How was your weekend? Ours was ok, the usual mix of doing chores, walking Jack and relaxing. I came back from my dog walk on Saturday morning to find three of four children hoovering, mopping and tidying. It was quite a sight to behold. I didn't inspect corners and just enjoyed the extra time I was unexpectedly gifted. I didn't really achieve anything of significance but I continued knitting my jumper and listened to Woman's Hour podcasts for a good while. I also watched the garden birds for a while. There has not been a single goldfinch in my garden all year. Last year, there were dozens and I wonder where they all went. This year, we have mostly blue tits but also a few great tits and coal tits and the odd robin.
In the afternoon, I took Alistair to The Hub, a community centre which he has heard from friends is absolutely amazing with thousands of computers and baking all day long. It was almost completely deserted but we got a wee tour and all the forms to complete for entry on another day. I also picked up a programme of what's on. I had the distinct impression that Alistair was a bit underwhelmed. Then the boys went out to play with friends, which is always nice (for me and them). Now that the days are longer, there is more opportunity to play football on the pitch or cycle around the neighbourhood. James came back at one point to collect sleeping bag and pjs for a sleepover. Alistair was a bit miffed not to be invited.
The rest of Saturday was uneventful and I spent the evening knitting and sewing with the top 100 1980s song playing in the background.
Richard and I braced the madness that is town on Sunday morning. I will never understand why people flock into the city centre with their entire families in tow and spend a few hours shopping. For us, it is a question of getting in and out of town as fast as possible. Unfortunately there are things that are best seen before buying and a new coffee machine is such a thing. We went to John Lewis because we were certain to find more coffee machines there than anywhere else and we could also park the car right there. I always think of John Lewis as a place where staff is knowledgeable and helpful and the latter is certainly true although it was difficult to actually find a shop assistant with the required skills. It appears that there is one for kettles, one for toasters, one for sharp knifes and three for coffee machines (you get the gist). Two of those only knew about coffee machines that use disposable capsule. They both looked very bored. The third one knew what it said on the labels, which wasn't much but he had a measuring tape, which was useful as we could make sure the machine would actually fit where we wanted it to go. The temptation to go for a bean to cup machine was there but the number of things that can go wrong with a complicated appliance makes the expense less interesting. We opted for a simple machine with the option to make one or two cups of coffee. It doesn't grind beans or ejects used coffee or anything but it does have a milk frother thingamajig which Sam will use (but not clean). We also needed a kettle but there weren't any smallish ones on stock. We also replaced our broken kitchen scales and looked at toastie makers, which is on Sam's Wishlist for when he moves out. We were back home within 90 minutes.
By then James had gone trampolining with his friends. Alistair was still in his pyjamas despite having a friend over (who also seemed to wear pj tops). Sam was faffing with toastie maker that is best used over an open fire. He used the gas flame on the cooker instead. Annie was studying and Jack was doing what he does best: keep an eye on the neighbourhood and sleep.
After we enjoyed a cup of coffee or two, Richard and I took a car full of no longer needed items to Barnardos. I don't know where all that stuff came from originally but I retrieved much of it from various drawers and cupboards in the preceding three weeks. I always feel good when we take no longer loved things to charity for someone else to love. I also always feel a bit embarrassed for having so much in the first place. We had six children's sleeping bags at some point and only two children small enough to use them. We also have about ten pairs of football boots, none of which fit either James or Alistair. We get a lot of donations from friends, which I really appreciate but sometimes I should just say thank you but we don't at the moment need this or that. I just don't have the heart to say no because I don't want to be ungrateful.
Later in the afternoon, there were children hiding in all corners of the house. There were at least six under 11 year olds running wild and it was pandemonium. I don't mind for one bit but sometimes the noise gets to a point where it is a bit distracting. Alistair and his pal added to the cacophony of children's play noise by blasting terrible music out of the terrible speakers of our desktop computer... It was quite something. Nobody stayed over for dinner, which was nice because I like family dinner on a Sunday evening. As so often in the past few weeks, the conversation moved to our summer holiday. Annie grudgingly agreed to do whatever the majority fancies with the proviso that we do stuff (although she remains vague what this might entail). I think I can no longer be bothered with ideas and suggestions. A holiday at home seems more and more attractive.
The laundry, my most hated chore of all was less painful than usual because I now only fold away my own and the littlest creatures clothes. The rest gets sorted into blue Ikea bags for the other three to deal with themselves (or not). Maybe I should embroider little name tags for everyone's blue Ikea bag.
I spent the evening watching the latest Star Trek Discovery episode and an old episode of Stargate SG1 season 2. The contrast is quite staggering, the new Star Trek series is all fancy and sleek with amazing effects while in Stargate, they still have those small but very bulky computer screens with green letters and visibly moving cursors... Both are equally out there of course but I do love a bit of sci fi to distract me from current affairs. Having said that, current affairs seem to be equally ludicrous if not more than any sci fi that I have enjoyed lately.
You see, just a normal family weekend.... all mundane and rather boring. Even the photos are a bit boring! Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful week.