Thursday, September 29, 2005

Recipe Request

Okay, I know this is odd, but bear with me !

Can anyone supply me with a recipe to make something approximating McDonald`s breakfast pancakes ?
DD4 loves them, and I would like to try making them at home, but I cannot find a recipe which looks like it will meet the need.
All information gratefully received :-)
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Prayer Request

A relative of my husband`s is ill in hospital.
At the moment it looks like he has had a stroke.
Of your charity please pray for Rudi and his family.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Shelf 4: the small one is St Nicholas, Help of Mariners, and the 4 part brass and enamel icon is of the Great Feasts Posted by Picasa
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Shelf 3 right side : Christ , which was our other wedding icon, St Elizabeth the New Martyr and St Barbara, and St John Maximovitch of San Francisco. Posted by Picasa
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Shelf 3. St Spyridon, St John Chrysostom, The Theotokos, which was one of our wedding icons, St Constantine. Posted by Picasa
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Shelf 2.L to R Guardian angel, St Nicholas, St Joseph of Arimathea, Protecting Veil of the Theotokos, St John Baptist, St Tatiana of Rome, the ceramics are St Michael the Archangel and St Constantine and St Helen. Posted by Picasa
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My main icon corner, based on a pine shelf unit with drawers underneath, bought from Argos. Posted by Picasa
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Squirrels are a rarity here, period.
The last time I saw a red squirrel was eight years ago in Norfolk.

Grey squirrels are, as Dave Holford rightly pointed out, aggressive, vicious, highly territorial and will happily kill our indigenous and much more beautiful red squirrels in order to invade their territory.
Basically, they are vermin....rats with pretty tails, and I would infinitely prefer to have red squirrels in our town.

But we don`t, and I am content to admire a part of God`s creation for its own beauty, whilst lamenting the effect it may have on our environment.

Rather like admiring a tiger whilst simultaneously worrying about the number of smaller mammals it kills , or a great white shark whilst deploring the fact it may be killing surfers :-)

Nevertheless, squirrel photos from your gardens will be received with pleasure !
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Squirrel Sighting

I forgot to mention that on Sunday, I was by the front door, getting ready to go out, when I happen to glance through the glass and to my surprise, I saw a grey squirrel sitting on my porch mat !
It looked at me, and I looked at it, then it fled. Of course, it all happened much too fast to even think about getting a photo, which is a shame.

I am amazed.
I have lived in this town for 38 years, and this is only the second time I have seen a squirrel. The last time was eight years ago, and about 3 miles away from our home !
We do have quite a few trees near our house, and there is extensive woodland about half a mile higher up the hill, but this is a densely populated part of our town although we are in close proximity on one side to open farmland.

I know the saying that "little things please little minds" , but it was great to see a squirrel again :-)
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Testing, Testing.

On Monday, DH and I took Abby to the hospital to see the Consultant Developmental Paediatrician.
Because of her speech delay, questions were raised by various health professionals as to whether there were other underlying and more serious problems, and she has had numerous and various developmental assessments over the last year.

Today, we got to see the head honcho.

The testing went really well and Abby was happy and co-operative. The outcome was that her speech delay, which was categorised as moderate (ie about 14 months behind the average for her age) at the beginning of August has improved so much that it is now only "mild".
Now that it is music to my years !

She does have occasional difficulty with concepts, which is directly related to the language delay, but the Consultant said he is happy and sure that with further speech therapy she will continue to progress and catch up quickly, and that the conceptual hiccups will be ironed out in due course as her language skills develop further.
So, she has been officially assessed as entirely developmentally normal but with a mild speech delay.
We are happy :-)
Just waiting to inch back up the speech therapy waiting list for her next block of sessions....
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Sunday, September 25, 2005


Congratulations to Xenia Kathryn and Job on the happy news of their first pregnancy - it is good to hear some happy news !
Many Years to the three of you :-)
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Friday, September 23, 2005

Food for Thought

This is an apt title in our area at present !

There have been several very nasty outbreaks of E. Coli food poisoning in the county area, and it has all been traced back to a local firm which supplies cooked meat to local schools, nursing homes and council run establishments.
The firm has been closed down, pending a major Environmental Health Inspection and enquiry, and it has caused headaches for all the establishments concerned , having to source "clean" food to provide instead.

The menus at our local school have had to be changed, but it is a small price to pay when you consider that one 3year old child at another school has been very badly affected, and is currently at a specialist renal unit with kidney failure, which is a known complication of some types of E Coli food poisoning.

Please God, she will recover fully.

It is frightening how easily things can go wrong in the food supply chain, and cause such devastating consequences. On the other hand, if each school had an account with a local butcher, greengrocer etc, and all food was freshly prepared, maybe these problems would not be so common.
A newspaper report last week said that some new schools are even being built without kitchens , just facilities to re-heat ready-prepared foods bought in from a giant wholesaler .
To me, this is both ludicrous and scandalous.
I `m a firm believer in the "Real food in Our Schools" campaign :-)
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Dental News

Abby has had an appointment at the local university Dental hospital today.

Her remaining metal molar caps are fine, and there is no sign of any problems in the rest of her mouth, for which we are profoundly grateful.
Her consultant wants to see her every six months until her secondary molars erupt, to see if they too have problems or need any treatment.

The consultant also kindly said that if I am at all concerned, I am to just bring Abby straight to the dental hospital for the consultant to see personally, and I have her email address and her phone number.

It is nice to have good news about the poor child`s teeth :-)
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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Misc News

DD2 has today been diagnosed as having migraines, and they are stress-related.
Just about all she needs in a very stressful GCSE exam year.
Her anti-migraine medication is not working particularly well either, and she sounds really run-down and fed-up.
It`s tough being a 16 year old anyway, without all this.

DDs1, 3 and 4 are all well. Abby is enjoying school dinners, but is very slow to eat at the best of times, so she is invariably the last one in her class out of the hall at lunch time :-)
Must dash, it is 7.45 pm here, and time to get small people tucked into bed.
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Monday, September 19, 2005

Crazy Ideas

It`s been a whistlestop weekend chez moi.
We have relocated from Bedroom A to bedroom B, so that Bedroom A can be stripped, re-plastered and redecorated. Everything that was previously in the room was relocated to virtually every other room in the house, so things were ............ messy.

On Friday, DH and I went to town and on a whim , he decided that we would get our house valued by the estate agents.
Don`t ask. Just don`t ask.....

The estate agent said he could come out 11 am Sat morning to value the house.
Hello, we have black plastic bags filled with personal possessions in every room of the house bar the toilet !
Undeterred by this, DH said that would do just fine.

So, needless to say, we spent Friday afternoon and late into the night, and all Sat morning frantically sorting stuff and moving all the bags into the already over-stuffed garage. About a third of our kitchen is now occupied by cardboard boxes, but other than that, the house is clear.
My house is clear of junk ! Woo hoo !
I threw out 12 black bin bags of stuff, and three black bin bags of unwanted clothes went to the Salvation Army charity .

The purge has begun :-)))))
Now to persuade DH to get rid of boxes of elderly computer equipment and weight training that hasn`t been touched in the at least five years.
EBay, here we come , LOL.

PS Oh, the house is now valued at 270,000 UKP. He said if we put the house up for sale next Spring, we may well get 290,000 UKP. So for the moment, we are concentrating on finishing the necessary work, and then we will think about looking for another house.
DH would really like a detached house, rather than a semi-detached.
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Thursday, September 15, 2005


Today is my DH`s 39th birthday....
Many Years !
Mnogaya Lyeta !
Chronia Polla !

Abby continues to enjoy school :-)
This afternoon, after dropping her off, we went to the pub across the road from our home and had a romantic lunch...what is funny is the fact that this is the first time in the 19 months we have lived in our house that we have gone acrooss the road to the pub.
Mind you, today is the first time DH and I have been out alone for a meal without any offspring in 4 and a half years........

We had a birthday tea and birthday cake when the girls came home from school, of course !
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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Old-Calendar Orthodoxy on the Beeb

Wandering around on the BBC web site today, I was intrigued to see featured an old-calendar Greek parish, whose priest has a Chapel-shed in his garden.
If you go hear, you can read about it and hear the interview, at

Nice to see Orthodoxy on the news :-)
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Monday, September 12, 2005

Seasonal Changes

It is becoming very cold first thing in the morning now, though the days remain generally hot and sunny.
It is still most definitely T-shirt weather, but the signs of the season changing are present.........on the way to school this morning, we counted no less than *55* Canada Geese on the small lake, whereas normally we would have about 8 resident geese. The others are migrants, grouping and preparing to move on.
The swallows are nearly gone too, and the black-headed gulls are changing into winter plumage.
My tortoise is taking longer to wake up in the mornings, but he`s not the only one !

Whilst Abby is only doing half-days in school for the next three weeks, I am having to walk the three return trips to school each day. Each of the six legs takes about 20 minutes if Abby is with me, about 10 if I am on my own.
It`s only three miles per day in total, but my arthritic knees are really complaining about it.

I think I will head up to the shower and then get the troops ready for bed, as it is now 7.10 pm here in the UK.
Take care everyone !
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The Second Day at School

The second day of school has been as uneventful and successful as Abby`s first day....long may it continue :-)
It was really weird, dropping her off at school this afternoon and then being able to go to town without being "on duty" and having to have eyes at the back of my head all the time.
I enjoyed the freedom, but I still really missed Abby`s company .
I am sure I will get used to it eventually, but it was lovely to see her come out and run straight into my arms, proudly showing me her paintings :-)
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A close-up of the much-admired shoe :-))) Posted by Picasa
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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Abby in her uniform, just before she went to school. Posted by Picasa
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First Day of School

We made sure Abby had a low-key morning on Friday, to keep her as unstressed as possible before going to school at 1.30pm.
When it was time to dress her, we had the dreaded "I don`t WANT to go to school" shouting, and had to chase her round the house to get her dressed in her uniform.

Once in it, she was happy, and we took several photos.
All of a sudden, she looked so terribly grown-up.

At school, she was the first one through the door when her teacher appeared, and when Teacher said "Hello, Abby, it`s time to say goodbye to Mum and Dad now", she turned briefly, waved , said "Bye bye" and went in happily.

DH and I were speechless, utterly gob-smacked.
Could this be the same child who resolutely refuses to stay even with her grandparents ??

For the hour and three-quarters before we could pick her up, we kept looking at each other amidst feverishly sorted out the mountains of toys in the living-room, prior to putting them in our whizzy new 9 stacking box compartment toy storage area under the stairs.

We didn`t enjoy the silence in the house at all.
It was a relief to get down to the school and wait for her outside her classroom.
All was quiet; not a murmur, no screaming , no crying.

She was the first one out when the buzzer went, and was so excited, telling us she had had a drink and played Play-Doh with her teacher. She had a good first day in school.
Let`s just hope she will continue to be OK next week when she realsies she has to go every afternoon .... :-)
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

All Quiet on the Western Front

Good news about my ex father-in-law ( or outlaw, as he is affectionately known as, LOL)
The surgeon is happy that the problem areas have been completely excised with a good margin, and that no further treatment is warranted.
We are all very happy and immensely relieved.......................

DD3 went back to school today, happy as a sandboy. She was glad to see all her schoolfriends again, and get back to the school routine. Abby was not happy when big sister went to school, and the house was terribly quiet with just Abby and I at home.

Come Friday afternoon, it will just be DH and I at home, and that will be really strange !!

Other than that, no news to report.
As they say, no news is good news.............
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Monday, September 05, 2005


We`re on Countdown in our home, folks :-)

DD2 starts back to her Comprehensive school Tuesday, DD3 goes back to her primary school on Weds , DD1 starts back to College on Thursday and DD4 starts in Nursery on Friday .
Tomorrow I have to pick up uniform with school logos from the school for DD3 and 4, and get DD3 a new lunchbox.

There have been no headlice found for the last three days on compulsory checks for all family members, so I am hopeful our essential oil shampoo (Tea Tree, Rosemary and Lavender) regime is working . All extremities crossed , we may have conquered the problem !

Other than that, it has been quiet here.

My very much-loved ex father-in-law gets the full biopsy results back from two nasty skin growths tomorrow, so if any of you get chance to remember him in your prayers, I would be truly grateful - his name is David .

That`s all, folks ................
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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Last Week of the Holidays

This is the last week of the school holidays :-)

Since I last blogged, I have taken DD3 and myself to the dentists.
She was incredibly brave, having two fillings without local anaesthetic ( mainly as our dentist explained that it was going to hurt more to have numerous jabs with a needle for local anaesthetic for two separate teeth than it would to have the drilling done, and I have to say he was right ).

I had three big fillings plus scale and polish, under the blessing of local anaesthetic, and reeled home after paying £83.00 for the privilege of having my teeth seen to (our dentist sees only children under NHS, everyone else pays private fees )

I also bought school shoes and trainers for DD3 (cost £58)

Yesterday the carpet fitters came to fit our two new carpets.
Our bedroom carpet is delightful, but when we viewed DD4`s room carpet, it was the wrong colour.
Someone in the warehouse had mislabelled the carpet, and the red carpet destined for someone else`s home was sent to us. It is of course now useless, having been chopped up to fit our room, so some poor soul will have to wait another two weeks to receive their red carpet.
Our carpet was supposed to be dark green :-0
We panicked briefly over whether our carpet was in fact in stock, or whether we were going to have to wait another 2 weeks for it, but luckily it was in the warehouse and the fitters retrieved it and brought it straight down and fitted it.

We are now in the happy position of moving the contents of two bedrooms into two different bedrooms so the last two rooms can be decorated.
Oh joy, o bliss.............

One day the house will look tidy - though I have a sneaky suspicion it may not be till the kids have all left home :-)
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