Coffee, Cinema & Parents’ Evening

I had coffee this morning with Mark and Michelle – nice to see them at the same time!

After lunch I went to the cinema to see Brokeback Mountain – in the afternoon, all by myself.  Wonderfully decadent.  It always seems strange coming out of the cinema into daylight.  Great film, beautiful scenery, very touching love story.

It was Toby’s parents’ evening today.  What a star he is – his (in fact all three children’s) parents’ evenings are always very straightforward.  Lovely to have people telling me such nice things about Toby!


I went to Meeting this morning with Rose, while John had a leisurely morning. Lily came home with us to play with Rose.

Lal and Pauline brought Toby home, they had taken some photos of Toby skiing.


He had had a fantastic time and had only fallen over a few times. He’s only got one visible scrape, on his chin.  Predictably enough he learnt very quickly and was one of the better pupils in the group.

We’ve had lovely roast lamb for tea and now everyone is going to bed.


I’ve dropped Toby off this morning at the Sheffield Ski Village where he’s going to take part in a learn to ski in a weekend course.  One his Christmas presents.

Pauline’s picking him up this afternoon and then he’s staying with her and Lal, and she’ll take him back tomorrow morning for the second part of the course.  I expect they’ll have a curry tonight and generally give Toby a good time.

Tiger in the Well

I read the penultimate chapter of this fantastic book to Rose last night. Sally managed to escape from the cellar without getting drowned, was then arrested for attempted but pulled out (from her stocking top) the page she had cut from the ledger which she thinks will prove the plot against her; Jim got back from South America, broke into his own house with Kid Mendel and his gang, had a fight with Parrish and his men and won, then dashed off to Spitalfields to see if Sally was ok – they only knew that the house she was supposed to be in had collapsed; Parrish got knocked unconscious for the second time when Sarah Jane dropped a chamber pot on his head.

And this chapter was nowhere near as eventful as the previous one, in which Dan had had a fight with Parrish and his men (the first knocking unconscious with a chamber pot), rescued Harriet, been arrested, escaped, prevented a riot by telling the rioters a story; Sally had found out who the Tzaddick was and what was going on.

I can really recommend this book. It is incredibly exciting, and very interesting with lots of information about Victorian life. I think Rose has learnt a lot from it, as well as being very caught up in the story.

Tea at Saffron and Jenny’s

We’ve been out for tea tonight at Saffron, Jenny and Nok’s – except for Toby, who cooked for himself.

In spite of their protestations that they couldn’t cook reliably, they made a super chinese meal with three separate dishes.  They are vegetarian, so it made John and Rose be a little more adventurous in what they tried. Jenny had made a delicious cake and everyone helped make the butter icing.

After tea we played a game of Taboo – Andrews vs Walklings.  Ha ha, we won!

Oven Fixed

Fixed – well it wasn’t actually broken! As I suspected, a button had got pressed. If you hold down one of the buttons for ten seconds, and then press a different button, the oven gets put in “demo mode.” This means that it won’t turn on the heating elements or the fan whatever you turn the knob to. The lights come on, and the buttons adjust the temperature, but nothing happens. And it remembers it has been put into this mode even if you turn it off and on again at the wall!

So fortunately it wasn’t really broken, and I should have read the small print in the manual more carefully!

John on the Radio

The BBC rang up on Friday asking if John would do a report for Big Toe. They had our phone number because he was on last year, when he did a report about Chinese New Year.  They must be very short of reporters to be phoning around!

This time round he did a report on scuba diving, which he actually did a while ago, but he pretended that it was recent.  A very good account, well written and well read.

You can listen to it for the next few days from the BBC Listen Again player.  It was Saturday’s Big Toe.

Party Party Party

Yesterday (Sunday) was the day of the Meeting Mid-Winter Party and then in the late afternoon and evening we had our party here.

The Meeting party was great. There was a really good bring and share lunch to start with, then Helen Cadbury had organised a children’s play. John was a milkman (married to Lily), who took in a down and out man over Christmas. Rose was a Quaker carol singer and “girl number 2.” Toby played the hand bells and did sound effects (quite reluctantly!) After the play Toby and Luke went into town, while Rose, John and I enjoyed the ceilidh. They were both very enthusiastic dancers and the Meeting room got much hotter and sweatier than normal!

We came home at about 4 and got ready for our party. By half five, there were loads of people here, and there were until half nine. Just about everyone I had asked or vaguely mentioned it to had come. There was the usual problem of drinks being in the kitchen, so everyone had to process through two full rooms to get to them! An excellent party that has left me feeling very good about things. As usual I hardly had time to chat to some people, but it was great seeing so many people here. It seemed like there were hundreds of children running around. Rose had some party games in her room, John lots of his friends in his and Toby had several big boys playing on the xbox in his room. At 9:30 there were only 3 people left, who helped me sort out the kitchen for the morning.

Today Billy came back to help finish off the tidying, which was great and made it much more interesting than it would otherwise have been. The house is now almost tidier and cleaner than it was before! We don’t seem to have broken a single glass!

Football, Town and Sketching

Rose went to her dancing at Southlands this morning – the normal tap, ballet, disco and drama she’s been doing for a few years now.Toby went to watch Huddersfield play this afternoon (2-0 against Blackpool), while John went into town with Tom and Rose and I went to the sketchbook workshop at the Artspace. This is part of her Christmas present – they run workshops that are partly teaching techniques and partly getting on with making a sketchbook, really more of a scrapbook, using photos, cards, bits from magazines and whatever else you can find.This evening I read Rose a huge chunk from The Tiger in the Well, another fantastic book by Phillip Pullman. It’s got to an extraordinarily exciting part, where she just wants me to read on and on to see what happens next! They’re very long chapters though, and after one and a half I was read out. So John and Rose are now in bed and I’m just starting to wonder what Toby is watching on the telly.