Chocolate Hobnobs


Well today we had chocolate hobnobs if you hadn’t guessed and not a single cellophane packet was tampered with. These aren’t just any chocolate hobnobs, these are Dadda’s super chunky, melt in the mouth buttery, smooth and velvety, yet crunchy, home made, amazingly oatcakey ‘Chocolate Hobnobs’!

And just a couple of happy, chocolate smeared faces to boot. Cooking with Dadda can be a slightly messy affair with the children when it comes to cakes and chocolate.

Great British Wildlife

Now Remus and Gracie are not averse to chasing the odd squirrel or three in the garden, but they are not the only wildlife to be seen in our garden! I’ll not mention birds in today’s diary entry as they are too many and plentiful throughout the year, though I will mention the occasional pairs of geese that fly over this time of year. I’ve only seen mated pairs so far, no squadrons like you see in the autumn when they choose to fly south for sunnier climates. Rabbits have reappeared this year. Some years they are abundant, others non existent. Must be thanks to the Red Kites that hunt in the area or disease maybe. Mind you those Kites scarpered away with the neighbours tortoise last year. Deer are another mammal that occasionally wander through the gardens and woodland any time of the year, though they are very coy and rather shy. I saw a family of five deer munching away at a neighbours hedge two years back. This is the time of year that I see the first of the local snake population come out of hibernation. There is a nest of these slithery reptiles within the limestone drywall on our terrace, not five metres from the back door and there are not just one or two, but maybe twenty grass snakes of various ages and sizes, all hibernating throughout the winter months. The dogs go crazy sniffing around the two large cracks in the wall where they come and go, but they finally vanish for the summer to hunt in the grounds and woods nearby. One neighbour actually had a wild flower meadow in order to study these rather secretive reptiles. A snake that resembled an adder (though I am not completely sure) did hiss at me whilst I was enjoying a cup of coffee last year. There are also a couple of species of rodents that nest nearby. Perfect food for our local predators I guess. I’ve seen plenty of frogs around, even a toad in the garden. There is a stream that winds its way through the woods. So that explains that I guess.

The odd, friendly pheasant can be seen in close proximity. Though on the insect side of things, they are finally back. Food for the birds and good pollinators. Six weeks ago, the midges, five weeks the bumblebees, four weeks back the first of the fly species and the first butterfly I saw two weeks back. Ladybirds aplenty all year really as they nest within the metal window frames of the upstairs bay window. They are a real pest springtime and autumn when they seem to amass. There are also the most magnificent  dragon flies that seem to come and go in groups every summer, not spied them yet, still a bit early I think. And finally I must add that I have not seen a fox as yet in ‘The Shires’. This sly predator is prolific in London where we used to live, beside the railway line. Well, there you go! The wonders of living the country life, here in The Shires of leafy England.

Our Day So Far

4am John gets up and leaves for Dublin to see his mum who is unwell.

6am is a bed invasion and I am called to arms! Thor’s nose is dribbling with snot.

7am Breakfast was had – toast and ‘Dadda’s Jams’. A choice of either Strawlime berry, Black Grapple or Ginger and pumpkin.

8am and we are either watching a movie called Dragons or drawing at he kitchen table. I am tending to Thor’s runny nose.

10am Apples, pears or raisins as a snack. The little ones are playing up. More tissue for Thor.

12 midday lunch of marmite sandwiches and pasta salad. Tesco man arrives, dogs lick him and children play in his crates. They quickly learn how to propel themselves forward by thrusting their shoulders forward. Thor and Caleb sent up to their bedroom for their nap as their playing was way too boisterous.

2pm the boys came down after helping Dadda to clean up a huge mess that they had made in their room. Tara still watching Dragons, now the series (not movie) on Netflix. Amritsar on her iPad (Kindle Fire). A treat of chocolate. The little ones return to the top floor, this time to play. Thor’s nose is still dribbling.

3pm the little ones return. Caleb has flooded their bathroom. Thinking Chair now, where he will stay… Aaliyah has returned upstairs for a jumper. I asked would she help clear up this second round of mess – a flat ‘No Caleb did it’. Thor’s nose is still flowing with snot. She has just returned. I asked if she had cleared up the mess ‘Yes I did Dadda’. ‘Good Girl’ I replied. All is now peaceful. Thor has gone to the kitchen for tissue. Gracie our adorable Dalmatian is snuggling up besides me.

A Day of Quiet Reflection (or Not)

These are the words I found myself saying to Aaliyah earlier. Why you may ask? ‘Dadda I am getting socks – Dadda I am not getting socks, I am getting’!!! And all went silent, she returned to The living room. Then the conversation moved on to ‘give me my pillow back, it’s mine – give it back’. Thor is hammering away on the piano and there are screams to daddy ‘can we go bike riding, please daddy’?

This morning started early. A bed invasion at 6am, home made pancakes, then the chaotic discord commenced! Thor disappeared and came back swaddled in a bed sheet. Baby Thor has reimagined himself yet again. The games children create can be pretty random can’t they?

I am reminded of games played on the top floor on Wednesday when the little ones should have been having my sleep! Sindy went up to wake them at 2pm to find their bathroom floor covered in 2 nappies worth of poo (Thor and Caleb’s) plus half a dispensers worth if hand wash. The boys feet were caked in bubbles and the stinkiest poo ever imagined! They told her that the bubbles made sliding in the poo easier… go figure! Aaliyah slept through all the stinky proceedings. There will no doubt be an update on today’s proceedings later.