Back To School Tomorrow

Okay, so I gave Calo my hoodie for extra warmth today! He’s not been well. A temperature of 41 degrees we were told on Tuesday at school. The truth of this diary entry is that out of all of the children, I never knew where I stood with our youngest child Caleb! He and I have always had our distance. With Caleb and Aaliyah, as toddlers, I was generally the ‘bad cop’ when it came to any scenario in those early years, Daddy (and a certain, unscrupulous nanny), always did ‘lappies’ to an unimaginable scale. John just did them because he loved our little ones and only got to spend time with them at the weekend – but as for that specific nanny, whose name I will not mention, she considered that whatever I had to say or contribute, she always went with the 180 degrees opposed! Until that point I hadn’t considered the idea of her ‘passive aggressive nature! And to this day, I have thankfully never since had to live with such insult! So, let’s move on as I have to state that, as the younger twins are coming to a certain, enlightened age – ‘no more obligatory lappies’!!! Well – only lappies that are natural loving moments in time!

As a result of our earlier nanny, Caleb and I have not always seen eye to eye. His vexing has completely upset me on occasion. But our friendship has grown strong. Today we have had the most amazing time together.

The last words on this subject would have to be that when Caleb screamed at me, ‘no – not Dadda, I want Daddy’ at the sports day at preschool, some two years ago (his very first coherent words). I kept that upset and memory close to my heart. That dratted nanny had seemingly turned my own son against me, purely as I considered that ‘the little ones’ had to be weened off of “lappies’ at that time. It’s not easy being a parent to five young children. We need a support network, not a vindictive and inconsiderate regard!

Midweek Meltdown

Thor has only just gone back upstairs in order to get dressed for school. On the other hand, two minutes later, Aaliyah has just come down fully dressed, Tara and Amritsar at her heels.

The morning started as most do. I was up at daybreak and Sindy arrived, went up and rallied them, then down they came. I had emptied the dishwasher and laid the dishes and cups etc. A normal enough morning, that is until they ascended and sat around the table. Everyone that is Barr Thor! He was shouty and screamy from the start. He finally joined them.

As I write this, I am still subject to his screams and whining. He is at present in the dining hall shouting loudly, still in his Jim Jams.

Caleb is besides the television chilling. He came home from school yesterday morning with a temperature feeling unwell. There is a lot of it going around at the moment!

Okay, back to Thor and his meltdown! He refused to eat his cornflakes at the kitchen table as everyone else tucked in. And when he did start to eat, Tara and Aaliyah were on their second bowl. Caleb ate a little but asked to leave the table as he is still unwell – a pyjama day for him at home. Amritsar did as she dose, just the single bowl and Thor munched away slowly.

Everyone had left the table, leaving Thor sat alone. The dogs had eaten the remnants of what had been left, though Thor likes completely empty his plate or bowl at all mealtimes. At this point the girls were all dressed for school. ‘Up you go’ I prompted Thor, ‘I want my second bowl’ he screamed back at me, ‘I want my second bowl’ again, in a more enraged pitch. It gets a bit repetitive from there.

He refused to go upstairs and just sat at the bottom screaming. Then when he finally went up he still refused to dress. 8am now and he has only just dressed with Sindy’s help. All except Caleb, about to leave for school, Thor – a smile and a wave bye bye, looks like butter wouldn’t melt… An update later perhaps.

A Good Afternoon

Tonight’s picture of me is completely unrelated to what I have to say as I’m just mumbling out loud really. And as I have no related photos of those mumbles – hear I am!

At this time, I cannot think as to what we had for dinner last night! But I remember a ‘Full English’ for brunch yesterday and potato and watercress soup with a cheese sandwich at lunchtime today!!! Humph – does last night really matter?

Well I’m working on a Roast Chicken Dinner for tonight at any rate. Yes, you remember my history with loving, but yet hating the family roast on a Sunday. But to be fair, the little ones are a far cry from this time one year ago!

Just doused the steamed carrots and the broccoli in icy cold water and drained the boiled potatoes, awaiting their place in the oven alongside the chicken. I guess a lot of you are in the same boat at the moment, as to say? Vaughan Williams in the background (thank you Alexa).

Tara watching a movie on her own, the others seem to have attention spans of newts. I might have mentioned that before! She has been coughing a lot this weekend, she’s now doused up on Calpol. Daddy is hauled up on the sofa with his iPad. The little ones are on the top floor playing, or maybe just making a big mess. Caleb has just joined me asking if I can turn the hall light on as he wants a pee! Amritsar also running past stating that she needs the toilet! She always does that. Funny, I think I used to do that as well – like up until the age of sixteen. It’s just one of those things, isn’t it?

Daddy is now scrunching paper to make a fire in the living room and Caleb is screaming that he can’t go pee pee on the potty! I don’t mention the potty too often! But it’s a constant cycle of refills and bum wiping! The three little ones have been brilliant as a matter of fact. No mishaps in months. Aaliyah is definitely ready for no nappy – dry night training. I think I’ll have a word with Sindy our nanny tomorrow on that score!

Aaliyah and Thor have rejoined the goings on in the living room and from what I can hear, Thor is trying to help daddy ‘Thor, you’ll fall in’ I just heard. Don’t worry, it’s not lit as yet. Clair de lune is now playing. Aaah, its moments like this I have come to regard… the fire is now cracking and I think I should get cracking too! Those roasties don’t make themselves, do they?

Apple Jelly

Ingredients:

1kg Apples (quartered)

1kg Sugar

100ml Apple Juice

100ml Lemon Juice

Method:

Quarter your apples and place in a thick bottomed pan, stalks, pips and all. Add the apple and lemon juice and stir. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. The contents should cook down over the next 15 minutes. Use the pan lid to retain heat and leave a few minutes then go back and mix every now and again.

Once the contents are soft, use a hand held blender and completely liquidise to a thick liquid. You are ready to get Jammin’.

Now, here we have a bit of a quandary! I could go ‘old school’ and place my pulp in my muslin bag and start pummelling like crazy and 2 hours later, just give up and throw the remaining pulp that hasn’t released its juice and go tend to my blisters!!!

Or I could get a sieve and spend 10 minutes passing the pulp through the sieve, removing the stalks, pips and skin! You decide which option you would like to go with.

Given my experience of juicing apples, I took the second option. The jelly will have a slight pith to it, but the results are fairly indistinguishable either way! Well worth it.

Clean your pan and begin to heat your apple pulp. Add the sugar and stir. Once dissolved, heat to a rolling boil and stir occasionally. You could skim the top to remove any scum, but most of this scum is in fact small bubbles. I would leave the skimming to the end.

This jelly will only take 10 minutes to reach jelling point – it’s so full of pectin, you can’t imagine. So, 10 minutes in you’re there. Stir occasionally of course. You will find the jam falling from your wooden spoon in a lumpy looking way. It wants to gel. Do a final skim and you’re there!

Having sterilised your 6 jam jars in the dishwasher, use your jam funnel and ladle to fill to the 7mm – 10mm below the lid, seal tightly and sterilise the jars in your water bath with the pan lid placed on firmly.

Note: you need to see the liquid looking a bit lumpy on the Jam funnel or base of the pan.

A Second Offering For The Tooth Fairy

Saturday morning and Tara is a whole pound better off. Late last night, the second incisor popped out. Shouts from the top floor lead to daddy being given the extruded tooth and Tara has a shiny new one pound coin in her breakfast place. Looks like her big tooth is pushing upwards fast.

Post waffles and syrup, they are now playing hard. As much laughter as screams, so they’re fine.

Thor is obsessing about sellotape once more. The recycle bag has been pillaged of its mass of cardboard yet again!

Off to conclude my experiment on the perfect apple jelly, hopefully without the need for muslin to extrude the juice! Who wants to do something like pass juice through a Muslim bag when it takes absolutely ages. I’m all for working out a few thrifty short cuts.

Thank You Dear Ash (a poem)

It’s alway such fun

And when the night is done

I remember you, a very special one

So, thank you dear Ash

When you went home to crash

The night gone in a flash

Here’s to you dear friend

Though it came to an end

What a great bash

I thank you dear Ash

We thought about Sarah

Back in the day a real terror

She couldn’t come, she had flue

Boo hoo, boo hoo

Sending hugs to Sarah

Ash and me too

A Sleepless Night

Well, the title says it all really, doesn’t it? It all started after the children’s bedtime. Our nanny Sindy had gone home for the day and John had arrived home at his usual time. The lamb curry was heating through on the Aga and samosas were in the deep fat fryer. There were some screams from upstairs and then silence. I finished off heating the rice in the microwave and retrieved the samosas! At that point there were shouts from both Tara and Amritsar as they entered, firstly the kitchen and then on to the living room where they jumped on daddy’s lap. They were chat, chat, chat, clearly with no plans to return upstairs. I brought in the two fragrant dishes of curry and sat at the table. We negotiated a bit and finally the girls returned to their room. Once dinner had been enjoyed, the girls came back downstairs, this time with Caleb in tow. It took some time to broker their second return upstairs as all Caleb wanted was to sit on daddy’s lap. Finally they all went up to bed. The time was now 10pm.

A while later all five came downstairs. I kept reminding them that it was a school night, but they just didn’t listen. Daddy was slightly beginning to loose his rag, as was I come 11pm. They all finally ascended the stairs.

We ourselves went up to bed at midnight.

It was 2am and in our slumber, we were jolted awake with the not so famous five invading our bedroom. 10 minutes later I got up stating that ‘enough is enough’ and went downstairs and hauled up with Remus and Gracie…

It was 4.45am when Amritsar flung the living room door open!

I didn’t really see any decent sleep last night. Getting them ready for school was a nightmare in the absence of Sindy every second Thursday morning. Thor was a complete menace – I even had to call Mrs Snodgrass at one point. But they got to school on time.

I am presently sat on a train, visiting A friend in Bristol for the night!

Maybe an update on that tomorrow as I will have plenty of time on the return train to mull things over.

This is Andi Webb nodding off, sorry signing off…