Eleven things I learnt this week

Okay, they may not all have been this week but ‘Eleven things I learnt over the last three and a half weeks’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

1. I am the queen of procrastination. I have spent two weeks telling myself to write a new post before deciding I really must do it today and then two hours shortening curtains, twenty minutes playing the clarinet badly (very sorry people who live next door I am still rubbish at the high notes, the low notes and all the ones in between) and then some minutes doing bookkeeping and updating WordPress rather than sitting down to write this post, hopefully this will give you an idea what we have been up to the last few weeks.

2. Cucumbers are ridiculously easy to grow. This is the first year I have tried cucumbers and I plonked three plants in a grow bag and haven’t touched them since and we’ve had more cucumbers than we can eat.

3. You can have too many plums. I made four pounds of plum jam each day for six days running. And then some more. And then we bought a small chest freezer to put the rest of them in. And then made something like thirty-six pounds of damson jam in a day and a half because the Man in the Shed was a bit more thorough at collecting damsons from next door (when I sent him round with a bag of plums to swap with them) than I was expecting and the damsons were all going a bit splatty. Which reminds me, I must give them some jam…

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4. It is possible for School uniform to reappear out of the black hole that it frequently vanishes into. Three weeks before the end of the summer term, on sports day, Small lost his jumper, the school claimed not to have seen it, to have looked everywhere for it and we put it down as dropped somewhere between school and the field that sports day was held in. Yesterday it reappeared in his bag without a word or a clue as to where it had been. Maybe there is still hope for the dinner money purse that never came back on the last day of term or the coat that evaporated yesterday.

5. Boxes are always more fun than the things that came in them.

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6. Walking up and down hills makes me hungry. At the moment I have to go up a hill, down a hill and up another hill to school at half past eight and then back down the hill, up a hill and down the other hill to go back home, back up to school at half past twelve for the start of the nursery class and back home again and then back up the hill for the end of school at three o’clock and home again. Next Monday the after school clubs start and I have to pick up one of them at three fifteen and the other at four. I have eaten an inordinate quantity of biscuits and am still hungry. Might have to start eating frozen plums instead.

7. Not talking to anyone in the playground for six weeks has made my never particularly competent ability to make small talk become completely non-existent. People have been asking me if I had a nice summer and my vocal chords seize up along with my mind and I mutter something incomprehensible at them and hope they will leave me alone until I remember what it is you are supposed to say.

8. Vests are loads quicker than jumpers. They are twice as quick and use half the wool. This one is Angostura by Ysolda and I like it so much I might have to make some more. (I have already had an order for a Christmas present). Sorry, haven’t got a proper mug shot of it, (does it count as a mug shot if it is for showing off your jumper instead of your mug?) but here are some of the gorgeous cables.

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9. Beech trees on tarmac make a fantastic noise. There is one on the way to school about four storeys high (four modern pokey storeys – it is a bit taller than the three storey flats it is next to) and when there is a breeze you can stand underneath it and be showered continuously with beech nuts which make a sort of pitter-patter noise, tapping a bit like rain but lighter and more hollow sounding. I keep slowing down under the tree just to listen to it.

10. Kay don’t read this one. British garden spiders can get really big. You know the ones with the big bottoms and thin legs with the speckly brown and white pattern on their bottoms? I normally feel reasonably kindly towards those ones, they live in the greenhouse and so far this year have been remarkably well behaved about not building webs across the path but I went in there the other day and there was one with a bottom the size of a small grape and I totally freaked out and got a stick to chase it out and then threw the stick out of the window when she started crawling along it towards my hand, I hope she found somewhere nice and dark to hide where I won’t find her again!

11. Beetroot is not always pink.

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