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Sunday. . .

keep-calm-and-relax-its-sunday-21Sunday and how it ‘feels’ for me depends hugely on whether or not Monday is a work/school day.  Because I work in a school, and an academy at that, our holidays are different from local authority schools.  This gives rise to shorter terms and more frequent but slightly shorter holidays.  I quite like it.  I like the fact that some of my holiday mean that I’m ‘home alone’ and, being a girl who likes her own company, that is a good thing.  So lots of my Sundays are relaxed but many more are domestic whirlwinds of activity and homework support.

Tomorrow is a work day, first day back in fact.  I am not on domestic overkill today because I’ve had over two weeks to catch up on all things ‘clean and tidy’ so I’m pretty chilled on that front.  Also, Si and Ethan are not back tomorrow as Ethan has an inset day and it’s Si’s turn to stay off with him.  So, no uniform to get out, shoes were cleaned on the day we broke-up and PE kit was ready even before then.  I have my share of OCD to go with the depression 😀 .  In some ways it can be a blessing, really 😉 .

I always feel very anxious the first day back after a break.  I’ve no idea why and it only applies to this job [Teaching Assistant].  Si is the same, he also works in a school so we know how each other is feeling.  I think there is a lot of emotional energy tied into working with children and one has to gear oneself up to playing that part.  And it really is an act sometimes.  Remaining calm and patient in every situation.  Being prepared to listen [properly] to the good and bad of children’s lives and reacting with  compassion and love regardless of how you feel on any particular day.  No room for depression at work which is possibly a good thing.  Despite having been crippled by my emotional state at times it has never caused me to have a day off work.  Luckily I have amazing colleagues so that helps too.

So, back to today.  Up at 8.30am ~ very rare to lie-in past 6.30am and by 8.30am tomorrow I’ll have been at work half an hour ~ OUCH!!  lol  Si went to meet his dad for breakfast in Mac D’s which they do every other weekend or so.  I stayed home with E and sorted some laundry, hoovered downstairs, made breakfast for one not so small boy and made the beds.  I also have to deal with the ‘zoo’ first thing each morning which involves cleaning all the trays, feeding them, washing all food and water bowls and sweeping or hoovering depending, as I only hoover every other day unless a disaster occurs.  It is now lunchtime and I’m going to enjoy the last of our Christmas gammon, that I cooked a few days ago, in a ham and mustard sandwich.  It’s our second joint as we loved the first one so much we bought another.  I’ve also got some vegetables to make soup with that I’ll put on to simmer after lunch.  Then it’s going to be family time, possibly walk Honey if the weather doesn’t turn wet ~ it’s very gray and damp out there in not so sunny Milton Keynes.  Then reading time. . .

I’ve nearly finished ‘The Light Years’ so I am hoping that by my next post I’ll have a review of sorts and I’ll be onto my next title. 

Enjoy your Sunday…..

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and Suri makes six. . .

Introducing Suri [Japanese for princess], our new Devon Rex kitten. She is four months old now and came to us as rather a surprise last Wednesday, it’s a long story. She is Willow’s full sister but not of the same litter, just the same parents. Suri and Willow bonded instantly and are now inseparable. She is a cream silver tabby [for those who like to know these things] but with Devons the colour is not paramount as there are so many variations. I may show her if an opportunity close to home comes up. I don’t like driving the length of the country for a cat show, my weekends are short enough as it is, but a day out showing within a couple of hours drive can be very pleasant.

So to the best bit, photo’s. . .

Suri 25.09 (7)

Sitting on my bed with Callie lurking in the background.

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Shall I jump? [She’s totally fearless I might add and slightly bonkers]

Willow and Suri

Lying on my legs with the very pretty Willow, I was in bed at the time [poorly]. They’re wonderful company . . .

Willow and Suri#3

Willow washing a sleepy Suri ~ bless!  [That dark set of ears you can see top left belong to Ava who is sleeping in the princess bed on the blanket box on the landing.]

So, there we have it, and Suri makes six. **Runs screaming hysterically from the room!**  She is lovely, so gentle with people, loves to be with you and snuggle. Totally fearless and slightly bonkers, especially when playing with Reu and Willow. It’s strange but true that Devons like their own breed. In a house of twenty cats, if only two of them were Devons they’d pair up and become friends. I’ve no idea how they know, but they do. We have two distinct ‘gangs’ here, the moggies and the Devons. All live peaceably together but there is an obvious divide indicated by who sleeps/plays with who.

If anyone out there is thinking of buying a Devon as a single [lone] cat think very carefully if they’re to be left alone for long periods of time. Fine if you’re home all day apart from the normal trips out, but if you work then consider buying two so they have each other for company when you’re not around. Also be prepared to have them around you all of the time, they’re very devoted and people focussed. I don’t advise letting them outside [ours come into the garden with us on sunny days but they don’t leave the garden] and they won’t want to be away from you for any amount of time anyway.  Their coats are not designed for cold weather [no undercoat] and they’re so curious and people orientated that they’d easily be stolen or attacked by other animals.  They’re a cross between a dog, a lamb and a spider monkey.  Somehow I’ve ended up giving an unexpected Devon Rex 101 but hey, good to share the wisdom I suppose.  Here is a LINK to a breed profile which, if nothing else, has some lovely photo’s and a video of Devons.

Have a good week all, I’m back to work tomorrow [bugs allowing]. . .

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Today I managed to take some photo’s of my roasted vegetable ratatouille which I made another batch of this morning.  Beneath that are a few shots of my Chocolate Sundae blanket which has come on a little over the last week or so.  Enjoy!!

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Raw veg prepped and chopped. Used some button mushrooms this time.

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Dry seasonings and a stray onion lol

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Veg after the first 45 minutes of cooking

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Time to add the tabasco and chopped tomatoes

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Ready to go back into the oven for another 20 minutes

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Finished product just waiting for our supper later

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Chocolate Sundae blanket with some fragrant Sweet Peas from the garden

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Really starting to come together now

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Reuben loves smelling the flowers, sooo helpful Reu lol…

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Newsy update. . .

white daisiesOkay, so what bright spark ordered all this rain?  I mean, come on now people.  A bit of precipitation is always welcome to keep the grass green and the flowers perky but there are limits.  My violas and columbines are listing under the weight of all that water and our lawn is in danger of becoming a sponge as it squelches like a bog if you have to walk on it.  The dog takes one look out of the back door and heads straight back to her bed, deciding that the toilet break can wait a bit longer.  However, today we have had some respite as the sun has fought its way through, my towels are on the line drying nicely instead of fugging up my landing with their presence, and Ethan has finally had the chance to let off some much needed steam in the garden. 

As it’s half-term [which is probably why it’s raining] we would usually be out and about on our bikes but that has been impossible.  We went swimming yesterday, well if we’re going to be wet we might as well enjoy it.  It was good to have some exercise.  Today I’ve been out with an ex-colleague for a much anticipated morning coffee and chat.  It’s always a pleasure to have a proper catch-up and we found a lovely little coffee shop in Newport Pagnell which made divine ham and cheese toasties and a decent cappuccino.

We’ve also been on a nice long, family dog-walk and it was a joy to feel the warmth of the sun and enjoy the hedgerow flowers.

I have some news on the job front!  As I work in a school I cannot be too specific but I can tell you that I have a new job in a different primary school in MK.  I will still be a Teaching Assistant, but I will be on a better salary and have a permanent contract [I’ve been on a temporary contract for the last five years].  I have been ready for a new challenge for a while but sometimes you just need a push to make that change, and I’ve finally done it.  I’m very excited about this and I’m looking forward to the end of August when I start.  I will also have a couple of months sabbatical between jobs which will be absolutely lovely.  Time to sort things out at home and prepare for our summer break in the Lakes, and then a few weeks to get my head into ‘new job’ mode.

My new Chocolate Sundae blanket is coming along nicely.  I’ve nearly got to the stage when there’ll be something worth photographing so watch this space over the next few days. 

My little Devon kitten Willow has been spayed this week so she’s feeling mighty sorry for herself and is a permanent fixture on anyone’s lap who’ll sit still for long enough.   On the human medical front I’ve just been tested to see if I’m a carrier of Cystic Fibrosis because, as some of you may remember, my newest grandson has sadly recently been diagnosed with this genetic disorder.  I won’t get the results for a couple of weeks so we’re in a bit of limbo for a while. 

Well, I think that’s my news.  I hope everyone in the UK got some of the sun today and that it continues over the weekend so we can enjoy these last few days of half-term. 

 

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Sundays. . .

Sundays here are often very busy.  I always intend for them to be ‘lazy’ days, but life often has different ideas.  Housework, laundry and homework have to take priority during term-time, sadly. 

Today I had a cup of tea in bed [rare] and all five cats joined me [standard 😆 ].  You think you’re going to settle down with numerous pillows, a good book and indulge in half-an-hour of undisturbed luxuriating and then, one-by-one, they all appear.  I’ve noticed that they have their own places on the bed.  Reuben has to get in [under the duvet I mean] and sit on my legs, Willow has to get in and sleep as close to my face as possible making reading and tea drinking nigh on impossible.  Callie has to sit under my right arm and Kitty and Ava always sleep on the right side of the bed, as close to the radiator as possible. 

At the moment I’m reading ‘Prague Counterpoint’, by Bodie and Brock Thoene [pronounced Taynee].  It’s the second book in their Zion Covenant series [nine books] which are stories based in fact [all events are historically accurate] during in the second world war.  As the series title suggests, the focus is on the Jewish holocaust, following the lives of a few families from various backgrounds.  The first book, Vienna Prelude,  starts us off in 1936 as Hitler starts to move through Europe.  This second book brings us to March 1938, and Hitler has just moved into Austria, destroying all hope and instilling fear into those who had fled Germany in the preceding years, to take refuge in what they thought was a ‘safe’ country.  I really enjoy these as have studied the holocaust for many years.  Although these are officially works of fiction, the accuracy and detail within them is impressive.  

My ‘boys’ went for breakfast at McD’s today, leaving me ensconced with my tea, book and feline friends.  A nice peaceful, slow start to my day….followed by some of yesterday’s Artisan loaf toasted with some butter for breakfast.  Yummy!! 

To share ~ below are some photo’s we took of Willow and Reuben [our Devons] last night.  She is definately growing, but still half the size of Reu.  They’re inseperable!

Have a lovely Sunday all….xxx

Something has caught her eye.

Something has caught her eye.

Little and Large ~ cute!

Little and Large ~ cute!

No idea what Willow is looking at.

She’s about to chase his tail.

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Willow’s day out . . .

Yesterday my Devon Rex kitten, Willow, and I spent the day at the Coventry and Leicester cat show.  It was Willow’s debut appearance and she manged a not-too-shabby second place in her main class, and another second in a side class.  We enjoyed our day but were both exhausted by the time we struggled back through the door at 6pm last night…a full 12 hours out what with travelling etc.  Below are a few photos to commemorate our special day.  Click on a photo to see it enlarged.

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Rosettes are us!!

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Someone has left a lion in my pen!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWillow looking just lovely.

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Newsy stuff. . .

cropped-green-hydrangeas-web.jpgI have an unexpected day off today as Ethan is laid up with some kind of flu-type virus [very high temperature, aching, headache etc] which started at 4am today ~ I’m not at my best at 4am 😉 .  So I thought that while he’s snuggled up all cosy on the sofa with an ice lolly [bit of an oxymoron] I’d spend a bit of time catching up on here.  I have managed to cut down my internet time considerably during the last twelve months, but the fallout from that is that my blog has been neglected.  I’ve actually gone back to writing a journal by hand, as it avoids the temptation to start surfing for something I don’t need to buy or know about.  Amazon must have gone into receivership as a result of MY absence 😆 .

Christmas came and went very peaceably and without much to report.  The poor weather resulted in a bit of cabin fever in the end so I was [almost] glad to return to work by January.  Ethan is a much nicer child for having spent an hour or so in the fresh air, it’s good for the soul.

It’s a truly beautiful day here.  The sun is shining and it’s crispy cold.  I managed a quick sprint to the post box with Honey while Millie was still here to keep on eye on Ethan.  It was heaven.

Ethan and I went to ‘other’ church yesterday.  [Other being the local Baptist Church where Ethan also attends Boy’s Brigade]  It’s always a lovely atmosphere there and everyone [and I mean EVERYONE] is very welcoming.  I am very tempted to make it my spiritual home in the absence of a church I enjoy at the moment.  It’s certainly very family friendly and we all enjoy it.  I also sense it would be a place that would challenge me and possibly even help me to use my faith for the benefit of others more.  This is something I’ve really thought about over the last few months.  During my ten months off work in 2011 I did some voluteering for our local Food Bank and it highlighted the huge need we have in MK.  Poverty and homelessness is alive and well in our City and I’d love to be able to do more to help combat that, and if my faith played a part in that too then all the better.  I would happily consider a complete lifestyle change for the right challenge.  I am praying for God to show me where [if anywhere] he needs me to be.

Reads at the moment are: ~  ‘The Kenneth Williams Diaries’ I was inspired to buy this after seeing a docu-drama about him called, ‘Fantabulosa’.  He led such a lonely and [emotionally] difficult life due to his sexuality.  A really fascinating insight and read.  Also, ‘How to Succeed at Being Yourself’ by Joyce Meyer.  Joyce is probably one of the most practical evangelists and adds a nice contrast to the english theologians.  She is one of the few American preachers that I really enjoy.  Whatever you may think of her, she keeps her teachings firmly based in scripture and talks a lot of sense to the everyday listener.  She has my vote when my spirit/faith needs some common sense and practical teaching.  Let’s be honest here, I’ve needed quite a bit of that recently.

Finally my only other bit of news is that we have a new ‘baby’ in the house.  Little Willow, aka Chichi Yanagi-of-Minka, my little seal, tortie, tabby point Devon Rex kitten.  She is just over four months old now and the most placid, gentle, calm little soul.  I am showing her towards the end of February so I’ll post how we get on after the fact.  Our other Devon Reuben is madly in love [she’s his half sister] and together they are double trouble,  I suspect he is leading her astray.  Here she is snuggled up with Reu on the radiator and also a sneaky one of her in Honey’s bed.  Enjoy!!

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On the radiator blanket with Reuben.

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Sneaking a cuddle in Honey’s bed.

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Reuben at the cat show looking every inch a winner…

It’s been such a long time since I posted here but that’s a good sign as I’ve just been so busy for all the right reasons.  Things have moved on somewhat since my last posting.  We really are ‘living the dream’ and life is just fantastic.  The new shed is up thanks to Si who, despite being a shed virgin, did a wonderful job [see photo’ below].  We’ve just had the kitchen, dining-room, hall and down stairs toilet floors tiled, a late but very welcome housewarming present from my mum [again photo’ below].  Yesterday we harvested and ate the first produce from our garden which was lovely.   We have carrots, potatoes, beetroot, salad leaves, cucumbers, onions, garlic, blackberries all coming along very nicely.  We are still skint but more than breaking even each month without having to struggle or worry, we have no debt and for that I’m thankful on a daily basis.

I’m cooking everything from scratch most days.  Take-outs are a thing of the past which has not been that much of a sacrifice if I’m honest.  We do still go to a local carvery for a roast lunch some Saturdays but at just under £4 each we’re not going to break the bank with that.  We are masters of a cheap quality meal out when we fancy a treat.  My food bill is always well under budget and I’m turning into a right ol’ super scrimper 😆 .

I’m enjoying weekday Mass immensely and Sunday Mass is far more doable now I’m not spending all weekend cleaning the house and preparing for work on Monday.  Mass aside my faith still needs some attention for the day-to-day stuff as it seems to have taken a back seat to all the frugality.  Suddenly however I’m aware of a hiatus in the hustle and bustle.  A lull in this process of change as really the change is ‘done’ and here I am able to breath a sigh and know that we’re out the other side with everything intact.  Time now to thank God, to move closer to Him once again and to embrace this wonderful opportunity of ‘time’ and ‘head space’ that I’ve been given.

We’re in the middle of trying to move Ethan to a different school, we’ve chosen a local catholic school.  It’s a slow old process and one which has caused us alot of angst and heartache but we feel that this is right and off the record I’ve heard that he has a place but I won’t believe it until the official letter drops on the doormat as sometimes these things go awry so we’re not counting our chickens until it’s properly official…..

Last month I entered my Devon Rex kitten Reuben into a cat show and he actually won [see opening photo’] so I was very proud of him and will be showing him again at the end of the summer when he’s an adult….Go Reuben, Go Reuben!!!!

Now for some photographs…

New shed!!

New shed = safe bikes…!!!

New tiles in dining room….

New floor tiles, we used the same ones right through.

Oh and finally I’m crocheting like a woman possessed…quilting has taken second place for a while.  I’ve crocheted since I was about ten and every now and then I take it up again and at the moment I’m enjoying making some throws.  Below are some samples of the blocks I’m making for the throw I’m working on at the moment…

Crocheted blocks.

Pax et bonum.

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Our cat family…

It’s been a long time since I’ve mentioned my cat family and it’s grown rather over the last year so I feel I’m long overdue a photo’ update.

This is Cautious-Callie, our 6 year old tortie and white rescue girl from Woodgreen Animal Shelter.  She’s a bit grumpy sometimes and very timid but loves to snuggle up with you when she thinks you’re not looking.

Callie

This is Kind-Kitty our beautiful cream and white girl who will be a year old in July ’12.  She is gentle and loving and very much the Princess.  Very tolerant of all the other cats unlike Miss Grumpy-Pants above.  I bought her from a good friend of mine as a six week old kitten.

Kitty

Next is our tortoiseshell girl All-Action-Ava who was found in a cardboard box with her sister at just a few weeks old, she will be a year old August ’12.  The sister was ferral and went on to the RSPCA to be tamed [hopefully].  Ava was fostered until we had her.  She is never still, she does everything at 90 miles an hour including cuddling.  She has mastered the art of the sixty second cuddle.  I suspect she has the feline version of autism but she’s very gentle despite her slightly manic approach to life and so silky soft to touch.  She has really come on since those early days when she was terrified of everyone and everything.  I’ve put two photo’s of Ava cos they show her doing what she does best.

Ava

Ava

Finally is HRH His Supreme Naughtiness Prince Reuben my six month old cream silver spotted tabby Devon Rex boy.  I have a real love of naughty cats and Devons are the epitomy of all things naughty.  They are like dogs crossed with spider monkeys.  I bought him to show occasionally but he is just the most wonderful cat.  They love to be with people and he is a heat seeking missle who would much rather be on your shoulder or in your arms than anywhere else.  If you refuse to pick him up he’ll just calmly walk up your body until he arrives under your chin ~ very painful if you’re scantily clad.  He talks to you by chirruping and if he can’t find you then he’ll start calling to see where you are.  He’s constantly in trouble for theft [Doritos, loaves of bread, cakes, rubber gloves, dish pan scourers, soya milk, tissues ~ yes I know, rather a bizarre list].  He also loves water and is often to be found in the bath or shower if someone’s taking one.   His biggest love however is Simon who is the centre of Reu’s universe ~ bless!!

Reuben

Reuben using the PC ~ of course lol

Reuben

So that’s the Smith cat family ~ all much loved and all a bit quirky in their own way but that’s what makes them special.

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