The First Snow of Winter

It can’t be, but I think that it is – the first snow of the winter, here in ‘The Shires’ fell this morning. I came down at 6.30am and looked outside. ‘Oh my god’, I exclaimed to myself! It only fell for 2 hours, the ground was wet, so it didn’t settle. But what an amazing spectacle for the children to view when they all barged downstairs this morning.

The three little ones were due to go out this morning with their classmates to see the early awakening of the woodland snowdrops! Little did they know that the snowdrops would be accompanied by snowdrops! Sindy our nanny went along with them to help out. So, although they are not quite back from school, I know that Caleb has been a real ‘grumpy bum’ and cried through the entire visit saying that he was cold and his feet hurt. Never mind.

Day two of this second round of the pre Рagrarian diet, living without sugar and starches and all is well, though this journey through the season of Lent, I am doing alone. John is free to gorge on the usual contemporary diet of potatoes and chocolate bars. Mind you he never puts on a single kg of weight for the fact that he is living well due to his metabolic rate. So, braised pork, butter saut̩ed cabbage and broccoli for me and the addition of mashed potato for him. Bon appetite.

Shrove Tuesday

One down and twenty more to go! Okay, forty minutes later and the children dug in. Yummy! Enjoyed the traditional way with lemon juice and a half a teaspoon of sugar. A small tip for this year was to include a big splosh of maple syrup in the batter before cooking! Thank you to the BBC morning news for that one. Don’t forget that the batter needs to be quite loose for a thinner, lighter crepe. Oh and please remember that obligatory pinch of salt.

The Boys New Haircuts

Yesterday saw a post school visit to the barbers for Thor and Caleb. How grown up they look with their smart new haircuts! A little resistance on the smile front from Caleb this morning. But Thor made up for that with his ‘Blue Steel’ look directly into the lens!

I am pretty much down with a cold, but that did not stop me cooking up a storm yesterday with a chicken thigh terrine, home made BBQ chicken and a large vat of Mexican peppers with kidney beans. I feel a tortilla evening coming on pretty soon. As ever I bagged up into smaller portions and put them in the chest freezer.

With it being shrove Tuesday today there are sure to be pancakes later on. But I am reminded of the season of ‘Lent’ the traditional giving up of something. As you may recollect, my carbohydrate binge for the holidays is now set to end. My (next) 40 days of carbohydrate penance starts tomorrow, ‘Ash Wednesday’. I am not a practicing Christian but some traditions are worth keeping alive, aren’t they?

I am now reminded of a traditional mass held at Winchester Cathedral every Ash Wednesday when their choir sings Allegri’s Miserere. One of my favourite pieces of classical church music. John and I last enjoyed the mass with a friend Andy back in 2013, just prior to Tara and Amritsar’s births in Mumbai, India. Obviously we have been a little on the busy side to go back to Winchester on Ash Wednesday since then.

I also remember a story regarding this certain piece of music. Now, you all know that the composer Mozart was an absolute musical genius, but the story goes that the Catholic Church in Rome has the complete monopoly on this certain piece of music as their choir would sing it in the Sistine Chapel within the walls of the Vatican. The music was never written down – hence the monopoly. In waltzes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, he listens intently, he goes home and puts the entire score down to paper. He stole the piece of music solely enjoyed by the churches elite and essentially gave it to the people! How very ‘Robin Hood’ of him…

Home and Dry

We are finally home And dry after our mid term break to North Cornwall and East Devon. I thank our ‘Devonian’ hosts for today’s star picture taken in their dog Tarka’s cage bed! Don’t worry, our crew were not in their for very long! Back to school tomorrow, another day begins. The holidays are over. Just the memories remain!

The Slightest of Breezes

Halfway home, so only half of the ‘are we there yet’s’! We arrived to a warm welcome at lunchtime at friends Alistair and Lorna’s holiday cottages. Thank you for the amazing lunch of chicken paella. Very well appreciated by all seven of us. And the children loved the spaghetti bolognese served at their dinnertime.

All in their Jim-Jams now watching France v Wales playing rugby. It seems that French pride has upped their play post Brexit! They won!

A simple dinner to come for the grownups of roasted sea bass with steamed potatoes and sugar snap peas. John made the fish purchase on our leaving the holiday house in Cornwall this morning.

Holiday almost at an end. It is strange that I have become so used to the howling of the wind and the lashing of the rain. We are in a sheltered valley here and the breeze is ever so slight.

I’m reminding myself that the children had a great time, even with the big storm. I myself feel a little bloated with the carbs and a little tired too, truth be known.

An update tomorrow when we finally get home. Thank you for reading – this is Andi Webb, signing off. Phew!!!

Goodbye Sun, welcome to Bedlam

Sounds a bit dramatic, but at this point, I’m used to dramatic I guess! Aaliyah screaming the house down due to daddy confiscating a small toy / choking hazard for bedtime. They all got to choose a small plastic toy today (under a fiver) at a toy shop. Caleb has also had to give up his small plastic ring and rubber ball.

Back to ‘Goodbye Sun’ then! I have just stood on the terrace and watched the dimming of dusk. I cannot really call it a sunset due to the thickness of the grey cloud. The wind is still howling in tune to the roar of the raging Atlantic.

Thor has just run past me wearing dirty white socks and his nighttime pull-up nappy! Looking a little like Boss Baby.

Caleb has been responsible for a string of breakages today – enough said. Aaliyah is still screaming about her plastic toy.

Amritsar has just exclaimed that Caleb has broken her toy banana! Naughty Caleb – you know, he has the ability to break most things, even a rather expensive dancing iron man toy a few days ago. He not only broke one of the LED lights but he managed to chew off a couple of the fingers also. I have always supervised play with this certain toy. I only took my eyes off him for five minutes.

Thor is still to put on his pyjamas. He is presently running around wearing just his nappy with a hairdryer in hand screaming ‘I’m gonna get you – I’m gonna get you’! Oops, he has only just fallen over and is screaming even louder that Aaliyah!

Everyone quiet now, though the peace has just been broken with Caleb in his bedroom starting to shout loudly. Tara is opening and closing the wardrobe door again and again. Better go see what is going on. (All was well.)

Daddy now shouting at Tara saying that slamming wardrobe doors cracks walls. Naughty Tara. Amritsar has joined the whining and is looking for her toy. She is getting more and more angry. Oh dear, welcome to Bedlam!!!

Day Trip to Looe in Cornwall

Okay, there is a fishing port in the south of Cornwall called Looe. And today we visited friends who have a holiday home there for a lunch of homemade Cornish Pasties. What a treat! The real McCoy, though dare I say that Dadda’s homemade pasties would have given them a good run for their money. The secret is pre stewing your finely chopped shin of beef (if available), although any cut of stewing beef will suffice.

Play park, ice cream, soft play and play park, with a wander around the harbour and sandy beach filled the day sufficiently to amuse 7 little tykes. Finally leaving our five at least ready for sleep at a timely hour. We did sneak the movie ‘Swallows and Amazons’ in between a dinner of roast pork and bedtime. Bath time was had this morning before we set off on our day trip, fully knowing that tonight would have been a complete nightmare with them all overly excited, though completely exhausted…

Past 9pm now and guess what? Caleb just strolled out of their bedroom saying that he cannot sleep, Aaliyah laughing maniacally and Thor calling me into their room saying ‘Dadda I need to tell you something’? The girls on the other hand – not a squeak!