The Dogs Dinner

In a couple of my earlier diary entries, I’ve told you all about our 2 Dalmatian dogs, Remus and Gracie. They really are part of our family, our first born.

Quite ironically, the fact that Remus had fathered Gracie (with a little coercion), was one of the elements that led John and I to the decision ourselves, to become parents! If Remus could manage it, why on earth couldn’t we (with a little coercion)?

Well, It didn’t take me too long in my return to diary writing to plug my now, first book, Eighteen Moons. You know, I have written three books at this stage. This first story is the story of how two blokes (John and me) went about becoming a family of seven, nine if you include Remus and Gracie. Available through Amazon, simply by searching Andi Webb, that’s Andi with an ‘I’… it really is the most amazing story, filled with a whole myriad of emotions! But we persevered against huge odds, and here we are, several years on, living my big crazy family life!

So, Now is the time to reacquaint you with our two rapscallion hounds! Both a little crazy, and both act like they are still pups of 6 months old. Especially Remus, he has a very dear heart and is 100% devoted to me, and the family.

He has always been my constant, my shadow. Always there, always beside me, always needing to know that I am there for him. And Gracie applies the same tactic more or less! A dog really is for life, aren’t they?

Right, back to the dogs dinner!

I have previously explained that our dogs are on a 23 and a half hour day. Their dinnertime was 4pm around 3 years ago. But given that they would whine for an hour before they got their food, daily. After a few months their dinner would be brought forward by 30 minutes… a few months would pass, and again, given the sheer amount of whining, another jump forward of 30 minutes.

When I stopped my regular diary updates in October of 2020, Remus and Gracie’s dinner was at midday, no longer 4pm!

Well, in this more recent time, they did whine, whine, whine!

Now guess when their dinner is, these spotty dogs of mine?

A month just past, it had settled at nine…

Okay, no more rhyming, I promise!

Today the dogs dinner is in fact as soon as I get up, be that 7am or 7.30 – unbearable really as they whine at the bedroom door for the longest time!

At present, they are snuggled up beside me on the sofa. Tara watching the television, Thor, Amritsar and Aaliyah drawing at the kitchen table and Caleb, well, Caleb is running around like a headless chicken as he often does!

Just a small story today, to ease myself back into the rhythm of diary writing. Thank you for reading, and wishing you all a lovely evening.

I wonder what the weekend has in store!

The Wolf Moon 🌙 and a Return to My Diary

With Monday’s full moon in 2 days, the Wolf Moon, and the first full moon of 2022, I return to my ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’!!!

This will be the 16th full moon since I stopped my regular diary record in October of 2020.

With all of the children so established in their Monday to Friday schooling, I ask myself, will I have enough content for this diary blog? And the short answer is yes!

Our weekends are always so full of fun and the joys and the dramas of living a big crazy family life…

At this point, I should say sorry for not contributing more to my ‘high days and holidays’ promise to sharing something to this diary these last sixteen moons.

So with that said and done! Expect to see me in your feeds a little more often. And I will make you a deal! If spending this absent time from blogging in getting to grips with Instagram has taught me anything! I sincerely promise you – if you send a blog post of mine a like, I will courteously respond to your blog by reading your latest post and liking it in return. The same can be said about comments! If you comment on my post, I will respond by paying you with the very same attention and commenting back on your latest post.

It will be great to get reacquainted with you all. And hopefully our friendships will blossom once again…

My first entry on diaryofagaydad.net is a happy one as it is Daddy’s (John’s) birthday today. We have just enjoyed Birthday Cake in the kitchen and the children are all now settled and watching a movie. Sindy our nanny is still with us you will be happy to know. And she is very kindly coming in this evening to babysit, allowing Daddy and Dadda to venture out for a meal at one of our favourite local restaurants.

An update on that tomorrow perhaps. It’s lovely to be back guys.

So, now can I finally take this moment to say ‘Wishing you all a wonderful 2022’ and let us all continue to dare to dream…

Many Moons Before

It has been a while since I have put pen to paper at andiwebb.net! But this month is certainly one to celebrate! My third book release has just happened on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B09KN7YCW7/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1636367181&sr=8-1

This memoir is the prequel to my previous 2 books. You may remember that the first book, Eighteen Moons, was the story of how John and I became ‘Gay Dads’, and the second book is a year taken from this actual diary, ‘Thirteen Moons More’.

Many Moons Before takes you on a journey through my adult life, lived in London Town, taking us up to the moment that ‘Eighteen Moons’ begins. At very least, check out the book blurb via the link.

If you are not in the U.K. just search ‘Many Moons Before’ in your countries Amazon browser. Or ‘Andi Webb’ of course, to bring up all three book titles. All are an amazing read I’ve been told! Just look at the reviews…

Some of you may remember that I had been considering a project to write a Jam Making, recipes and lifestyle book Dadda Gets Jammin’ and this will be undertaken in 2022. A recipe book quite unlike any other!

But for new, do check out ‘Many Moons Before’ you’ll be happy that you did. The Trilogy now complete…

And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram. Instagram.com/mybigcrazyfamilylife

Merry Christmas

Santa’s Mince Pie and Rudolph’s Carrot

Merry Christmas all. And wishing you a Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We had a lovely day.

High days and holidays… After feeling compelled to post something for Thor’s Birthday on December 22nd, I now feel compelled to show something of our Christmas Holiday 2020.

I might not be blogging at the present time, but every now and again, on special occasions! That’s alright, isn’t it?

Christmas Morning
Thor coveting Santa’s mince pie
Our Christmas Dinner
Merry Christmas to All.

My Final Diary Entry, At Least For Now!

It is with some regret that on the 2nd anniversary of my diary blog diaryofagaydad.net, I have to explain, that after these past 24 months of sharing the ups and downs of parenthood, my musings on this forum have (for now) come to an end. I will of course leave the archive online and intact if you ever chose to relive the ups and the downs of 2 years of parenting five small children?

A message from a fellow blogger tonight that ‘I am bored’, has lead me to the conclusion that it is now time to step away!

No pictures, no finale, no fanfare, just goodbye for now my friends…

On other social media such as Facebook, I do not post often. But if you found any part of my blog something positive to muse over (btw predictive text just flashed up ‘pissup’ lol) just search ‘Andi Webb London’ and I will surely follow you back!

The other option is Instagram of course! http://www.instagram.com/mybigcrazyfamilylife

I am certainly considering ‘Diary of a a gay Dad, the teenage years’ though 4+ years away at this point! Another time altogether, maybe it will be a great time for us both to catchup once again.

Thank you for listening these last 2 years, thank you for being there and ultimately thank you for caring. I am very happy to know you.

And for those that I am not connected to on other social media platforms, good bye and take care.

Two Years on Worldpress

A moment ago I opened the Worldpress app and to my surprise I found a ‘Happy 2 Year Anniversary’ text!

Has it really been 2 whole years!

I started blogging back then in order to have a presence on social media. A diary blog seemed like a great idea to help promote my recently finished manuscript entitled ‘Eighteen Moons’. So my ‘diary of a gay dad’ began.

At first I was just blogging out there into the ether. I then shared to my Facebook page and attracted a few readers from there! Not many likes at all but I noted a readership after a few months of 39.

I joined Twitter so that I could share my blog to that platform and later on Instagram!

I thank Twitter for bringing many of my current readers. You know who you are! And I thank you for sticking with the ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’.

I have since stopped sharing to Facebook! And if any of my Facebook friends are still reading this, then I believe that you are indeed true friends.

As you know my mojo has waned in recent weeks. The blog didn’t really sell any books but a couple and I would like to thank the few of you who have enjoyed the story of ‘Eighteen Moons’.

Also did you know that there was a follow up book called ‘Thirteen Moons More’ a kind of ‘who we are now’ opposed to the ‘how we became’ of the original book. Both are available on the Amazon platform. The latter book is a kind of edit of the first 11 months of this diary! A time when thirteen moons passed!

But for now, two years on, the diary of a gay dad continues! So, Happy anniversary to me today! Two years hey! Who’d have thought it.

I thank you for your support.

First Fire of the Season

Late in the day and the rain has finally given up and moved on from its 300ml weekend downpour!

The children all presently spinning in a circle, dancing to ‘don’t leave me this way’ by The Communards. No, strike that, they are doing a conga train through the living room, kitchen and both hallways.

That’s one way of tiring them all out before bedtime I guess. Tara and Amritsar now screaming at each other as one pushed the other! Song finished now all left panting and out of breath!

Sunday family dinner of roast chicken finished and at this point, I’m thinking an early night for daddy and dadda! Which is very odd for me as I usually head for bed around midnight!

Roast Chicken, roast potatoes, glazed carrots, braised Savoy cabbage and broccoli

All now settled, if not slightly tired out! About to dress for bed! Wish us luck, won’t you. And best of luck if you have little ones. It’s not the easiest time of the day, is it? I hope you had a great weekend.

So, What’s Been Happening with you, with us?

After a short while away from my diary posts, today I find myself back on worldpress with a little catchup to be done!

The first Autumnal blush of our Canadian Oak

So sorry if I haven’t reached all of your blogs out there on my feed, I have missed so much of your writings and on a personal level, I have also missed many of you fellow bloggers. This is a writing community after all! Where ever we reside on this planet, we have our mutual blogs, opinions, histories and hobbies that we share with one another! And that is a great thing.

It is true that I have in some way defected to Instagram, a more visual media and that I enjoy. But I have missed hearing all of your opinions and day to day experiences! That is what blogging excels in, isn’t it’

So what’s been going on with us?

Vine leaf releasing its red pigment before its decay

Over the last weeks we have enjoyed the last of the Autumn sun and indeed the first of the Autumnal rains. We have also had a massive declutter around the house! The children are presently enjoying a lunch of peanut butter and damson jam sandwiches and black currant squash. All shouting around the table as I have left them to their own devices whilst I finish this post!

They got a bit too rowdy, so I had to stop writing and come back to this! Haha, they can self manage well at this age, if they want to that is! A chasm away from the screamy threes and fours! However they all still have their moments of course! Especially at bedtime…

Last weekend saw the annual grape vine harvested and juiced. Now bottled and frozen for making ‘Dadda’s Jam’ or rather jelly at a later date. Daddy also pruned it back along with the yew hedge.

Last of the grape juicing post roast dinner

All of the children are back into the rhythm of school now. And Johns two days a week at the office has demised to but one, given government advice on a return to work from home! Troubled time ahead I fear, but I will do my best to keep upbeat for you. It doesn’t pay to dwell on the negatives, especially to perpetuate them, does it?

An exotic fruit salad was made up from fresh pineapple, kiwi fruit and mango. Just the taste of mango always takes me back to my time spent during ‘Eighteen Moons’ in India, Nepal and indeed my time spent serving in the Thai Army a little while after Thor was born!

So, diary entry at an end! I promise to be a bit more regular. All the children send their love to all who may be reading this. As ever thank you for your time. I know we all lead busy lives.

Tara enjoying freshly picked grapes last weekend

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

Memories of Marrakesh
Chilli and rice with a Sriracha smothered fore rib.
We held off on Sunday Roast and went all Moroccan
Lamb Dhansak
Yet another Shrimp Noodle Tom Yum
Beef Massaman
Curried Chicken, Mutter and Chapatti
Moules Et Frits
Ham roast and fine beans with Dadda’s Apple Jelly

Hoping everyone is well and thank you for browsing my diary page. I have been a little absent of late! If you don’t already follow on Instagram, our page is http://www.instagram.com/mybigcrazyfamilylife

I’ve been spending a little too much time on there! Have a lovely day…

Going Out

So I sit on the terrace, way past the children’s bedtime to take a moment’s breather! Nikki our babysitter arriving soon. The children are all still up and the Google smart speaker is blaring out Tammy Wynette’s D.I.V.O.R.C.E. (Hmmmh!) at John’s bequest!

Haven’t been out on a Saturday night in quite a long time. It’s just a meal out in a favourite restaurant in Woodspeen, oddly called ‘The Woodspeen’. Sadly not a club or rave! Lol, what did you imagine after seeing my choice of images!!!

Tara was rather insistent earlier that I teach her the mime motions of ‘being inside the box’! You know the one where the palms of your hands mime touching the invisible box sides! All now doing it to the song Jolene! Quite the sight.

Well it beats the 80’s robotics moves of earlier today to Soft Cell’s Tainted Love. They call it muscle memory, don’t they? And NO, there will be no video.

The hounds are now whining! Personally I don’t blame them as Islands in the stream has now come on. Oh dear – hurry up Nikki, hurry up…

Thank you for reading. Have a lovely day/evening!

Fungi Friend or Foe

Our return from holiday saw our lawn littered with various autumnal fungi. Yellow boletes were in abundance, one variety edible…

Another quite poisonous!

If a blue hue appears after cutting or breaking! Steer clear, not good to eat!

I ended up binning the lot sadly, I just couldn’t get John in on the idea that the edible ones might just taste nice!

All destined for the bin!

Though on the other hand I also found a good amount of field mushrooms in the orchard!

I enjoyed these fried in butter on a piece of sourdough toast!

John on the other hand went for the shop purchased chestnut mushrooms. Also very tasty however.

On the subject of foraging still. My blackberry jelly that I made yesterday has set to perfection overnight. The recipe is certainly to follow!

Oh Dear Blackberry

Yesterday afternoon saw an 11th hour rush for the last of this year’s blackberry harvest. We all ventured down the driveway and into our small area of woodland to pick what was left of the crop in the hedgerows. I didn’t mind that many berries had already spoiled or been lost to the birds and insects as there were still many a kilogram deep frozen in the chest freezer from last year. Then I only made a small amount of jam, but this year I plan to make perhaps 14 x 320ml jars.

The kilo or so that we collected yesterday went into a large blackberry and apple crumble with apples collected from the orchard in the kitchen garden. We all enjoyed the crumble last night, warmed through with a good splosh of double cream. Enough left over for the children’s dessert tonight!

This morning I wrestled out the said frozen blackberries whilst defrosting the freezer and half have now been stewed and perhaps 50% of the pips removed. When it comes to jamming them with apple pulp and sugar later this week, I want a velvety texture with not too many pips! I am reminded that I haven’t done a jam recipe in a while, yet I have made a few jams of recent, however unreported as I believe I have covered the likes of damson and plum and Calvados in my writings already! However blackberry jam is pretty seasonal, so prepare for that in the next day or two!

Amritsar is home from school today due to feeling sick this morning. Tara shouted down this morning at 6am ‘Amritsar’s been sick Dadda, Amritsar’s been sick, Will she get the day off’? And yes indeed, she is at home today! We plan on scrumping for a few more apples a bit later before the others return home from school with Sindy.

Whilst defrosting the freezer, I noticed the sheer volume of frozen damsons this year! Our tree has been extremely bountiful! I am almost dreading the grape harvest next month as there is still a good amount of frozen grape juice frozen from last year too.

Ritzy is lying on one sofa playing with her iPad and I am lying on the other writing this diary entry, both dogs sprawling out beside me.

Lunch was a home made pea soup, very light, no potato to thicken and a piece of sourdough toast. Amritsar has been feeling much better since this morning, I think something light again for dinner and she should feel as right as rain for tomorrow’s classes.

Listening to Mozart’s ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’. Feeling relaxed, perhaps a bit sleepy even…

Hope you’re having a good Monday all.

Thank you for reading.

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

I spent this morning making a vat of bolognese for the freezer and tomorrow’s lunch. Then I turned my attention to dehydrating our basil plant in the microwave and adding some of the herbs to a ratatouille made with this years home grown produce! You might remember earlier this spring that I flatly refused to grow tomatoes, peppers etc this year. But one of our neighbours gave us a few small plants that he had grown from seed, so I took on the liability of watering them these past summer months, alongside the various herb plants and sunflowers that had been sown by the children.

Well the work done, plants wilting, autumn ahoy and I had the entire ingredients for one pot of ratatouille. Of course I needed to add a couple of onions from the farmers market and half a tube of tomato purée, but voila, here we are, a meal to be had after all that time and effort!!!

A couple of other meals from this last week added to this post. The ratatouille is to be enjoyed tonight by daddy and dadda, so a few preparation pictures were taken, including the children’s share that was just enjoyed with burgers in brioche. Caleb threw ratatouille on Aaliyah’s lap. She had been very happy having just dressed into her pyjamas early, massive screams were enjoyed throughout their meal…

Even though I have a dehydrator, I find that the microwave is best for drying fresh herbs. On this plastic plate is the entire plant of basil leaves that were starting to go a bit yellow and the stems were going woody!

Buzz for one minute intervals and massage with hand to let steam escape! When you think the leaves are dry enough, scrunch to dust and pass through a sieve to remove any remaining stalks.

30 minutes cooking time to reduce the sauce.

Place in a storage container or serve immediately,

Daddy and Dadda are having theirs this evening with salmon and fine beans!

Last night was chicken legs, mashed potatoes and loosely scattered petit pois, with a reduction of the degreased, seasoned chicken juices (and a little water) simply poured over the potatoes! Yummy.

Check out the new modern grey plates! Aren’t we posh! A bit of a Thai theme in this week’s menu. Tod Mun Pla (fish cakes) served with rice and sweet chilli sauce. And notice the basmati rice is shaped the same as the mashed potato in the previous picture! Simply done by using one of the children’s bowls from the previous picture to that. Just wet the inside of the bowl a little, pile in your potato or rice, compact down with a spoon and tip quickly in the centre of your plate. Dress your ingredients and sauce around the sides as you please!

The Chives were picked from the garden to adorn Giant Shrimp and noodle Tom Yum. One of my favourite dishes of all time. Bliss

That’s it for now. Have a lovely weekend all.

Back to School

Wednesday of this week saw the return to school by all five children. Tara and Amritsar have missed their school friends so very much over these last six months of lockdown.

At least one thing in our daily lives has returned to some kind of normal. Although, as you know, the new normal does not resemble the old normal at all. I fear that the fear of this virus will be with us for sometime to come.