Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Wednesday, 30th December. 2015 - Cocktails at Caxton Cottage

At 6.30pm we found ourselves in the good company of Mandi, Murdoch, Rob and Caroline at Mike and Pippa's ever increasing house. The kitchen conversion is looking amazing. Good setting for tasty nibbles and cocktails. Mike has the most amazing imagination and then can create it into an interesting space. Clever man and combined with Pippa's creative flair make a great team. If you want to do something interesting and unusual with your home they are the couple to ask.

A new device for Christmas, I think it was an iBox, provided amusement along with YouTube.

Thankyou for a delightful evening.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Tuesday, 29th December 2015 - One Mother, Four Children and a Couple ofSons-in-Law

We had a thoroughly good time with Liz and Keith. I love their house by the sea and just a bit jealous that Liz has a potters wheel and kiln in her garden. Accompanied by David, Susan, Roger and Brenda we had a delicious festive dinner with a splash or two of prosecco. I really have reduced my drinking it was Keith being a most attentive host is where the fault lies....but I liked it.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Monday, 28th December 2015 - Little Relations

We had a muddy mammoth walk with Tony and Wendy. I am so pleased and surprised we all stayed upright. We came back to ours where I managed to feed them Christmas excess food. Bella and Hetty had George, Henry and Thomas over to play. The budding teenage boys are incredible patient with the girls. Lindsey and Fizzy popped by and consumed a few more leftovers. The tasting of the various homemade liqueurs was my best bit. Sloe Gin made by Lottie - yummy. Apricot liqueur provided by Alan's daughter (too much alcohol has a obliterated her name from my memory banks for now). Walnut, wild cherry and one other made by Ross were all delicious by now.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Sunday, 27th December 2015 - Hunting Costumes

Today we found a space in time to do the Treasure Hunt. A puzzle followed by a search dressed up in coronations dresses for two unicorns and a fairy in the garden led to presents. It sounds much more impressive than in reality. I believe I am possibly the one who enjoys it most. The family seem to be growing out of this tradition.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Saturday, 26th December 2016 - Shooting Clays at Howfield

The Joy family are the most wonderful hosts. We turned up with Tom to shoot clay pigeons (there is no resemblance whatsoever to a pigeon unless it has been run over by a car and is flat and grey). Tom was an unexpected extra but they calmly laid another place at the table. What a delicious lunch.

Si, Lesley, Tim, Cliff, Nick, Alex and Tom shot and more often than not, missed many clays. I was going to have a go but wimped out at the last minute. I am annoyed at myself.

 Thankyou once again Nick and Alli for your amazing hospitality.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Friday, 25th December 2015 - Crowns On

Christmas Day today. Yippee.

It turned out to be a relaxed event. Hetty and Bella were carefully guided by Harriet. Well done you. I remember a few Incidents of Christmas Day that I lost the plot in the past. Mum and Chris called by on their way to Lindsey's. There was a bit of dozing along with cooking, eating, drinking ( I do like an excuse to drink Champagne) and watching some fine festive television.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Thursday, 24th December 2015 - Snowball Testing

A couple of drinks and no food turned into something much more major at Hallwood Farm. Sarah and Nigel invited Mike, Karen and ourselves for a brief Christmas Eve drink. It ended rather later than planned due to the hosts being most generous and entertaining. Light nibbles were accompanied by Christmas cake and Yule log along with ham, smoked salmon and mashed potato. It was the testing, taking and experimenting with Snowballs that extended the evening. Don't buy Lidl advocat it is pretty disgusting until you have had a few. Warnicks won. Mike and I were defeatd as to why a maraschino cherry needed to be speared by a straw for drinking through. I don't think we outstayed our welcome. Did we?

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Wednesday, 23rd December 2015 - Archie, Rebekah and Gary

This evening we went to Ray and Linda's. They have the most beautiful house. I would love to hate them in a twisted way but they are the most gorgeous couple so one can't. We met Archie, Mike and Pippa's adorable grandson for the first time. In my enthusiasm for canapés not only did I spill my prosecco I managed to smash the glass too. Quite embarrassing.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Tuesday, 22nd December 2015 - Santa Special

Mum has again bought us all tickets for the steam railway trip from Tenterden to the North Pole with Father Christmas. I like watching faces. Hetty and Bella were delights to see. It must be the warmth and the rhythm of the train that makes the older family members close their eyes. The merry-go-round got a few turns. Once was enough for me. It really goes quite fast - such fun. When you can borrow a child you rally must take in the experience. I thoroughly recommend it. Thankyou Mum.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Monday, 21st December 2015 - Tiling at Little Holt

It may be the holidays but some people just don't stop working. Tom has use of my car while home. In fair and generous exchange, on my part, he has been helping Tim. Not sure the rubber gloves do it for me Tim. I prefer a man in a bee suit.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Sunday, 20th December 2015 - Deep in Discussion

I woke to the sound of Seagulls. I feel like I am on holiday.

What a way to start the day...have a fantastic breakfast cooked by Vivien with sausages made by Si.

We visited Brenda on our way home for tea. She is keen to get a Tablet as more information is now not being printed. I am impressed by her keeness to learn. We found out that Cats Eyes and Ballisha Beacons were invented in the early 1930's. Just as Brenda thought.

This evening it was carols at The Peacock. Emily and Michael were goose pimpling good. Stunning voices. The rest of us tried really really hard. I am not sure why Michael moved away from Tom? 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Saturday, 19th December 2015 - Annual Dinner Party

This years Christmas dinner party was held by the seaside at Vivien's. What a great venue.

We arrived in the afternoon for a wander through the Old Town of Hastings (charming) and the Town (interesting but not charming). After trailing up and down the streets, they are pretty to start with but passing the Jenny Linn repetitively reduced its appeal, we eventually got to our destination. We were looking for Ray and Linda's house where June and Barry were staying. Found it. We changed into our dress and suits. Dinner suits transform men don't you think. And I was in the company of four of them. Yum.

Dinner was stunning. I don't think we could have eaten or drunk much more. Canapés, cocktails, sparkling wine, red wine, soup, soufflé, beef Wellington, a couple of puddings and a cheese board to finish. We were treated to a night in Steve and Vivien's bedroom. They slept on the floor. Yes, I did feel slightly guilty but I slept like a baby. Such a lot of hard work but appreciated very very much.

I am pleased to say it is not our turn next year. June and Barry its at yours. I am looking forward to it already. 

 Si's bow tie got crooked. That is the sign of a fine evening.

Friday, 18th December 2015 - Christmas Cactus

I have been feativising the house today. A wheelbarrow loaded with greenery has been disbursed along the banisters and over pictures. Hetty helped. I have never done high velocity decorating before. She seems to run at twice the speed that I do. Bella is fast catching up. Great job done is very little time. I am exhausted.

I found my nude Christmas cake from last year. Looks and smells nicely matured. Much to Mum's disgust it is covered In yellow marzipan. None of that sophisticated white stuff. I am rather proud of my rainbow glittered icing peaks. The girls can adorn it with robins and the like tomorrow. I hope the glue gun can stick Father Christmas's legs back on.

Harriet gave me a cactus. Mum always had one. Apparently they are hard to come by as they are not trendy. You just wait. Next year you will all want one.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Thursday, 17th December 2015 - David Demonstrating.

Sarah and I went to Cocolicous for coffee/tea and a bacon roll where we put ourselves to rights. Harriet and Bella joined us for cupcake and coffee before we headed out o the hunt for things to stick on top of our Christmas cake. It was exasperatingly futile. Six shops and only half a dozen robins, a polar bear and a cake frill.

Lee lee reminded me it was the Weald of Kent Art Group Christmas party. A surpringly enjoyable evening watching the talented David Aspinall demonstrate. We even had drinks and nibbles. Still no alcohol has passed my lips. I think my body appreciates it but not my mind yet.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Wednesday, 16th December 2015 - Egg Collectors

I have had my last bed and breakfast guest for 2015. I can now get the room ready for when Tom comes home. Sooo looking forward to seeing him. I wonder if he still likes to argue/discuss as much.

Harriet walks the girls to school. She has a front pack for Bella whose legs are too little for now. It reminds me of a kangaroo. I am amazed that Harriet can carry Bella she is quite heavy now. 

I hate it when you find a teabag at the bottom of your mug.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Tuesday, 15th December 2015 - Work Continues

We have not stopped building yet. Tim is getting the bathroom ready for a bit of plastering. Damn dusty work but he has a new tool that seems to aid his work.

I was delighted to be able to watch Brian Cox this evening. Tim Peake docking onto the International Space Station seemed much more interesting. It was actually fascinating. Well done you up there.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Monday, 14th December 2015 - Plasterer's Van

Little Holt has been plastered today. I do like to watch plasterers (?sp and punctuation) working. Still a lot of work to do but it is looking pretty good so far.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Saturday, 12th December 2015 - An Evening at The Joy Home

This evening we picked up Si and Lesley before spending the evening with Nick and Alli accompanied by Nick and Suzy. The food was delicious. I do so enjoy being cooked for. Gorgeous company which took me enjoyably way past my bedtime.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Friday, 11th December 2015 - Girls at Juliets

I spent the morning in Tunbridge Wells. I met with Pippa, Fiona, Linda and June. We coffeed, caked and did a bit of shopping.

When I got home Tim said to me to slip into something more comfortable. What a sexy little devil he can be. He had other ideas. So we ended up doing some plasterboaring.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Thursday, 10th December 2015 - Still Hanging On

An had an unfortunate experience this morning. My much loved black knickers have come detached from their lacy top. Not badly enough for me not to wear them though. 

I was in cleaning mode, not mood, today. I even ventured into the garden and did some leaf collecting. I love the trees but not so keen on the vast amount of leaves they shed. Bloody heavy, soggy, mushy leaves. 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Wednesday, 9th December 2015 - Poinsettia Rehab

Paloma Faith and I did some gardening today. We sang at great volume. Excellent expulsion of all those tense bits.

Harriet saved a poinsettia from being composed. It is now in my tender care. It is good to see its long stems. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Tuesday, 8th December 2015 - Hetty's First Nativity

Such a proud day today.

After a trip to East Sussex to collect a couple of Great Grandmas and a spot of lunch we went to Benenden Church to await the arrival of Hetty. Ok, she was not the only one performing in the school nativity but I only had eyes for her. There were four generations there to watch her. She made a brilliant singing and dancing snowflake.

We celebrated with the cake I was working on yesterday. 

Monday, 7 December 2015

Monday, 7th December 2015 - Wrapping

Today I have been making a very complicated cake. Tim kindly bought me some silicone cake tins. I don't think I used them correctly. They wobbled as I transferred them into the oven and the cake stuck to the bottom. Oh I have not finished yet. When I turned them out the side caved in taking a bite of cake with it. Luckily there is a lot of buttercream frosting for patching. Possibly a picture tomorrow of the monster it has become.

In between cake making I wrapped Christmas presents. Still a few of those early twenties boys to consider. They are damn difficult. I don't like to encourage them with alcoholic bad habits even it is appreciated and I have done in the past. Any ideas boys?

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Sunday, 6th December 2015 - Ibuprofen

Tim and Brett had a long day working on Little Holt. Harriet is finding it hard not having Brett to help with the girls. They don't seem to mind. They can at least see daddy through the hole in the living room wall. We are hoping to get plastered this week.

Pain killers sorted me out today and an exciting episode of Dr Who.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Saturday, 5th December 2015 - Balloon Rescue

Harriet and I took Hetty and Bella to Tenterden. They were holding a Christmas fair. A bit of discussion ensued after Father Christmas gave them some sweets in the High Street and then they saw him shortly after in his grotto. Hetty knows that is far too many places for a person to be and some of them have dodgy looking beards. I bought them a couple of unfestive helium balloons. Bella's string snapped and we watched her Dalmatian go floating off into a tree. Harriet and I stood pondering whether it would be possible to catch it, probably not, you can imagine Bella's little sad face. A young lad passed by and insisted on climbing the rather spiky tree to rescue her balloon. Now imagine her delighted little face. As he handed the balloon back he got a round of applause. Then ran off. What a kind deed. I hope he has a lovely happy Christmas and future life.

Work continues on Little Holt. Tim and Brett have broken through and they have a charming hole in their living room wall. The girls found it most entertaining.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Friday, 4th December 2015 - Fish Friday

This evening I finished painting our Christmas cards. It is a therapeutic with its repetitiveness.

We had a Bewl water trout for dinner. It took far much longer than usual to prepare the potatoes with a mandolin slicer for potato Boulanger. Not a success. They turned out slimey. Potato soup tomorrow.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Wednesday, 2nd December 2015 - Mahonia

Today it was sunny but not gorgeous enough to entice me into the garden until after 3pm. I did some leaf clearing. A horrid task. The scent of Mahonia eased the task. Hetty and Bella climbed into the builders bag we collect the leaves in. Being dragged around the garden caused much enjoyment. Funny little pair.

Tom phoned this afternoon while waiting for recovery from his exhaust falling off. He the. Went on to tell me he had been test driving a Tesla. So I presumed this was the car missing the exhaust. How was I meant to know it is an electric car. Great little drive if you have £80,000 to spend.

Tonight I am off for our Christmas Book Group meeting at The Great House. I am looking forward to it greatly!!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Tuesday, 1st December 2015 - Christmas Elf Delivery

I have wrapped presents for Hetty, Bella and Harriet's Christmas Advent calender. 72 is a lot of presents. It has been great fun finding suitable gifts from colouring books to whoopee cushions.

I can now get excited about Christmas. Very quietly to myself so as not to over excite the children and make Tim think I am a bit weird.

Bella had a little confusion about the Elf and presents. Hetty had no problem. Harriet was also included.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Monday, 30th November 2015 - From Alex by Sophie

I have eventually planted the last of the daffodil and tulip bulbs. I was rather enthusiastic in my estimate need. They last hundred or so I have put in plastic pots, I do prefer a bit of terracotta but run out, with the optimistic hope of having flowers to cut for the house I the spring.

Brett's brother, Alex, has been staying and working with Brett for the last couple of weeks. He stayed in a bnb room when it was free from guests. Thankyou for my beautiful thankyou flowers.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sunday, 29th November 2015 - Thorn and Latch

This afternoon we braved the wind and went for a walk with Tony and Wendy. They are no fools and had left a car at the pub in Sandhurst where we ended up. I don't think my legs could have gone much further. While walking Tim got a thorn through his boot into his heel and Tony did a repair on a gate latch.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Saturday, 28th November 2015 - Hetty, Bella and a Penguin

I spent the majority of the day at Christmas Fayres. How great is that. The first was Benenden Primary School in the Village Hall. Just how you would cartoon a country village event. It was packed. Hetty and Bella went to Elf school and visited Father Christmas in between activities a few sweet treats were consumed. Candyfloss is evil in the way it spreads it sticky sweetness. The joy on their little faces is just a delight to see. What a happy Grandma. The second was at Silcocks. Great little place. The girls were pleased to see that the Three French Hens has not sold their Boar Head yet.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Friday, 27th November 2015 - Christmas Kiss

I whirred - was going to put whirred but got auto corrected. Whirred is much more appropriate. - about today getting a room ready for guests, making them bread and cake. They did not want cake so it is in the freezer if you want any.

This evening I have the kitchen table relieved of the door I have been painting. Now finished and looking rather gorgeous. It is covered in Christmas cards now.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thursday, 26th November 2015 - Steaming Quinces

I have been steaming quinces to make into jelly. I now find out they are one of the driest fruit and produce very little juice. Not a good start to my steam/juicing adventures.

I have had a fasting day today. It is meant to be very good for you. I felt incredibly hungry a few times, managed to decline Pippa's crumpet (very tempting) and shut myself in my studio for the evening away from the fridge and larder. I am feeling quite ok.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Wednesday, 25th November 2015 - Nelson

Tim and I went to London. Yes, it is worth noting as it is a rare occurrence.

Tim went for lunch with old colleagues. I had an inspiring time wandering around The National Gallery. I do like a bit of Hogarth. He is most amusing. His paining skills are ok too.

We met in Covent Garden which is festooned in festive lights then wandered back to The Portrait Gallery for a drink in the bar overlooking London where we watched the sun setting.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Tuesday, 24th November 2015 - My Charges

It was a first for me today. Harriet has gone to a Lecture in London about Rheumatoid Arthritis and other auto immune diseases. It is our Christmas present to her which includes looking after Hetty and Bella for the day.

I dropped Hetty at school, no problem, and Bella at playgroup. She stood by the door with such a sad look on her face and said "Goodbye Grandma" that I was in tears by the time I got home. They did some serious colouring and stickering when they got home. Bella drew a picture of a crying face. I asked why they were crying. She said, "Because they are missing their Mummy". Hold it together Grandma. They were little angels for me.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Monday, 23rd November 2015 - Rabbit and Fox

I have a front door on my kitchen table that I am painting for Little Holt.

Also, I finished the shawl/ hoods for Hetty and Bella with a few added pom-poms. I loved making them.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sunday, 22nd November 2015 - Tonbridge

I am a bit torn about today. We are going to a very old friend of Tim's for lunch. He split with his wife a while ago. Today we are to meet his new friend. There will also be another friend of Tim's who is in a similar situation. I am still in contact with the ladies they left and feel a sense of loyalty to them and also Tim. Hence, I feel torn.

It was a pretty afternoon as Tim and I walked on the bridge over the River Medway back to the car.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Friday, 20th November 2015 - Friends, Food and Drink

We met Si, Lesley, June and Barry for a meal at The Wheelwrights. It was a traumatic event. June and Lesley were drinking Chapel Down rose. I am still off alcohol. How cruel is that. They serve Si's sausages and cider so I felt not too distraught.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Wednesday, 18th November 2015 - Nineteen Litres of Cider

My hand has reacted to yesterday's bee sting. It is now red and swollen. Most charming.

I was delighted to collect Sarah from Benenden Hospital and take her home after a minor operation. Nigel was out of signal range in an orchard somewhere. Thankyou for my Scottish gloves. I love them.

We have bottled our cider which tastes no too bad already. Hopefully after a bit of a lie down it will be delicious. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Tuesday, 17th November 2015 - November Sky

A bee should not sting the hand of the one who feeds you your sugar syrup. Some lessons to be learnt by the now dead bee, not to sting and not to wear flappy sleeves that they can crawl inside.

The advantage of cleaning a very dirty house is that it shows.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Monday, 16th November 2015 - 'Looking Through/Looking At'

Another great evening at my art class. I was shocked to find it is our last lesson next week. We are having a Christmas party. Really. In November. That's not quite right.

I have finished my project piece of work. The theme was 'Looking Thriough/Looking At'. It was a combination of reality, imagination and just because I want to to. 

We syphoned the cider when I got home. It is smelling and looking like cider.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Sunday, 15th November 2015 - Post Walk

Busy, busy day.

Tim and Brett continue with Little Holt entrance construction. Now it has upright timbers.

Charming guests left purchasing one of my cards and a jar of picked crab apples. No honey today.

Steve and Zoe were with us for a walk to the pub and pheasant stew. We also had fish soup and apple tart left over from Tim's birthday bash. I just love it when the freezer produces prepared food.

We squeezed onto the sofa and watched a very strange film. It was adapted from an Alan Edgar Poe book. It was about an asylum where the patterns had take over

Friday, 13 November 2015

Friday, 13th November 2015 - Tim and Rob

Tim and I went to The Cranbrook Art Show. It is a great little exhibition but only on for three days. I could have come away with a couple of pictures, one or two sculptures and a bit of jewellery. I decided to leave them for others to buy.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Thursday, 12th November 2015 - Deep Concentration

There are some interesting fungi along the path I walked today. The yellow ones were charming.

I popped next door to find Bella and Hetty working hard. The depth of their concentration is wonderful.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Wednesday, 11th November 2015 - Fun Train with Bella

At the same time as scrambling and poaching eggs I was baby sitting Bella. That's wonderous multitasking. Ok so Bella was asleep and all I was doing was supervising the baby monitor but I may have been needed.

Somehow I ended up at a toddlers music class this morning. It is a long time since I skipped around in a circle. It was delightful to see Bella's musical skills.

I have an appointment with The Apprentice and a fox this evening. Sounds thrilling? Maybe not but I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Tuesday, 10th November 2015 - Tim in the Woods

Blimey, bit of a shock having to cook breakfast for guests after a few days of abstinence. Only one incident this morning of fusing my eyelashes together when peering at the sausages under the grill too intimately. The mascara with the fibres in is particularly efficient.

I have a bit of a fungi obsession (well more of an admiration). We found loads of the little stunners on a walk this afternoon. I am going to try and incorporate them into my art project.

I got a bit weepy watching Dr Who - for goodness sake - while we ate our free salmon. Tesco delivered it by mistake. I rang to tell them. We got to keep it but some poor person has no fish for tea.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Monday, 9th November 2015 - Aloe Vera

Tim is home from Atlanta.

I think I may rub my Aloe Vera plant into my head to remove the pain.

I have new guests - they ate my chocolate brownie. 

My evening art class was thoroughly enjoyable. We must drive our tutor mad as we are all doing different things but based on the same theme. She has a clever way of guiding questions so that you come up with your own answer. Inspirational night.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sunday, 8th November 2015 - Eco Lodge

Benenden Girls School has a wonderful Eco Lodge in their grounds. In the many times I have walked passed it today was the first time I have seen it being used.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Friday, 6th November 2015 - Tea Tray

We had our electricity supply isolated this morning. They were tree cutting. I get some pleasure in the fact that it went off twenty minutes later than scheduled and annoyed when it came on half an hour late. Weird simple thoughts.

My guests did not want my chocolate brownie. Now I have to eat it.

Benenden Girls School put on a mighty fine firework display. I watched it from the end of our drive. I turned round to go back home to find Harriet with Hetty wrapped in a blanket had been too. Hetty was thrilled by them. Nearly as much as myself.