Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Slasher Flicks!

Day two and I've been all alone.
Has it been productive - has it heck!

The Little Miss went to a gymnastics day so I had six hours to myself. Six hours during which time I seemed to manage to be productive doing nothing particularly productive.

I did buy new pillows, how's that for the wow factor?
I also bought a new toy for Pippin.
She, being a lab, is obsessed with having something soft in her mouth.

When someone comes to the door, it's...

'where's ma toy? Er, Ugh? No toy! Oh there's the teatowel, that'll do'

When someone gets up from their seat, it's...

'where's ma toy? Er, Ugh? No toy! Oh, there's a seat cushion, that'll do.'

When we come down in the morning, it's...

'where's ma toy? Er, Ugh? No toy! Oh, there's a sock/slipper/rug/piece of garbage....that'll do'

So, tired of finding odd socks removed from the clean washing basket or finding my oven gloves on the floor with fresh dog slobber on them, I have bought her a new toy.

BUT, wait for it, this toy has to be one of a special brand of toy.
Oh yes, we Brits are so darned stupid about our pets that it's not just an old teddy bear or a cheap piece of flammable stuffed nylon that we got from the market, Oh no!

See, if I bought any of that it wouldn't survive the day.

No, for all her cute, somewhat stupid, gorgeous, slobbery demeanor, she also a toy terminator.
She initially takes the toy and bounds up and down in, what we take to be, excitement.
She runs around with said toy in her mouth.
She lies down, rolls over, licks it.
She dangles it in front of Meggie.
She takes it into the garden, brings it back from the garden, drags it through the water bowl, picks up a heap of dirt on the now wet end, pushes it into one of our laps.
She lies down and sleeps with it...aw so sweet!
But, don't be fooled.

Within the hour the toy is being ripped limb from limb. It is being shred all over the floor. The plastic squeaker has been found and tossed carelessly to the side. There is now a scene of gruesome toy gore and destruction all over the kitchen. There are innards under the table, on the chairs, there are bits of toy guts floating in the once clean water bowl. It is a scene from CSI.
Finally, the panting stops, she lies down next to her handiwork. The shell of the once fully stuffed animal is now limp and lifeless next to her, a gash from neck to stomach splaying the final contents around.
The deed is done!

It has taken us nearly two years to give up on this. We did continue to forgive her for her homicidal nature. She was soon out on parole and given another doomed toy to carry around in her mouth as a replacement for the bedroom slipper she had sneaked from one of our beds.

So now she gets ROADKILL!

You can buy roadkill toys as we have aptly named them.
These toys are soft and cuddly, only they have no squeaker, they have no soft and fluffy innards, they are just an imitation roadkill. Flat, already lifeless, glassy eyes and no voice. Perfect for my killer dog!

Those eyes don't fool anyone!

Monday, July 29, 2013

First week of the holidays

It's oh, so quiet....

the boys are away at camp, the husband is in Moscow...there is just me and the girl left behind.

It's almost too quiet, although to not have the arguing is rather pleasing.

We have been pickling and preserving today. There are a LOT of courgettes coming at the moment and this year I am determined that I will not be turning more than one into marrow or feeding the excess to the chickens. I will be preserving them for the winter months to go alongside the pig and the lamb that will also be in the freezer.

We now have pickled courgettes, ratatouille, pickled beets and pickled eggs (sales to mums at the school gate go down in the summer, so I have to find ways to preserve these too.) Tomorrow we shall be making a couple of chocolate and courgette cakes to freeze as well.

We have also had an excellent crop of raspberries and redcurrants this year, so alongside the jam and icecream, I've now tray-frozen the excess. I always try to tray-freeze fruit because it prevents mushy fruit as it defrosts, it also means you can take a handful out when you want them or add extra to your bag as they come ripe during the season.

We have had a lot of stuff going on at home at the moment. Some of you may have read a post which has now disappeared. We feel that whilst this stuff is still ongoing, unresolved and very raw, it is perhaps best not to over share with the world wide web. However, in all this crap stuff happening there has also been some wonderful stuff too.

Master Beehive the younger ended his era at primary school last week. It has been a pretty awesome final run for him as I'm sure I've mentioned in previous posts. Still, he rounded off his innings with a merit in his grade two trumpet (only 3 marks off a distinction - clever boy!) and he then won the music trophy at the end of term at school. I think a certain African trumpet playing baboon that fell out of a tree on a brass residential has well and truly earned his stripes here.

For now though, he's climbing and rafting and tunnelling with his older brother and here it's just her and me and so peaceful until.......

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tarzan turns eleven!

Hot and airy, the breath from the monster coated my face like a shroud. I could just about feel my hands and feet that were trapped beneath the covers but I could not move. In the background I could hear a whirring, a fan perhaps, or maybe this was my grisly end at the hand of some deranged beast from the underworld...then...suddenly....it moved, up and down, up and down, the air was pumped from me like bellows into a fire. I tried to speak but nothing would come out, my eyes would not open, my body was stiff and cumbersome and I could not budge. Finally, just as I thought my time had come, it spoke...

"Can I wake him mum, can I, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease, I want to give him my present!!!"

I peeled open my eyes like layers of a tightly wrapped onion and tried to focus on the clock in the far distance. I couldn't quite make it out...but I'm sure there was a 6 at the forefront of it all. My internal screams died to a quiet hush and I pulled her under the sheets with me.

"Five more minutes until I come round"

I think he has had a great time today. Well, if the laughter and giddiness from the back of the car has been any indication. He has wanted to go to Go Ape since his brother went two years ago but he hasn't been either old enough or tall enough. Today, however, at 11, he has crossed into new territory, he is over 1m4cm and was allowed to go!
For those of you who aren't familiar, it's basically a very high ropes course through the trees. It's the kind of activity that you send Daddy on, not because you are too scared to participate yourself (honestly!) but because you are too scared to watch your fearless children throw themselves off platforms that are hundreds of feet off the ground!

The Little Miss and I did the foot safari at Woburn whilst we waited for the boys to complete their circuit of monkey training.

The Gloves! An essential part of the kit!

Albino Wallabies - so cute!

Marmoset monkeys

Red fronted lemur - my favourite

Some goat midwifery lessons

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Giving Flower

Oh wow! Just look what the sun has given us!!! A huge bowl of raspberries, red and black currants and a few more strawberries. It's finally time to get out the ice cream maker as I promised Master Beehive the younger and turn these babies into gelato!!!

These beauties below I am renaming; they are not just sweet peas they are 'The Giving Flowers'. This morning we took in small gifts for the teachers. I am somewhat anal with gift presentation. I wrapped in tissue and raffia and then added a small posy of sweet peas instead of a bow. We cut two posies from the garden early this morning and then, by this evening, the giving of these flowers to brighten two gifts rewarded us with at least triple the amount of blooms on the plants this evening! Amazing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Final days of Primary school, mark II

Well, that's one exam down, just two more to go. I'm not sure which ones are worrying me more, the ones that require me to retain stacks of information that seems to go on forever, or the one I did yesterday where I had to present 6 different pieces of Montessori apparatus!

On the upside, school is now over for me, so I have three full days to revise and then summer will truly begin next Thursday afternoon.

I've decided to take a break from Facebook for a while this summer. It's the first year where I'm not studying or planning to study, so the only thing I plan to do this year is read lots of books, take lots of photos and enjoy life.

The last weeks of school have been quite an achievement for Master Beehive the younger. He started off last week by opening the school show as Rafiki and (of course I will say this I'm his mum...) he was quite a star! He had fantastic SAT results which spilled over into a wonderful school report and then yesterday he got his trumpet exam results back. He got 127 which is a merit! He was over the moon as were we. It's been a great end to his time at primary school and, looking back over his time in these early years, he's climbed a very long ladder and completely excelled by the end.

Montessori Casa - Waterloo, Belgium, starting nursery school
He used to cry me off every single day at Casa. I used to watch him standing at the window, tear stained and sad. I never thought he'd settle!

Graduating from nursery aged 5, The Montessori School, Wilton

This young man had a predisposition for lying on the floor and 'observing'. Learning via osmosis was his forte.
He had moments of driving us to distraction with his lack of desire to just do anything much. One valuable lesson he has taught me more than ANY of my children is that I need to have trust in him. He has always been one to do things at the speed in which HE needs to do them. Everything new is done strictly on his terms only, once he decides, then it is done (or my friend, Charisse uses the term, WASA). It has been, possibly, one reason that I have done the Montessori diploma; he has been one of the reasons, he has shown me that it is possible to believe in the child and trust the equipment and they will become those carrots I wrote about oh so many years ago.

Rafiki, about to leave primary school, aged 11.
My gosh young man, you've come so far, you'll fly so high. Believe in yourself and I'll keep believing in you. Keep using those wings my boy xxxx

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Gratitude * Sunday

 G r a t i t u d e  *  S u n d a y
{Sunday's heartfelt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful. A list of gratitudes.} 

If you would like to join us, see below. 
Our gratefulness feeds one another.

So things I have felt grateful for at the start of this immensly crazy fortnight with school shows, leavers' ceremonies, exams, parents' evenings, a black tie event and the normal humdrum of daily life....
  • My husband giving me the time to go and take my revision to the nail salon and revise literacy and knowledge and understanding of the world whilst having a pedicure.

  • To the garden for beginning to give us plenty: Spinach, chives, potatoes, eggs, courgette and courgette flowers gave Master Beehive the elder (fresh home from a week on the Norfolk Broads) and me a Saturday morning omlette.

  • More garden gatherings and my gratitude to having one of my favourite trees outside my back door. Elderflower cordial, champagne and jelly were made this afternoon whilst the heat of the midday sun beat down outside.

  • A fun evening eating at our local pub with two of the three young Beehives (the middle one was at Scout One World Camp) and a well earned Pimms and lemonade after shifting a heck of a lot of stones again. Pimm's weather...Wimbledon (didn't he do well ???) and sitting outside....I can't get enough.

  • The fact my Rafiki costume for this week's production of The Lion King, seems to look pretty effective. I may, in the interim however, have shelved some revision in preference for playing with a hot glue gun...ah well, life's too short for not playing with hot glue guns and paint!

  • Excuse the grumpy photo, but I was actually enjoying sitting out on the deck. So forever grateful for a weekend of nothing particularly planned and lots of lovely warm weather and sunshine to lift spirits. Friday morning we all sat out to eat breakfast on the deck before I left for work and this afternoon I was able to sit for a half hour and read my current book and watch some red kites circling in the sky above me. All the windows in the house were flung wide open, I could hear the lawnmowers of neighbours, smell barbecues and hear people's laughter in the distance. This is summer as it's meant to be.

  • Finally, just for a materialistic moment, I was thrilled with finding this floor cushion and large teacup on Saturday. It seems to make my mint tea all the more special somehow - perhaps it's a token to remind me of our holiday in Morocco last summer. We drank so much wonderful (if not a little sweet) mint tea there that it caused me to find my own source of good peppermint and tea infuser. Despite the heat, mint tea really does work to refresh.

I expect the next time I'm back here will be once exams are over on July 25th.

What have you felt grateful for this week.

* If you would like to join in with Gratitude * Sunday, you can leave your URL link below in the comments with your list of gratitude on your blog. In reciprocation, please link back to this blog to show where you heard of Gratitude * Sunday.