Saturday, March 29, 2008

And it’s the Weekend Again?!

Seriously, time is just flying by for the 21st Century Household! We had a really busy week with Alex’s performances in the orchestra for Bugsy Malone at school. He missed the auditions for the show due to us being in Canada when Dad died, but they asked him to play in the orchestra instead. It was a real eye opener for Alex and has gotten him bitten by the acting bug again. Although he loves playing his trumpet, he said he really missed being one of the actors. I’m secretly pleased, although I love hearing him play the trumpet and am amazed by how talented he has become at an instrument I did not even realise he was interested in when he started playing at age 7. We went to an information evening at his school about music lessons and he asked about trumpet – and we went home with one! Ever since then it has been his favourite instrument, second to piano and guitar. I just bought Alex a new trumpet and he is loving playing with a more advanced instrument. I had been putting the purchase off, but now I wish I had bought Alex a new trumpet ages ago.

Guy was in Madrid for the day on Wednesday, which sounds exotic, but he was so busy he could have been anywhere. Actually I would have loved to have tagged along, but it was just too busy a week and too short a visit.

Last night we went to see Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Despite my protestations to the contrary in my 26th March entry, I think I was secretly hoping for a happier ending than there is. I did not enjoy the story at all. I think it was that much of it dealt with death and, particularly the scene in the graveyard with the song “Wishing you were somehow here again” which Christine sings to her father’s grave, was just too close to the bone for me at the moment. I struggled not to actually sob out loud, and walked out of the theatre looking like an advertisement for why you should wear waterproof mascara. Having said that, the music, the performers, the costumes, everything is just incredible. It is one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen and I just have to recommend it.

Luckily we had gone for a quick bite to eat before the show (so hardly anyone saw my racoon eyes!). We ate at a lovely little Tuscan restaurant just beside the theatre in The Haymarket called Galileo's Locanda Toscan Restaurant. We had been there before, when Alex performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre last August. It is very simple and the food is delicious. We all love their Scaloppini Milanese, veal escallops breaded, fried and served with roast potatoes and vegetables.

It was a lovely evening, and I am so glad to have finally seen Phantom after having heard so much about it. It is an absolute triumph of a musical – shame it isn’t more cheerful, but then the story of the Phantom of the Opera never was a happy one!

Today we are off to spend the weekend with our friends in Buckinghamshire. They used to live just down the road from us and we really miss them. Tomorrow we are going to see their new home, which they are building in the countryside, for the first time. It is nearly finished but this will be the first we have been able to get there to see it. We’ve watched it go up in pictures, and I cannot wait to see the real thing!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Where did the weekend go?

Well, I do not know where the time has gone! We had a fantastic Easter Sunday at our friends in Dorset. It was so nice to see them and catch up with all the news. We even made it to the sea side at Lyme Regis which was great fun.

Driving to Dorset was quite something as we seemed to drive through all the seasons of the year in just a couple hours’ drive. From rain when we left Reading, to a proper snowstorm in Hampshire (like a Canadian one, it was quite something!) to brilliant sunshine in Dorset, every time we turned the corner it was something different!

Monday we spent doing jobs at home, and really managed to shift quite a few boxes from the study which was very satisfying. We even managed to put up some pictures, which has made the place look even more like home. We also managed a walk up to the dell where Mom and Dad’s ashes are. Despite raining almost the whole walk up there, when we got to the dell the sun was shining through the trees and the rain was glinting on the bluebells – which are mostly still green leaves – but there were a couple out, a delicious promise of the carpet of beauty to come.

Yesterday I had a super visit with my friend Alice in Burton on Trent. We had lunch at the Wyevale Garden Centre in Findern and took the opportunity to have a good chat and a catch up. Alice also helped me choose some lovely plants for my garden. Alice is fantastic to talk to and so honest and practical it is a delight. She suggested that I seem to still be terribly upset about Mom and Dad and suggested that perhaps talking to a bereavement counsellor might be a good idea. I think I will take her advice as I still can’t seem to get over their deaths at all, and I have nightmares nearly every night.

Today has been pretty domestic. I got the last of my curtains from Peppermint Interiors. They are really beautiful and I’m very pleased with them. I also had my blinds from Laura Ashley installed in the kitchen. They look amazing, along with the curtains which I already had. There are three huge windows in the kitchen so it was a challenge curtaining them effectively, but I am really pleased with it. I am very happy with the fitter that Laura Ashley recommended and thankfully he also makes curtains! So I spent some time choosing a gorgeous fabric for the dining room curtains, plus fabric for blinds for the cloakroom and the two big windows in the hall and landing. He recommended some amazing fabrics and I’m really excited about them. In fact, if all goes well, I should have the whole house curtained within the next four weeks! Finally!!

Tonight and tomorrow Alex is playing in the orchestra for his school’s production of Bugsy Malone. Guy and I are attending the performance tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it. Then on Friday we are going to see Phantom of the Opera in London. Alex performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre last summer so has seen all the backstage paraphernalia for the show and is excited to see it first hand, as I’m I. He has warned me it is “not a happy story” but I don’t care. Although I normally insist on being assured of a happy ending before I’ll go to see something, I can make an exception just this once!

Good Friday

It was a really lovely day today. We went to visit Guy’s parents, taking the train instead of driving, so Alex could have a dry run for his trip sans parents when we go to Paris sans enfant!

It was a bit of a dodgy start, in that the tube from Paddington station was closed and we had hoped that Alex could try out the journey from there to Victoria. However we were able to show Alex how to get a cab from Paddington to Victoria just in case the same thing happens again. Despite the hiccup, we were at Guy’s parents within an hour and a half of leaving home which was fantastic.

Guy’s Mum made a super lunch – her fantastic shepherd’s pie which is, quite simply, the best shepherd’s pie in the world – and Pavlova – another one of her specialities. We spent the afternoon eating chocolate eggs and playing Monopoly. It was really good fun. We left for home after a delicious tea – including cucumber sandwiches and cakes. This time the tube was up and running so Alex got to have a complete dry run which was a great relief to me.

A really lovely day was had by all.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm Back

An awful lot of things have happened since August - five bereavement and a major house move just to name a few - so I have not kept this blog updated. Although the blog on my website is fully up to date if you want to catch up on everything that has happened to the 21st Century Housewife and her family. You may want to make a cup of tea as reading it could take some time!!

So here is a copy of today's blog entry from the website, and I will try to be more disciplined about updating this one in the future!!

I’m being entertained this Easter weekend. Tomorrow we are going to Guy’s mum’s for lunch, and on Easter Sunday we are visiting with my friend Lel and her family. So I don’t really have to worry about catering for anyone except the three of us – and the odd friend of Alex’s who pops in. So my shopping list was not huge, but I decided I had better get whatever I need today as the shops will be so busy over the weekend. Well, I was not wrong. Waitrose, where I get most of my groceries, was absolutely heaving with people pushing shopping trollies that are so full you could not get much more in if you tried. Bearing in mind they (and most other grocery stores in England) are open tomorrow, Saturday and Monday I cannot understand the panic, but clearly I’m missing something. I know a lot of people are entertaining family and friends, but seriously, how big are their families…and how hungry are they? One lady actually had two trollies – she was pushing one and pulling the other. The mind boggles.

Anyway, I managed to get my shopping – although I forgot tissues again which is a slight problem as we all seem to have runny noses due to our colds. On the way in, they had some gorgeous floral displays (possibly it was these that made me forget tissues?) and I decided it would be nice to treat myself. One of the bouquets they had was Easter lilies with gladioli and pussy willows. I have never bought Easter lilies for myself before but this year, it seemed a very good idea.

You see, every year my Dad bought my Mom a pot of Easter lilies just before Easter. There is a black and white photo of me when I was about two, smelling one of them, looking like a little angel (which sadly I was not!) with gorgeous blond curls. I subsequently trimmed my own hair with blunt ended scissors and that, unfortunately, was the end of the curls. There is another taken one Easter Sunday about four years later – me the little girl wearing gloves and a tam – standing in our garden beside the picnic table on which was sitting a pot of Easter lilies. I remember we had just come back from church. As I got older there were always lilies, and one year when Dad was here for Easter he bought them for me. Even last year, when Dad was so ill and everything was an effort, there were Easter lilies in the apartment when we arrived for Easter. So I decided that this year there will still be lilies, even if Dad can’t be the one to buy them. They look gorgeous and they made me feel better.

I’ve got some fabulous eggs this year from Hotel Chocolat . They are just incredible, filled with amazing multicoloured chocolate eggs, or tiny little chickens, ducks and smiley faces all made of chocolate. We are lucky enough to have one of their shops at the Oracle in Reading so I was able to pick and choose there, but there is even more to choose from on their website. Just looking at the site is enough to make your mouth water. I’ve got my eye on the Rocky Road to Caramellow, but as their four o’clock deadline for mail order has passed, I’m not sure that I’m going to get one! It’s probably just as well. I’m sure my personal trainer would not approve!