Friday, April 27, 2012

'You may turn over your papers'

I always find it truly amazing  that I can go from a fully grown, generally fairly confident and sensible woman to a jibbering wreck.
I can wake early in the morning and be indecisive - Do I get up? Do I feign sleep and stay in bed? When I get up, do I want coffee or will that be bad (bit late for that in my stage I life I hear you cry), perhaps tea that may calm my stomach...but I don't really drink tea...well, not builder's tea...dilemma, dilemma.

I can't eat, so that's out of the question, but then if I don't just eat a little something... my mother's voice by now has joined my own inside my head - it's quite a party in there believe me.

What to wear? OMG, what to wear? It needs to be comfy, you can't possibly sit there with a crotch splitter for two whole hours - so comfy, but not too hot...however right now I'm cold, in, I'm freezing...but if I put something on to warm me, I'll then need to get up and take it off...that might not be allowed, so then I'll just have to sit there and overheat...and what if I pass out because I'm too hot? Oh good grief - I might even VOMIT???!!!

Finally when clothing is decided upon, I need to go to the I don't, it's okay.

Oh, wait, hang on...yes I do. Erm, well okay, so a teeny teeny bit.

And pens - this is always a REALLY important point. Do I do biro - that hurts after too long writing, or ink - but that could smudge - and...god forbid...what if they run out?

Loo! I think I need to go I? Yes, let's go. I may have even prolapsed my bladder to force that out!

And once there, the choice is almost too much.

The clock has started and we're off:

Are the questions the ones I wanted first of all, can I retain the information long enough to spew it henceforth onto the page, and...if I even get it down, did actually answer the bloody question correctly or have I in fact, missed the bleeding point entirely?

Do I know more about this question or that? Actually, maybe I know more about that subject but that question makes it easier to answer...decisions, pen or biro...I brought both, of course!

Two hours pass like 20 minutes.

And it's over.

Brought to my knees by 8 questions on an exam paper.

Tonight, we don't mean to, but the whole paper is replayed. Did I get that in? What did that question actually mean? Ten points for WHAT? I couldn't come up with ten facts for the ten points! The textbooks are meant to go away, but there is a sneaky look in them just to see what was missed. Why do I do this to myself? Then there is the facebook ping pong - the analysis of the paper, the texts fly back and forth.

And now...we wait!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Birthday boy

Today is Master Beehive the eldest's birthday. He is 12! Can you believe it. I have been writing this blog since he was five! It's been quite nostalgic looking back at his antics and the photos of his birthdays up to date.
From this...oh, alright, NEARLY from this, sadly he was born in the era of negatives and printing
so I don't have his early birthdays on the computer.
Age six

Age four here I think.
Age nine!

Age seven
Ten, I think!

Such a dude now! Age 12
He went bowling and for pizza with his friends yesterday and today we're taking it easy. He's asked for roast gammon for dinner with an ice cream cake and he's been to buy his iPod touch that he saved for with his money. I guess we may now not see him again until he's thirteen ;-)

Mr Beehive (the very much oldest!) has been fixing me up some rather cool hanging guttering for my lettuce. He and my dad spent much of Easter weekend building a deck in the garden to hide the patches of earth and concrete that have been ruined by the fact that one of the previous owners of this house had stored diesel in concrete tanks underground.

We were unaware of this, but by law, we have to do something about it when we do know about it because, as you can imagine, if it leaches into the soil, it's an environmental hazard. 
It's not 'quite' the same as hitting oil in your garden, however, and we were soon considerably poorer with the professional draining and removal of the diesel and the tanks filling with concrete to prevent subsiding. This then left us with three ugly tank covers and nothing that would grow there. So it was decided upon that a deck would be the best idea.
I'm thrilled! All this has come out of my own and my dad's imagination and his creativity to be able to build this with Mr Beehive as his labourer ;-) We are intending to grow an eating grape over the top and a passion fruit (again, edible) and wish for lots of sunny English weather ;-)

Anyhoo - the lettuce thing came around from me being sent a 'pin' from a friend with these gutters down the side of a house. What an excellent idea! So lettuce...or strawberries maybe...although I have other imaginative ideas for those!
This week I have midwifery exams again, so Friday is the day of reckoning. I have just spent the last hour writing an attempt at a all honesty, I think my hand might seize up before my memory...which is really saying something! I wish I could type my answers.
After this week, things are quieter for a couple of weeks, so I have treated myself to a Raggy Quilt workshop and we have cram packed our weekends before I start working on labour ward and may not see daylight again for around 4 months!

Still, I'm sure the boy will have an app for that on his new device...even if it's a direct line to a caffeine hotline to keep me awake after all the nightshifts!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Carbon conversations

Recently Mr Beehive and myself have been attending fortnightly meetings with other likeminded people from our own and neighbouring villages. We are meeting to run through a six week course called Carbon Conversations.

Basically the idea is that we look critically at our carbon output as a family/house and even community I guess if it gets that far...but we're still on baby steps; to look at ways to reduce it.

We initially filled in a crude footprint questionaire, I say crude, because the results don't really take into consideration the things you Do do they just look at what faults you have, so there is no trade value ;-). However, mine came back as a very low score of 8.63 tonnes a year, which is over 3 tonnes less than the national average.

My high scores were travel - not really surprising, and shopping. You could say not really surprising as we are a family of six, only this was done on a crude estimation of bedrooms and income not on bills. It presumes that because you earn over a certain amount and have a certain amount of bedrooms you must spend x amount more than the national average. There is no consideration for home grown veg or home produced food, eggs from your own birds, making your own clothes or those of your kids, using recycling or second hand clothes. So, as I said...before I started a mini's a bit crude.
Then Mr Beehive's score was done differently?! Weird. He, again, scored high for travel, but he is cutting back to two days working from home whenever he can, which will reduce a bit.

However, the course is great for new ideas. Despite the fact you think that you are already 'doing your bit', it's amazing how much you realise there is much more to do.
We have the solar panels and recycle our condensation and hot air to keep our water warm, we have wood burning stoves and an insulated loft, however, one area we fall down on in an old stone cottage is crappy window insulation.

We do have double glazed windo
ws but they are not with the recommended amount of space between them, so we are subjected to condensation, mould and cold...lovely!

Mr Beehive's task for the Easter break, along with deck building...that is for another blog post...was to ring and speak to some local glazing companies.

We are currently in a state of shock receiving back the quotes...our five year plan is hastily looking toward becoming a ten year plan with one window per year at this rate!

In the full throw of trying to be efficient and green one of my other 'ten year plans' after this degree is to try to get together a co-op for the village like we had in the US. It was a fantastic arrangement where people put together their larder/pantry lists once a month and we bulk bought in, so everyone got their goods from an eco store at a low cost because it was bought by the case load. We then had an evening per month where we all met at one of the organiser's homes and sorted the goods out ready for delivery or collection. I do have 'grand designs' on things...but check out these links for a bit of tree huggin' greenery today:   I'm sure you've seen me post his hobbit hole on my blog before, but check out some of his links and the commencement of his new home!

Such illusions I have!
If you have any experience of running a co op or village shop, or if you have your own five year plan, it'd be great to hear from you as this area is a little lacking in my neck of the woods!

Ah well, back to studying about Jaundice and the bladder as exams round two are next Friday.

Have a good Wednesday

Monday, April 09, 2012


We are home again and it is lovely to be home. We have had a wonderful week away visiting friends and cousins, but there is always something nice about snuggling up into your own bed. This morning I even slept in until I was joined by the smallest Beehive at 8am! How divine - it rarely happens!
I even awoke to yesterday's roast being transformed into a shepherd's pie for dinner this evening:

I have also been treated by a day of quiet and solitude today to study.

Even Pip and Meggie are relaxing.

Easter yesterday was just us this year, possibly the first time in a long time. I love to host; Easter, Christmas, birthdays, I would rather host than go visiting, but sometimes others like to host too, so this year we were just us.

I cooked and baked...twice....thanks to Master Beehive the younger's enthusiasm for all things chocolately and managing to drop the first lemon meringue cake all over the floor *sigh*. The second one was good though!

So, I am back at the grindstone and just literally jumping in here for five minutes break to add some photos of our few days.

This is my tidy workstation! Do you like the sign??
I am the world's best procrastinator as I've also made soup this morning instead of studying!

Here is the soup too along with the recipe:

Squash, chilli and ginger soup with coconut milk:
Fry one onion, two garlic cloves in some butter and oil.
Add the squash and gently sweat
Add a thumbsized piece of ginger and some fresh chilli and enough vegetable stock to cover.
Allow this to simmer for around 20 mins
Whizz in the liquidizer and add a sachet of coconut cream before you heat to serve.
It comes from one of the Covent Garden soup books and is delish!

Tomorrow my parents are coming as my dad is helping Mr Beehive to install a deck for my morning coffee in the summer months...well of course...every woman needs a coffee deck right? We have an area of the garden that gets the sun from early sunrise to around 5pm in the afternoon in the height of summer. For some reason, however, the grass won't grow, so we're going to put in a deck with a pergola over it so we can grow some grapes too...we will harvest our own wine before our time is up! I intend to put a small two person cafe style table and chairs there along with the chimenea and some plants...a perfect hidey hole (ha ha!)

For now, however, I just 'need' to download some more music and then I'll get back to the revision...I promise!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Forty is just a number!

So the bridge has been crossed over and, if I'm truthful, it wasn't so very painful.

A few weeks ago, I'm embarrassed to say, I was stuck in a dark hole of not wanting to turn forty.  It's not forty per se, or ageing myself that bothers me, it's just that it does seem so final a number for all the good things that happen - getting married, setting up home, starting a family, watching and celebrating friends get married and have children. Forty just seemed to be the age of no more babies, seeing friends divorce (potentially - thanks guys for not doing this, very proud of all of you celebrating hugely high numbers of years wed from 7 right up to 43 as we speak!!), watching illnesses set into parents and older friends (luckily we aren't seeing this either).
Forty seemed to be the age of watching those crow's feet spread and the hips fill chairs. Ridiculous I know as there is still so much of life to celebrate, I suppose I just love life so much. I have loved becoming a wife and developing my role and style, and having my children that I didn't want to cross the bridge so start on the road to watching my own children grow up to have children...just yet...I suppose I didn't want to say my own personal journey in having children is actually over.

 However, now, I will just aim to become a wise, grey haired matriarch holding my family and children's children within my embrace. I will aspire to sit on the stoop in my rocking chair in my future years rocking my future grandbabies to sleep and watching my own children find their ways in the world.

So I have given myself a jolly good slap. Forty is just a halfway point in the good stuff. Forty is the time to watch the harvest of what has been sown before and it isn't an end point of anything, just think of the things that are achieved by the over forty club...and add to that the fact that forty makes you far more comfortable in your own skin, it means you don't particularly worry about what people think over what you wear, you can say what you like (within reason) and get away with it, you can complain about the temperature of a meal or price of a dress without raising too many eyebrows. Forty is the age when you can actually do anything because you're not "too young" or "too old".

So, how did we celebrate? Well, my terribly, wicked, wonderful, scheming, amazing, much loved friends and family were all in it together! Listening patiently to my whining about no one being able to make a date or find the time or cash to commiserate with me. I'm actually quite surprised anyone wanted to attend after all the self pity that reeled out over the past three months. It really was all seeming quite downhill.

However, the man I inflicted myself upon some 14 years ago, and thought I knew inside out, appears to have somewhat of a cunning and scheming side to him. I won't go into huge detail, but will just share some of the wonderful photos of my special day with so many of my special friends and family, some of whom travelled a very long way and others of whom I've not seen for over 10 years due to the travelling we've been doing.

Sis, Bro and my eldest's god mum and one of my oldest pals, Annabel.

Gorgeous Em and her handsome son, and a handsome son of my own in the foreground

Really! THIS lady should be celebrating today, it was thanks to her that I'm here...and Dad of course!

Love these ladies in their shadies xx

The cake! Such a wonderful montage of me and my life. Thank you x

What a wonderful weekend. Forty rocks!

This week is Easter holidays and I've brought the children up to Edinburgh for a
to meet with our friends up here.

We're chilling out, visiting some of the Science festival, drinking ridiculously sickly hot chocolates with marshmallows, doing some shopping...thank you Anthropologie for moving to Edinburgh... dodging the snow, eating Middle Eastern food and catching up with friends...oh and not forgetting a visit to the Bear Factory - of course to purchase an Easter Bunny!

Have a great Easter weekend xx