A Big Change

Tomato SeedlingsIt has been a while since my last post. This is because big changes have been afoot. I have a job! It has been something I have been aiming for for a while, but once I had finished my AAT qualification it made it to the top of my must do list.

So, I am now a full time worker, an assistant accountant, which is great. It is also time consuming, hence the absence from this blog while I get used to being out of the house for nine and a half hours at a stretch every day.

It is exciting and tiring and life enhancing and life constraining all at once. I have loads to learn and lots of systems to get used to. Until I am a bit more settled I might not be updating this blog quite as often as I used to. I shall try though, as I shall try to fit in just as much cake baking and plant growing  and crafts as I did before!

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Beginnings

Tomato SeedlingThis is my favourite bit. The thing I love most about gardening. The first moment I spot that a seed I have planted is on its way, against all odds in this case. The seed is old – it should have been planted two years ago really, but we were too busy trying to move house then. The compost is most definitely not seed raising mix, it is just what was left in the bag at the end of last year.

On Sunday I planted 24 tomato seeds. Today nineteen little seedlings have poked up from the ground. I am already thinking of all the lovely tomatoes I will get to eat in the summer, and hopefully, all the tomatoes I will store for use in autumn and winter. They are Roma tomatoes, the same as I grew last year, so I know they will be delicious.

The thing I like least about gardening is heavy digging. I suspect I might be expanding my collection of big pots for growing tomatoes in.

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Sunny Springtime

March has been lovely so far. We feel like spring is here. There has been washing dried on the line, and faces raised to feel the warmth of the sun. Today we went to Hidcote for the first time this year. We joined the National Trust in late summer last year, so we have seen the garden with the Autumn borders all out, but I am sure we will be going back regularly to see it in all phases.

Today, there wasn’t much in the way of colour out. The garden is still mostly wintery, and a quite a lot is still roped off to stop people trampling down the few blades of grass in some areas. What was out, though, was lovely in the sunshine. I love the first flowers, those first signs of spring.

Crocuses

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Kids in Costume

World book day has rolled around again. It’s that time of year when we have to rustle up costumes, and are then expected to spend ridiculous amounts of money on overpriced books at the book fair at school.  Of course paying the stupidly high RRPs, means that the school gets some books too, but I am so tempted to go to the librarian with the Book People catalogue and let her choose anything from it, than to pay over the odds for a couple of uninteresting books from a limited selection.

OK, enough of that. I shall complain no more. In fact I wouldn’t complain at all if I though that book prices were high because the people who actually wrote them were well paid. I also don’t mind paying RRP in independent bookshops, because they have huge overheads and need that profit margin. It’s companies that don’t have those overheads, but still expect you to pay £6.99 for a sticker book that annoy me.

On a brighter note, does anyone remember this post from two years ago? I am feeling quite smug today, because that costume is now having its third outing. Mr 6 has it now, and is thrilled with it. Fantastic Mr Fox is a character that he knows and, more importantly, can remember so he can tell people who he is.

This morning in the playground there was a sea of colour. There was no trouble finding where Wally was, as there were several. I saw a hobbit, Winnie the witch, a gaggle of princesses of various names, a couple of spidermen, and a cat in a hat.

There is a huge difference between the school here and the one in Pembridge where we used to live. In Pembridge, almost everyone had home made costumes. The imagination and inventiveness on show was breathtaking, especially for me, whose imagination and creativity in the costume department can only be described as ‘lacking’. Here, the vast majority of costumes were bought ready made. A contributor to this must be that far more of the mother have paid employment here. More money, less time. It’s a trade every family has to consider. I salute everyone who made a costume for their child, and I sigh in relief that this year I can rest on the work of two years ago, and next year I will probably just buy one.

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Happy Birthday Mr PC

Birthday CakeWe had cake of a different sort today. I wasn’t originally sure what cake to make, but then Mr PC commented about how much he liked the cake at the wedding we went to last year. I know he loves cream cakes, so for his birthday he has had Italian Wedding Cake with Chantilly cream.

Happy Birthday Mr PC.

(No, he isn’t 8. Some of the candles represent tens, and some units!)

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Toffee Shock Cake

Toffee Shock CakeThis is the Toffee Shock Cake from the Clandestine Cake Club cookbook. I did make one little mistake, which was to make the cake in the afternoon and ice it in time for tea, which meant it was just a little too warm still. Perhaps mistake is too strong a word. I couldn’t have done it any other way, what with rushing here and there all day without an hour to be keeping an eye on the oven.

Toffee TopStill, it turned out OK, didn’t it?

It was layers of toffee, chocolate, vanilla and choco-toffee cake, stacked with caramel filling, with fudge icing, topped with caramel and fudge pieces. The shock in the title comes from popping candy sprinkled on the top. We have decided that it’s better without the candy. You don’t need a big slice of this cake! It is rather filling. Apparently it keeps for three days in a sealed container. Sadly, I don’t have a container big enough. We’re just going to have to eat it quickly.

Toffee Shock Cake Inside

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Ulysses

Ulysses, by James Joyce, was on my reading list for years. I have always been determined that someday I would read it, difficult book or not. Last year I started it.

I got about a third of the way through, then I put it down. It was an exhausting process. I don’t have a good enough grounding in Greek mythology to get all the allusions, although I did pick up a lot of the echoes of Shakespeare. I still haven’t picked it back up again, and you know what? I’m not going to. I am going to pull out the bookmark and put the book into the next charity bag. It is the third time in my life I have stopped reading a book part way through with no intention of finishing it.

The first was Ghormenghast. I would have finished that, but my timing was either good or bad, depending on your point of view. They put the mini series on TV just when I was a third of the way through, and once I had seen that I was less inclined to finish the book. The second was Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse. I got halfway through and realised I just didn’t care what happened next. Ulysses has joined a short list, but I expect the list will grow as I no longer feel the need to finish a book just because I started it.

Something I thought I could do is write a review. I have decided to review the book, using only sentences found in the book itself. Clever, eh?

So, here is my review of Ulysses, by James Joyce:

Life’s too short. Simples.

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