Monday, 17 December 2012

sweet cement

So, it's Sunday afternoon, you've iced the Christmas cake and there's still a substantial quantity of royal icing sitting in a bowl and threatening to turn to concrete. Can't waste it! So...

there's only one thing to do. Make a gingerbread house! Royal icing being the perfect glue for all those lovely goodies.

Or, maybe two?! One to keep and one to give away. I love it when spontaneous ideas are successful, both in terms of the process and the final result. Especially when I can do the bits I like - walking to the village shop to choose sweets and baking the gingerbread shapes - and then shut Mr B and the kids in the kitchen for an hour or so's decoration and construction while I polish off a quick crossword or two... ah, bliss!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Recent things

Brownie Promise
Frost for days

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Praise or censure?

The Mancub had a bit of time out in his room on Saturday, after hassling his big sister too much. He used the time to create a sentence with his magnetic letters which we later discovered...

I hat Kity lufrom Mancub

Monday, 3 December 2012

The York Wheel

... is only around for another monrh or so, so it was time to try it out yesterday.

 wonderful and plenty of time to enjoy it on our 4 revolutions. Then time for hot chocolate.

Saturday, 1 December 2012


It started with this..


and then all of these..


Can one have too many advent calendars? I don't think so.

Then it was a lovely sunny but freezing day, perfect for a country walk, with most of the churned up mud frozen beneath our boots and considerably safer than the black ice on the pavements.

And while we were out it made sense to collect some foliage for a Christmas wreath or two.


 And while Kitty an Mr B were creating wreaths to the background of Kings College Cambridge singing carols..


.... the Mancub and I felt compelled to go and buy a Christmas tree. And there's no point having a tree and not decorating it....

 ..adding some touches to remind one of Christmases past.

And while you're at it you might as well get started on creating mince pies and gingerbread (no photos but very yummy!)

Ahh, I love Christmas.

Monday, 26 November 2012


Here we are, in brownie uniform thanks to cousin I.

All attempts at a decent, normal portrait failed...

 Next week she makes her brownie promise.

Family Invasion!

14 of us gathered for the weekend, from 10 months to 93 years. It was lovely!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Recent visitors

Wheldrake's Winter Waterfowl

Friday, 2 November 2012

snow and relatives

Phew, long time no blog. Here's the start of some catching up from the last few weeks. I was down in Brecon last weekend, singing services in the cathedral with Ex Collegio. Meanwhile, the others were enjoing snow in Dunnington!

spot the great granny knit!
Yesterday the kids and I went on a day trip, first down to Matlock to collect the last of our belongings (kindly delivered to the UK for us last April by friends in Arusha) and then on to Nottingham to meet a new cousin (well, almost cousin, cousin-in-law's baby, whatever the correct term for that is) and catch up with his Mum and big sister.

We like relatives

Very very cute. I had lots of cuddles.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Parish Magazine - do you know a good one?!

So, I have offered to help 'revamp' the parish magazine.... It's been years since I played with Publisher and I thought it would be fun... (No comments please) but now I realise that I need help.

I'm wondering,  IS there such a thing as an exciting, informative, well laid out and actually welcome parish magazine? Have you ever seen one? Could you email me a copy??

I have a few ideas of things to avoid, mostly from rather lame church publications I have seen in my time:

A random scattering of articles making it almost impossible to find the info you are looking for.
Font so small that the half of the congregation who actually want to read it can't
Articles framed in heavy black boxes so that even the mum's an tots group looks like s funeral notice.
Photographs so grainy that you could run a competition to try to identify the subject

But I need some positive ideas... Like

How do you limit the no. Of pages ( to keep printing/photocopying costs down) without either making the font too small or having too much text bunched up on a page?

How do you differentiate clearly between the start of of item and the end of the previous one without the morbid black boxes or a schizophrenic change of font?

Is it worth distinguishing between ads for regular events and one-offs?

How much to rely on articles sent in and whether to actively seek out or commission articles you think would be beneficial

Anything else you can recommend???

I feel sure that there must be an excellent website out there with too tips for layouts etc but I don't know it. Anyone else know?

After all, why do a job on your own when you can get your friends to help?

Monday, 8 October 2012


It took us a long time to walk to school this morning. The world was a wonderland. A quiet mist blanketed the streets, and we added to it with our breath. The white light filtering through caught hold of a million delicately spun pieces of lace, etched in diamonds. Christmas tree decorations everywhere!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Rather too much excitement

I leant something very helpful from the local vicar this morning. The way to A&E. The plan had been to attend the harvest festival service and carry on to the harvest brunch but we attended the service and carried on to the minor injuries clinic after the mancub threw himself headlong at some piece of decorative Norman masonry during coffee time.

Mr B, conveniently, was in the process of descending towards Kilimanjaro International Airport at the time, so ithrew my cup of coffee at a random parishioner, picked up my dripping child and realised that I had no idea where the nearest hospital was. Churches, thank God, are wonderful places when you need help. The first aid kit appearered, the vicar went to fetch his car and his 4 year old's car seat and his wife took Kitty off to the harvest brunch and then home to play with her three boys while the vicar drove us to A&E.

While we settled ourselves in for a long wait, he went to find a cashpoint (I found I had £1.50 on me) and returned with a cash loan, snacks, an activity book and a pack of coloured pencils.

The mancub, fortunately, didn't need stitches. Some superglue and a handful of steristrip sufficed and he now has a small spider's web adorning one cheek. 

By the time we got home mid afternoon we had some left over cottage pie and two types of dessert awaiting us, in addition to a bunch of flowers rescued from the brunch tables. 

Isn't community wonderful.

Thursday, 4 October 2012


We've had two young female lodgers living with us for just over a week now, which has changed our lives somewhat. They are sisters, from a Mongolian family but born and raised in the UK. Unfortunately the family they were staying with before couldn't cope with them and they were urgently looking for another home so we took them in last tuesday. I can't imagine what problem the previous family had, as they are lovely girls.  They are friendly, in a quiet way, very clean and tidy, undemanding and don't even eat very much. They have the most beautiful colouring and gorgeous hair. I'm really enjoying having their company while the kids are out at school. And the children love them too. They love to play with them, and Kitty even got Mr B to help her make them some home-made wooden toys.

 Meet Molly
and Ginger

Friday, 28 September 2012

Celebrating our lunacy

Yes, we've been in our new house in Dunnington one month today! (think anniversary) Celebrated somewhat in anticipation by having some new friends round for a meal last night.

Can't quite believe we've been here this long and that the kids have already had 3 weeks of school (read, what HAVE I done with all that time?!) The Mancub is very excited about learning to 'sound out' and read simple words and Kitty has requested another friend from class to come over for a playdate next week after we had the twins over this week.

Last weekend Granny and Grandad arrived, bringing some of our odds and ends with them and causing much excitement! On Saturday we folded Granny into the boot of the Nissan and took them off for a day at the seaside, trying the charms of Bridlington beach and seafront before retiring to the somewhat quieter Flamborough Head for lunch, rock-pooling and cave exploration. On the Sunday we tried out a church in the city run by an old Uni friend of mine. Very nice group of people and some good challenging teaching. After a nice Italian lunch in the Shambles we ambled back home to take the wrinklies on the full sightseeing tour of Dunnington, culminating in the highlight - the playpark! They joined in enthusiastically.

This weekend yet more relatives arrive, bringing with them an old chest of drawers that used to grace Great Granny's front hall. Another trip to the beach I think!

p.s. Friends in Tanzania, yes we can still go to the beach... if we wear our tights, sweaters, hoodies, coats, walking boots...

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Jim and gym

Well, another whole week here in sunny Dunnington. Mr B got back from his little Copenhagen trip last saturday, in time for a blitz on the garden. We dug out the tools and soon realised that most of them were quite blunt, but used them anyway.

Lo and behold, the next day there is a green card through the door advertising the services of Jim the Grinder (made me think of Mack the Knife...) and the next day he's here on our drive in all his tattooed glory sharpening our knives, scissors, lawnmower and edging shears. We enjoyed his tales of early family life in a gaily paited caravan pulled by Rosie horse (and he showed us the tattoo of them on one arm) as he did the work. He's still a traveller but the caravan is towed behind his pick-up these days.

Further purchases arrived (mostly in flat pack form) this week. The Mancub got a new bed, which cunningly transforms into a double or two singles for visitors (so come and visit!) The trampoline arrived and was erected over the course of a few evenings and a morning. And some second hand bookcases and chests of drawers arrived and have aided the decluttering process in the house.

Other excitement this week was the first session at gym club, at the secondary school 10 mins drive away. Would have taken photos but I was fully involved in jumping over the vault and swinging on the bars... it was the only way I could persuade the kids to try it out. Great reluctance, tears and "I won't!"s gave way over the couse of 45 mins and they were both keen to be signed up for the term by the end. Phew.

Today we started by hanging pictures on the walls, reading long-lost books etc, but the sunshine was too much for us and we abandoned it all to drive to the nearby village of Wheldrake to visit Wheldrake Ings, a National Nature Reserve. It's clearly going to be better later in the autumn, after the rains have flooded the fields and provided habitat for waders and wildfowl, but we had a nice walk, complete with blackberries, and one hide afforded a view over a lake with a variety of ducks and other birds.

Our first visitors from the south arrived for lunch and a walking tour of the village before heading further north, and then we gardened until dinnertime. We still let the rest of the village down (it wins Britain in Bloom prizes regularly) but it's starting to look slightly more civilised. Must be time for a day of rest tomorrow!