Thursday, 29 August 2013

Day 238 - Home

29th August 2013

I love my home. I love all the memories I have of every nook and cranny, I love how comfy the sofas are, and I love remembering the sofas as they used to be during games with my brother and sister. I love the cool tiles on the floor, and how different they are to the carpets that were there before them. I love seeing it full of everyone I love, and hearing the din of the kids playing something potentially slightly too exciting. I love seeing it empty, like this, when I come downstairs and have a day to relax. I love seeing the trees change throughout the year, the point when they leaves seem to dump all at once, and suddenly we can see the main road again. I love kneeling up on the sofa and peering through the blinds waiting for people to arrive, holding up children to see and wave. I love kneeling up on the sofa and peering through the blinds when someone has cried "it's snowing!" and everyone is jostling for position, holding up children to see and exclaim. I love the unbelievably loud stairs and trying to step lightly so they don't creak like a fairy tale. I love the games I used to play on the stairs, and when my brother used to pretend to fall down them after he'd put me to bed. 

I love the colours, the smells, the people, and the name. I love Pogles Wood, I love spelling it out to people "Pogles Wood, p o g *pause* l e s...wood". 

I love my home.



Day 237 - Woods

28th August 2013

The garden at Pogles is a pretty amazing place. In fact, most of Pogles is a a garden really. There's one out the front, where Stu and I used to play 'Transit', which is basically catch whilst moving and saying "Transit, transit", and in front of that garden there are trees that Jen and I played in. We had a certain tree that was our office, I remember a knot in it had a hole, and that was an inkwell. Further along was our flat, an area for parking cars was the petrol station, and a gap where we used to throw raked leaves was the garage. I loved playing there.

There's a small garden to one side of the house, that was my little garden when I was younger. It used to have a fence made of incredibly splintery wood, with a section that you lifted in and out. It was very stiff, so I couldn't do it, even when I was a bit older. I soon mastered climbing over it though. This used to be the garden we used for paddling pools (or wasps graveyards) in the summer. The other side there's another little one, with the washing line and an apple tree. From there you go up some steps and walk along a path of old shells...I remember hours spent looking for two still stuck together. There's a greenhouse on the right, with the wonderful earthy greenhouse smell. For years we still had big pieces of broken glass in a trough in front of it, remains of the old greenhouse destroyed by the hurricane. 

Next to the greenhouse there's a tree, one with an enormous branch coming out of it fairly low down, and loads of twigs used to grow from a bend in that. This tree was alternately my horse or a time machine, with all the twigs being my levers and buttons. Sometimes, I'll grant you, it was a spaceship. There's another little garden next to that, but that's so steep I didn't play on it too much, but I do remember lying in it smelling the flowers that grew there - ones I've never seen anywhere else, but they have the most distinct smell. There's a path at the top of that garden, it used to have a bench that was always broken in my memory. It was from here that I was throwing snowballs at Jen's window with Stu to get her to come outside, when one of Stu's had a particularly forceful impact and broke the window. Him frozen in the position he'd let go of the snowball in is a memory I shall cherish forever. 

Up some more steps, the ones the kids are drawing chalk on a few posts back, and we get to the garden we'd play in most, called the Top Garden. This used to have my Wendy house, but now has the Heidi House, a summer house. I had to use the word house a lot there didn't I? I tried to think of a way round it, but it was part of too many names. Apologies. 

I remember having big family barbecues up in the Top Garden, I have in my head the image of my Grandad lounging in a chair and the taste of lettuce is right there next to it. We used to sledge down the two banks in snow, hoping to avoid a tree and not shoot out over the wall. 

At the top of the bank the garden becomes woods, an adventure waiting to happen. Joel's always keen on going into the woods, so today we took a short jaunt. He'd have liked longer, but unfortunately chose ten minutes before they were being collected to present the idea. I promised we'd go back today, but I have been spurned for the company of a friend instead. They're up there as I type, coming back intermittently with stories of being chased by foxes or finding a cat that he thinks may be our long lost pet, Potter. 



Day 236 - Matching

27th August 2013

I had a whole load of things to do in town today, so rather than stay in my slippers I actually had to out socks on. Cuh. I'm not a matching socks person, not out of choice, I don't go out of my way to wear odd socks, I just put my socks in pairs of the same style and wear whatever happens. Sometimes. Sometimes the socks just go in the drawer and I hunt around for two that will work. I'm not as crazy as to go for one trainer sock and one ankle. That would take a full on mentalist.

Today was a rummage day. Lo and behold, I grab two socks at random and they match. Sign of the apocalypse?

I continued with my organisation after returning from errands. In town I picked myself up a folder for all print outs, so job one when I got back home way to print out all my flight, hostel, coach, and train confirmations. I photocopied my passport, driving licence, and credit card twice, so I could have a copy and one could stay home. Will scan them into computer at some point too. Watch me go. 

Day 235 - Planning

26th August 2013

Three weeks to go. Meep. I got myself stuck into doing some more planning and organising. I don't want to have every second planned out for myself, but I don't want to be going entirely without a route. Other people will surely disagree with me, but it's kinda the way I am. I may not be the most organised person with my things, but when it comes to planning things I am absolutely. I'm not giving myself an itinerary of every day by any means, I just like to know when I need to be somewhere, how I'm going to get there, how long I need to leave etc. If I can do nothing else, it's organise people. I'm people. 

I'm also a big fan of lists, it's a bit of a family thing. They come out every holiday, we have some that date back years. They have sections and subsections. They are things of wonder. I've only made a few lists so far, there are so many more to come over the next few weeks. 

Today has felt very productive - I have trains booked, hostels booked, emails stored. I'm starting to get into my stride, and it's so exciting! 

Three weeks!!



Day 234 - Curry


25th August 2013

Love cooking with my Mum. I remember helping her a lot as a young person with, to my mind, massive Supercook recipe books. I loved those books, remember sitting and looking through them to find what I'd like to make next - generally baking rather than cooking.

All the kids help mum with her cooking, Joe less now. Ruthie and Susie love getting involved, whether putting chopped things into a bowl or sampling those chopped things, just to check they're ok. Susie was so keen to get involved in chopping cucumber recently that we had to give her a knife, one that would have trouble cutting through butter I might add, so she could get on with the job.

Imagine it was rather strange for mum this time to be able to give me any job she needed doing, rather than considering how dangerous or difficult it might be. I'm a big girl now.

We were making Lemon and Coriander chicken, with cumin cauliflower and potatoes - BEAUTIFUL. I absolutely adore this meal, it's one where the sauce is so amazing I'd happily have it as soup with a whole load of chapatis. Mmmm. They're Madhaur Jaffrey recipes, in a book that's been in our house for as long as I can remember. I've managed to find them online for you, I suggest you try them. Lemon and Coriander Chicken and Cauliflower and Potato Curry (it's the second one down).

We had to top up the supplies of roasted ground cumin, which is brilliant, as it means the kitchen gets filled with that wonderful scent twice over, once from roasting and once from being ground up. Amazing. Love cumin.


Make this. Eat this. I'm already jealous of you.




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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Day 233 - Chocolate

24th August 2013

Happy Days! Today I was able to go and meet miss Samantha Flood back from her travels, and listen to her jet lagged ramblings of a madwoman.

I collected her in absolute driving rain, and we set off up for a wander round Bluewater. In nicer weather I'd have opted for Rochester or Maidstone, but this time we were rather limited. After arriving our first, almost immediate, stop was at Hotel Chocolat. Mmmmmmmmmmm. I adore this place. We went in talking about how we wouldn't be buying anything as, though it was delicious, it was far too expensive. Then we noticed a sale. I accidentally bought a lot of chocolate. In my defence, that chocolate has been shared over my family, and a fair amount still exists, so ha.

The rest of the time we spent looping the shops, chatting, without realising that we had come full circle. Eventually we decided that we needed to stop for a drink, where I was infuriated beyond belief by someone seeing me stood waiting next to a booth for it to be cleared so I could sit down, slipped round behind the other way and sitting down before I could. If looks could kill I would be in jail right now. My goodness, when did people turn into such utter gits?

After much talking, we decided to head home, via HMV for a DVD and my new car cd. It was raining hard when we left, so we dashed across the car park huddled under an umbrella. It was to get so much worse. At one point on the motorway the skies were more thunderous than my face was at the woman who sat in my spot (it's just not British damn it!) and all cars were slowed down to at most 40, I couldn't see a was one of those moments where you curse the fact that your wipers don't go up another notch. Just as I was contemplating coming off the motorway in order to be able to deal with the weather a little easier, it stopped. The rest of the drive was only slight drizzle. Madness.

Very much looking forward to next Friday, being back in London with the lovely Miss Flood for a belated birthday celebration!




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Day 232 - Blogging

23rd August 2013

Those of you who follow the blog on a more regular basis will have noticed something. That something is that the number and regularity of posts has gone up rather dramatically.

Now that I am back at home and being less distracted by people sat opposite me on the sofa tempting me to go to the pub, I am able to catch up with the horrendous backlog. I can sit down and bash my way through a large number of posts a day. I don't doubt for a second the huge number of typos there must be in all those posts, but I'll correct them another time....not until my post debt is cleared. At the time of writing I am only 4 days behind...with a good effort I might even be able to clear it tonight! Wahoo!! As long as it is cleared by Canada, I will be happy. I will still write, but hopefully without having to remember too far in the past.

This has been my view for the past week or so. I'm in the home stretch!

As a treat, because you've been so good, you get another adorable video. Don't say I never give you anything.





Day 231 - Mr. Bean

22nd August 2013

I have introduced the children to Mr. Bean, both animated and not. They love him, which is great, there is plenty of material for them to watch. What's not great is the constant asking for Mr. Bean...and the small chance of persuading them to do anything else once started.

This was one thing they decided to do. Doesn't it just make your heart break?

Susie is becoming ever more of a chatterbox, I absolutely love this video...





Day 230 - The Garden

 21st August 2013

As it is the summer holidays, we have my three oldest Niblings here for three days a week. I love it! Rather than go on endlessly about how fantastic they all are I'll just show you some photos, with some captions of sorts.

Above are the steps up to our top garden, the big open area we would always run around in. We have extremely chalky soil here, and finding a good chunk to draw with is the easiest thing in the world. I remember many an afternoon spent decorating these same steps. It's time the babies decided to colour them all in, Joe, ever the scientist, asking me for an estimate on how long it would take. 



This is Susie counting after she had hidden a bean bag. Rather than letting the others find it, she finished counting and found it herself. Cutest thing ever. 







I love how grown up Ruthie looks here. She's always playing with Susie and taking care of her, and you can really see that here. My little girly!!








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Day 229 - My other spot


20th August 2013

A few months ago I posted a photo to you of my spot at the flat. Well what you see here is my Pogles Spot. I've had a few over my time at Pogles, my whole life minus university years and the time in the flat, as a result of the many configurations of furniture. I've managed to hold onto this one for awhile.

This is my spot as it is close enough to the extension lead to plug in all my gadgets, plus a handy table for beverages etc. I sit in this spot, rarely lie. This is my spot. Joe has noticed this already, and I've found him sitting in it with more than a slight gleam of mischievousness in his pixie eyes. 




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Day 228 - Quizzes

19th August 2013

This evening, Dad and I were having a chat over dinner whilst Mum was out at her singing practice. We were talking about quizzes and how great they are, and panel shows being - as far as we knew - quite a British thing. We talked about how great shows like Mastermind are. As one mind we both went "Hang on a minute!" and looked around wildly for the remote, having both realised that University Challenge might be on. It was. We were very happy. I love being my father's daughter. 



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Day 227 - Even more darlings

18th August 2013

I had most of a morning left with most of my wonderful family before they had to shoot off to their various important things. I took my opportunity to take some more photos of my lovely little ones.

I love how much of a little boy the photo above makes Joe look. He's so bright and so often comes out with questions that leave me stammering. He's a boy who will ask you the difficult thing and you k ow you can answer it, it's just thinking of the right words and comparisons that he will know. We spent awhile talking about Bargain Hunt the other day...I had to explain what an antique was, why people wanted them, what antique fairs were, what auctions were, and finally what a bargain was. You don't realise how difficult some of these concepts are until you explain them to a seven year old who will remember everything you say and hold it against you if you get it wrong. We had another conversation about university the other dy as well, it blew his mind that his grandad teaches people at a university. I love those moments. 

Keira is so like all her female cousins. Where Joe is quite serious, Ruthie, Susie, and now Keira are all so ready to laugh and smile with the slightest provocation. It's a true joy of being an auntie in seeing them all become their own people, with all their little similarities, and the tiny things they pick up from each of us. 

First is Keira, second is me. To my eye it's just the red edging on a bib, but I couldn't help but think of the second photo when I saw the first!

As tough as Joe likes to make himself out to be, he loves his sisters and adores Keira. Who adores him right back!

 Little Susie and Joe showing how similar they are...


Keira and her extra lovely Auntie Jen 

 Darling Rooster, who is nothing but smiles, couldn't have been happier having her cuddle with Keira.

 Just another way Susie is very much her brother's sister...

Love being an Auntie, and love my Niblings more than words can describe. Prepare yourself for lots more nibling photos later this week...



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