Monday 30 August 2021

La Dolce Vita

 Ah, the restaurant table beneath the shuttered windows with lights strewn between olive trees

The happy faces, the aperol spritz and the glass of negroamoro red wine

The pizza with burrata, mozzarella, mortadella and pistachio pesto, fresh from the wood burning pizza oven, the hand made rigatoni in a nduja and tomato sauce

We must surely have jumped on a plane to Sicily for the weekend.  Or did we?  

Sadly, no.  But we did the next best thing and went for lunch at a lovely family run Sicilian restaurant in town. It was absolutely lovely, and only the second time I have eaten inside a restaurant since last December.  Well worth the wait, and it gave us sustenance for the evening when we were babysitting for Rachel and James again while they went to a friend's wedding reception which had been postponed twice last year.

As for Me on Monday today, it's Bank Holiday Monday here and our son and his wife are going away overnight to celebrate their wedding anniversary.  Guess who's looking after Max tonight?  Wish us luck ...

Wednesday 25 August 2021

An unexpected day off

We normally have Leo and Rosie here on a Tuesday but as it was Rachel's birthday, they decided to take the day off work and have a family day together so we had an unexpected Tuesday to ourselves.  We didn't get off scot free though, there was an evening of babysitting instead while Rachel and James went out for a meal.

So, what to do with a day off?  We decided to go to Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust property about 35 miles from us.  Nothing at all to do with Anglesey the Welsh island which is about 300 miles from us!  

It really is a lovely place and with much history stretching back almost 900 years.  Originally built as a hospital in 1135, it became a priory in 1236 until the dissolution of monasteries by Henry VIII. It became a private house in 1609 and has had many owners and alterations.  The last owners, Lord Fairhaven and his brother bequeathed the house and gardens to the National Trust in 1966. 

The gardens are extensive and exceptionally well maintained.  So varied too, with woodland walks and many styles of gardens and amazing statues.

It is certainly a place to come back to and we have decided that we will definitely return in the autumn when the trees are changing colour, it will look wonderful.  The house itself was not open to the public until September, so that is another reason to return!

Monday 23 August 2021

Me on Monday

 It's been a busy week for Leo, and a tiring one for me, since I last wrote a blog post. 

Most importantly, he's had a birthday party.  His first 'proper' party with all his school friends instead of family.  Rachel hired a hall, booked a bouncy castle completely decorated in superheroes, and arranged for a magician.  It was wonderful to see his happy little face.  Thirty six five year olds, with assorted siblings, can you imagine the noise?  Instead of one big cake with a candle to blow out, Rachel decided for all the children to have their own individual cake rather than a slice of a large one - more Covid friendly, I mean how many potential germs can a five year old share while blowing out a candle?  So that was my job on Friday, I baked four dozen cupcakes and then handed them over to be decorated.

You will have to imagine a swirl of icing on top of the cake, I forgot to take a photo before the children were allowed to dive in and eat them!

The magician was so good and every single child went home with their own balloon animal - Leo chose a monkey climbing a tree.

At the end of the party, we helped clear up, came home and an hour and a half later four friends came over for a Curry Night.  Luckily we had ordered the food before we went out to the party so had to just sit down and chill before they arrived.  They stayed until almost midnight, we loaded the dishwasher and went to bed, it had been a very busy day.  

I'd like to say I slept like a baby that night.  Actually I did, but like a newborn I was sound asleep for four hours and then awake for much of the next four!  The thunder.  The lightening.  The rain lashing against our windows.  Somehow Paul slept through it but once awake, I could not get back to sleep.  So it was no surprise when I fell asleep for an hour and a half after Sunday lunch was it?

We finally made it to the zoo with Leo and Rosie on Tuesday, and had a really lovely day.  We went to a zoo we hadn't been to before and were so impressed.  The animals had lots of space and they have many conservation projects ongoing.  After a morning looking at the wild animals, we had our picnic lunch and then went to the other half of the zoo.  The world of dinosaurs. Huge animatronic beasts, set in a woodland area.  I think they were a little larger and a lot noisier than Leo was expecting and boy did they look authentic!

Also, I finally got my new glasses.  They had tweaked my prescription and this time I was able to see just fine.

So how is this coming week looking? Well, Paul is out with a friend today so I have plans to make a birthday cake for Rachel's birthday tomorrow and crack on with a new crochet project.  This one's going to be a LOT smaller than my previous ones!

Lots of babysitting on the horizon - tomorrow for Rachel when she goes out for a meal with James in the evening, Max during the day on Wednesday and again for Rachel Saturday evening while they go to to a wedding reception.  All good practice for the following week when we have several nights of sleepovers - I need to start taking extra vitamins now!  

Monday 16 August 2021

Me on Monday

 Last week was a busy one yet I can't honestly pick out much to blog about.  You know that song 'Busy doing nothing ...'?  I think that sums it up!  

Monday was a wash out - literally!

However, this was the week where we took Leo and Rosie out for the day and discovered the secret of where Santa stables Rudolph in the summer

The end of the week was more sociable with us having friends round for drinks to celebrate the end of their isolation after their son tested positive.  I met with ex work colleagues for coffee in the garden on Friday and on Sunday we went for lunch with my sister and brother in law to my cousin's house who we haven't seen for almost two years.  You can guess why!  All times we felt we were being as safe as possible, keeping distance and being either outside or in a well ventilated room but it still felt strange.

So Monday this week finds me with a pile of ironing waiting to be done, hopefully a visit to the zoo tomorrow, Max on Wednesday, Zumba on Thursday, cooking cupcakes on Friday and Leo's birthday party on Saturday followed by friends coming for a Curry Night in the evening.  

I can put off that pile of ironing no longer - have a good week!

Monday 9 August 2021

Scavenger Hunt 2021 - 2nd roundup

 It's time for the second roundup of photos for the Summer Photo Hunt 2021 organised by Mary-Lou over at Patio Postcards.  My first finds can be seen in this blog post.

2 Favourite time of day

Is it the moon coming up?  Or the sun going down? 

6 What makes you laugh or happy

All the family together - there was no competition for this one!

12 Something that is cause for celebration


16 A guilty pleasure; something that recharges you

I have just three words.  Salted caramel gelato.  

17 An exit

Found at the end of a crazy golf course

18 Upside down, Right side up

I thought I may struggle with this one, but the current restrictions on entry and exit from shops came to my rescue

19 Steps but who's counting

There's not many of them, and they are not steep, but when you are weighed down by all the paraphernalia needed for a day on the beach, including two kites and a buggy, they are the final hurdle to the road home!

Are you joining in?  There's still time to start!  I can't wait to see what everyone else has found.

Sunday 1 August 2021

A sentence a day in July

 Well, we start the month still in restrictions - will they ever end?

Day 1 Sun is shining, Zumba was a lot of fun and I discovered they sell my favourite locally made ice cream in a shop down the town - what a good start to the month

Day 2 Coffee with friends in the morning and afternoon tea in the garden with my sister in the afternoon, another sunny day.

Day 3 England beat Ukraine 4-0 and are through to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 (one year late) 

Day 4 Went to an Art & Craft exhibition that Paul's art teacher was participating in and came home with a new picture for the lounge, later that evening we realised that we had not come home with Paul's wallet 😔

Day 5 After a lot of searching, phone calls and emails the wallet turned up in a random place, in between two jigsaw puzzle boxes in our spare bedroom!

Day 6 Had Rosie here for a couple of hours until we had a phone call from Rachel to say that James had tested positive for Covid.  With no symptoms and having had both vaccines, if he hadn't gone into the office this morning and taken a routine lateral flow test he would have been none the wiser.

Day 7 Max has woken up with odd looking spots on his stomach and chest - chicken pox brewing?  So no childcare here at all this week :-( Did some baking to make sure freezer is stocked in case we all have to isolate

Day 8 Trying to reduce the amount of time spent in company indoors in the days leading up to our holiday so am doing Zumba online this week 

Day 9 Paul had to go to Minor Injuries at the hospital as he has had a nasty reaction to an insect bite - fortunately they don't think it's infected but it looks awful!

Day 10 Ladies Singles Final at Wimbledon, Ash Barty won - it was so good to see two people in the final who had never got that far before

Day 11 Euro 2020 Final, England v Italy.  It did not end well, with us losing on penalties

Day 12 Boris Johnson announced that all restrictions will lift on 19 July, despite numbers continuing to rise

Day 13 We lent Coco to Rachel for the afternoon as a distraction from them still being in isolation

Day 14 We had Max here for the day which was lovely, the rash he had last week remains a mystery, it never turned into chicken pox.

Day 15 Suitcases out of the loft, freshly laundered clothes piling up on the spare bed, Coco looking at us suspiciously 

Day 16 Jon working from home at our house as they have a lot of work going on today at the farm - washing and ironing totally up to date, one of the many benefits of going away! 

Day 17 Started our holiday in Southwold, happy to find our holiday home is perfectly situated for the beach and the shops and the sun is shining!

Day 18 A day on the beach, a walk to the pier and exploring the town

Day 19 Rachel and family went to a nearby zoo, so we just relaxed, did some sketching (Paul), read books (me) and then had a picnic lunch on the green (both of us)

Today was also the day that restrictions in the UK on mask wearing etc were lifted.  However ... everyone we saw in shops was still wearing masks and shops were still restricting numbers inside.  Which was a bit of a relief to be honest.

Day 20 A morning on the beach flying kites and digging holes, and an afternoon at the harbour crabbing 

Is it a meerkat?  Is it Spiderman? or is it Leo in a hole?

Day 21 It would normally be my day for having Max, so Jon brought him to join us at the beach -  fish and chips on the green for lunch, so much fun to have everyone here together.

Day 22 Spent all day at the beach, Rachel and James finally got to go out and have an anniversary meal (they were in quarantine for their actual anniversary) while we babysat the children in the evening.

Day 23 A busy day!  Went crabbing in the morning (Leo was thrilled to catch ten!), kite flying on the green and beach in the afternoon. 

Day 24 Time to pack up and come home.  Leo in tears in the car and desperate to know when we are going back - the sign of a good holiday!

Day 25 Max's 2nd birthday so we had a fun afternoon helping him celebrate; they had been forecasting thunderstorms all day but thankfully it stayed dry and warm and they didn't start until the party came to an end.

Day 26 Had an opticians appointment this morning, a new prescription means an excuse for new glasses - I always find it hard to choose new frames so I was there a long time!

Day 27 Rosie and Leo here for the day, went into town to get the ingredients to make 'slime' - it was a very messy afternoon but good fun.

Day 28 Max here for the day - he certainly keeps us on our toes, I got stung by a bee while in the garden picking raspberries for lunch 😓

Day 29 Dentist appointment first thing (which is my least favourite thing to do!) but skipped out with nothing needing to be done.  Zumba in the hall which was so much fun, but the day ended sadly with news in the evening that Rachel's father in law had died.

Day 30  Rachel and children came for tea as James has gone to spend time with his mum and help with all the arrangements that need to be done.

Day 31 Paul met up with some old school friends for a pub lunch and I binge watched some episodes of Virgin River!

And so ends another month.  It feels like we packed a lot into it.  Let's watch the month unfold in 1 second everyday

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