Being neighbourly

Monday dawned and we were two very tired people. I wonder why? The end result was Michael decided to take the day off-and I thought this meant we’d get everything else done. Needless to say-the day took a slightly different course. We did manage a bit of a lie in, which considering Kieran was in before 7am was pretty good. My wake up greeting was Kieran coming in, putting a book in my face and asking what c-a-p-t-a-i-n spelt. I hope I got the right answer! What a nice way to be woken.

We then debated left-right-and-centre over what we’d get done. It started to look like not much was going to happen-and we had a more relaxed day than we thought. Michael and Kieran left early to go for a walk to the recycling bin to get rid of some outgrown clothes. Before they left Kieran was desperate to go round to Ruth’s house. He had seen her and her 11 yr old grandson in the back garden doing some tidying and he wanted to help. Michael agreed to stop by on the way home. While they walked to the recycling bin, Hazel had gone out to pick the last of the green-beans for our lunch. She then climbed up near the tree on the garden boundary and started chatting away to Ruth and co. The neighbour on our other side was visiting Ruth and helping out a bit. (Ruth’s right arm was badly damaged years ago in a work accident and she has very little mobility with it.) I of course joined in for a chat-and then Michael and Kieran appeared in their garden.

The guys got stuck in right away to help out. Her step-son had pruned a tree for them, but left all the debris where it fell! Michael and the kids (Hazel ran over to join in) helped clear it up. They used her recycling bin, ours and 2 of the other neighbours green recycling bins-and it still isn’t done. We did get some free firewood from it-so I’ll enjoy that in the fire on a cold winter night! While they were gardening I made us some lunch-roast chicken with sweet potato mash and green beans. After lunch we had our tea in the sunshine-need to catch the sun whenever we can!

Michael and the kids then went to go do some apple picking. One of the older neighbours, about 3 doors away, has 5 apple trees in her garden. We don’t know her very well-but Ruth had checked with her if they could come and pick some after lunch. Edwin usually does it so she doesn’t have too many lying about. Hazel got all the bags ready. She colour coded the bags: the neighbours on our one side have both worked at Sainsbury’s so they got one of those orange bags; Ruth got a green bag from Waitrose as they are ‘nature people’; the other neighbours with small children got a Paddington Bear bag; the woman who owned the house got a Tesco bag; and we got two blue bags.

I got busy while they went apple picking. I managed to get the lunch dishes done, take all the toys we piled on the bed in Hazel’s former bedroom off the bed and deadhead the flowers out front. Michael was going to take our old mattress to the tip when they got back. We just kept it for when my mom visited over the summer.

When they went to the tip I went to start cleaning the garden beds. I managed to lift out all the courgette and squash plants-after I harvested the crop first. I also collected seeds from the sweet peas. I got the green beans and all the sweet peas down, and even put the basil I never used into the compost bin. What a waste! Will do better next year! Fairly pleased with what I got done. When they got home Kieran harvested his pumpkin and Hazel pulled the last bunch of carrots. Then it started to rain a bit.

I had a chat with my cousin while Michael got the dinner ready- a chicken stir fried rice with the left over roast chicken. After dinner we headed out to Dunelm Mills to look at curtains and area rugs. We did buy some-but still have to decide if we like them. And then if we do-we’ll have to order the right size. It was after 8pm when we got home, so a quick snack for the kids before bedtime.

Today started with yet again a very early wake-up greeting from Kieran. I can’t wait till he gets adjusted to the time change. Michael decided that he was going to take another day off-but we didn’t plan to pack 1000 things into the day, which was a good thing. Because the rest of the morning rapidly became one we all wished we hadn’t seen! Won’t go into too much detail, but it involved a determined mom and a more determined child-both trying to get their own way.

All was resolved by lunch time, and the normal family life ensued. Michael then made us all lunch and then the kids had a bath before getting dressed for their outing. Michael took them to see How the giraffe got its neck. I decided to stay home and take care of the mountain of ironing. They all had a good time-and Michael got me a present. He went to Millets to get the jacket I had looked at last weekend. I’ll feel like a proper geologist on the next outing! I only need a compass and a whistle now. And lessons on how to read a compass! Oh-and an OS map!

And due to the freakish weather today-they were all drowned rats when they got home! The kids changed into some clean pyjamas for the evening. Michael finished cooking the roast pork dinner I’d started-and I continued with the ironing. Pleased to say-just about everything is ironed and put away-except for one load still in the machine. We ended the evening with the kids and I trying to solve a wooden puzzle Hazel got from Fr. Christmas last year. Even after Michael did it-I still couldn’t. Oh well-if I work on it I may just figure it out before the kids!

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