Goodbye Richard Lindley

I mentioned earlier that John and I attended a funeral in London today. Our dear friend Carole Stone sadly lost her soulmate Richard last month and it was today that the service of remembrance was held at St Martin in the Fields Church in Trafalgar Square. Both Carole and Richard played a part in me finally publishing my memoirs, Eighteen Moons. I thank you both for that. For Carole, this is a time of deep grief. Both John and I feel for you very much.

This diary blog is a spin off from that original publishing of the story of how my family came to be and this blog and its chronicles ended up becoming my second publication Thirteen Moons More, the story of just who we are today. Thank you so much Richard – you were a real gentle-man. The world is less without your being here.

Thor’s Thunder

I don’t know how he has fared at school, but for the last 24 hours, our son Thor has been in such a bad mood. From the moment he arrived home from school yesterday, he has been shouting and screaming! He has said several very unkind things to me and also screamed at our nanny Sindy. I left the kitchen last night at dinner time saying that I did not want to return as Thor was being so unreasonable. He was finally asked to go up to bed and in the process he pinched Sindy on the leg producing a bruise, he then proceeded to storm about on the top floor screaming and stamping for a good 20 minutes. He finally tired and took to his bed. But only after exhausting himself completely with his bolts of thunder and stomps that could only be described as sheet lighting and raptures of his rather uncontrollable deluge!!!

This morning before school, pretty much the same attitude. Aaliyah and Caleb have been as good as gold! Even Amritsar and Tara have commented on Thor’s excessive bursts of anger, coupled with his unfair and unfriendly behaviour.

John and I arrived home from London together tonight after having attended a funeral. Thor was delighted to see daddy, a mid week treat. But me on the other hand, he shouted and lashed out at me with his fist.

We have been the best of friends for the longest time and to be honest, I know that he is almost 5 years old and he knows not what he does. But I feel that we are a little way off from negotiation. My last comments to him tonight were that I felt so upset with him that I was not really feeling up to baking his birthday cake for next week. Yes, he will be 5 years old on the 22nd December. He then screamed at Daddy and demanded that he baked his cake! I just exclaimed ‘good luck there Thor’ and bid him goodnight.

We will see if the storm has settled in the morning I guess.

Christmas Card Writing

This evening was chosen to be the time the children wrote their Christmas cards. Our nanny Sindy is of course assisting them with me adding my signature later for the grown up cards. Not too many of them this year sadly. For the children’s classmates cards, it seems that there has to be the inclusion of a sweet or chew this year! I don’t know how that came about, but luckily we had a few packs of haribo gums hidden away.

We did get a Christmas card from Walkers Crisps this year! I’m not sure how we got on their Christmas list! Must be all of those salt and vinegar Walkers Squares that I have been eating of late.

Christmas cards for adults seem a bit old fashioned nowadays. It’s all Facebook best wishes now, isn’t it? Or do you still get the trove of cards that you used to, because we don’t get a fraction to what we once did. Good for the trees and the environment I guess.

Well that’s all for now. Aaliyah is at present shouting at Caleb and he has just got up from my side to chase her. I am sat in the living room – hearing shouts from Thor now! Better get in there to prepare their dinner – toasted Jammy bagels tonight with the last of Dadda’s pineapple jam. Yummy.

Dadda’s Xmas X Rated


6 – 8 medium sized Pears

2 large Apples

600g Sugar

50ml Lemon Juice

30ml Dark Rum

50g Sultanas

1tsp mixed Spice


Prepare and wash three 320ml jam jars with their lids in your dishwasher. Soak the sultanas in the brandy for 20 minutes. Peel your pears and apples and dice. Steam your fruit with the lemon juice on a medium heat with the lid on. Steam for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and soaked sultanas with any excess rum. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and bring to a rapid boil then reduce the heat slightly. As your mixture cooks out the spices, you will notice the appearance getting darker.

Remember you don’t want the solids to sink and stick to the bottom as it will undoubtably burn. So, stir your jam every minute or so, being careful with the slight bubbling and occasional splashing of your boiling jam. Don’t worry too much, just be careful.

After just a 10 minute boil you will notice the gel in your jam getting thicker. When you can see the Jam fall from the wooden spoon in small clumps – your jam is ready! Now pour your jam into your sterilised jam jars using your sterilised jam funnel and ladle. Seal the lids tightly and re-sterilise in a steamer or a large saucepan (lid on) with a couple of inches of boiling water for about 20 minutes.

Top Tip: Enjoy by the spoonful whilst eating a quality dark chocolate. But try not to eat too much won’t you! Also great with vanilla ice cream for an extra indulgent Christmas, no hassle dessert. Also this jam is very interesting with your Christmas cheese board or a pork terrine. And if you wanted to be a bit different with your mince pies this year, why not substitute Dadda’s Xmas X Rated for that factory made mincemeat and make a pie to be proud of…

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

I was in the mood for Chinese food this morning. But alas, there are no decent Chinese eateries here in The Shires. So one had to muster up one of our favourite all time Chinese dishes. Chilli prawn and green beans (so simple) and egg fried rice. I could eat this food every day! Though on reflection, a little of everything in proportion is fine.

I went to the Woodspeen restaurant for lunch with my artist friend Richard. That was a good lunch! I get a bit jealous of John and his lunches with clients at work. Seemed a bit odd me saying that I had eaten out as he exclaimed that he hadn’t had lunch to me this evening! But there you go!!!

Well Done Aaliyah

It seems that our Aaliyah has just achieved her Gymnastics Proficiency Award at her Monday evening classes. As you can see the first of 8 levels.

I did actually find it strange at bath time on Sunday that she very confidently did a cartwheel over Daddy and Dadda’s bed!

She has a lot of confidence and I hope she goes as far as she chooses.

I think the expression is ‘Go Girl’!

Thank you David and Jo

Well, a big thank you to Sindy too for babysitting the children with an overnighter as John and I took a night off to go to a Christmas party at friends David and Jo. The perfect hosts and a very glamorous take on Christmas was had by all. The food was possibly the best party grub ever consumed. David is quite the competent chef it would seem! A whole Serrano ham leg looked majestic in one corner of the kitchen and the high protein foods just wrapped their way over the counters and middle island. No pork products in sight. Prawns were a plenty, crab, salmon, even a lobster – a veritable feast! The open bar in the conservatory was freely flowing with wine, even spirits for those so inclined. The only word was wow. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for the invite.

We stayed at the local Crowne Plaza, so gorged again this morning on a Full English! Pass me the heart burn meds please. There was no roast lamb on the menu tonight. Rather a simple affair of bread and cheese. Phew, but I guess that is what Christmas is all about.

On the subject of Christmas, we brought our 3 metre tree yesterday at a local garden centre. Presently sat on the terrace in its cobweb like netting. David and Jo’s house looked splendid with their lavish array of Xmas decor. Hard to beat, but we’ll give it a go next Saturday. I hope that they both managed to rearrange their home back into a more formal space today. I might just raise a glass to you both later on Xx

Star of Wonder

Star of night, star of royal beauty bright! And for Tara, a wise man in the children’s nativity, she was truly a beauty bright! As for our three little camels, I can only imagine that they will gain confidence as they grow. Caleb spent the performance slouching with his fingers firmly inserted in his mouth and the snots cascading from his nose. Aaliyah faired slightly better. For the most, she was walking in front of her wise man Pip. Thor on the other hand thought that it was acceptable to off his camel headdress and the outer layer of camel costume and do the ad-lib version of the story. In the nativity of preschool last year he just ran to daddy and refused to go back on stage! I guess he at least stayed on the stage this year! Amritsar did an amazing job as narrator. She learnt all of her lines and believe me, there were a lot to learn. Her fellow story teller was good, but spent half of the time looking down and reading them from script. Amritsar on the other hand looked at the audience confidently and then threw a strong, very coherent voice. Job well done.

Did I mention that photos were strictly prohibited at the performance, this was due to a number of parents insisting on not wanting possible images of their children to be taken by a third party and possibly ending up on social media. I understand this point of view, but surely the ability to crop an image is quite simple really. A good friend Glen could not believe this to be the case. But there you go!

No blog entries since the performance, so I hope this small blog entry will make up for that!

It is the children’s schools Christmas party this afternoon. They even got to wear their civvies to school for the donation of £1 each to raise money for the PTFA. John and I are meeting them at school and joining them for the party. Sadly the annual Christmas Fair was cancelled in favour of the party. There just wasn’t the people to volunteer their time to set up a bigger event.

Well, the weekend is almost upon us. Maybe an update later…

Frozen Fog Here in The Shires

It is that time of year again when the frost bears down on us and that frozen fog gives the woodland a magical, enchanted feel.

The week so far has consisted of breakfasts, some baking and dinner times really. The children are enjoying their chocolate advent calendar’s (thank you Sindy) and the usual slops and spills that accompany their breakfast cereal routine, plus there’s been the occasional chocolate treats of Dadda’s candies that were left over from the preschool pamper event!

This afternoon sees Daddy and Dadda attending the children’s Nativity play at 2pm at their school, for which the children have been practicing their lines for a number of weeks now. No easy feat as Amritsar with her great reading skills As she was chosen to be one of the two narrators. Tara with friends Pip and Harriet are playing the three wise men and our little ones are supporting in the very important role of the three Camels. Well, I never! It was a donkey and a couple of sheep back in my day!

A bit of a falling out this morning with the whatsapp group for Tara and Amritsar’s year. It seems that Dadda’s donation of ‘Dadda’s Jam’ was not put in the year 2’s Christmas Hamper, seemingly not deemed ‘Christmassy’ enough perhaps! It’s funny isn’t it? When giving, one doesn’t seek gratitude, but you would hope that your gift actually got included in the request!

Anyhow – that’s country life for you, here in ‘The Shires’.

I just opened the first Christmas card of the season, so I guess that deserves a mention. Thank you dear friend Andy from Winchester. Seasons greetings Xx

Last Chance to Write This

The children about to arrive home from School. It is Monday afternoon. No mishaps this morning. Sindy dropped the guys to the school gate, all barr Caleb that is. Caleb and she progressed on to the hospital for Caleb to have a final checkup on his ears. He was given the okay and Sindy dropped him back to school. This final consultation leaves us with the information that we had always considered. Caleb is a pretty regular little boy. He just gets to where he wants to be a little slower than his twin sister Aaliyah.

Aaliyah is off with Sindy after the others are dropped to the house for Gymnastics Class. Then home and bed for them all.

Our weekend was great. It started with a meal out on Friday night for John and myself. A place called the Pot and Kiln. When we finally arrived, the welcome and the food were great (very Gamey). You could not get any more rural really. The place was essentially in a farmers field!

Saturday saw the return of friends Glen and Victoria with their three children Lucy, Aiden and Fi. Chips’n’Choices was enjoyed and my first minced pie of the year was served with an option of either cream or ice cream for dessert. Simple, but tasty enough. We had a roast chicken luncheon followed by a relaxing afternoon. Thank you guys for sharing your time – it’s always a pleasure.

Last night saw daddy do bath time alone. Sindy called in and we drove over to the pamper event organised by the little ones old preschool. Dadda’s Jam stall was set up and Dadda got Jammin’. A good night was had – thank you to Sarah and Ellie for inviting us. And Ellie – a personal thank you to both you and your mum. I hope you enjoy your selection of Dadda’s Jam.

We had a roofer over this morning, to hopefully have made my nights a little more peaceful when it rains. Various trades people have visited in the past to fix a leaky roof. Yet there remains the drip, drip, drip above my side of the bed. I have woken in the past to being completely soaked! There is a bowl catching the water actually above my head. It is a 4 poster bed, so obscured from my view. But when it rains – drip, drip, drip. Anyhow, fingers crossed. I think the next rain is forecast for the end of the week. I will let you know after then as to if the roofers endeavours have paid off,..