SOMETIMES THE ANSWER
is Madelines in the garden
Thursday was a pretty hectic day. I took Sally up to the university to take part in a psychology trial called Watch them Grow - it's about looking at how children cope with starting school. It was really interesting - loads of different tests, some on the ipad, some watching her play (including how she coped when a random stranger in a paper boiler suit turned up) and even a bit with an ECG (Electroencephalography) hat on. I was completely expecting her to refuse to put it on, but she was absolutely fine and happily watched Bob the Builder whilst they fiddled with it and then sat as still as a button for the focusing test. Pip sat less still throughout this whole palaver, but he was pretty good too. It was mostly a morning of my children being pretty excellent - Sally did have a few funny moments and we didn't complete the last test because it was 12.30, we'd been there for two and a half hours and the poor wee poppet was hungry and knackered. A lot of it seemed very sensibly geared to small people, however, the two and a half hours seemed a little on the ambitious side!
We finally escaped the psychology building at about 12.45, £35 richer and now in possession of a new water bottle, story book and a hilarious photo of Sally in the ECG cap (which I am too nice to put here). I had decided that being a nice day we would walk to the university - the half an hour I had budgeted for this was exactly the length of time it took me to walk most of it at full speed pushing the pram with Sally riding on the piggyback board. I thought the clever part of this plan was going to be when we got to gambol back the pretty way by the lake and look at the ducks and be happy in the sunshine. Except it was gone lunchtime and we were supposed to be meeting a friend at the park at one. I got to speed walk back again, yay for my exercise.
Lunch was not excellent, but we got back out to the park to meet our Thursday chums. By this point I already felt like I was running round like a mad person - nothing especially dramatic, just the endless chasing around after drinks and nappies and sunhats... 'Shell asked me to bring a spare to the park, this I remembered - Pip's shoes on the otherhand? Nope. But the park has a big sandpit so he was fine. The park was actually reasonably chilled, me and 'Shell (Sally's name for her) chatted and the kids ran around. She is my mummy friend that adds a weekly dose of sanity to my life, we manage to catch up most Thursdays and I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do now she has announced that she's moving to Sussex in three months.
We literally got as far as the doorstop before I remembered I needed to vote. It's not far to the primary school, but it was another wee trek with the pram and then back with an exhausted Sally and Pip trying to fall asleep. Pip got thrown into to bed almost the moment we got home and Sally changed into a vest and skirt, complained she was cold and then climbed into a bed. Being an endlessly creative mother, I handed her my ipad and set her off on cbeebies.
The Madelines? 'Shell made a comment about my running about cooking and baking and all sorts in the park and I said - I haven't baked in ages. With the house quiet, I didn't quite want to stop, and I wanted something nice to eat. I'd been super well behaved in the shops and thus the only answer to my sweet tooth was to make something. The Madelines recipe I use is from Ruby Tandoh's Crumb book - in truth its really the only recipe I've made from it - but I have made it a number of times!
They're really quick to make, very tasty and justify the existence of my madeline pan!
The Madelienes in the garden were excellent. Peace ruled for a few minutes in the house and I got to sit in the cool of the garden amongst the spring blossoms. I had a little wander and took a few pictures as its all so pretty at the moment. One of the trees, a Swedish Birch, is coming down in a couple of weeks to make space for Ed's garden office to go in. It is a lovely tree, but it's probably a bit tall to be safe and it rains sap in summer. It's in corner of the garden that gets the last bit of sun in the evening, but when you sit there you can feel the sap spitting against your skin and thousands of greenflies clambering up the hanging fronds which rather ruins the book and glass of wine you're endeavouring to enjoy.
How pretty is the apple blossom? It is actually a little thin this year, but I think it's the off year for our tree, which isn't really a bad thing as I never know quite what to do with the hundreds of apples. Last year someone on the street organised an apple press to come and we all broughts apples to make juice together. It was quite comically delightful!
Loads of lovely lilac - and I love the lilac and ceanothus together. And if my friend Jesse is reading, this is the ceanothus I bought with you for about £3.50 as a ropey end of season plant with you one day. It took a couple of years to get its toes down into good soil and now it's enormous!
And this is the condemned tree. Poor pretty birch - but we will plant something else to take its place and I expect Ed will try and make some furniture.