Sunday, 20 August 2017

Perfect Weather?

It was so very hot and sunny earlier in the year I bought tons of sun cream, yet as soon as the school holidays started, away went the sun.

For me, this has been perfect holiday weather. Being cloudy has meant I haven’t had to keep applying sun cream to young skin and worrying in case I missed a bit.

None of the kids want to play on the beach any more – they just want to swim in the sea, so in future I’m only going down there when the tide is in. Last week my eldest granddaughter gashed her leg on a rock just under the water. If we’d been down there at high tide, it wouldn’t have happened.

Not deep enough for swimming

Poor little girl came away from the beach with blood pouring down her leg (looking worse because she was wet) and I thought we’d end up at minor injuries, but once she was in the bath, the bleeding stopped and we went back to the beach to rejoin the others. I think she’ll have a scar on her leg though as the cut was quite deep.

We went to good old Clacton Pier this week. My smallest little person was at last tall enough by a whole centimetre to go on the Aqua Blast Lagoon in a boat of his own – and they all had a blast (see what I did there). Only seven boats were operating and my crew took up four of them. Ours were the red/blue, green/blue, blue/yellow and blue/white.

Aqua Blast Lagoon

We spent nearly seven hours there. When we arrived it was raining and chilly, but within an hour the sun had come out, the jackets were stowed in my backpack and of course I didn’t have any sun cream so we all came home with sun-kissed faces – but no burn.

The 146 year old pier is undergoing refurbishment and I could already see a great improvement. I hope the refurbishment includes updating the loos – they still have the old high pull-the-chain kind of cisterns.

Dusty enjoyed his walk after heavy rain left a small lake on the field. The gulls love it when the field floods – they don’t love it when a water-happy dog splashes through it. By the next day the wind had dried the lake up.

Dusty making a splash!

I may have mentioned that I love gulls. When I was a child and my mum was in convalescence after a major operation, she said that what she missed most (after the family) were the gulls.

I took this photo of the lighthouse because there was a gull on top making that lovely racket that gulls make. When I was a child and even when my own kids were small, that beach was sandy. I don’t know where all the shingle has come from.

Can you see him?

And I took this one of the sky because… well you can see why.

Gorgeous Gulls

One day the boys and I had a walk round the woods while the girls went to the park which was lovely and relaxing.

Woodland Adventures

Only two and a half weeks of summer holiday left. Where has the time gone? It goes much too fast.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

A Busy Week

We took my two granddaughters-from-away home yesterday and as always I felt sad to drop them off. The week passed so quickly.

At 7 and 9, they’re a bit past buckets and spades and just wanted to play in the sea. As with the week before, the water was rough and I was worried, but they enjoyed it. Swimming in the pool was much less nerve racking and they had a lot of fun in there.

I took them to Jimmy’s Farm (somewhere I’ve been reluctant to visit as it’s a working farm and farms make me sad for obvious reasons). My other grandchildren have told me it’s good and they were right. The girls had a great time. There was plenty to do as well as being able to feed some of the animals.

Bouncy Pillow

Den Building

We decided to try Walton Pier for a change from Clacton Pier. It’s more geared to younger children, but they had fun on several rides (as did I), had a walk along the pier and played in the arcade.

They spent Friday evening at my daughter’s house with all their cousins while I went to see one of my daughters in law playing Queenie in Blackadder. The drama group did three episodes of Blackadder II and it was brilliant.

The house feels very quiet today with just one granddaughter and one sleepy dog.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Breezy and Nerve Racking

There are advantages to there not being a heat wave and ferocious sunshine in the holidays. I’ve hardly had to use any sun screen at all so far! So I haven’t been worrying about sunburn.

The small hardy souls have braved the sea a few times, but the wind hasn’t seemed to drop for the past week so there are always waves. Sometimes big ones – but they love going out then swimming in with the waves behind them which is something I used to love to do – and still do. But it’s nerve racking watching them.

Brrr - warmer than it looks

I don’t know why, but the sea always seems warmer when it’s rough.

Sunnier but still rough

We went to the Colne Valley Railway. We hadn’t been for several years and I thought with them being older now that they’d be disappointed (they asked to go), but they had a lovely time. We went on a steam day, but they liked riding on the little mini train more than on the steam train.

Colne Valley Railway

We stopped going once there were four as going back and forth over the railway bridge used to be nerve racking with toddlers and buggies. When I saw the bridge, it seemed much smaller than I remembered – it was twice as big in my memory. And now it’s possible to cross the line without going over the bridge – but of course they wanted to go over it! We did cross the line once, but even that I found nerve racking.

The bridge from the mini train

Tomorrow we’re going to the pool so there won’t be any waves to worry about, but slippery pool floors…. Nerve racking. 

I even worry when we go crabbing that one of them might accidentally throw themselves in or scrape their legs on the wall as they climb down to the ledge. How many times did I hurl myself in by mistake? None! Where do I get my daft ideas from? I have no idea.


I’m sure my nerves never used to be so racked when I was a parent of small children and they certainly weren’t when I was a child. I didn’t worry about getting dragged out to sea or slipping over at the pool or falling down the steps of the old railway bridge and they shouldn’t either. That’s my job. 

The hardest thing of all is not letting my racked nerves show and pretending I'm as fearless as they are.

And another thing – I always thought it was nerve wracking, but from Googling, I think it may be nerve racking. As if my nerves aren’t racked enough! 

But I am enjoying the school holidays, doing things I did as a child and as a young mum and reviving memories while making new ones. It's worth a few racked nerves.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Anonymous Who?

Every day I am getting several “Anonymous” comments on various posts which is why I’ve set up moderated comments. These comments bear no relation to the posts they purport to comment on.

I wonder if it is because my poor old blog has become neglected in recent months.

The summer holidays have started and I’ve drawn up a plan! Nothing set in stone, but I’ve written the tide times on there and pencilled in a few things. I don’t want to get to the end and realise there were things we could have done and never got round to.

Some of them are off camping for a few days and my lovely granddaughters who live away are coming to stay next week. I’ve been looking forward to the holidays for ages.

One thing that will get done every day is a dog walk (or swim) before we do anything else.

Early Morning Swim

Dusty loves the beach hut taps. He sprawls out underneath and has a shower as well as a drink.

The beach hut tap

I was quite pleased with this Key Lime Pie I made which has no dairy or eggs. In the photo the middle is still frozen – it looks better once defrosted, but it went too quickly to get another photo… and I forgot anyway. It seems to be one of those things that everyone likes which is unusual. Even trifles don't disappear as quickly as this pie!

Key Lime Pie

Hope you are enjoying the summer!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Gathering Thoughts

I just popped in to keep the blog going because I’ve seen what happens when neglected blogs get taken over and sometimes it ain’t pretty.

Tinks has settled in.

It took less than two weeks and it’s as if she’s always been here. The only downside is that she is an efficient hunter (maybe she had to fend for herself in the past – who knows?). Tinks now has an extra noisy bell on her collar. She’s a bit embarrassed I think, but it’s for the greater good.

Harley never catches anything. She chased a frog the other day, but didn’t attempt to catch him so I hid him away in the shade as he would have had no idea he was being followed by a pacifist cat so would have been terrified, poor thing. 

Every afternoon I go for a walk before I pick the kids up from school. My walk often takes me through the cemetery. Yesterday I decided to sit for a while in the shade of a tree and gather my thoughts, but by the time I got to the school, my thoughts had scattered all over the place again.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Growing Family


My son and daughter in law have just adopted Tinks. She is from the same rescue that Harley came from and is about the same age or a little older. Harley will be four this year.

She seemed like a perfect match for us. Friendly, likes children, loves (absolutely adores) dogs and has lived with another cat before.

She spent the first 24 hours in a “safe” room away from the rest of the house, but was allowed to wander round the whole house to get used to the smells and sounds while Harley and Dusty were out of the way.

Dusty in the woods

We should have waited 24 hours before introducing Harley and Tinks, but they met face to face through the patio door. Harley’s tail puffed up, but I think that was just surprise on her part to see a strange cat in her house. They seemed so eager to meet that we allowed them a brief encounter and waited for the hisses and growls.

Harley just wanted to be friends, but Tinks had a little growl and a hiss. They met several times after that and within 5 days they are getting along fine. Not cuddling each other or anything like that, but respectful and relaxed together.


With Dusty it is a little more difficult. He has always chased cats out of the garden because there are a couple round here who come into our garden with the sole purpose of beating Harley up.

Tinks is not in the least little bit afraid of him. She’s come right up to him and rubbed noses, but occasionally he’ll lunge, so when they are together he has a lead on – just in case. I’ve put a baby gate up on the office door and they spend a lot of time close together but with the gate as a barrier. She is desperate to be near him and he is desperate to play with her.

Making friends

Meanwhile, Harley is throwing herself at Dusty, batting his ears and yelling, “Chase ME! Chase ME!”

I am sure with patience and time and lots of positive reinforcement (they get to eats lots of chicken when they are close together) they will be good friends.

And just as the weather hots up, we have to have all the windows and doors closed so Tinks can’t get out! Phew! Hopefully it won’t be too long before she can go outside to sprawl in the garden with Harley.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Getting My Goat!

Sadly I haven't got a goat - although I would love to have one or a few. I took the photo at an animal rescue centre. Look at that beautiful expressive face, "Stop taking photos and give me more FOOD!"

There are several explanations for the origins of getting your goat. One is that in days gone by, a goat was placed with a racehorse the night before a race as a calming influence and rivals might nick the goat to upset the horse.

The title of this post came to mind because at the time I started writing it, a lot of things were getting my goat and turning me into a grumpy old mare (see what I did there?).

I wrote a lengthy rant about all the goaty things and deleted it. Life’s too short to dwell on the goat getters.

Some upheaval during the past few weeks has resulted in a very tidy house and multiple trips to the tip. I even found a couple of books I’d bought a few years ago for research and never got round to reading. Happiness!

I’ve rediscovered my baking mojo too and have been making lots of cakes every weekend – including Heavenly Nutty Chocolate Cups which aren’t cakes and don’t need to be baked. They are extremely popular with everyone. The kids are always asking when I’m going to make more and they are vegan which pleases my oldest grandson (and me!). And I ring the changes by sometimes using different nuts – I like to use peanuts and cashews.

At the moment school seems to be getting the resident little person’s goat and Harley thought if she went to sleep on her school shirt she would save her. Unfortunately her cunning plan didn’t work – it was a shirt put aside because it has been outgrown.

They’re all more than ready for the Easter holidays and a break from school – and so am I.

Happy Spring!