You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2009.

Okay, so this isn’t the best picture I ever took – even I can see that the light levels are all over the place – but this was a lovely, chance finding.

flower fest sept09

I had been to an antenatal class reunion in Flockton when I came across this flower festival at the parish church of St James the Great. I went up to the door to peer inside, and the parish ladies were still there and said I was welcome to look around, and would I like to buy a programme. So I did.

I love church flower festivals, mainly because they remind me of my Nanna. She was a stalwart of St Mary and St Michael at Whitley Lower and we would often go with her to clean church, or tidy up flowers, or get ready for the church bazaar – I still get very excited at the prospect of a church bazaar. When you grow up in a teeny tiny village in the 70s, the church bazaar is one of the highlights of the year.

My Nanna cannot speak any more, or recognise anyone. She has dementia. Unfortunately for her she is ‘a creaking gate’ – doesn’t appear that physically strong but with amazing powers of recovery from accidents, operations etc. So she lives in a nursing home with constant care, away from the house of which she used to say “they’ll only take me from here in a box.”



It’s raining outside. Miserable, dull, damp weather, which started a couple of weeks ago and just won’t go away. Slimey, squelchy mud underfoot and no prospect of it going away now (bar the odd day of frost) for five or six months. Yuk, yuk, yuk.

So I dug around in my pictures file, and found these of harvest.

harvest1 sept09

I love to see a field of corn, freshly cut, with the golden straw in heaped lines.

harvest2 sept09

Then, as I walked up the track I heard a sound and saw the combine harvester come over the brow of the hill. “A combine! It’s a COMBINE HARVESTER!” Very very exciting, for when we were kids the combine arriving in the fields around our house was the declaration that a new playground would soon be opening. Once the straw was cleared we would have a few weeks of being able to run around the stubble, building jumping courses for ponies and dogs, and raking up bits of straw for the rabbits.

harvest3 sept09

However on this occasion I was accompanied by Firstborn who, being a town-brought-up boy, looked at me with a combination of confusion and oh-my-god-what’s-my-mother-on-now and shuffled off so he could try to deny all association.

harvest4 sept09

We walked through Lady Wood, then came back down to see the corn trailers at the bottom of the field. More excitement from me; Firstborn’s response could best be summed up with “Sheesh.”

harvest5 sept09

And then another look at the lovely, lovely combine.

harvest6 sept09

Firstborn: “Unnh.”

harvest7 sept09

He definitely prefers the dog to his mother on these occasions.


I must confess to my addiction. My sons and husband have been hinting at it for some time, but I brushed their concerns aside. However today, when out with a friend, we spent the first 15 minutes discussing our Farmville farms on Facebook before Anna said: “And how is life in the real world?”

I’m up to Level 27 on Farmville, with a Big Family Farm, a manor, two cottages, three tool sheds, two workshops and a Big Red Barn, and I’m desperately waiting for Farmville’s creators to get a move on and release the Mighty Plantation as I need more space for all my trees, crops and animals. I have to fit in another 13 buildings before I can get the Architect Blue Ribbon, and I could also do with more neighbours – anyone else want to sign up and friend me? – so I can get the big duckpond. My ducks, swans and turtles are looking a little crowded.

After discussing it with Anna I came to the conclusion that I’m hooked because I would love to have more space around my house, so I could at least have chickens, if not a pig or two and a pony. I miss not having animals around – dogs, cats and guinea pigs, while lovely, are not the same.

Never mind. Things could be worse. I have started with Island Paradise, but am determined to keep things small. I’ve earned enough Island coins for a beach chair and a sandcastle, and I can leave the application playing in the background to my other work as I listen to the sounds of the sea. I am resolutely refusing all invitations to Cafe World, Fishville, Mafia Wars, etc.

But Farmville has got me forever.


When my babies were toddlers I longed for the teenage years. They would be able to make their own food, I wouldn’t have to get a babysitter, I would know what I was doing and I wouldn’t have to wipe their bottoms.

Well, all three of them are teenagers now and let’s see:

Making their own food – Kinda. If I’m happy to see them survive on toast and 9p noodles from Sainsbury’s, then we’re sorted. Fruit and vegetable consumption is zero, unless cooked by me (and hidden in soup or thick gravy). They can even be a bit dicky on the toast. Rather too much of the “Muuuum… if you really loved me you’d make me some toast” going on. Get a grip, fellas.

No need for a babysitter – Hmmm. In theory, no need. In practice… well, let’s just say I don’t like to go out and leave them for too long. And if, by any chance, I have to go off for the day leaving Firstborn in charge, I leave a list of phone numbers as long as my arm, to cover all eventualities, taped to his forehead.

Knowing what I’m doing – No, not really. Working blind here, in many ways. I trust my instincts more than I did when they were babies, and I’m better at shutting out unwanted advice (spoken or implied) than I was. But that doesn’t stop many many people from saying You Must Put Your Foot Down, or He Needs To Learn That Actions Have Consequences. It’s doing my head in, to be honest. Why can’t people have more faith in my babies? I have faith in them. I don’t think Firstborn is a total dropout, even if he has left Sixth Form too early for my liking. None of them are stupid – I don’t breed stupid children – so I’ll have a less of the YOU MUST, thank you, and a bit more of You Poor Love, Let Me Hold Your Hand and Feed You Biscuits While You Rant It Out Of Your System.

Wiping their own bottoms – Thank God. That’s one thing I’ve got right as a mother.