the bottom! The kids have enjoyed playing in it but it is covered for winter now. When it reopens I think we will have to triple the amount of sand, especially as they have great difficulty keeping it in the pit! (NB Any guesses as to why that wooden pane is there??) This is one of our four compost heaps, mostly left over from the previous tenants, which Bertie has been working on. We think this one may contain a fox or two.
I had my heart set on a bird table so Bertie kindly nailed this together for me. We have had the fun of watching our friendly robin and some bluetits come regularly but our most frequent visitor is of course the darned squirrel. Even JoJo runs to the door and shouts "OI!" in imitation of his frustrated mum when he sees it coming now!
The begins of our leaf mould container, which Bertie hammered together from crates from the local vegetable sellers. It is now totally enclosed and full to the brim after all the blustery weather, and we are looking forward to seeing how it looks in a year's time.

The Residents

Taken on my birthday enjoying their new dressing gowns from Grandma and Grandpa.

Welcome To Our New Home!

I thought I would go into a bit more detail about the topics I briefly raised in my previous post before I get going on the meaty issues of the universe, so here is a quick peek into our new rented place.

Our friends arranged for us to move here, mainly because they know Bertie likes gardening and it has a BIG garden. Both front and back. I couldn't get the whole thing into one shot so here is an idea.

This is the lovely big fir (?) tree that greets you when you come up to our gate. Can you see our bungalow peeking out in the background? Thought not. It is a very long walk down that path for a)the postman b)me on a dark night and c)me when JoJo is at the gate and I have to hurry to get him before he tries getting out onto the street!

This is our lovely poplar also at our front gate. We have one at the back of the garden too and they make a beautiful rustling noise in the wind. Well, not any more as they have just lost all their leaves.
I would also add that it is jolly hard to reverse the car in through the gate. You will not be surprised that I leave such matters to my dear husband!Ah, all that walking has finally got you somewhere! Here is our cute little bungalow. You can't see here but it has beautiful stained glass patterns on the window. I love the big bay window in the living room and the one on the left is the kids' room. My first act was to tuck up all the awful net curtains to let the sun in - one day I may actually get round to taking them down!Now we are out the back. This is a wee bit of our garden, let's say about a quarter of it! This is where all that lovely vegetable and berry growing will hopefully happen next spring! The rest of the garden is grass and trees and greenhouse and......our own little summerhouse! Isn't it cool? Or hot rather! The previous tenants seemed to have had electricity, phone line, the works. We have lost ownership of this building to the smaller members of our family, much to their delight!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

It's Been A While

We have been in our new place, oh, some two and a half months now and we are finally BACK ONLINE!!! Very exciting to be able to check out again all my favourite blogs and things and I am looking forward to actually emailing people again now!

I have been musing on what to do with my blog, whether to rename it or have a fresh start and I haven't quite decided yet. Any suggestions for a more appropriate name for this new season of life would be most appreciated! I was trying to redesign it in more autumnal colours but the choice on blogger of templates is not very exciting I'm afraid.

As I reflect on all these major issues (!) here is a quick summary of what our life consists of right now...

House - is a nice if somewhat chilly place! We have settled in now and covered the walls with our pictures and children's stuff so it looks very homely and lived in. We got our new three seater sofa last week to everyone's delight - the first time we have had a sofa the entire family fits onto!

Garden - is lovely but with the changing season we are not seeing as much of it as we were! I love hanging my washing out though and listening to the trees rustle and birds singing.

Homeschool - did I mention we are homeschooling this year? It is proving great fun - freedom and flexibility are two advantages not to mention more time together as a family. Before Bertie started work we were able to make numerous trips out together, now we are staying more local with regular trips over to north London.

The area - we are getting to know and appreciate it, though I did have a pang of regret when we visited Hampstead Heath recently. Oh I miss being next door to the Heath! We have several pleasant parks around, good transport links, a lovely forest or two...that'll do us nicely!

Church - we are attending our friends' very local church - 5 minutes walk away! There are lots of little girls there which the girls are of course thrilled about and we are enjoying making friends there and getting involved in various activities.

Work - this one has been a bit frustrating, as Bertie first had to wait ages for his CRB then was just getting a bit of supply work every now and then. However, great news! This very week he was offered a permanent post starting the next day! We are thrilled about this, though less so about the location (one hour's commute) however, just think of all that reading time!

Plenty more to say but that can wait for another day.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Update To Come....

Well we have been here there and everywhere since our return from Guadeloupe. Two weeks in France followed by a week with the parents followed by a fortnight in the million pound four storey house of some church friends followed by 10 days in Plaistow (which we discovered is pronounced Plaaaarrrrstow rather than logically rhyming with wait and bait and cait...lyn!) in a two up two down terraced house and now..... we have finally arrived in our new house! We have left the beautiful north London for the pleasant borough of Redbridge in the north east of London. A cute two bedroom bungalow with a yellow door and a HUGE front garden and an even HUGER back garden! Apple trees, pear trees, plum trees, poplars, fir trees, spruces, summer house, sheds galore, greenhouse....we have it all! We are slowly making order out of chaos and setting up home so hopefully I will be back on line in the not too distant future with more news and photos!