Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Flower Show

Nursing a minor headache from the obligatory red wine of a Friday night, my Saturday morning was spent washing potatoes, tying up onions and giggling over googly eyes. For Saturday was the annual village flower show, a country affair, an English tradition with large amounts of competitive spirit.

During the last few months some parents and I have dug, toiled, sweated, watered, weeded and tended to a plot at our local allotment site. On Friday afternoons, groups of little people have trooped down from the school to get their hands mucky, to plant runner bean seeds, courgettes, onion sets and peas. They created an enormous bug hotel out of pallets and pots, they squealed in delight in finding insects and butterflies and they fed all the grubs to the neighbours chickens - some were keen to get involved while others hung around on the peripheries, maybe shy, but usually afraid of the dirt. But there is always a job for everyone, writing the labels, sorting the seeds and discussing the names of the plants and animal life we find in the garden. The hour of gardening at the allotment always goes quickly, the children love it and have pride in their doings - some even came up in their summer holidays to water and weed.

Of course the harvesting is the most fun. Children gasped in awe at the size of the courgettes, overgrown to some eyes but just perfect to theirs. We dug for potatoes like jewels in the cloddy brown earth, we picked long and nobbly runner beans and we pulled up onions bigger than their fists. It was a true delight. A soup was made with some of the older children, a real 'plot to plate' recipe in under an hour - how delicious vegetable soup tastes when you have grown the vegetables yourself!

The children were rewarded for all their efforts, a second for the runner beans, a third prize for the herbs and a fourth plus 'highly commended' for the 'Master Gardener' section. I could see some people looking around very scared - who were these supreme gardeners? If the children put as much enthusiasm down the allotment next year as they did this year, then who knows - we may just be taking home the cup!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


"In the game, my name is Daisy and I'm like, 15!" I over-hear P telling A.

P is fascinated with teenagers, they are like a different breed of people to her. She admires them, copies them and so desperately wants to be one. P was born a teenager, a frustrated baby who always wanted to be bigger, an angry toddler ready for the world and now, scorning her 5 year old self - wishing her life away.

"Look Mummy, there are some teenagers!" she will squeal and point out.

She then dives into her best teenage impression. P carefully places a bag over her arm, combs all her hair to one side and tilts it provocatively, she slouches on one hip bone and continues:

"I'm liiiiike, a teenager like and I go to Uplands, liiiike..." Uplands being the local comprehensive school.

"Where on earth did you get those ideas from?" I ask, giggling at her insanely accurate depiction.

P observes. She watches closely at how people act. She emulates and strives to be older. She loathes being little and cute and the youngest.

I just hope 15 is all you hope it to be, but please enjoy the 10 years leading up to it little P!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

It's coming

I have a swelling in my throat, it hurts to swallow and an ulcer on my tongue making chewing unpleasant. Eating is an all round chore at the moment. A did the most violent puke watching cbeebies last night - there was a little warning of tummy aches but I put it down to her needing a poo. I guess I should trust her by now that she knows the difference.

So we are all a bit icky in our house. The germs have arrived after a blissful summer. The clouds are descending and I'm even considering putting on the heating tonight - it's slowly creeping up on us. Winter. We've had a fire, started making casseroles and lasagne's, harvested all the veggies down the allotment apart from a pumpkin and some sorry-looking sprouts. The cats hardly venture out, I've brought the litter tray indoors so their fluffy little bottoms don't get cold.

I should welcome the colder months when we have had such a fantastic summer, but it's so hard to say goodbye to something so nice. I don't like the winter and all it has to offer. Stuff your hot chocolates, snow days and cosy moments watching family films...I want bikini's, barbecues, late evenings and vest tops, give me chilled white wine and light salads.

But it's coming, coming thick and fast. Brace yourself people, this ones going to be a chilly one.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

School photo

It's time for a rant. I haven't ranted for a while, it's been too darn nice to moan. A sure fire way to start me off is ...school. In fact I'm surprised I've lasted until day 5 without even a mention of it.

I can't bear the uniform our school uses. It's a village state school but insists on a tie, a logo on the cardigan, a matching book bag and P.E kit, all at great expense. The tie is a particular unnecessary item in the rigmarole that is uniform.

"I can't breathe, I hate this tie....GET OFF ME!" shouted A this morning, as I wrestled with her top button.

Today is school photo day and the school insists on 'Winter Uniform' for this event - instead of the pleasant and easy gingham dresses of the summer term. The children felt constrained for the first time in months, gone are the t-shirts and crocs, gone are the swimming costumes and naked garden days - along with the change in the weather, everything is closing in!

I never buy the school photo anyway. I hate the fake smile, slightly sitting sideways and prim nature of the picture. Today's photo would only remind me of our particularly unpleasant morning of getting ready for it.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Last day

"Another drink anyone?" he asked and we all grinned at each other cheekily.

Surely one last lager wouldn't hurt. It was edging towards 7pm but the sun had yet to disappear behind the hedge and we were all determined to squeeze the last delicious drop out of the day, out of the summer holidays - for the next day was school.

The children delighted in another half an hour at the pub as we supped our ales, filthy from the beach and slightly smelling of fish from both the rock pools and the fish 'n' chip pub dinner. P's blue chipped nail varnish sat ugly on her fingers, A's wonky haircut yet to be rectified at the hairdressers in favour of days out and nothing had been labelled on their school uniform. I was even considering cutting the tangles and dreadlocks out of P's hair.

That extra half an hour drinking beer and rebelling the night before school felt good. The hair could be tied back in a ponytail and there is always biro to label school dresses, for it really didn't matter. The summer won't be here for much longer and childhood memories are made of these moments.