Monday, 17 October 2011

birthday girl

a few days ago by now. i always try to take the day off & spoil myself - it's usually gorgeous weather on 4 october. this year, the weather was horrid and work was manic. my parents had been for the weekend - all the way from the netherlands, especially! - & returned home, the kids had made me a card, which they handed over in the morning but then they were at school. so basically i decided i'd had a lovely birthday weekend, went to work, brought cakes in, and hid in my office to write grant proposals, publications, and meet with my personal tutees. a pretty ordinary tuesday. but.... i had not reckoned with my mates!

it was their birthday too, only 9&10 days later & they organised supper for all of us here. we started with an amuse of duck rillettes, pork crackling, and marinated cucumber, then i had portland crab salad with horseradish mayonnaise, loin of venison with caramelised chicory, maple syrup pear with milk chocolate mousse, wines, coffee, all organised by & experienced with some of the loveliest people on earth..... who needs a day off when there's mates like mine :-)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

physics made cool

i came across this link and want to preserve it for when my kids go to secondary school (just in case their physics teacher is anywhere near as uninspiring as mine was). in the meantime, may i suggest everyone has a look! for instance, how far away is tomorrow...? or Schrödinger's Cat  made easy... personally i find it hilarious & amazing. all in a minute!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

friendship cake

two weeks ago, i was given a mixture named Herman. he came with instructions, which included lots of stirring and chatting, plus a feed on days 4, 9 and 11 because then Herman would be starving

the kids completely entered into the spirit of things. every morning and evening Herman was stirred, asked whether he was still comfortable where he was, did he need anything, etc. 

monday night, just as i was settling down with my cup of mint tea, all of a sudden i heard a howling from upstairs. eldest (this is highly unusual). 'we forgot to feed Herman and he is hungry!' she just about managed to utter, genuinely extremely upset, through her tears. 

for just this once, i let both kids clamber out of bed again to feed Herman. 200g of self raising flour, 250g of sugar, 200ml milk. 'is that better darling?' 2 angelic voices asked.

today was day 11. here he is...... and here are 3 more little Hermans on their way to the next sets of friends (and yes, i have run out of tupperware boxes....)

Friday, 7 October 2011


have you come across this yet?

look at the image below - the two cards have one symbol in common. 
can you spot it....?

this is something you should spot in a blink. 

now what about the next one?

that was easy wasn't it

now how about the next one?

i must confess, this now lives in my handbag & 
the kids finish their breakfast extra quickly so we can get a game in before school. 
adrenalin levels soar, tears flow, curses echo

i reckon everyone should have this. 
such fun!!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

little girl, big instrument

one day at the end of year 1, eldest came home all excited because she had been introduced to the double bass (contrabas (!)). some boys in her year group had made fun of her & said she was too small to play the double bass but she had protested, the teacher had supported her, and there we were - eldest proclaimed firmly she is very good at playing double bass and she wanted lessons. she may be small, she may be scared of dogs, swimming, flies, and all sorts, but if she wants something she is what we call determined.

a double bass for a girl 1 metre tall. hmm.

the teacher suggested she should get a 16th size one (not for sale or rent anywhere)

after one summer of searching the entire country we ended up with an 8th size. the people from the shop told me they could turn it around in 2 days once i had signed on the dotted line. i made the mistake of telling eldest (a difficult mistake to avoid, if you ask me, given that since july she had been asking on a daily basis when her double bass would arrive)

instead of 2 days, it took them 3 weeks (not their fault, they're lovely, etc)

the first week, every day eldest would be all expectant 'i wonder what came in the post for me today....' (big smiley face)

the second week, 'do you think they brought my double bass today??' (pretty sceptical sad face)

the third week 'i know there will not be a double bass in the post for me today. luckily, i'm patient!' (adorable)

on monday morning i was about to drive off to work when i looked outside & started to **!! 'what is that van doing blocking my way ou............... ELDEST!!! i reckon this must be your double bass!!! :-)

we ran outside and decided we could be late for school & work. last night she practised the A and the D string in pizzicato and with the bow. when i checked on her before i went to bed, as always, she was talking in her sleep. 'she liked my double bass'
life is bliss.