Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Greatitudes 542 - 570

It generally all boils down to boys and buns here! Admittedly for most of the last week it has been about nothing much more than boys and bugs (of the tummy variety) but we are now all most well. And that is an extremely good thing. But otherwise there is nothing, still as yet nothing, quite as calming to a houseload of sun-filled, sun-stoked suns and other people's suns than a batch of buns and a table load of icing and things. This is another extremely good thing while it lasts. Friends of suns are also an extremely good thing. That's fabulous when going well. So well done to Troubled Sun for being nearly at the end of a trying year on the suns of other people front. I may have been a little bit blank to one of these people at the level crossing hiatus today. This is not an extremely good thing.
When do buns become cupcakes anyway? Is it when they are properly iced and enormous and you could look at them for a long time before daring to eat- with a small fork, obviously. We had lots of those, not made by me, at last week's Mums in May. Now this is a huge source of gratitude on my part. I managed to organise a Mothers' Union event. Phew. Slightly absolved after a year of inept muddling! More gratitudes- people came and brought friends, they all brought more food, they must each have donated double the suggested amount for the work of Irish MU, the sun shone and shone and shone! The sun has in fact just stopped shining, which is nearly a tiny relief given that we are people of a frozen clime and a fortnight of South of France temperatures is definitely more than Calvinists deserve!
Are YWAM folk Calvinists? I didn't get much of a grasp of the work they were doing out and about this week. We were hosting a little family, so Strawberry Land was wholly concerned with falling in love with Layna! Layna discovered Charlie and Lola, which was a fine excuse for me to sit down and revel in Lauren Child. Not that I ever need much of an excuse... Such a novelty to have a house full of something other than boys and buns.
Now the above illustrates what happens when actual cakes become cup cakes! We have decadently celebrated two Bean Birthdays in the last fortnight. We don't physically go to the Bean Coffee Shop for birthdays anymore- we take the birthday to crafting person's home and invade it and put up the personalised banners and eat the personalised cakes by Lorna, and eat all the other food we've brought as well. Sometimes we hook. Usually we just eat. It's like having your eighth birthday all over again, except that your brother doesn't pull your hair, or your best friend run off with your new Sindy. And you get to blow out the candle without having to light it again for your children. I love it! Happy Birthdays, Niqi and Cathy!
Hooray- the Willows have not only arrived safely at Carolyn's glorious place of Mess, Muddle and Fun, but they are exploring the Lake District too. Do visit and comment!
Now finally, Thrifty Thursday has a confession for the group. She has been most careful during this Year of Living Small, and it has indeed been a time of living very large in the wonderful provision of He who provides, and in the kindness of friends. She has shopped locally and cannily and kept within budgets. She has made do and tried to mend! She has used everything to hand, and has moved in an environmentally responsible manner. However. Due to the very wonderful amount of substitute teaching that she was given at just the right times, and having helped pay some big bills and taken the strawberries away at Easter for PC's birthday, Thrifty made a spontaneous decision. Do you remember those? You used to do them before you had children. Maybe you don't recall. It certainly took Thrifty by surprise, but believe me, given the right opportunity, you would be amazed at how fast you could text back simply, "Yes." No thought required!

Tune in next week. I'll be there before you, Willows!

Saturday, 26 May 2012


One small boy looks up in the middle of his sickness in the middle of the night and says, with big blue eyes, "There's something you don't see every day."

Other less small boy looks up having just been dosed with pink medicine for a sore stomach and asks, with big blue eyes, "If you take medicine when actually you're faking it, can it do damage?"

I needn't have worried. He got it too. Then I did. This and the rest means we're reading you, but you'll not be reading much of us- enjoy the sun!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

What if...

"What if Ulster don't win?" Matthew has just asked. Luckily his father had just left the house, taking one of our three lovely American guests up to church to join the rest of the team. It's all go in Strawberry Land today.

(Don't watch beyond the Thunderbirds music. Only the die-hards watch Schools Cup stuff!)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Show and Tell 2012

We have just one more week of evenings in the Library- it goes down to daytime opening hours over the summer holidays. So Hookery in the Bookery had its end of year Show and Tell last night! Plans are to decamp to Heather Boss's house over the holidays, so hopefully the ripple will make some progress! Full details of frankly amazing output in seven months, none of it mine, over at Hookery in the Bookery blog! Or if you'd rather read about book clubs, look at this article. A friend read it and thought of me- and indeed I recognised myself more than once...

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

London 2012

The boys have been to London. Unfortunately it was a bit too early for the rowing events. They are with the Esteemed Angela at the minute, half-way through their English visits, and pretty much half-way through the Tour as well! Shame the Olympic mascots have already been picked...

Monday, 7 May 2012

Greatitudes 528 - 541

I haven't been grateful in a while, and this is not necessarily confined to blog posts. Mostly today I'm grateful that I wasn't doing the Belfast Marathon in any shape or form, and certainly not in the torrential rain that persisted right up until the last possible person was through the tape. When the sun came out.
But G and G walked the whole thing in seven hours, Fred ran the whole thing in four hours and thirty-four minutes and the Library Crew walked the nine miles without incident, so well done, all of you!
Obviously the biggest thing in my universe of late is still last week's Annual Big Night Out. And most thankful for it I am too- for the friends who come every year, for the hamper we manage to win every year (two at the table this time round!), for the teacher who turned out actually to just want to chat and dance and did not, as I in great paranoia feared, "want to "talk" to you in a minute"... Notice that I remained perfectly upright on the heels at all times! (And that it made no difference whatsoever in the neverending quest to look PC in the eye!) Also thanks Mrs Clarke, because we managed to get a table one row in from the back door this time!
Admittedly the atmosphere was enhanced this year by the fact that the Ball was preceded, for the male population mostly, by an afternoon in the hotel bar, in full tuxedo gear. Thankfully they won!
The Morning after the Night Before has traditionally become a baking time. Thankfully this year Jo took charge of that. We might still have half a carriage in a tin somewhere if you're hungry?

This Bank Holiday weekend is always Belfast's Festival of Fools. We've been taking the suns to sit on various city streets since they were tiny fireballs. My favourite yesterday was Il Cataldo. This isn't Belfast- no green trees of City Hall in the background!

And lastly tonight, in a bad case of Sunday blues on a Monday, I'm very graetful for Ann Voskamp's post on mothers over at aholyexperience.com and yes, it has made me cry- this is the Land of the sometimes tearful Strawberries, you know?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Willows' Culture

There has been a truly delightful pofusion of Willows related material on which to feast here this week. Last Sunday Prince Charming dragged me off the keyboard to the living room and plomped me down with a large cup of tea in front of Griff Rhys Jones- happily! He was spending an hour revelling in his evident love of Toad, and the Willows, and revealing all that is good and interesting and poignant about the book and its author.
He spoke throughout to other professed lovers of the story- Jeffrey Archer is, surprisingly, also a closet Toad.
A lovely section of the programme was a boat trip where GRJ discussed the themes of the book with Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Haddon is a Mole, and spoke really very movingly about home and security. The episode of Perspectives is available on ITV-Player for the rest of May. I recommend it highly for some thoughtful, mellow, evening viewing.
Then last night the suns and a friend and I went to the local little theatre to see a production of the book. Performed by Riverbank Productions it had the best script of any cartoon/movie/TV adaptation I've seen. Lots of passages taken directly from the text, and many incidents included that are overlooked in the "Disney"fied versions. Set and costumes needed this strong point in their favour, but I enjoyed the songs and puppets too!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

  I hope you've had a lovely 17th March! The weather was glorious here today, and legend tells us that this must be because St Patrick h...