Sunday, 29 August 2010

The sun is shining and I have just finished a plate of haggis

In other words, feeling quite chirpy just now! The boys voluntarily offered to help in the garden today, for a modest financial reward, and they actually did the work they were retained to do without whingeing, and they didn't even complain when the rain came on and cut the work short, resulting in less cash than they were anticipating. They then got their waterproofs on and headed off to spend their earnings on a DVD, which they are now watching upstairs (hence I can get hold of the laptop to blog in peace).

The garden badly needs some attention now as the constant rain and warm days have led to the weeds running riot. I have not managed to deal with all the weeds, but at least the grass is cut. I will have to get round to that task soon though, as the sight of the encroaching weediness is bugging me. I tend to see it more nowadays as I have been wandering about my garden on a regular basis recently, partly to see what the cats are up to and partly to marvel at the fact that the seeds I planted earlier this year actually grew. Into stuff. Stuff you can actually EAT.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I tend to be the kiss of death to all plant life. Houseplants curl up their leaves and die in my presence, even (or especially) the ones people tell me are impossible to kill. Hence I have never gone in much for gardening - if I can't grow plants in a sheltered atmosphere, what chance do I have when I am also competing with the elements, cats, snails and birds? But I do like to eat, so always wanted to grow veggies. You may remember, therefore that back in May I decided to plant some dead easy lettuce and some courgettes (zucchini for you North American types).

Well, to my utter astonishment, those little specks of green turned into these:

"Oak leaf" salad bowl lettuce, and

Courgettes! Yellow ones (they are supposed to be yellow. I checked.) I harvested one teeny tiny one today because the rain had gathered in its flower and the very end was starting to rot a bit. So I cut that part off, sliced it lengthwise and stuck it on the barbeque when I was cooking some chicken earlier. Husband and I then shared the most wonderful morsels of courgette ever tasted by mortal man. Seriously, they were fabulous. We are considering having a barbeque tomorrow purely so we can pick the rest of what is there, douse it in olive oil, lemon zest and thyme, grill it and gorge ourselves. (That being "gorge" in the sense of "eat the entire harvest in one go". I doubt there are enough courgettes there to constitute an entire meal!)

So I am converted to home grown veggies. Suggestions for other low maintenance crops gratefully received. (Croila, your photos of your produce make me drool, but I suspect I don't even look after my kids as well as you care for your tomatoes!)

In other news, the cats' occupation of any cardboard box left lying about continues. We have started saving any odd-shaped boxes we come across just to see if there is any sort of box they won't sleep in. So far, there isn't. Even the long, high-sided and narrow box that FB's drumkit pedal came in is acceptable. Bit of a squeeze mind you.

That photo makes both cats look much more angelic and well-behaved than they really are. Zyra (the tortoiseshell minx) in particular has been bringing in a steady supply of mice and birds throughout the summer. Nowadays, however, she is finding that small rodents and fledgling blackbirds no longer pose enough of a challenge and is moving on to bigger game.

I wish I had had the video camera ready that day, as the racket that squirrel was making was unbelievable. I am now keeping my fingers crossed that Zyra never manages to actually catch a squirrel. Can you imagine what my kitchen will look like if she ever does?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

One down, one to go

Ah, the end of the summer holidays. Hasn't come a day too soon. Much as I love my children, they have just a lot recently. It is on perfectly pleasant summer days when your children stubbornly remain indoors that you begin to wish you lived out in the country with a huge area of wilderness for them to explore, rather than in a large city with a major traffic route on the doorstep.

But today, today was Day Zero. Day Zero is exactly what it sounds like: the day at the end of a long countdown. In this case, the countdown to my baby boy, my First Born, starting senior school. All the new S1 pupils went into school for a half day today before school proper starts tomorrow (Oh the howls of anguish when FB first discovered that he would be in school and SB would not!). The idea is to give the new kids in the senior school a day to acclimatise, find their form room, get their timetable, locker key etc, all before the building fills up with huge 6 feet tall blokes in blazers masquerading as school pupils.

FB seemed to enjoy the experience - he has made a friend, a boy who did not attend the Junior school but has joined from an outside school, and said friend is also "into" Warhammer, so that's good. (Have you heard of Warhammer? Chances are if you are at all familiar with a boy child between the ages of, say, 10 and 15, then you do. If you don't, then consider yourself lucky.)

I must confess that Husband and I fretted a bit when FB began to get interested in Warhammer. It smacked to us of Dungeons & Dragons and the slightly geeky, uncool image that went with that when we were young(er). However as a hobby among young teen boys, it seems to be quite widespread so we have decided to unclench a little. Given FB's problems making friends at all (as an Asperger's child, social interaction is a bit of a mystery to him) it would be a little unfair of us to deny him the opportunity of getting into a subject about which he knows EVERYTHING (as an Asperger's child, when he gets interested in something, he gets REALLY interested, REALLY quickly). So we will let him collect small and essentially pointless plastic figures and talk endlessly with other small boys about the powers of said small, pointless plastic figures and hopefully it will make him happy and give him the chance to interact with other small boys of like mind. My fingers, they are firmly crossed.

But what of SB? He is still in the junior school, entering primary 6 but that is, in itself, a little milestone. For tomorrow is his first day at school IN LONG TROUSERS! You have no idea how happy he is about this. Honestly, to hear him talk, you would think that for the last 5 years we have routinely forced him out into blizzards and ice storms with his knees uncovered, risking terminal frostbite of the kneecaps. He is pleased to be getting into proper trousers at last. I am pleased that I can now clothe his lower half for school from Asda or similar at a cost of about £4 rather than spending £25 on a pair of regulation shorts at the school outfitters. However I am also slightly scared.

You see, SB spends every moment of free time at school playing football. And when doing so, he falls over. A lot. Part of the coming-home-from-school ritual with SB has always been an examination of the new cuts and bruises sustained during some cutthroat game of 19-a-side at playtime. He often came home with full-blown dressings applied by matron during injury time. I did not worry overly much about this. Knees are blessedly self-repairing. Trousers, however, are not. And I am no use whatsoever with a needle and thread. I suspect I may end up giving all the money that used to go on shorts to Asda anyway. Unless anyone out there has a reasonably-priced trouser-knee repair service I should know about?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

I am worried my blogging license may have been revoked

Yes, so, it would appear that during the school holidays, when I have the pleasure of the boys' company during every hour when I am not at work, I find it more difficult to sit down and write about what is going on Chez Loth. There is, you see, too much going on Chez Loth for me to be able to sit down and describe it. Admittedly, what is going on is mostly arguments about who gets to play the Penguin on Lego Batman on the Wii, so it is probably just as well that I have not felt the need to post on this subject in any detail. You lot don't really need to hear my well worn speech on "If you can't agree on who is doing what, then I am TURNING THE WII OFF!!!".

Anyway, the boys have gone to Camp Granny and Grandad for a couple of nights before they go back to school on Wednesday (First Born) and Thursday (Second Born), and I am therefore free to hog the laptop for a while. So how have you all been? I have still been reading some blogs, albeit not commenting much. I must confess I had to take a deep breath a wee while ago and hit "mark all as read" on a few. There were over 450 entries in my reader and there was just no way I was going to manage to read all those with the care they deserved and still, you know, eat and shower occasionally. Please forgive me, therefore, if I have been noticeable by my absence over at your place recently. I'll be around shortly.

In the meantime I have about 3 dozen name labels to sew onto various items of schoolwear before Wednesday. Anyone who knows me and my sewing skills knows this will take me until about 4pm on Tuesday if I start now, so I had better get started......

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

You know you're in Edinburgh during the Festival when...... find yourself behind Zorro in the queue for the cash machine.

Saturday, 14 August 2010


"Local council radically extends recycling scheme in Edinburgh"

"Representatives of the small rodent and bird communities welcome the initiative.