Saturday, 28 December 2013


Spoiler alert, this post contains references to Father Christmas which aren't suitable for young ears!!
Well that went fast didn't it? I hope Christmas in your house was a good one,
 it was quite a quiet one for us this year;
 I've enjoyed it but it did feel a little odd. It was the first year in a long time where no one believed in the magic of Father Christmas, no magic snow foot prints down the hallway, no glittery reindeer food on the drive, no carrot and mince pie in the hearth - we did however have to stay up til the wee hours to hang the stockings on the ends of beds long after the kids were supposed to be asleep.
 The boys always share a room on Christmas eve and there was some muffled sniggering as I sneaked in at gone 1am!
We had finished the food shop on the Sunday and got a bit of baking done - I'm not sure why I pack the freezer with so many goodies as we seem to live on chocolate,
 salted peanuts and cold turkey for days!
The freezer remains stuffed with home baked goodies so it will last a few weeks yet. There'll be some good packed lunches for school and work anyway. 
As I've always baked and home cooked a lot, my kids consider it a great treat to be able to choose shop made things as Christmas treats, which is why tonight we have one of those huge chocolate gateaux, full of cream and sponge, from Tesco!
You know the ones, they are huge, say they'll serve 18 (?) and cost about £2.99
(and yes taste of cotton wool and foam)!
In a slight break from family tradition we spent part of Christmas eve at hospital; nothing to worry about but the builder was diagnosed with a slipped disc a couple of weeks ago and had an assessment on the 24th. It seems the problem has been there a while and will probably need surgery at some point, possibly in 2014, the most memorable line from the appointment was -
 "why Mr Builder you have the reflexes of an 18 year old!"
 no, he will not let me forget that in a hurry!!
After that visit we sneaked off to a café for a quiet coffee and cake, very delicious and such a treat - Mr Builder doesn't often find himself in the city centre shopping! And then home for the usual family Christmas Eve visit to Holt - described better last year! We stayed and wandered around looking at the pretty lit up market town, then our usual stop for coffee and something at Byfords - I had the soup this year as I'd had one lot of coffee and cake that day.
Hot chocolate - huge cup!
 And then we made our way home to prepare the turkey which had been delivered earlier.
I seem to cook a little less each year, now it's just the 5 of us and not a whole host of family members (long story, family rift) the turkey is a lot smaller and it's mainly me eating the veg.
Anyway we gorged the night away on crisps and other junk and the 3 kids eventually went to bed. The deal was that Little Miss would be first up and was allowed to shake the boys awake, hopefully not at dawn! As it turned out she overslept and number 2 son staggered in around 9am - wow what a lie in!
 They always congregate in our bed to open stockings, everyone has one, mine was a little limp this year (not much fun doing your own!) and contained an orange some chocolate coins and a deodorant (well it was all I could find in the bathroom at 1am)
The kids had a little more success!
 Holiday sunglasses!
Can't think who Father Christmas aimed these at!
One of these etched glass hearts in each stocking except mine - no one loves me!
We did have a nice time though and it seems like we were all just a little bit spoiled, me included! After the birthday-which-must-never-again-be-mentioned I was given my own laptop, in red (my favourite colour). Strange as it may seem this is my first gadget! I only use the home desk top and my little phone for internet use, my phone isn't great either (neither is my eyesight on a tiny screen) which explains some of the gobbledy gook comments I occasionally leave on blogs!

I haven't yet managed to get everything I use on it yet so it's still sitting in it's case, I tried but the many fast and helpful hands reaching over my shoulders were confusing me! But it does look lovely and I know I'll use it plenty.
I've done one of my favourite things everyday over Christmas and that is set the dining table with lovely cutlery, china and crystal glasses - I'm like a kid playing at tea parties! If the truth be told the Christmas Day dinner table was set a week before Christmas and had to be dusted!

We've had a few family members over although one nephew is spending Christmas in Australia (and will probably emigrate there in the not too distant future). I always look forward to the sister-in-law visit and her very random gifts! The builders family are a little eccentric and although I love his sister dearly we never know what to expect! She doesn't have a lot of cash and enters lots of competitions the prizes of which she is only to happy to share - this year I struck lucky with a perfume gift set by Issey Miyake, the only draw back was I had to pose for a photo receiving it!! Oh well I'll smell good for most of 2014 at least!

The gifts purchased for number 2 son were not very well thought out though, given my past descriptions can you see anything wrong with the following items which we, for some unknown reason, decided to buy him -
A Soda Stream (providing unlimited fizzy, e number additive laden drinks)
A set of darts
Some indoor fireworks

Oh well I'll have unlimited tonic for my gin at least!!

I hope you're having a great time however you choose to spend it, and if I'm not back in the next few days I'll wish you a very Happy New Year. I look forward to spending a little more time with all those "pen friends" I feel I've made over the past 12 months.
All the best

Friday, 20 December 2013

The school Christmas play and some unexpected players

Last week amongst other things my Dad stayed with us for the whole week which was really nice; he visited us alone which meant we had some quality time together. Of course while he was here he had to attend the Primary School Christmas production - and what a production it always is!

I mentioned last year how inspired it always is, not your usual Nativity scene for us!
We have a tiny village primary school which in the 16 and a half years I've been there with one child or another has doubled in size to approximately 50 pupils, that's the whole school!

 However they hire the village hall for their annual production, written by a superb classroom assistant, as so many extended family members and villagers wish to attend! This year they had to extend it to 2 performances - and we have a very big village hall too!

We were not allowed to know what this years production was, only to send in some khaki clothes! It's usually based loosely around a subject they've been studying and I correctly guessed it would be World War 2.

I managed to forget my camera typically, we do have the official school dvd though. I took a few on my phone but it's not a great phone and the pics are quite blurry.

However what I hadn't expected was the appearance of Doctor Who and his TARDIS (yes they had actually made a TARDIS) who transported them back to war times! They were chased by a Dalek too - possibly not authentic WWII but they'll never forget the other facts I'm sure!

(Not very clear photos taken on a not very good phone!)

Little Miss appeared in various guises, a school teacher with big Harry Potter glasses,
and also as a Land Girl.
There was a scene featuring all the women's jobs in the war from nurses to mechanics - they entered stage left with a lot of hip wiggling,  to a loud rendition of "Here Come The Girls...."

Every time they entered the TARDIS to travel somewhere else the entire cast performed the Time Warp! (I did start to wiggle along to this as I'm a huge Rocky Horror fan)

At one point they travelled back to a school during an air raid and lo and behold, for the first time in as long as I can remember our school Christmas production featured some very unexpected guests, wait for it,.... Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in the manger - that's a first!
 They had travelled back to a wartime school where the children's Nativity was interrupted by bombing! It may not be politically correct but it is a fact that it's very rare for a true nativity to feature in our school Christmas production.

In previous years Little Miss has been a Victorian maid (learning point - Victorians) and a gymnast (learning point - not quite sure!). Number 2 son was in his primary years a Huntsman (Snow White and the Huntsman) and a member of the Home Guard (2nd World War).

At the end of the production there is always a hamper raffle, it's a really good hamper too with donations from all parents (nearly all of them anyway!). I'd already bought the obligatory tickets sent home in the book bag but thought this year I would try to guarantee a win, so bought some more! Sadly my name was not drawn and another Mum staggered home carrying the enormous basket; it's possible I didn't win due to the fact Little Miss had forgotten to hand in the ticket stubs and money!!

After the raffle they decided to auction off the gingerbread house made by Little Miss and a couple of classmates - so we came home weighed down with gingerbread but also with a lot less money!!

The whole event was tinged with a little sadness as I know that, after roughly 16 years I will not be attending any more Nativity/Christmas productions; well not with my own children taking part anyway. The end of an era I think.
I am hoping to do a bit of a Christmassy post now the decorations are up and the children are off school but I also know that time is running out and I still have a lot to do!
I will say a very big Happy Christmas from me to you,
just in case I don't make it back to the keyboard.
With Love,

Friday, 13 December 2013

"That Boy" strikes again!

You may remember a previous post in the summer when I described a few of the problems we have with a very argumentative middle child. Well a week or so again he really made me laugh with his latest protestations! Well I say laugh, it was a few hours later I laughed,
 at the time I had steam coming out of my ears!
We were discussing Biology at the tea table, now his brother got an A at GCSE and is now in his second year of A level and I studied Biology almost to A level and do take a keen interest in the body and it's ailments (some may call me a hypochondriac but I couldn't possibly comment!)
We were discussing the skeleton and he mentioned the bones in the body, in particular the leg. Now this is a boy who is never ever wrong and whilst he is super intelligent the rest of us (and you too most probably) are very, very stupid!
He told us he had to learn the names of the bones and was already fluent in leg - the tibia and fibia are the calf bones. Now we were quick to correct this as obviously his minor error was apparent - "tibia and fibula you surely mean?" Well stand back for the explosion!
No we were wrong and we could confirm this on Wikipedia and by emailing the Biology teacher - the bones in the calf had recently been re-named and we are all wrong and he is right!!
Now I'm not sure what you would do but I'm not good at backing down so a heated argument ensued - I stopped short of emailing the teacher for fear of making myself look stupid!
 I asked The Builder why we have such a difficult and pig headed child who never thinks he's wrong - his response was
 "what do you expect when he has 2 parents who never think they're wrong!"
 He can't possibly mean me......
Anyway the second instance which happened this week really did make me giggle and I didn't argue too much! We were discussing the film Nativity 2, Danger in the Manger starring David Tennant. It was at the cinema last Christmas and Little Miss and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon once school had broken up watching this deliciously far fetched festive treat.
I mentioned that it was out on dvd and I'd love to see it again this Christmas. Now the film is called Nativity ", I'm just repeating that as the clue is in the name. Number 2 son argued that it couldn't possibly be on dvd yet as it had only been at the cinema 6 months ago -
 "No" I replied, "obviously it was out at Christmas, it's called Nativity, about the nativity,
 you know Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus?"
But apparently not, according to the oracle (aka number 2) The film NATIVITY 2 was released in June......... well what can you say to that??

Sunday, 8 December 2013

What's happening in our neck of the woods.

The East Coast has taken a bit of a battering this past week, we haven't suffered here apart from a few things blown over in the garden. My boss at work had his neighbours shed picked up by a huge gust which then flew into his garden smashing the (brand new) fence and landing on the rabbit hutch - the rabbit was unhurt luckily!

The pictures on the news of the huge waves and the resulting flooding are terrifying though.
These are pictures taken in Cromer, the pier has almost disappeared under the waves!

 The resulting devastation
Photos from the Daily Mail website
Houses have been taken by the sea in some areas and many people were evacuated into safe schools and community buildings.
 I can't imagine how awful that must have been and how frightening.
But onto other things, our trip to the theatre in the last post was "interesting", quite an odd play with very little to do with cricket. Only 2 actors took on all the characters and exited the stage only to return wearing a different coat and hat to play the next part - quite confusing! We had driven a 50 mile round trip to drop all the children at their respective sleepovers (eldest was left in the city centre with a friend to get a bus to his destination -
not a great idea when you have a brain the size of a pea!).
After a busy week at work where the builder had worn himself to a frazzle he proceeded to nod off several times during the performance which was over 2 1/2 hours long. I nudged him frequently as I had visions of him falling over the seat in front and down onto the stage! The seating has an unusual arrangement on benches lining the barn whilst the performance is in the centre area.
The play itself revolved around 2 couples having affairs with each other and the resulting fallout!
However we would go again as it was a very atmospheric theatre!
Number 1 son appeared home the next day with tales of a broken down bus, an extortionate taxi fare, no credit on his pay-as-you-go mobile phone and no charge on his friends phone! An hours walk as they hadn't got the address of the friend they were due to visit..... a huge learning experience I feel!
The builder is away this weekend with friends on a music weekend - well I say music but have a feeling this will be dulled by quantities of alcohol!
I have been a Billy-no-mates and attended my works Christmas do without a plus one!
And last night I had a long awaited trip to the Theatre Royal with friends to see
 Jason Donovan in Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Oh and what a night it was, one of the best shows I've seen in a long time! We all loved it, the costumes, the music (proper sing-along) and the whole show and cast were superb. Sadly although we had booked it months ago we only managed  seats upstairs near the back so next time (and surely there will be a next time) we will be front row!
Have you seen it?
Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, it was as camp as can be, but we loved every moment.
All has been trimmed up at home and there is an abundance of twinkly lights every where, as the builder is away I decided I could cope with tree purchasing etc, it may be wonky and could fall down at any moment but no one better complain! We just have a few outdoor lights still to go up but as all our ladders appear to be on other jobs (never any useful tools at home! and I include the Builder in that description) - the kids declined my suggestion that we pile some chairs on boxes and they stand on each others shoulders to reach the roof.....
My Dad arrives tomorrow for his annual visit (he didn't make it last year so this is the 1st time in 2 years he's been here) He'll arrive mid school Christmas activities so will have to be prepared to eat on the run and attend a carol service, ballet and possibly gymnastics!
Oh well it'll be a busy week! Have a good one yourselves - I am reading a few blogs but as it's usually on my phone I'm struggling to comment, and if I do manage a comment the predictive text usually makes it gobbldy gook!