Saturday, 22 June 2013


I forgot to mention what with all the excitement of the babies and maybe the imminent arrival of Nemo - No 1 is celebrating a rather special birthday this week. She would kill me if I blogged her age - but it's a special one.! Out in the hall along with my toys, clothes (for ALL weathers), food to take is a box full of cooking equipment. Mr P used to make the children birthday cakes when they were little and he is going to make No 1 another cake - but it's a surprise as to what it is going to be so you'll have to wait for a picture.

I'm all excited! What a week ahead! Bye bye all!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Off Tomorrow

Whoopee Mr P and I are off on holiday tomorrow.  We are heading north up to Bishop Auckland way to spend a week with ALL our children and their partners. We have rented a large cottage to accommodate us all plus the dog - Poppy.  For the last two years as a family we have had a weeks holiday together in Wales. We all live in different parts of the UK and so we cannot often get together as a group. So it is a special week. Also this year it is even going to be more special. No 3 is pregnant with her first child, officially she is 36 weeks pregnant  but the midwife has decided she is the equivalent of 38 weeks! Poor girl has been having Braxton Hicks for the last few weeks - could it be that she's going to have the baby this week? Wow wouldn't that be great if she did - well for us it would. Perhaps we could all go to the hospital and cheer her on! Perhaps she could deliver in Durham hospital and we could have a nice walk around Durham, eat some food whilst she gets warmed up and then we could turn up at the end when the baby arrives! Sounds a good day out! Mmmm maybe she might not agree! Also No 2's wife is pregnant with twins but they are only 26 weeks brewed so hopefully they will be quiet during the week.

After the week Mr P and I are having a few days at our cottage. I have not been since Christmas so I am really looking forward to seeing our home again.

I have packed a large washing basket full of wool, knitting stuff, crochet bits and pieces, embroidery - lots of toys to play with!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hoping to get the final baby blanket finished so that I can start on new projects. Have not done any crochet for weeks and weeks - desperate to do some.

Will be seeing this view next week - bye!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Birthday Challenge

Well this sounds a strange title but yesterday was my dad's 75th birthday. At the beginning of the year dad had asked my sister and myself to take the day off work - well he never ever asks me to do anything as directly as that, so I didn't like to refuse. I had no idea what I was agreeing to! Last year my sister had her first experience of the day (oops have no idea what's going on with my print!).

It started off, the previous night, with me making a phone call to my sister to hear her sounding rather fraught.  I had no idea just how much work she was putting in to making a bit of tea. My job was just to make dad's birthday cake and his favourite lemon drizzle cake.

Day of the birthday I went to work in the morning, still hadn't got an incline why my sister wanted to arrive soo early at my dads. She mentioned something about getting the tea set out - but I thought she just meant a few sandwiches and a piece of cake.

I arrived at dad's local pub to join up with a group of 12. The sun was blazing hot and it's at this point that I'm beginning to regret having made a chocolate cake, but the pub kindly housed the cake in their walk in fridge. Out in the garden was a cat enjoying the heat.

Inside the pub it took dads' friends about half an hour for them to make their minds up as to what they were going to eat. The young waitress took their orders only to have one of them change their mind about their dinner, others wanting bits added or deducted from their plates. The poor girl ended up with the wrong quantity and ended up doing a head count. Anyway we eventually enjoyed a huge lovely dinner. I couldn't eat all my dinner as there was sooo much. I should explain that other than my sister everyone else was aged 72+ up to 90 years of age! Most of them ate a starter and a dinner, or the dinner and a pud.

We all stagger back to dad's home and they all sit themselves outside in the garden. Meanwhile my sister and I make the drinks. Dad's garden is very long and on a slope - so carrying the tray of drinks was rather tricky. Anyway after a short sit down the guests were HUNGRY! I couldn't believe it. I still hadn't got enough stomach space to even drink a mug of tea. So back up into the kitchen we start dragging out of the fridge the mounds of food that my sister had prepared.





My sister looking rather exhausted!

In fact she didn't put out all the sandwiches she had made. Of course this was accompanied with more rounds of drinks which had to be carried up and down steps! Then time for the sweet course.



I could not believe my eyes the guests ate large chunks of the tea - I do not know where they put it all!

A picture of some of the remains of the tea. The weather was gorgeous and it was perfect for the day. Dad spends a lot of time tending to this beautiful garden, let me take you on a quick tour.

This is the very bottom of the garden, then comes the section where the guests were all seated.

I love aubretia, it is so dainty and falls so beautifully over the wall.

Looking up towards the house.

Dad has made this gorgeous little corner to hide the end of the garage.

Dad says these flowers have past their best - hard to believe as they were so dramatic.

Dad has a constant visitor from next door - called "Smokey."

She's just checking that it was safe still to come in with all the visitors around.

Whilst hunting for some matches to light the candles I found in the drawer these mats.

I painted these mats when I was a small child, think I had a stencil kit. I didn't know dad still had them, I had totally forgotten about them. So nice to see something you haven't seen since childhood.

Well I eventually arrived back home at 10pm. I was exhausted but it had been a satisfying day and I think dad had a lovely 75th birthday. Happy Birthday Dad.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Cookery Challenge Update

Oh dear it has been a while since I last gave you an update - 30.5.13. Golly it's even harder to find the pictures as I have had to download my 32,000 pictures onto my laptop! I cannot seem to organise the folders - well my computer is not co-operating. So next week I am away and will be with my family and hopefully my computer genius son will help me out!

I do sooo like these recipe books designed to prepare a meal quickly.

Now I thought this recipe sounded good - well it was tasty but my stomach could not cope with the camembert sauce. So this recipe will not be made again for me.

Gordon Ramsay isn't someone I naturally warm to but his recipes are useful.

This recipe chosen for me when I was on my own as Mr P would not be impressed with the ingredients.

I know I can eat this sort of food without it upsetting my stomach. It was very tasty.

Another book bought from a charity shop. I always like the sound of so many of the recipes but in fact have not made many from the book.

Have to be honest and adapted this recipe as the monk fish was going to cost a fortune.

Now this book you'll never find anywhere. It is one of my own books that I have made up with recipes from magazines or given recipes from friends etc.

I hadn't looked at it for ages and it was so nice to look through it and remember how did family members enjoyed certain recipes.

Well I was very short on time and I had a visitor so I did this very old recipe for Creme framboise - so tasty and quick to prepare.

This is another old recipe book that I have made.

This was No 2 child's favourite meal. Again haven't cooked it for a long time and it was oh so nice to taste the flavours again.

You can see it has been used a few times.

You've probably noticed I am forever cooking with chicken - it's just so easy.

I really like this recipe and often add prawns to it.

I do so like books done by Nigella - ooh I hope she is ok after the headline news this week. Suddenly felt very defensive and protective of her.

Made this pudding for Mr P and dad and they thought it was the pud I've ever made!

63 books used. 64 books to go. 194 days to go to the end of the challenge.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Bargain Hunt

Well I promised you pictures but I was not quite expecting them to be like this. Dad and I headed off to Deene Park to an antiques fair. It was soo cold the car registered 10 degrees - hard to believe it was 15th June and not in October.

Dad and I arrived early thinking there might be a traffic jam trying to get in! Mmmmm I don't think we needed to have worried. So we braved the cold and did the outside bit first as we were not sure it was going to rain. Suddenly I spot a rather distinctive figure in the distance.

Do you recognise him?  The one in the hat?

Correct it was Tim Wannacott . We heard him say he was busy looking for things to buy for him to sell for children in need.

The venue was on a top of a hill and the wind was swirling all around the tents. The poor owners were desperately trying to tie things down and also debating whether to bring their products inside. Apparently it had cost them £100 to be there for the three day event. There were not many shoppers - I felt sorry for them.

The BBC were there filming the Christmas special - Bargain Hunt and in the afternoon they were filming a regular episode of Bargain Hunt. The lady on the left said they had been worried about the bright sun, before the day, but they were no longer worried!  The two experts being filmed here are Jonathon Platt on the left and Thomas Plant on the right. But along with the experts there were other characters present.

Dad and I saw this man taking his ferret for a walk. This reminded me of many years ago when No 3 kept a ferret and she used to take her ferret a walk along the high street in Towcester! I was scared stiff of it and getting close to this ferret came the awful whiff of a ferret - urgh! I'd forgotten that awful smell. They have the most fearsome teeth and I think one of our children still has the scar mark left from a bite from a ferret.

The event was held within the grounds of Deene Park and I was hoping we could have walked around the grounds but it was closed on a Saturday. Got a feeling there is a connection between Deene Park and Jane Austen, but I'm not sure what it is. Wondering if one of the novels like Mansfield Park was written about here?

Do you know the two ladies on the right. The lady in the middle is Catherine Southon and the lady on the right is Kate Bliss. My dad really enjoyed watching the filming I think it made his day really special.

Watching the filming one became aware how contrived it all is, but I guess that is the nature of show business.

The camera crew took many pictures of Catherine exiting this gentleman's changing room.

I would have thought it a rather tight squeeze trying to get changed in this room!

Here Tim was talking about this picture but he kind of took over this corner and must have easily spent around 20 minutes filming this extract. Think some of the stall holders got a bit cross as they took up quite a bit of space and blocked their stalls.

Have always enjoyed watching this programme and thought it looked so much fun to be a contestant but having watched some of the filming there is absolutely no way I would ever want to be filmed etc.

Well what I have forgotten to tell you all that whilst busy looking at some treasures I was grabbed by a person - it was Mrs A unexpectedly there with her hubby! Well they took the next photograph. It was soooo cold that I decided it would be better if dad and I ate the picnic I had packed in the car. So we sat comfortably in the back with our pasta salad and cuppas. Then Mrs A came along to say they were leaving. So I tried to get out and discovered that dad and I were stuck in the back! The car must have rear child locks! Suddenly realised that I had never sat in the back before! So I had to undo the window to get out!

I can't be trusted to be let out!