Tea? Coffee? Tea?

Our builders are very spoiled men! You should see the antics they go to get their drinks. While they are out back in the garden, they will look through the house windows till I spot them and then they hold up their hands in the shape of a ‘c’ or a ‘t’ to place drink orders. They rehearse the abc game with the kids when I’m approaching—they are always on ‘s’, ‘and what’s after ‘s’—‘T’!! It amuses them to no end. They drink so much—it’s quite comical. First thing in the morning it’s coffee, then about an hour later it’s tea, then tea for their ‘am’ lunch, then tea or coffee after that, then tea with their ‘pm’ lunch, then about every hour after that they are ‘gasping’ for a drink and place different orders each time. But they are here and our garden is taking shape, and that’s all that counts! They really do work non-stop when they are on a job, I’m always amazed how quickly the work gets done.

So far we have two new large garden/flower beds, new steps leading to the new middle section, a retaining wall under a hedge, a base for a green house, most of a new, rather large patio in the upper garden area, we’ve lost a brick wall out in the front—and we are very pleased with everything so far. Of course we’ve added things to the original plan a year ago—such as the patio and greenhouse, but it’s really coming together—which is nice as I never really know if I’ll like it till I see it. And I do!

Did I mention the greenhouse? Well-it arrived today. It wasn’t due till tomorrow—so for the first time ever, a UK delivery/service company has impressed me. We have had to deal with many a delivery here. We’ve doubled the size of the house and everything in the whole house, except one wardrobe, has been purchased since we got together. So that has been many a company to deal with and many a delivery to wait for. I can go on for hours about the horrible services we’ve had—all delivery dates and times changed, never a set delivery time, products damaged, products changed without notification, pieces missing, wrong pieces added—the list goes on and on and on! I and the UK service industry most definitely have a ‘Murphy’s Law’ relationship! So—if you are ever going to buy a greenhouse, I can recommend a great company. It was here in less than 5 businesses days-promised within 10 days, it is all intact and a day early!

As to the greenhouse—I can’t believe I have one! I’m not too sure what to do with one yet, but am going to have fun learning. Hazel is also very excited-I’m sure she’ll take over soon enough!

Ok—back to the normal day to day stuff. Not too much has been going on. I’ve been too busy with tea, coffee and sweeping the kitchen floor! Actually we’ve had the kids’ usual classes and a couple of outings. The kids and I went to Milestones on Thursday and had a good wander. Even though we were just there two weeks ago they still spent 1 ½ hours looking around. I let them use those audio guides for information. I so don’t like those; I feel they’re more of a distraction most times and stop the discussions that could be going on. But it was funny—there was a class, reception or year 1, there and it was fun comparing my two to the groups. Most of the kids looked bored out of their skulls—but I think that was the parents/teachers faults. They just wouldn’t let them explore what interested them—they were too busy with the check lists. Half of the kids just swung their audio guides around and could care less what it was all about. I think clipboards should be banned from class trips!

The kids did their first entries for Sketch Tuesday. Barb at The Heart of Harmony is hosting a weekly sketching assignment (for all ages) based on a set theme. This past week was to do something ‘Alive’. The next assignment for April 15th is ‘Spring Leaves’. I have to thank CJ for that link—the kids have enjoyed it. Now those of you that know me—don’t laugh when you see Hazel’s—she just loves me and draws the ‘love’, not the real thing—Thank Goodness!! Here are Kieran and Hazel’s entries:

Over the weekend Saturday was spent cleaning and organizing the cupboards by me and Michael did some painting. OK—he did lots of painting! As to the cupboards- does anyone know how I became the type of person who has over 35 different herbs and spices, and knows what they are all for?? I still laugh over the first meal I made for Michael-toast! He flies 3000 miles to meet me and I make him toast! He must’ve really loved me!

On Sunday we went to Basildon Park for the first time. It is one of the closest National Trust Parks to us, and I’m sure like many a person, we’ve skipped over the closest to us on our many outings. We had the weather for it so it was nice. We did the tour of the house—most recently seen in the latest movie version of Pride and Prejudice. I wasn’t overly impressed—it’s a lovely building and yes I’d love to own it-but it didn’t have a feel of history to it. The last family to own it bought it in the 1950’s and renovated it for a family home. So though there was old furniture etc.., it wasn’t the original furniture—it hadn’t aged with the house. Their histories weren’t the same-and you could just feel that.

The park was very nice and it has lovely woodland. We’ll be going back again to enjoy the outdoor spaces. They encourage picnics and you can set up anywhere, so it’ll be a good place to do some tree identifying with the kids. Hazel said she thought it’d be too hard to name all the trees there in one visit, so I had to assure her we could span it out over the summer.

Today we had our first outing to an HE hall event in ages. There was an electricity workshop organized, and both kids enjoyed it. I worked with Kieran and two other 5 year olds–it was fun. I actually learned a few things. Hazel worked with another woman and her daugther whom we hadn’t met before-she enjoyed working with the two of them.

We’re off to get my cousins youngest daughter in the morning for a night or two. (Though the reason is sad—I’m excited to have her for a couple of days!) My cousin is having her surgery to remove her tumour tomorrow. She found out last week that she will need chemo as the cancer has reached the lymph nodes while waiting for the surgery. (That’s not waiting due to waiting lists–she has Lupus and they had to stabilize that before surgery. No NHS complaints for her care.) So wish her luck!

She has had one bright light in her world lately—she’s found an excellent school for her older daughter. When she pulled her daughter H out of school due to her dyslexia, she found a really good class for H to attend a couple of mornings a week. In the class she met a woman who also works in an actual school for dyslexic children (among others), and she told my cousin to come and have a look. She did and was thrilled with the school, so enrolled H who loves it and most importantly, is still thriving.

Anyway—the staff there have been extremely helpful and let my cousin know about so many benefits she was entitled to. They gave her a grant to cover both girls while she is ill and undergoing the chemo treatments. They’ll pick the girls up those days and watch them till 6pm and then bring them home. She is just so relieved to know there is so much aide available—too bad no one ever told her before. The grief they would have saved her and the girls. She has done these chemo treatments before, this is the 4th (or 5th) cancer in less than 4 years, and she has had to come home and take care of the girls. Her family and we try and help out all we can, but I’m an hour from her and that’s not always the best thing for her or the girls. So this will be one less worry for her during this chemo session, and hopefully it won’t be too disruptive to the girls. Maybe less stress will lead to an easier chemo treatment, we’ll see.

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