Fresh Mint Tea and the Garden Centre

Dear reader, I haven’t much to tell you other than my exciting purchase of herbs.  I was so pleased with this acquisition that I instagrammed and tweeted for a good hour, and don't think you have escaped, either.  I have a plethora of pictures for you!

In these tubsI have rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, Moroccan mint, spearmint, peppermint and thyme.

I was thinking, of course, of Pimms when I bought the mint but Mr Him had other ideas.  Once he realised Morrocan mint was in the collection he brewed us up a fresh sweet mint tea which I drank in the sun as it dripped on our back doorstep.

During our trip to the garden centre we also bought a variety of yogurt mixes, to the delight of the yogurt churner extraordinaire, and some locally made meat pies and marmalade.

Well what else would you get from the garden centre, plants and compost?  Don’t be ridiculous!

Well, OK, so we bought a token yellow daisy thingy.

A Flapping in the Bedroom

Dear reader, it's been a quiet time, which is why you've not heard from me.  We've pottered along in subdued suburbia this past week. I did take a sneaky visit to Little Venice one evening. This is where the Grand Union canal ends, in London, after its journey from the 'Northern Powerhouse.'  Don't call me not topical, I do listen to the news!

This morning my quiet was shattered by 5 am.  I awoke suddenly to a great flapping in the bedroom, not flopping please note. Mr Him had lurched across the room, flapping energetically, thrust open the window and screech-sqwark-barked out of said gaping hole  (I'm talking of the window but his mouth is equally fitting). 

I asked, dear reader, obviously I asked. 'You have taken the tablets haven't you?  You know the ones the doctor gave you for your indigestion?'  I really didn't want this to become a new habit. I was determined to stamp on this early. 

Then I heard it.  There was an answering sqwark from across the garden. My immediate thought was that Mr Him had attracted a mate, ah isn't that sweet. My second thought was along the lines of 'other woman' followed quickly by the plotting of the banishment of Mr Him. 

 All of this happened in the space of a slowed down minute. Barely had I mentally sent Mr Him packing when he said 'there's a darn fox in the garden. Big bugger, the size of the width of the ('omlet cube' ) coop. The chickens are going beserk.'  So was I, I can tell you. 

Mr Him's thrusting of the window with accompanying flapping and screech-sqwark-bark made the fox literally jump a foot in the air and it bolted over a fence leaving the hens to lay another day. They continued to make a cacophony for a good half an hour afterwards and I eventually went out to bribe them to silence with  bread.  That worked and is a trick I shall use next time Mr Him starts his own cacophony.

Unexpected arrival of Son of Mr Him.

Dear reader, so taken am I with step-step sons and variations thereof that I yesterday accidentally acquired another one!   Yes, I have them descending on me by the bucket load now, it appears. My youngest and I had no sooner departed home to pursue a prom dress yesterday when the Son of Mr Him materialised.  Youngest and I missed his arrival, and so as it turned out did Mr Him. In fact he knew not of his son's Grand Adventure until he received a text along the lines of 'dad, where are you?'  Mr Him tells me that he abandoned his bathroom cleaning in an enthusiastic manner and scurried for the station.  Youngest and I knew nothing of this father son liaison until we arrived home and as she said, '.......found another step-brother in the house.'

Mr Him journeys southern England by rail to see his son regularly but they meet in the son's native habitat of Croydon.  This weekend we had invited  'Son of Mr Him' to visit us for a bbq, but it was to be Sunday, our day of relaxation and entertainment.  We were to be just the 3 of us to break him in gently to our household.  Well, you understand, being my reader, the household is exotic, especially when Mr Him is in it, and it could be off-putting.

So Saturday dawned and Mr Him scoured the supermarket aisles for bbq delicacies followed by the squirting of various surfaces with  Mr Muscle in readiness for his son's arrival the next day.  Do not misunderstand, dear reader, this is not a male marking ritual of Mr Him's family but a form of cleaning, or so he tells me.  Whilst I left Mr Him to his marking cleaning, youngest navigated me to the cute mini-town of Hassocks to purchase a dress for her prom.  The selection was relatively easy. She fell in love with a gown in  dolls-dress pink.  My credit card balked at the cost, twice.  I had to resort to debit card.

So with dress and depleted bank account we arrived home and there was Mr Him,  beaming in the kitchen.  His beam was so frightening that I immediately asked what was wrong.  'Look, who's here?' he exclaimed, and there he was, The Son of Mr Him, a day early!

All panic commenced.  Mr Him started cooking potatoes for a potato salad, youngest tried on her prom dress as a distraction, the yogurt churner extraordinaire played frantically on his x-box, the dogs barked, the hens laid and I swept the hall (for fear his mum would descend on us). The Son of Mr Him offered to help amongst the chaos and his guilt. We chorused, 'no, no, you just relax.'

The Weber was fired up, steaks were browned, chicken breasts and sausages cooked to germ killing perfection, cider was poured, beer was appreciated and youngest daughter went horse riding.

Four of us sat in glorious sunshine enjoying al fresco gastronomy, Mr Him, his son, the yogurt churner extraordinaire step-step son and myself.  The two lads coincidentally were the same school age so they could converse on subjects such as  x-boxes, last year's prom, dangers of spiked drinks at said proms and the over protectiveness of mothers; the latter being the topic they had the most to talk on.

Later my oldest, the young on line shopping genius and her boyfriend the automotive engineer arrived to see the phenomenon that was Son of Mr Him in our garden.  Coleslaw, potato salad and sausage left-overs were consumed by the young on line shopping genius as she hid in uncertainty behind the Weber.

Several hours later Son of Mr Him departed.  At this point we are not sure whether we will see him in our native habitat again.  We may well have scared him away.  Still he chose the day to visit and force a bbq upon us well, for today there's a cold wind and cloudy sky.

Yogurt Churner Extraordinaire

We have, it appears, aquired a yogurt maker. Not a contraption you understand but a person for, unbeknown to us,  and unbeknown to him,  it turns out our guest has a talent. Since last Friday he has become a yogurt churner extraordinaire.  Yogurt is emerging in fruity flavours by the litre.  A litre of cherry has been consumed, twice, banana almost consumed and a litre of boysenberry has now appeared in the fridge overnight. 

How did we he step-step son discover he had this culinary talent, and more to the point the desire ?  

I use the Easyo system;  pour powder in,  wait 8 hours and serve for breakfast for the next week.   Well,  I did use the Easyo system,  now he does. 

This started last Friday with a text from houseguest step-step son. 'Can I make myself a yogurt?'  I think he thought the packets were an instant dessert.  

I rang and talked him through it ending with  '...then wait eight hours.'  I fully expected to find no yogurt when I got home that day.  Instead for two days I found no yogurt any day. 

You see he did make the yogurt,  he then ate the yogurt and made another one the next day, and ate that. 

Now on day 5 he has an efficient  fermentation line going to the benefit of all of us.  As one tub is almost finished he starts making the next batch. A smooth operation has been developed ensureing a ready supply for my breakfast and his every meal.

I told him I'd buy him a kit of his own  for Xmas.  His eyes lit up. 'I'd love that.  I could have  a complete shelf of different yogurts in the fridge then .'

I think he's not doing too badly as it is.

A Country Show

Last Monday was a public holiday and Mr Him decided we should have another day out. We headed for the Spring Show at the famous South of England Showground.

First stop was Alpaca judging and wool spinning viewing. 

Then we  headed to the Pimms tent for guzzling.

After which we did some Alpaca wool rug admiring,

and bird box appreciating.

Then we purchased an enormous animal cushion for the kitchen (animals not included)

and on Mr Him's insistence, some very tasty apple cider. (It could be named after him.)

An Unexpected House Guest

Last Sunday Mr Him and I decided to take ourselves to lunch. We filled  our plates with glutony at a carvery then declared the afternoon had to be one of napping, being in our mid years.  I drove us home to enjoy our leisurely and quiet afternoon. How wrong we were! 

On arrival home we found that someone had moved in! 

Yes, dear reader, our newly decorated spare room was now occupied.  I can tell you dear reader that nothing surprises me more than coming home from a roast lunch and finding someone living in our spare room  who wasn't living there when we went out for roast lunch!

Dear reader, you may recollect a few months ago my step-step son moved in along with his rescuing girlfriend. Well this is not who has moved in again. This time it's his twin brother. 

My daughter, the online shopping genius, welcomed us to our hallway and said 'you don't mind my step-brother moving in with  you do you .  He's a great houseguest, does housework and cooks. I don't mind sharing him with you.'

You might think this then is the son of Mr Him.  It is not. My step-step sons (for what else could I call them? ) are the sons of my daughters' Father's wife.  Phew!  Big sentence!
This step-step son had been living with my daughter, the online shopping genius  and her boyfriend for a few days and now they needed the space so decided to upcycle him. 

With a burst of carbs to the brain I realised here was an opportunity. There were jobs awaiting Mr Him. 

'Yes that's fine,' I said, 'but you'll need to put the  door back on the bedroom,  move the bed back in,  screw the headboard together, put the headboard on the bed and move the mattress to the room.' 

The step-step son and automotive engineer zapped around upstairs with comforting  phrases like 'screwdriver ' and 'you take that end ' wafting down the stairs on the household breeze. 

Mr Him napped. 

Horsham of the Doomsday Book

Dear Reader, a few weeks ago Mr Him declared that he was going to take the 1st of May off work and he warned me that he was not going to be 'flopping.'  He was going to have a 'rest.'  This was said with a worrying twinkle in his eye.  I quickly reassured him that this was fine as I had also coincidentally booked the 1st May off work. 'Oh, heck,' he said. Well along those lines but unprintable. Clearly he had planned some secretive May Day activities .  Was dancing around a Maypole  wearing dangly leg bells in the offing? Knowing Mr Him's sense of adventure I wouldn't put it past him!

As a precaution against such horrors I set in motion a plan of distraction. I had a meeting in Horsham on the 1st in the morning.  Mr Him eagerly, too eaglerly, worryingly eagerly, offered to come to Horsham with me.  I became immediately concerned as Horsham is where he grew up.  If  May day pole dancing were to have occurred in his past it would have been here! Did Horsham have a May Pole?  For a few weeks prior I hid the sewing basket and looked out for an uncharacteuristic desire on his part to purchase brightly coloured ribbons.  There was a close encounter at the garden centre when he decided insisted we purchased wind chimes.

The day arrived and I  turned the radio off on the drive over so as I could listen out for the telling sounds of dingling dangly leg bells as he navigated the clutch. However, the journey was accompanied by the blissful sound of crunching as he changed gear and not one single dingle dangle.  I felt safe to leave him for half an hour.

Once my meeting was over Mr Him met me in town looking exceedingly jaunty.  He had a bit of  a bounce to his step. He hadn't found a darn May Pole had he?  I was afraid to ask.  In fact I sooo didn't want to think about it that I had to shop.

After said shopping expedition I felt sustained enough to venture forth into Horsham of old surreptiously looking for a May pole.  I had to know, dear reader.

Horsham is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. (well it would be wouldn't it given Mr Him growing up there.)  It is one of 3 towns in Britain to have a Carfax according to Mr Him. It has a bandstand in the Carfax nowadays

and a war memorial,

and French students.

and not a May Pole, Mr Him assured me this is a flag pole (I didn't ask if he'd already had that conversation with the students.)

This was the old wool market according to Mr Him.  Now a restaurant that we will visit one day.

Some history remains in alleyways

and an Aga shop

and here lived Hammond Innes author

Mr Him's baby sister was married in this church a few years ago.

Then it was time for lunch.  Fish for Friday.

 Paste the link into your browser for more information on Horsham and Carfax' and Morris dancing if you are brave.

Unexpected Discovery of Cellular Zombieland

There was a day this week, dear reader, that I almost crossed the event horizon of Googlemaps.  How did I find such a place hidden so deeply by mobile maps?  There is a story to tell, a circutous story of walking and roundabouts.

I was forced on my adventure by the  multidimensional and confusing layout of Waterloo station.  My destination was the Union Jack Club, near Waterloo, as per the invitation.  As one would expect and being astute I used The exit to depart Waterloo Station.  

I confidently strode forth until I reached a roundabout.  This was no ordinary roundabout for it contained Mighty IMAX and the power of 3d at its core! I turned left escaping the powerful '3d' temptation to march purposefully out onto Waterloo Bridge. It was a blustery day and I had my conference glad rags on.  The bluster was cold, my conference glad rags were thin.  They consisted of a so last year block colour dress in black and coffee icecream  (I should know.)  I felt colder with each step out over the Thames.  The northerly wind blew up my coat, down my coat and through my coat.  If I didn’t have a bob my hair would have been all asunder.

Then, half way across the Thames, the wind blew a gust of common sense into me.  This was not correct.   If I was meant to go across the river the invitation would not have said near Waterloo. I turned on that baffling gadget, ‘maps’ on my phone. There I was, represented by a blue blob, standing astride the Thames.  A red blob, the Club, was way behind me. 

I reversed back over the Thames and was pulled down a slope into the belly of the IMAX roundabout.   Here I found the poor lost Googlemaps souls. They looked vacant, heads slumped over their mobiles and cells, they turned this way and that as they shuffled from one exit to another.  I was in cellular zombieland.  I plumped for an exit desperate to escape and ran.  My blue blob moved fast.  It raced closer to the red blob doing the Googlewaltz on my phone.  
Five minutes later and quite puffed out I was facing the Union Jack Club and there opposite it was the entrance to Waterloo Station.

This is the route I took

This is the route I should have taken.  As you can see I am a navigating genius.

To prove I did arrive, here is a picture from inside the Union Jack Club. The plaques are memorials to members of the forces over the last 100 years. 

Google plaques may be available in the next 100 years around the IMAX

Making of Rhubarb Gin

How I made Rhubarb Gin and Mr Him does a BBQ See he's still being sensible. Maybe I should pour the gin down him! No. That would be a...