Thursday, 18 July 2019

I nearly missed this one, July is passing ever so quickly and we are already halfway through.

Celebrating James' 12th birthday. Annie made him a very delicious Malteser cake. James took me shopping with money that he received from granny. We went to five trainer shops and eventually returned to the 3rd one to buy the only trainers he thought were cool enough for him. How can there be so many trainer shops in just one shopping centre?

Listening to the Fortunately podcast with Jane Garvey (of Woman's Hour) and Fi Glover. It is immensely funny. You can find it on BBC iPlayer or wherever you get your podcasts.

Reading "The accidental time traveler" by Janis Mackay to the boys. It is quite entertaining.

Picking strawberries, redcurrant and blackcurrants with James and Alistair at our local pick your own farm. I enjoyed it very much, the boys got a bit bored. They ate far too many strawberries, possible almost as many as I picked...

Making jam with said berries. Also making a mess. I even made some labels, just because I was bored waiting for the jam to set. I frequently make preserves and then forget to label them. 

Quilting my postage stamp quilt. I am machine quilting because I don't feel like hand quilting at the moment.

Knitting simple socks. I get so bored when knitting socks but needs must, it'll be wooly sock weather soon enough.

Being strict with screen timeJames and Alistair have been without computer games and television for more than three weeks and are doing well after the initial shock to the system. Both James and Alistair spend a lot more time reading. They also have more time to fight with one another and frequently get into trouble. The still swear rather more than is acceptable (but stick to somewhat acceptable expressions). This was one reason why we implemented a screen ban initially. I am still blushing just thinking about the swear words I overheard. Not for the faint hearted.

Gardening. Not something that happens often enough, I am too thinly spread as it is. The overgrown and neglected flowerbeds have been a thorn in my eye for about a month but only upon our return from camping did I feel up to the challenge. I pulled weeds, deadheaded flowers and cleared up the miles of sticky willie that almost certainly is taking over the world, starting with my back garden. Once the mess was cleared, I created space for new plants and dug compost in. I have slowly but steadily been filling the beds with fully hardy perennials but there is room for improvement. I hope my choices to fill the space will turn out wise choices. It is a bit hit and miss to be honest but I'll get there eventually.

Wondering what the yellow flower is. It is growing through our fence, has been doing so for years. I really like it and tried to move a few into my garden proper more than once but it doesn't like being moved. I looked through my garden flower book without success. I asked at the garden centre what it might be but staff didn't know. I am not sure what this says about my local garden centre, or myself. If you know what it is, please please tell me.

Feeling lucky. We recently ordered all the necessary bits and pieces for our shower room refurbishment. Literally a few days later, the company went into administration. The installation was cancelled immediately but we were reassured our products would still be delivered. We remained sceptical but after two failed delivery dates, the products arrived. The bathroom fitter who was scheduled to do the work lost his job and is happy to do the installation privately - and cheaper. Fingers crossed the brand-new toilet in our spare room will actually be installed at some point in the very near future.

Worrying about the ridiculous amount of work that I have piled up. University teaching as I know it is now an all year round job, my last course only just finished and marking is still to be done. There is never any downtime now for personal development or a bit of writing (for that all important publication list).

Thanks for visiting. Have a lovely evening xx


  1. It looks like yellow loosetrife or Lysimachia punctata to me. I just saw it in my mother-in-law's garden, otherwise I wouldn't have had any idea!

  2. I've been so good this week walking the dog and eating well...then I saw your photo of the cake! Happy birthday to James! The strawberries look amazing and I'm glad to hear that the shower room installation is working out for you. xx Susan

  3. So many companies going into administration these days, it really is a risk parting with your money. Thank goodness you got your delivery and that things have worked out for you. Yum, the birthday cake looks delicious, Annie did well!

  4. I agree with Kristin above - the plant is Lysimachia Punctata. It was in a childhood garden and I still think of that garden when I see the plant.
    Best wishes

  5. Fruit madness here as well. I had to split the cherry jam into two pans halfway through to avoid a similar fate. Well done on the screen time ban, it's a good thing I think. The cake looks excellent, nice job Annie, and happy birthday James, and I hope it's a top year. Also spread thinly, panicking about work over summer hols and wishing I had more time for writing and reading and just generally being. But happy anyway. CJ xx

  6. I am about to go downstairs to get my cereal with strawberries added. Will this be our last batch?

  7. You sound very, very busy my friend. Make time for yourself. It is a necessity!

  8. Happy birthday to James! The cake looks scrumptious.

    I also was planing to make strawberry jam, but I ate them all!

    Hope you have a relaxing weekend Christina.

  9. Glad to see you are getting some 'me' time with your sewing. That cake looks delicious and all I can think about now is chocolate. Sending James Birthday wishes.

  10. The fruit picking sounds fabulous I haven't been for years , you are adventurous with the jam making I dread to think what a mess I would make doing that, probably worse than yours! I like the idea of the postage stamp quilting I know Jo is doing something similar I will have to give that a go during the summer. Have a lovely week and thank you for the inspiration. x

  11. What a great looking birthday cake especially with the malt balls on top. A great baking job by Annie for James. Not so great to clean up jam on the stove. We picked wild blueberries this week and I’ve frozen them for future use in a cake or muffins. The quilt looks colorful.

  12. The yellow flower is Lysimachia. A gorgeous plant with the tendencies of the Mongolian hordes - it will sweep across your garden conquering all flower beds in its way. It's a fabulous plant but needs a strong hand.

  13. What a bathroom bonanza story! Hope it goes well. We are getting towards the end of our kitchen which is great. We missed fruit picking this year because we just tried to cram too many things into one Sunday off! Might try again though. I have done that with jam on many occasions - pain!
    Have a good week. Jo xxx

  14. Happy Birthday Allister, that is one great looking cake.
    Finding that balance with screen time during the summer is one of the biggest challenges..


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