School’s out for snow

We’ve been snow-balling and hiding under the duvet. Gave up on the snowman as this is definitely the wrong type of snow.

Just updated my blog.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of J having fun.

jensen outside lower shaw farm shaw swindon in the snow

jensen outside lower shaw farm shaw swindon in the snow


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Mind the sheep

Traffic jam at Common Platt today (just before the Italian restaurant, Casa Paulo. Sheep on the road.

In order to avoid traffic chaos, I got herding. Boy, do I love sheep. They are so much easier to project manage than cats, horses, children and lawyers.  I have yet to meet a sheep with attitude. Apart from a nasty moment, when a sheep separatist group decided to lay siege to the restaurant’s bin store, all back safely in field for time being.

sheep looking for a way out licensed under creative commons licence,copyright,

sheep looking for a way out licensed under creative commons licence,copyright,

Now I’m back at my desk feeling like a real gaucho.

Seriously, it’s left me with a really good feel-good feeling. I never got that on the school-run in High Wycombe. I can almost reconcile myself to relocating miles away from the nearest Balti House and Costa franchise.




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Our post Christmas lull

Oh dear, no idea where the weeks have gone. We are back to school on Monday. Christmas seems so  long ago.

Standing stones at Averbury Christmas 2012

Standing stones at Avebury Christmas 2012

We stuck to our resolution of having a low-key Christmas lunch, tomato soup at Avebury (we sacrified a chicken and the brussels sprouts in the evening). Here are the pictures of our Christmas lunch, taken just the other side of Silbury Hill.

Now back home, trying to combine feeding J his high-fat diet and writing for my blog. Latest venture, Bircher Muesli

Mummy and Jensen at Silbury Hill Christmas Day 2012

Mummy and Jensen at Silbury Hill Christmas Day 2012

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Christmas in Cricklade

Wish we could be in Cricklade for Christmas…….

Here are some pictures from the High Street. Window dressing there seems a bit of a tradition….everything from the achingly sweet to ultra modern.

Still no developments on house front for us (but watch this space).

Waitingfor another frosty morning now J on holiday so I can go back and take some serious photos….I would like to document the window displays, all so festive and pretty.

Definitely more feel-good factor there than at Wharf Green, Swindon, which was looking decidedly bleak yesterday, a screen and Christmas tree and an empty and undecorated square. Council-induced madness not to have the Christmas market back…….

Christmas on the High Street

Christmas on the High Street

nativity scene Cricklade High Street

nativity scene Cricklade High Street

frosty morning lower bridge Cricklade

frosty morning lower bridge Cricklade

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Christmas (almost) arrives at Grumpy Towers

We are finally feeling festive here.

the art show starts early

the art show starts early

The last few days we have driven along a Winter Wonderland from Hayes Knoll to Cricklade, dazzled by the whiteness. Much better than the wet, though the single skien bathroom in the lean-to has killed any literary toilet habits (we will soon be breaking the ice in the pan before we wee).

J broke up from school yesterday. I went to the end-of-term carol service in St Sampson’s in Cricklade. He was, of course, the only child without his Sunday Best Blazer that morning, necessitating another manic drive across the Wootton Bassett plains.

entrance to prior park school cricklade in the ice

entrance to prior park school cricklade in the ice

I almost stayed off my cough, armed with a bottle of water and lethal doses of Fishermen’s Friends. The alternative plan (sitting on the end and discretely leaving if a coughing fit threatened) was thwarted by my becoming wedged in by a precariously stacked mountain of hassocks and Mr J and his squad of prefects patrolling the door for late-comers.

What’s worse, mother with hacking cough interrupting angelic chorister or mother collapsing (very publicly) into nativity display?

Any way, we got through it, enjoyed the carols and the mince pies. Now Junior and I are catching up on all the important things. Nintendo Level 3, in his case, Guardian Shorts on my Kindle (me).

We have also written the annual “Round Robin” and now I am (more or less) vertical will endeavour to find a way to put it on the blog. Probably as a page so those who wish can avoid the annual bland….despite a very busy year, I reread it and wondered, is that all we did?

Red Lion Cricklade gets festive

Red Lion Cricklade gets festive

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Toy Story 3 engenders emotional crisis

We watched Toy Story 3 on DVD yesterday and both ended up crying over the ending. The scene when Andy goes off to college and leaves his Mum and toys behind.

J has announced he doesn’t want to go to college. Worse, he doesn’t know what he will do if L goes to college. Where will Mummy live?

His solution apparently was to marry L and let Mummy live with them. Failing that, he informed me, he will marry Erin (if L goes to college). And if L and Erin should both go to college, then Minnie is his intended.

Sweet or scary? Or just a reminder to increase my pension provision?

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A month in books……

Sadly, I have failed unspectacularly at updating the Rectory Readers’ web site. And I have now run off to the wilds of Wiltshire. Nevertheless, I thought  I would add a few words about what I’ve been reading over the past month. Who knows I may actually get around to writing those regular reviews I always promised.

This month has been quite challenging, however, on account of-

  • my resolution not to “waste”money (Ian’s definition of “waste”includes multiple Amazon purchases)
  • adherence to the one thing in, one thing out rule (see previous blogs on decluttering and moving house).

Well, here goes-

Down and Out in Paris in London

rescued from my skip

I last read this as an A Level student (working my way through Orwell as 1984 was a set text). I found my old copy in the back of the car, saved from the boxes of books and papers I jettisoned into the recycle skip in Walters Ash. So I started reading it as it was the only book I had in the cottage. But I had forgotten how brilliant Orwell was. Not his novels, but his reportage. It is an almost timeless account of the grinding boredom and hopelessness of poverty. Forget 1984. This should be a set text.

The Finkler Question Short-listed for lots of prizes and lots of people find it very funny. Excellently written and I did find myself caring what happened to the characters, which surprised me as I spent the early part of the book being irritated by them. Great book, if you like that sort of thing…..but I wouldn’t rush to read the sequel. Sorry.

The Wreckers This was a factual account of ship wreckers in the UK by Barbara Bathurst, not the thriller of the same name. I bought it following our jolly around the SS Great Britain in Bristol. Afterall it’s summertime and, denied my weeks in Walberswick, I am enjoying a small nautical obsession. Well written and illuminating. I am just a bit put out that Du Maurier’s depiction of Cornish piracy and treachery is, if not historically inaccurate.much exagerated.

The City of Beasts

City of Beasts

Another book I picked up in the Sue Ryder shop in Cricklade for £1 (thereby honouring my waste-not and recycle resolutions). It is the sort of book I feel I should like, rather more than I do. For a much better review see Just a Normal Girl in London. I am afraid I skipped quite a bit of the lyrical prose (but I enjoyed the overall story, which reminded me in a strange way fo a more gentle version of Doris Lessing’s Ben).

Well, that’s it for now. I am half-way through a chick-lit novel at the moment. And enjoying it. It was either that or Monty Don (who will probably be my next £1 bargain). It’s one of the great thing about this pared down country-living. Broadening my tastes….or, at least, ensuring I appreciate the Waterstones in Bristol even more.

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