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Archive for the ‘FAMILY ANTICS’ Category

We have just reached a couple of milestones in our family.  My youngest has just officially finished her secondary education, and today has started her GCSE’s, my eldest has handed in everything now for her final major project at Uni, and technically left, awaiting the results of her three year degree by the end of the week, prior to her graduation, and as for the one in the middle.  Whilst many of her Uni friends have finished their first year exams, she, however,  is yet to start hers, but this hasn’t deterred her joining in the celebrations of those who have ended!  It would seem that she has been rehearsing for an audition, to feature in Made in Chelsea this weekend, being swept away to a country residence in Shropshire, for a spot of shooting, jacuzzing, and go-karting as you do!!  Actually this was reality, as opposed to non-reality TV, and what she got up to wasn’t for the cameras, unlike Louise and Spencer last Monday, which was faked for the programme!

She has assured me that the first year of her Psychology degree covered what she already learnt for A Level, which only reconfirms in my mind that a University degree should be condensed into a maximum of two years.  Is it me, or do first year Uni students spend more time on the lash than in lectures?  The financial cost of that wasted first year will only be worse for 2012/13 students whose fees will triple, and as for the cost to those gorgeous, pure, pink livers  … well that will be revealed in later life!  And what is all this shot drinking about?! I swear if you consume your drink quickly, you just have to buy another one .. in my day we made our drinks last!  I can talk from first hand experience that shot drinking is messy!   Maybe the art of Tactical Chundering has been designed to preempt all that liver damage??

The highlight of last week, in fact probably of this year was the Leavers Ball held at Wotton House.


Picture this beautiful venue, and then add stretched Range Rovers, a vintage ambulance, a speed boat being towed, a double decker bus, horse boxes, lorries, a London Cab, an Aston Martin and a Robin Reliant to name but a few modes of transport to the Ball!  Not a pumpkin in sight, but there was gridlock, and vehicles were getting stuck in the mud, still raining at this point but non of the teenage guests noticed as the excitement and anticipation of the event had reached fever pitch!  I hosted a pre drinks party for about twenty girls prior to their arrival at the ball, and was slightly overwhelmed but delighted that the girls brought parents, grandparents, boyfriends and siblings to photograph the occasion.  The weather was miserable but spirits couldn’t possibly be dampened.  Spray tans refused to be streaked by the drizzle, and coiffured hair do’s were determined not to frizzle in the rain!  I have never seen so many gorgeous stunning young ladies in my house at any one time.

And as if there hasn’t  been enough excitement in our house this week, my eldest is being swept away tomorrow morning to Abu Dhabi, being treated by an Arabic Prince, to celebrate the 21st birthday of her gorgeous friends, “The Twins”.  She is due to have a week filled with jet skiing, wake-boarding, sunbathing in 107 degrees of heat, no doubt sipping strawberry daiquiri’s and champagne and eating sushi!  Sounds quite similar to the week I have scheduled …NOT!!!!  Maybe it is time for a change in life for me … yeh!  That will be the menopause!

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So yesterday was the big day to set Great Auntie Vera free into the sea at her favorite location …Hayling Island …  the good Lord was looking down upon us  .. the sun was shining and glinting on the water, the wind was light and there were only a handful of people on the beach who had no idea at all what we were up to.  Whilst waiting for the rest of the family to arrive, three bagpipers in full uniform strode past us with their instruments, and for a moment I thought my sister had organised a musical serenade, but this was purely coincidental. The tide was high, my brother wearing his Hunters, paddled out into the sea, my sister said a few touching words of remembrance and I had to stifle my giggles as the ashes tumbled out of the ‘sweetie jar’ and blended into the ocean, during what felt like a surreal family gathering.  And that was it, in a flash and without incident, Vera is at rest … end of!

I am also happy to report that I didn’t make a Sunday Roast yesterday, and fortunately neither yet has Mr Fox.  Although sadly we had another very sick chookie this week, and after spending a night in a Guildford Borough Council recycle box in the conservatory, poor Matilda has also gone to chookie heaven to join Maisie.  She had a respectful burial in the vegetable garden, unlike poor Maisie who got temporarily placed in the wheely bin, and forgotten (out of site out of mind) and regretfully collected by the bin men before her scheduled burial.   On the other hand, Mrs Hen who has been poorly now for weeks, is still pottering around happily… I managed to blag some antibiotics for her, from the vets this week, and have administered them, supplemented with some live yoghurt to rebalance the natural flora in her gut, as you do!  Mrs Hen hasn’t laid an egg for months now, so I promised the Receptionist at the vets that if she lays any more eggs, she will  be in line for the first one, to reward her services beyond the call of duty!

So what else on went on this weekend … oh let me think? .. I know … I allowed my nearly 16 year old daughter to invite 40 of her school friends over to help celebrate her birthday!  Not far from my mind was the previous gathering, when several of her friends regurgitated their alcohol and cocktail sausages into several receptacles in my kitchen, including the sink, my mop bucket and a pudding basin.  So by 10.20 pm I was feeling quite relieved that no significant events had occurred, and was just about to Tweet a comment to this effect, whilst watching Britains Got Talent, when one of her talented friends accidently broke a window in the Rave Shed, shattering broken shards of glass on those unlucky individuals who were dancing on the other side.  I then spent what was left of the party, mopping up blood and dishing out plasters to the walking wounded, whilst my husband was clearing up broken glass.  Fortunately there were no severe lacerations and that was possibly the low-light of the party.  Fighting for a place to win the Parents Got Talent competition for highlight of the party, was either the epic dinosaur impersonation performed by my husband, or the pile of chocolate brownies that doubled up as a birthday cake … taking votes at the end of this blog!

 And now it’s Monday, it’s cold and rainy yet again.  Still refraining from putting the heating on in the daytime, as it is April, I have just made a nice pot of Carrot and Coriander Soup, and I am very tempted to go and get my dear old friend from upstairs ..  my thermal vest!

Brownies or Dinosaur??  It’s your vote that counts!!!

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It’s only two days after my last sighting of Mr Fox, and so far so good .. all chookies  are present and correct for the time being. I have been sending them to bed early, before the sun has gone down, to try and keep them safe from the predator in the paddock!  They seem so blissfully unaware of the pending doom, and are happy to be side tracked with some mixed corn and bread crumbs .. if only they knew!

Today I am multi-tasking and keep getting side tracked myself ..  whilst doing some online research into my latest project, I find myself adding items in my trolley on Tesco.com, while drinking some homemade minestrone soup, with my Blackberry beeping at my side.  My middle daughter had a kerfuffle with her PIN for her bank card, so I am breaking all the rules and BBMing her the new number which the postie just delivered, the tumble dryer is whirring in the background, oh and my mobile just rang with a little update from my big girl after her mornings presentation at Uni.  I am sitting at the helm of mission control (the desk at the front door) with my essential tools, (iMac and Blackberry) feeling a bit chilly.  Earlier, I tried to move mission control, well the iMac actually, into the kitchen in front of the AGA, but unfortunately the wifi wouldn’t connect, so I put an extra jumper on, and de-camped back to the front door.  My husband should be extremely happy that an extra layer was added rather than the central heating turned on!

Anyway, in a moment I shall dispense with technology and write myself a shopping list as I have a few errands to run before school collection time.  I need to pick up the fresh salmon from the farm shop, drop yet another ASOS package back to the post office for a free return, and then collect Great Auntie Vera from the undertakers!  She sadly died last October, and was cremated, and has been waiting in what has been described as a ‘sweet jar‘ by the undertaker, for this weekend hence, so that she can be finally put to rest in the sea at Hayling Island.  She would have been 94 this Friday, and we made a plan to take her to her favorite place on her birthday, and say our last farewell.  I had this bizarre e-mail conversation with my sister yesterday; I suggested we should scatter the ashes at high tide, so Vera would be washed out to sea.  For some reason she thought low tide would be better, because she fancied a nice walk along the sandy beach!  I shall update you after the weekend and lets hope for all our sakes it isn’t too windy, as I am not too keen about the thought of poor Great Auntie Vera being inhaled and returning to Surrey with us!  And also let’s hope there is a screw top on the jar I am just about to collect .. I would so much prefer the Mint Medley option!

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So for the last two weeks I have been asking my middle daughter who is home for Easter from Uni, the same question daily … “Is there anything you would like me to wash before you go back to Uni?”.  Each day I have gazed into her bedroom and observed the” floordrobe” where all her worldly goods are strewn; in fact, one day I found Wilfred (our dog) curled up on a brown fleece Onesie.   He was so well camouflaged  I didn’t immediately notice him there!  I have been getting the same reply each day…. “no mum, I’m fine; don’t need anything washed”.  Until that is of course, just now, one hour before her scheduled departure when she asks if I can wash her hoodie!  She has been earning some drinking money by caring for several small children, and has just noticed there is baby snot/milk dribble down the shoulder!  She is so predictable … the next thing will be a message tonight when she arrives back in Oxford saying she has forgotten her laptop charger or her favorite flip flops or her essential ID!  Note to self …  run through a check list before scheduled departure!!

FLOORDROBE

Well, I just served a nice Sunday roast chicken dinner for one soon to be departing daughter and one that has just arrived back from Spain, as you do when your life is just one big vacation, plus my permanent youngest resident !  Afterwards, we combined our collective Tetris skills, and loaded up Marvin the Mini ready to return to Oxford, filling him up with clobber, home baked goodies including Banana & Blueberry Muffins, Leek & Potato Soup and Chilli con Carne, plus an Ocado shop,  leaving a bit of space for her passenger and his belongings.  All my girls have their daddy wrapped around their little fingers, so it came as no surprise, as the farewell hugs were being shared,  that she managed to extort some cash from his wallet which is supposedly to cover her petrol cost;  I am guessing it will be spent in the pub later tonight!  That is, if she can find it;  just got a phone call from the M25 saying “you know that £30 that dad just gave me ..  did you see where I put it?)!!!  I have spent the last 18 years searching for endless misplaced “it’s not my fault” items!

And so the launderette swings into action again.  As one wheely bag leaves, another arrives home full of dirty washing.  I have failed on the delegation of laundry front .. think it is the control freak in me that finds it hard to let go!

Onto my hot topic of the chooks …  we had a very unwelcome visitor in the paddock yesterday.  Mr Fox!  Spotted wandering around in search of his weekend roast, however, luckily he was intercepted and scurried off back through the hedge.  This has now made me feel very anxious for the safety of the girls.  They have roamed daily, pecking at the grass and scratching about happily for almost 4 years now, possibly on borrowed time  Watch this space…

So the Easter holidays have come to an end, the eggs have almost been eaten and  we will find out if enough revision has been done in the next few months!  Four weeks now till the Leavers Ball which will also signify the last day that any of my offspring will wear a school uniform ever again … end of an era.  Four weeks till the end of the first year of Uni for one, and the third and final year for my big girl.  All change!

P.S.  Just as I was adding tags to this blog, I heard a chicken screeching and managed to once again intercept Mr Fox .. no Sunday roast for you today young man!!!  Fingers crossed no mid-week roasts either!!

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I am running a little experiment with the title of this blog!  I am interested to find out if this little three letter word brings more followers to my site than words like “Chocolate Brownies” and “Muffins”!! …  I can check with analytics, how many people have viewed this and from which country they live.  This way I will be able to tell which country has the most curious Mrs Rabbit blog readers on a global basis!!  And now for the disappointment .. I wasn’t actually intending to write about the subject as I feel that the current generation of teenagers that I live with are probably far more knowledgeable on the subject than me, especially as much of their education came from watching Embarrassing Bodies and The Sex Education Show.    Talking of which, we saw a photo of the torso of Christian Jessen yesterday, and unanimously decided that it was a case of nice body, shame about the face!

Anyway, onto the regular domesticated issues that I usually chat about … I made the Sea Bass recipe that I mentioned last time, and have to say that my entire family loved it, so if you are looking for a little cheeky fish dish for Good Friday, this would be perfect.  Really quick to make, gorgeous flavors and also very healthy too!  Click this link for the official recipe, but I substituted the Plaice for Sea Bass …. Sea Bass with an Herb & Orange scented Crust baked on a bed of Courgettes

And on the subject of Easter, I saw a link for what I think looks like some of the most decadent Easter Eggs on the market … They are from Hotel Chocolat and are called The Original Extra Thick Easter Eggs  At £26 each they are obviously a very special purchase, but on the basis that any chocolate I have ever tasted from this shop has never disappointed, it may be  a worthy investment!

Another long weekend is heading my way .. my bunnies are home and don’t I know it.  I am struggling to keep my fridge topped up, with a constant stream of visitors.  My oldest daughter has recently discovered at the age of 21, that she can actually cook!  In a few short weeks she has progressed from Cheese on Toast to little designer brunch dishes made with eggs and as many different ingredients that she can find, filling pitta pockets, and serving with little basil garnishes.  The days of cremated fish fingers and spring rolls seem long gone now, and I am very optimistic that if and when she moves out later this year, she will be self sufficient in the kitchen!  And as for the state of the bedroom of my number two .. the word floordrobe springs to mind!  I am beyond caring about the wet towels intermingled with the clean and dirty clothes that adorn her carpet. I have mentioned the words “course work” and “exams” but am greeted with a blank, glazed expression and it would seem from the evidence presented, that she is taking a combined Hons Degree in Angry Birds with Made in Chelsea!?   Unlike my youngest who is so self motivated; cocooned in her room, her hand slowly turning arthritic with all the writing she is doing.  Revision is well underway and progressing nicely .. I am very proud of her commitment and hope that Lord Sugar will contact her again soon!

The next time I blog I will be one year older .. not quite 50 but getting incredibly close!!  I made a promise to  myself that I would climb Kilimanjaro before I reach the big Five-O, so I have specifically 364 days to achieve my goal .. watch this space …

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It’s still only March and temperatures have reached the dizzy heights of 23 degrees!  It has been hotter than the Med, and dryer than the Sahara, and I have been so busy in the garden that I haven’t had time to blog.  What with that and desperate urge to stock up on fuel, First Class Stamps and the essential Pimms!   The demand for petrol rose by 85% yesterday and gerry cans by 500% thanks to the panic that has been fueled by the government, even though the tanker drivers haven’t even confirmed they will be striking!   I keep suggesting to my middle girlie that she needs to get her car filled up as a priority if she has any hope of driving home this weekend for Easter, but oblivious to the news, and totally self absorbed, the only fuel she seems to be taking onboard is Sainsbury’s Value Vodka washed down with shots of Sambuca!  She messaged me earlier with the morning after munchies, saying that all she had left in her fridge was cheddar, Philadelphia, parmesan and goats cheese, but I figured it was a bit early in the day for a fondue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sometimes wonder if I am solar powered … I have so much more energy when the sky is blue and the sun is shining.  Even though there is more daylight, poor old Mrs Hen is still not firing on all cylinders.  I spoke to my lovely chicken man who owns Withy Cottage Garden Poultry  and he has suggested that she may have gapeworm.  I have bought some special food for her, which is laced with a chemical wormer which should hopefully treat her .. watch this space.  I have been busy digging my vegetable patch most of the week, in preparation for my big planting session.  Tomorrow I will plant my seed potatoes, and have a delve in my seed tin, and use up some of the packets that have been in there since last Summer.  Reluctant to plant too much, as the dreaded hosepipe ban starts next week, so hydration may be a bit of a challenge this year!

I was invited to a little girls lunch this week with two very dear friends of mine, both teachers, who have broken up a week before their kids, and we ate a some beautiful Herb Crusted Sea Bass. She modified the recipe from the following link Herb-crusted plaice by Richard Phillips – ITV Food.  I have just put the ingredients in my Ocado trolley and I plan to try it out on my family this weekend.  I think there will be a houseful again, as Uni and school terms have ended.  Revision for exams should be on the agenda for the next couple of weeks in preparation for those GCSE’s and the exams that allow you to move on to your second year of University.  Let’s hope year two involves a lot more work and sleep coupled with a lot less cheap alcohol and liver damage!  Oh and there is also a trip to London taking place this Sunday, to attend an interview for  Junior Apprentice for the youngest member of our family!  Looking at the very strict confidentiality agreement that we have to sign, my lips will have to be sealed if she is successful!

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I got so carried away with the kerfuffle about leaking pipes, I suddenly remembered, whilst eating a square of the Swiss chocolate I brought back for the girls, that I haven’t reported back after my girls ski trip. We went to Morzine in France, flying to Geneva, with about an hour and a quarter drive to the resort.    There were to be seven of us in total, and a friend and I travelled in disguise with the aim of surprising some members of the ski party who didn’t know we were joining them.    Our mission was to see how far we could get without being spotted, and at one point, in Terminal 1 at Heathrow, we were in the same Pret a Manger as the girls (incognito) and believe it or not we even managed to board the same aircraft, and slipped past them unnoticed down the aisle of the plane, and hid at the back!  I had a handy pashmina that doubled up as a burka which I hurriedly used at one point during the flight, and my friend had an extremely large pair of Chanel sunglasses!  We were secretly giggling behind them at passport control, and made ourselves known at the baggage belt.  Our pelvic floors were put to the test during our undercover operation, but all was good I am happy to report!

We had such a fantastic four day break …  great skiing, snow and sun, lovely food which wasn’t over priced, and a comfortable chalet;  the only thing the trip lacked was anyone who would drink Jager bombs with me!  Sadly the girls, who were all older than me, bottled out literally, so not wanting to appear like a total lush I decided to act like the grown up that I should be, and stuck to wine!  I also ignored a text that I received from the UK when I landed which said “bag yourself a ski instructor”.   Before I know it,  I will joining a book club, hosting progressive suppers, cleaning the village church and learning to play bridge (not wishing to offend many of my dear friends!)

Jager bomb

 

And so it is back to the real world of being a domestic goddess ..   muffins, flapjacks and brownies are back on the menu, the laundry is up to date and my lovely family have me back at the helm of mission control!

 

 

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Dr Rabbit on call!

Well who would have thought seven days ago, that I would have had to perform an emergency tracheotomy on poor Mrs Hen this week?  Her throat condition continued to worsen, even after me administering my medication including live greek yoghurt, garlic and apple cider vinegar.  The friendly bacteria dose didn’t seem to fix the problem, and by Saturday she wasn’t eating anything.  We managed to catch her just as she was popping off to bed at dusk, and after closer inspection, she seemed to have something stuck in her gullet.  With the help of a drinking straw, a pair of gardening gloves, and two pairs of hands, we managed to perform a little procedure which removed the blockage; it looked like a piece of masticated chewing gum!  She seems to have perked up now, and is pottering around the paddock and seems to be eating again, but still finding it tricky to swallow .. a closer inspection is required again I think, probably at her bedtime tonight!

As if one sick chicken isn’t enough, Matilda was looking poorly too and had a really nasty mucky rear end!  I decided a warm bath was in need, so I found some Stergene clothes wash which was for hand washing, and delicates; I figured she ticked both boxes!  I submerged her in a bucket of warm soapy water and cleaned her up, and left her to drip dry in the sun!  She was not a happy chicken and stood shivering until dusk, and needed assistance to go up in the nesting box that night.  She looked very bedraggled and sad, and I was convinced I would wake up to a stiff chook, but I am happy to report that after a night snuggled up with her friends for warmth, Matilda appeared in the morning, all dry and fluffed up and seems to be fine now.

So the poultry department is improving as the canine department has gone into decline.  Poor Archie is poorly, off his food and shivering;  a combination of the chickens aliments!  I have given him some doggy ibuprofen hidden in some tomato ketchup to see if I can fix him without the need for a trip to the vets.  And on the human side, my eldest has tonsillitis, which I diagnosed with a small torch and a spoon to hold down her tongue!  She has since seen a real doctor, although I have to say his advice was paracetamol and rest, which I could have prescribed, so maybe I should consider a career as a GP combined vet??

Anyway, I am now back in the kitchen, where I belong, making a Lasagne, brownies, flapjacks and generally stocking up the fridge so my family can become self sufficient whilst I nip away for a few days on a little ski trip!  The laundry basket has been emptied, carpets hoovered, beds changed and family briefing sheet composed  … let’s hope it will all be as I left it on my return!

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Time flies!

Another week has flown by in a flash.  We have gone from Arctic conditions the previous week to the mid 60′s by this weekend.. No wonder nature is confused .. my daffodils don’t know if they are coming or going, the chickens are in a kerfuffle and are having a second molt and I am now suffering withdrawal symptoms from having to move out of my thermal vest!

I have just been reminiscing looking at old photos of when all three of my girls fitted in the bath together happily.  It’s Sunday night and I am sadly watching Dancing on Ice whilst my eldest is jet setting in New York, number two is pre-lashing and clubbing in Oxford and my baby is evaluating the impact of wind farms versus global warming!  If I am wondering what is occurring in New York I can refer to Twitter for the latest updates from my daughter, Facebook provides me with instant banter and photos that tell me who and what is going down in Oxford.  And I have just received an email from my baby, with her completed Geography homework, to be printed out…. technology at its finest!  What has happened to the art of conversation?  My thumbs are the fittest now that they have ever been thanks to my Blackberry and BBM….  not the crumble variety!

Sitting on the sofa with a computer on my lap, feeling like Mission Control at my fingertips.  Fortunately my husband and I can still converse in real-time, face to face, seated in the same room, so before he watches Ben Fogul swimming with crocodiles in Australia I shall put in my order for a nice cuppa tea!

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