Sunday, 1 June 2008

Furzey Gardens, visited this week, suffering yet again from half term-it-is with throngs of children shouting about fairies, and a bunch of unsupervised pirates playing with sticks. I know, I know, I shouldn't go in half term, and I thought you loved children Kay? But I do, just not mixed in with my solitude and place of healing, damnit! Still, we took Keith and Gillian and Rosie for their first visit and we did all the usual fun story elements and some painting before the rain poured down. We have had a rained upon half term, but this weekend has been fab for weather and getting out there.

Today, the intrepid sailing duo of our family were down at the club just after 9 ready for a race, which was abandoned due to no wind, they were paddling back in when A and I arrived later. H spent the whole day in Southampton water on a surf board, not the best surfing waves and she will probably have some water-borne disease tomorrow. A and I mooched off for a strawberry pick, which seemed early, but the signs were up and the strawberries were ready. We went to Pickwell's which I have passed many times but never been in, a great find - local, good choice of PYO and a farm shop which sells great range of fruit and veg and some other odd items.

R is cooking a roast chicken in our new microwave, and mowing the grass. Theat's the great thing about microwaves, isn't it? So adaptable.

A terribly posh chap called James Pilkingyton Slime has been calling R all week, as R bought a mast from him on ebay. Now, the geezer has a weekend 'cottage' (read stately home) in Itchenor, which is a very yachting types village near Chichester, and took the exact change, £41.21, from R. Now, don't round it down to the £40 cash, or even the £41. Nope, take every penny, and you too could have two homes, the holiday one of which is bigger than yours and mine together. Bless him. Still, travelling to Itchenor on a sunny day meant we explored the beaches around that way, and I don't want to reveal where exactly we went, as it was crowded enough and I don't want hordes of stalkers turning up, but, we found a fab beach and had a great sandy, sunny day. To continue our Fatface lifestyle, we had a barbie on the beach on the way home (at the sailing club) for tea, which was perfect. And the country park was full of people watching three big cruise ships going out, so we did that too.

With apologies to anyone reading this who does go to church on Sunday mornings, not going in this last month has been the best thing that could have happened to our family life. Our weekends are so long now, we get time together to do normal everyday things, and extra fun outdoor things like beaches and sailing and picking strawberries. I feel closer to my family than I ever have, and closer to the people in our housegroup, as we are consciously being with them more - the Whitmores came and played on the beach today, and the Clarks are coming for the microwaved chicken experiment in a bit. We are doing church, honest - just differently. And when I have time and space with my family and by myself I am in a better place to really be a good friend and neighbour to those who live near me.

Last weekend was wet in Dorset. Very wet and windy in the nights, scarily so, and if we ever wanted evidence of the lack of waterproofing on our tent, we got it. We stayed at a brilliant, simple campsite, with direct access to the beach, and had a great beach driftwood fire with marshmallows on our first night - told you we would soon be on a Fatface catalogue. Maybe Howies? Campsite had hot power showers and really clean loos, and a handy tumble drier. Only ruined by smug caravaners sitting in the warm while we were taking off in high winds in our pathetic excuse for a tent. We are even closer to buying a campervan than we were! Still, going with Rachel and Paul was great, as they have a heater and lots of gadgets and equipment that we didn't have - like a sharp knife and a corkscrew. And not only for their gadget array, but for their fun and quirky company, adorable children and relatives, who welcomed us into their number. Camping and sailing are great for children making friends, and we didn't see much of H for the trip. She and James found the camp shop, and spent ages making trips there and working out what they could buy, usually coming back with packets of biscuits after about 30 minues of deliberation. A had a go at this new hobby, and came back with a packet of Jaffa cakes. Result!

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