Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spring has sprung

And with the spring, the first of the asparagus - Alex and I went down to the Pick your Own today, and picked lots of it (this is only a little). Dinner tonight was asparagus and roasted beetroot (for me - Geoff didn't have the beetroot and of the kids, only Olivia really likes asparagus, though Alex will eat it - but why waste it? Olivia had a plateful, though) and crusty bread. Yum, yum. The radishes, I ate for lunch (ok, not all of them, but a big handful).

And some freesias for the kitchen window. Lovely.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunny - or not

Great day this morning - sunny, no wind - perfect for sunprinting, which I wanted to do for a project of my own, so I thought I'd let the kids do some too. Of course, the moment we get the pieces painted and ready to go outside, there goes the sun for the duration of the afternoon. Sigh. Worked ok, but not with the kind of crisp, clear images that you get on a really good day. Still, it was fun for them - especially Alex, who has never been allowed to do it before. He thinks it's Magic. And so it is.

The ones above are Alex's on the left and Sarah's on the right. Below are Olivia's on the left and on the right, a group effort which was mainly an exercise in using up all the setacolours which had been poured out and thinned. The kids' pieces mainly use foam shapes and leaves as resists, the group piece uses rice, lentils and pasta (dried). I think the group piece in particular is a very nice piece. I shoudl say that the dark parts were there to start with - it was a piece I ruched before which didn't turn out very interesting so went into the "do something else with this later" box.

Portrait of the artist...

The small boy is obsessed with the camera. To the point I have to be careful where I leave it - not because I mind him taking pictures, but he's only four; I don't want him to drop it. Here's a photo he took today, of himself. I kinda like it, actually :)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Run, run, as fast as you can...

Alex was learning The Gingerbread Man in nursery, so we made these biscuits in honour - Allie did all the eyes and buttons himself. There's another, raisinless tray for those who don't like raisins (Sarah) as well. He insisted on having Rover in the picture as well - Rover is his favourite stuffed toy, most of the time. He has the honour of being the only stuffed toy who has an actual name (most are just called Panda, Bear, Cat (or Catty) and so on, unless they are a character that already has a name (Snoopy, Dora, Fimbo, etc))

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's alright ma, I'm only hoarse after shouting at a concert

Dylan last night at Wembley Arena. Good show - better than Kilkenny Festival last year, not the very best I've seen him, but I do really like the new album, so that helps, and he was obviously in a good mood (comparatively speaking). Played Blind Willie McTell, which I understand is unusual - I've certainly not heard it in concert before. Lots of stuff off the new album (Modern Times) though not Workingman's Blues, which I like. But he did do When the Deal Goes Down and Nettie Moore, both of which I like very much. Even Geoff really likes the new album, now that he's got used to it being very different from traditional Dylan, whatever that is.

Not sure why I always seem to end up having to sit next to guys who get a little drunk and elbow me in the side all night - maybe there's just something about me :)

Great comment in a review in one of the free London papers today: " singing in a voice so husky it was a miracle he didn't arrive on stage pulling a sled." Even better than the Guardian review of the Newcastle concert which said his voice these days was a "cross between Macy Gracy and Donald Duck" which is odd and slightly rude but remarkably accurate.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What a zoo!

Our friends Cathi and Dave are visiting this weekend from Ireland - on Friday, we took all the kids to the zoo. Here are Olivia and Aine (who is Alex's age) pretending to be flamingos, and Alex with his new gorilla toy, and Aine. They are looking at the Komodo Dragon - or rather, were before this photo was taken... The London Zoo has a new gorilla enclosure, which is nice - my friend Barbara would like it, I'm sure. It was a nice day - good weather (though nothing like today which is sunny and very warm) and we had a good time, despite the effort of taking small kids on public transport - both of the big girls were very helpful with the two 4 year olds, and Aisling, who is 2.5. More photos of the kids here - and lots of photos of animals, too.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jesus just wants to say hi...

OK, I promise not to blog every time I get funny spam, but this one I couldn't resist - the subject line was "just want to say hi", which is common enough with spam, but the sender just said "Jesus". Had to laugh...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Chicks (and boys)

So here are the kids on Juniper Top, with a couple of Easter chicks, which they have made a nest for. Unfortunately, not a good photo of Sarah, but pretty sweet of the other two... We had a lovely picnic on Juniper Top yesterday with our friend Miranda - beautiful day and great food.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Why we don't take up careers as handymen...

Here in the UK, this is a bank holiday weekend for Easter- both Friday and Monday are holidays. Some years we go up to see Geoff's mum over Easter, but because our friends Cathi and Dave are coming from Ireland next week, we decided to stay at home this weekend. And tackle some of the list of small jobs that have been waiting for us. One of these is repainting the back garden fence, which Geoff started last weekend. Of course we didn't have enough paint, so he could only do half until I made it down to B&Q to get more. That having been accomplished in the week, he duly finished the fence yesterday. That was the easy thing. The next task was to replace a hinge in the front door which keeps falling apart. You'd think this wouldn't be that hard. After all, how many different types and sizes of hinges can there be? We took the measurements, made a note of the number of screws, and off he went in search of one.

The first one, the hinge was too big for the door - it was a special strong type, but had a bigger diameter than the ones in there already, so wouldn't fit (unless we changed the other two). So, back he went to get the regular kind, which seemed fine, until we realised that the configuration of the holes was backwards to what was in the door already (ours goes top left, then right, then left and bottom right - the one he brought home was top right, left, right, bottom left). And unfortunately, just turning it upside down didn't work. We didn't realise this until we had the old hinge plates off the door, so at this point, the door is only connected by two hinges. This is of course when people keep coming to the door and wanting in or out!

So back to B&Q - and well, they didn't have the type we needed, so he had to go down to Homebase (different DIY shop) which I like better, but which is further away, so isn't the place to go for quick things... Luckily, they had the right kind. And after a lot of work and my managing to hit myself in the finger with the hammer, we did get it to fit. And now the door closes properly, but holy cow, what a palaver.

After the hinge was finally fixed, I put a new coat of paint on the door (the kind that supposedly only needs one coat, but really ends up needing two) and proceeded to have to leave the door standing open for the rest of the day so it could dry. But it looks much better, and as soon as I go back to B&Q to get more paint, I'll do the gate as well, which looks really old now, especially compared to the shiny new door...
Oh, and once it's completely dry, I'll put some new house numbers up - I have a shiny new pair of numbers waiting. Maybe Monday as we'll be out doing stuff tomorrow.

Alex rides his bike

He's been pretty good at doing the pedals for a while now, but it's only recently that he's mastered steering, which is good for my back...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter baking

So, the Easter holidays have begun, and astonishingly, the entire bank holiday weekend looks to have good weather. Yesterday we went out in the morning to buy Olivia a new bike (photos of that to come, I'm sure) and then spent a few hours in the park and riding bikes (a video of Alex on his bike later, once YouTube has processed it). Then in the afternoon we made some Easter cookies - I had some cookie cutters in spring/Easter shapes - egg, bunny, butterfly, chick, flower, lamb - and decided I should probably do the biscuits now before the cutters were no longer topical. Anyway, we made lots of colours of icing to go with them - spring colours work very well, nice pastel colours are usually what I end up with when making icing - it's the darker ones I have a harder time with.

And here are some of the finished results - yum!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

An Alex Day

This is Alex, with his friend Alex. She came around to play the other day after nursery and they had a great (and somewhat silly) time. Here I think they are pretending the little bowls are hats, though that doesn't really explain why my Alex has his on the side of his face. Oh well, four-year-olds, what do you expect...