Saturday 30 October 2021

Pigeon Pairs

 Do you know the expression 'Pigeon Pair'?  Rumour has it that pigeons sit on two eggs at a time, and they are always a boy and a girl.

I only learnt this when I had a girl baby followed by a boy.  As the consultant handed me my son she said 'Congratuations!  You now have a pigeon pair.'  I had no idea what she was talking about!  My sister also had a 'pigeon pair', her son and daughter both did too, my daughter did, and now my son has carried on the family tradition!

Yes, we have a new granddaughter - earlier than anyone expected.  Bearing in mind that Max was ten days late no-one had really thought that baby number two would arrive early.  Of course they only moved house last Wednesday so had thought they had at least three weeks to settle in, unpack and get used to their new home.  Mother Nature had other plans!

When my phone rang at 7am on Thursday and my son's name flashed up on the screen I knew something was up.  He's very good at keeping in contact via messages but we don't have that many actual phone calls, especially at 7am! He was ringing to say that S's waters had broken and they were off to hospital.  S's sister had come over to sit with Max and take him to nursery but could we pick him up and have him sleep over that night.  

Of course we could!

However, when they got to hospital they were sent home again as contractions were few and far between.  They went home about 11am and went back at 2pm as things had definitely accelerated.  Baby Olive was born at 3.30pm.  

We went to meet her for the first time this morning and it was love at first sight!

What an eventful time!  Seems like the old saying of 'new home, new baby' was absolutely true. 

Monday 25 October 2021

Finally ...

 The saga of our son's moving house reached a happy ending on Wednesday after 6 months of stress, disappointment and inconvenience.

It's a very long story so I'll cut it short. At the beginning of the year they sold their house and put in an offer to buy a different one.  The 'new to them' house was a rental property, the tenants had moved out and it looked like it was going to be a swift process.  The sale of their house went through without a hitch, and from negotiations it looked like the next house would only be a month later.  So with that in mind, they sold, put their belongings in storage, and moved out to live at the farm where Sophie's mum lives as it was only going to be for four weeks.  Or so they thought.

However, on the day that contracts should have exchanged, the owner decided he didn't want to sell after all and pulled out of the sale.  Cue an urgent search to find another home.  They found a cottage in a small village, with lots of character and put in an offer which was accepted.  This too was a rental property so they had to accept that the tenants would be given six months notice which would mean they couldn't move in until early October.  Baby number two is due early November so it wasn't ideal but they accepted that was how it was going to have to be.  Contracts all ready to exchange at the end of September, when the tenants decided they weren't going to move out!  It took a while for the letting agent to explain to them that if they didn't move out they would be evicted as their contract had legally come to an end.  If that happened, they would never be able to rent anywhere again and possibly never get a mortgage to buy something.  They finally realised that they had to go and it was agreed that they would be allowed an extra week and that week was up on Saturday! 

I think that everyone was greatly relieved to get the call on Wednesday that they could go and collect the keys and move in!

Our son, being very philosophical about things, maintains that this year's drama is an interesting story to tell in the future.

So it was about time that his sister had some drama, right?  She went into work a couple of weeks ago to be told that her part time job was going to become a full time job in the new year due to a restructure.  Now, with two small children and a puppy, full time is not an option and she's always been clear that she did not want a full time position.  Cue urgent job applications.  Which also means urgent extra child minding while she participated in zoom interviews.  I was surprised how many interviews she was able to secure and finally, after just over two weeks she has been offered a new job, part time hours working from home.  

I like to think that everything happens for a reason, and I think that had she stayed in her original job, the pressure would have mounted and she would have ended up working more hours than she wanted just to keep the job.  The logistics of school/nursery pick ups would have been very difficult but hopefully she can work around those things from now on.  However the stress of possibly being out of work in the new year was something we could all have done without.

Two dramas, which have become two anecdotes for the future!

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking to 'baby day' and I'm a nervous wreck watching my phone for messages.  I think we are all convinced that the stress of the last few weeks will mean an early arrival.  I literally jump every time there is a 'ping'!

Have a good week!

Monday 18 October 2021

Me on Monday

 Happy Monday!

Starting the week here having had what felt like an almost back to normal few days.  Not to mention and clean and tidy house after three days of having people here - always an added benefit of seeing people socially!

On Friday I had two ex-work friends over for a cup of tea and slice of cake in the afternoon, it was gloriously sunny and warm sitting in the conservatory it almost felt like we had taken a few steps back into summer.  

Saturday evening we had a couple of friends over to share an Indian takeaway which was really delicious and something we used to do about once every six weeks.

Sunday involved Jon, Sophie and Max coming over for lunch.  I had said to Jon on Thursday that if they were free and looking for something to do, they were welcome to come and join us.  I heard nothing by Saturday morning when I went to do my shopping but fortunately I bought a few extra veggies and a slightly larger chicken because on Saturday afternoon he messaged me to say that yes they would like to come!  Always expect the unexpected with that branch of the family tree!

We have actually had a few conversations about plans for Christmas this weekend.  I daren't think about definite plans after last year's fiasco when the week before Christmas we were put in lockdown in our area.  So while we are hopefully arranging Plan A, I will definitely have Plan B at the back of my mind.  

My project for this week is to make a photo book from the pictures we took during our week in Southwold.  This is just the kind of thing I love to do and will spend hours working on it - it's almost, kind of, similar, sort of, digital scrapbooking!

Oh, to be back there again ...

... and oh how I miss our evening stroll to go and get salted caramel gelato!

Monday 11 October 2021

Saturday Sprinkles

 Have you heard of a Baby Sprinkle?  It's a bit like a Baby Shower but to celebrate the forthcoming arrival of a second baby.  The first time around you are 'showered' with gifts and baby equipment, but when you have your next baby you already have all the essential things you need so you are 'sprinkled' with clothes for the new baby and a few treats for the mum.  I had never heard of this before!  Saturday was Sophie's Baby Sprinkle -  it was less about the baby games and more about having a nice meal with all the women in the family and close girl friends.  Bearing in mind that Sophie has four sisters (not to mention one brother!) there were quite a few of us there.  

It was a lovely afternoon; a really delicious meal at a country pub, warm enough to sit outside and it was lovely to give Sophie some gifts ready for the new baby.  So her maternity leave has started and we are all now ticking off the days!  There was a mix of predictions as to the gender of the baby, but we don't have long to wait to find out now.

It looks like I will get that blanket finished on time after all as it is definitely on the homeward stretch ...

Just the border to go now.  For those thinking that it isn't much like a traditional baby blanket, that's because Jon and Sophie are not ones for dressing children in pastels or 'pink for a girl, blue for a boy' so a bright palette was always going to be the way to go!

On the subject of 'babies' - we have discovered that Coco is scared of Rachel's new puppy.  Honestly - scared!  We popped round to see them on our early morning dog walk on Sunday, stepped inside, Daisy ran up to Coco, who literally jumped out of her way.  Right over Daisy's head!  I think we are going to have to gradually introduce them on walks once Daisy has had all her inoculations.  

Here's hoping for a week of warm, dry weather - won't it be lovely if the forecasters get it right?

Thursday 7 October 2021

From Adios to Bonjour!

 For 556 days I have logged on to my Duolingo Spanish class app and completed a lesson.  Five hundred and fifty six without a break!  That is so much longer than I ever expected when I started at the beginning of our first lockdown.

But the day has come.  Actually it came yesterday, when the Preterite Tense broke me.  I wasn't even sure what it was and had to google it!  There seem to be so many irregular verbs that have different past tense endings and it all seemed not to be quite so much fun any more.  I enjoyed learning what I did, and I feel like I have achieved more than I thought I would but the time has come to say 'this isn't fun any more, I've learnt quite a lot of conversational language and never wanted to find myself at GCSE exam level'!  

But I enjoyed my daily five minutes of learning and wondered if I should brush up on my old schoolgirl French.  How much would I remember?  More to the point, how much have I forgotten?  I've taken a grading lesson and they say I can join at Unit 3, should I jump in?  Mais oui! Will I end up being better at French than I was at Spanish?  Let's find out!  

Someone else who needs practice at something came to visit yesterday.  Here's Max - hiding.

Let me know when you spot him πŸ˜‚

Monday 4 October 2021

When two worlds collide

Once upon a time, I was a scrapbooker.  My spare room had boxes of papers, card, embellishments, Washi tape and all manner of random bits and pieces that might come in useful on a layout.  I subscribed to courses run by Shimelle (and 'met' a lot of lovely people along the way!) I regularly attended two crop days a month, one just outside of Colchester and the other headed in the opposite direction to Enfield.  However, space for albums ran out, enthusiasm waned and a few years later, I was an ex-scrapbooker.  I donated a fair bit of paper and card to a friend who is a childminder for crafty activities, threw away all the tiny scraps and bits and bobs which realistically were never going to be used and held on to one large box of card, paper and embellishments which were too pretty to get rid of not to mention a whole heap of alphabet letters. 

Fast forward to Wednesday last week.  My husband is 'attending' an online art class via zoom which he is really enjoying.  He finished the meeting and mentioned that their homework was to make a notebook to make sketches in.  The brief was to have a firmer card cover, with the inside pages random kinds of paper, plain, textured, patterned etc.  Sewn together to make a journal.  How was he going to tackle that?  What on earth was he going to find to use?  

"I've got just the things for that" I said as I disappeared into the utility room and rummaged through the box of things that I'd kept.  See, I knew it would come in useful again one day!

I'd like to say that I gave him a selection of papers and left him to his own devices but clearly he needed direction!  I couldn't stop myself from interfering offering advice.  I think I had as much fun doing it as he did!  

Having made the sketchbook, naturally I had to make a few suggestions about the way you could layer up vellum or tissue to tone down the pattern of the paper underneath.  The musical score printed on the paper on this page was quite distinct, but toned down nicely with a piece of tissue on top, not to mention giving an unusual texture to his drawing!

Apparently he's fine to continue on his own now and doesn't need any further help/interference.  Spoilsport!

This has added weight to the discussion onto whether or not I needed to keep all those bits and pieces in that box when I probably wasn't going to be scrapbooking again!  Never say never eh?

Friday 1 October 2021

Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt - the final link up

 Two ways to know summer is over.

1. We have a 'discussion' at home as to when is appropriate to put the central heating back on


2. The Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt comes to an end!

So here we are with the heating coming on for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening (it's a compromise!) and also the final photos for the Scavenger Hunt hosted by Mary Lou

I've shared previous finds here and here.  So let's fill in the missing gaps!

3 Something to represent home but not the building

House keys next to a picture we have hanging in our hallway

8 Window views

It's amazing how much fun all our grandchildren have playing with this fairy house

9 Something older than you

This little trinket box used to be on my mum's dressing table.  It has several little items inside it, things that obviously had a significance to mum, but we don't know the stories behind them.  One of the things is a stamp from 1940.  Why was it taken off the envelope?  Why did she keep it?   I do know that her fiancΓ© died at the beginning of the war and wonder if this was the stamp on the letter which gave her the news.  We'll never know.

13 Your Marie Kondo moment

This is a bit of a cheat I guess, but the story is based on someone whose life is somewhat changed by Marie Kondo's tidying rules.  I saw a review of it on the other Deb's World blog and like the sound of it, it's a good read!

14 Inside your fridge

Hmm, looks like the wine shelf needed replenishing πŸ˜‰

20 Decades of sharing - something from the 70s

Now, believe it or not, but this was one of the first jumpers I ever knitted for myself in the late 70s.  Looks like I was pretty ambitious in my abilities back then!  I don't think I'll ever wear it again, but the thought of throwing it away after all those hours of knitting isn't worth contemplating.

Alt A Your COVID safety

This is in place of 15 Your best doodle art - I'm not a doodler so I knew this one was always going to have to be substituted!  At the beginning of lockdown my friend who is an ex needlework teacher made these handy little zip up bags, they are the perfect size to hold a mask, some anti bac gel and some tissues.  All the essentials!  I have to say that this has been the most useful thing in my handbag for the last year and a half!

And that's a wrap!  20 photos!  It's been a lot of fun, thank you so much for putting the list together Mary Lou. If you pop over to her blog you should find a list of the others participating and see how they interpreted the prompts.

A sentence a day in September

 Schools are back, restrictions have lifted - the month starts with a bit of normality ...

Day 1 A dreary day, but perfect for relaxing, getting a bit of my crochet done and preparing ourselves for the next couple of days childminding

Day 2 Zumba in the morning, then let the chaos begin as we pick up the children ready for our 24 hours of childminding, I'm wondering how to deal with any questions from Leo about the funeral of his other grandad, you can never be sure how much children of that age understand.

Day 3 We survived our night of sleepovers (Rosie has never been away from her mum before so we were a little unsure how it would go!) got Leo to school on time, had our monthly Covid and antibody test, remembered the new pick up time and procedure for getting Leo back from school, Rachel got held up in bad traffic coming back from Winchester and didn't come to pick them up until just after 7pm - we were exhausted by bedtime!

Day 4 The house is quiet and calm, think we have earned a day of relaxation after the last week!

Day 5 Sunday lunch as a pre anniversary treat at the Brewery Tap in Furneux Pelham, was absolutely delicious.

Day 6 41st wedding anniversary - beautifully sunny day, took Coco for a long walk in Hatfield Forest and treated her to a special doggy ice cream

Day 7 Rosie here, lovely sunny day

Day 8 No Max as he is on holiday, another gloriously sunny day, went into town in the morning and did very little in the afternoon!

Day 9 No Zumba today as my instructor is on holiday, got my exercise by doing some gardening in the morning and then there was a hair cut

Day 10 Went to Cambridge, bought a new sports bra and some make up, had lunch at our favourite Italian cafe - was lovely and sunny while we were there but we drove home in torrential rain.

Day 11 Coco went for her annual check up and vaccination - she needs an operation to remove a tooth 😒

Day 12 Was warm enough to have Sunday lunch in the garden, think it may be the last time though

Day 13 Went to Rachel's in the morning to help clear up her front garden - I don't think they've touched it all summer so it was in need of some drastic tidying up.

Day 14 We had Rosie here today, it was absolutely pouring with rain all day so we were confined to home - she happily made a batch of little cupcakes which had a very generous amount of icing and decorations!

Day 15 It was Max's turn for being here today and he was an absolute delight, he seems very proud of the fact that he is going to be a brother (although he seems to think the baby is in HIS tummy)

Day 16 No Zumba, went into town to pick up a top that I had ordered from M&S πŸ˜€, discovered that the Joules shop is closing at the weekend 😒 and heard that 7 children in Leo's class at school have Covid 😱

Day 17 Rachel collected their new puppy, Daisy the Dachshund - Leo and Rosie couldn't believe their eyes when they got home from school!

Day 18 Paul had an art class at a local museum and I spent the morning sorting out clothes, which to pack away until next summer and which to donate to a charity shop, paella with friends in the evening

Day 19 Jon, Sophie and Max came for the day, made the pannacotta recipe from Jamie Oliver's new tv show - it was delicious! Rachel also popped round to introduce us all to Daisy

Day 20 Decluttered some of the collection of toys that we have ready to take to the charity shop, made a batch of courgette soup for lunch.

Day 21 Took our donated clothes and toys to the charity shop in town, Paul started preparing the front door for a new coat of paint - a project we have been talking about for almost six months, didn't have Rosie here today as she has a sore throat and cough and Rachel decided to take her for a PCR test as there are so many of Leo's friends who have Covid.  She now has to stay at home until they get the results.

Day 22 Max here for the day, all of Rachel's family tested negative so everyone is back to their normal routines today - phew!

Day 23 Zumba is back after a two week break, put my name down for the Christmas party - do you think it will go ahead this year?

Day 24 Coco had to have an operation - it was awful waiting to hear how it went, ashamed to say she had to have six teeth removed.  Horrendous queues at petrol stations along the route to the vets caused traffic chaos - why do people have to panic buy?

Day 25 Paul's art class have an exhibition at a local museum today so he went there and I stayed home to keep an eye on Coco as she shouldn't be left alone for 24 hours.

Day 26 Paul put the last coat of paint on the front door and I tried a new recipe for Sunday lunch which was absolutely delicious.  

Day 27 Post op check up for Coco - all looks as if it is healing well, she's thoroughly enjoying her post op menu of poached chicken, white fish, scrambled eggs, rice and pasta (not altogether obviously!)

Day 28 Rosie and Leo are still poorly and Rachel managed to get them both in-person appointments with a doctor - which involved me having to sit with the puppy while they went in as she hasn't yet been left alone.  Leo has bad ear infection and Rosie just has a post viral grotty nose.  

Day 29 Max here for the day, did a lot of crafty bits today - started off with lots of different coloured Playdoh, ended up with it all mixed together in a kind of brown blob!

Day 30 Flu jab first thing, then found out you shouldn't do an exercise class for an hour or so afterwards just in case you feel a bit woozy so no Zumba today.

For the interests of posterity I guess I should note that we have ended the month with people panic buying petrol as the media told us there was likely to be a shortage due to the lack of HGV drivers to deliver the fuel.  You wouldn't believe the queues!  Fortunately I filled up with petrol at the end of the week before it all started so I am just hoping it is calm again by the time I need more.  

That's it for this month, there should be other people joining in the Sentence a Day posts (officially the posts go live on the first Tuesday of the month, but I like to post mine as soon as the month has finished - just call me a rebel!) Pop back next week to see who else has joined in!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter