• Robyn

SUPER BUSY WEEKEND

Updated: Jun 21, 2018

Lots of being sociable and community spirited.


Saturday was the street party - we've had one each summer for the last four years. It was initially inspired by the Eden project's Big Lunch idea to help bring communities together, but it does seem to have become a proper street thing now.


It's actually a pretty sociable street - there's a monthly book group, Film night, French cafe, a curry night and various other things like carol singing at Christmas and last year an apple press in the autumn - but most importantly - Play Street once a month where we close the road and let the kids run up and down on their bikes and scooters and chalk all over the place whilst the adults share cake, gossip and drink tea. I know more of my neighbours here than I have anywhere else which is pretty cool.


Offerings for the sharing table - spinach and feta pie and mini scones. The pie is really easy to make, I used an edited version of the recipe on Helen Graves' food stories site - it was going to be edited anyway as her's had ricotta in which I'm not an enormous fan of, but as the recipe has now vanished, I had to wing the rest of it from memory. Her obsession with feta and spinach is undiminished though, as evidenced by the borek which may get tried at some point. http://www.helengraves.co.uk/spinach-and-cheese-borek-recipe/ Helen is my sort of sister in law, she's been with my brother for ages, but as they decline to live in the last century there's no actual in law about it. It's definitely an area modern parlance is lacking in, girlfriend makes it seem like they're both kids and not in a proper relationship, but partner makes it seem like they're solicitors. Oh well.

The filo pie is so speedy quick as there is zero faffing with pastry aside from laying out the layers and painting it all with butter.


I normally make pastry myself, but I'm fairly certain that only insane people make filo at home. I use this one - a few years ago it was news that the delightful folk at jusrol were taking the position that the palm oil market would eventually regulate itself so they could buy from wherever. A quick search to check my facts gives some clues that they now work with the RSPO, but there is nothing at all on their website - if they're confident in their sources why not list them? Filo or at least this filo doesn't contain anything horrid.


To make the pie: send daughter and husband to swimming, delight in the fact that your son has reached the critical milestone of being fixated by the television and put Super Simple Songs on for him to gaze at, chop and sweat a red onion and some garlic before putting in a giant bag of spinach to cook down (two normal sized bags are also fine) then squeeze as much liquid as humanly possible out - both a colander and kitchen roll are useful.


Sally was in her element at the festival, bouncy castle slide, merry go round and face-painting - how could she not be. We also caught the end of the Mayor's speech about the importance of community and looking after each other, something which feels particularly poignant in the light of the heartbreaking scenes in America at the moment. The gun violence that plagues the schools and the populace seems quite different somehow - that is perpetuated by the administration's refusal to do anything, this on the other hand is a deliberate and calculated act of human cruelty. Kids should not be in cages, they should be with their parents. It is basic. I can't bring myself to watch the videos of the children crying and calling out for their mums, just the idea of it makes me feel sick. Trump refusing to even acknowledge that it is his doing is perhaps his most mind-blowing act since he managed to get to the White House in the first place. It is the other side of the Atlantic, but there are still petitions to sign and people doing the right thing to support. It made watching my children run around free and happy, loved and safe, that little bit more important this weekend, and a lot more bittersweet.


Once in the oven, retrieve the son and play with him for a bit before running off again to make scones. Bite sized ones are excellent for such occasions.


I love my little cake stand - one of my best friends from school gave it to me as a house warming present when she visited from Hong Kong - accompanied by a pot of strawberry jam made by Ed's mum and some clotted cream and they vanished rather quickly!


Once the baking was all done we all went out on the street - we all brought out tables to eat together, Ed manned our BBQ and cooked food for lots of people. The father of one of the girls' in Sally's nursery class is a fireman and there was much excitement when he arrived with his crew to sample all the cooking and let everyone play with the fire hose. Sally jumped up in the cab with me, manned the

hose and then joined the other kids running in and out of the water. She ended up soaked and shaking cold and had to be taken inside for a hot shower and clean clothes before she adventured back out to chalk all over the street. For this she teamed up with boy from across the road who is already in primary school, but she giggled away and then announced that she wanted to play at his house the moment it was time to come in. I'm not sure how her Daddy would feel about this!


It was a lovely day to spend with the community - lots of effort went into putting it together, but I think it is definitely worth it. I used to feel quite anxious about going out to play street and who I would have to talk to for an hour or two, but all these events bring everyone together and now when we take the children to nursery in the morning we can say hello to everyone we pass.


The weekend was not done - Sunday after I got back from riding Ed got started tearing up the old patio at the bottom of the garden under the tree that is no longer there in preparation for the arrival of his garden office in a few weeks, and I took the kids over to the park for the East Reading Festival.


Do we think Pip might take after his Daddy in his love of power tools? (note: this was NOT plugged in)


Sally was in her element at the festival, bouncy castle slide, merry go round and face-painting - how could she not be. We also caught the end of the Mayor's speech about the importance of community and looking after each other, something which feels particularly poignant in the light of the heartbreaking scenes in America at the moment. The gun violence that plagues the schools and the populace seems quite different somehow - that is perpetuated by the administration's refusal to do anything, this on the other hand is a deliberate and calculated act of human cruelty. Kids should not be in cages, they should be with their parents. It is basic. I can't bring myself to watch the videos of the children crying and calling out for their mums, just the idea of it makes me feel sick. Trump refusing to even acknowledge that it is his doing is perhaps his most mindblowing act since he managed to get to the White House in the first place. It is the other side of the Atlantic, but there are still petitions to sign and people doing the right thing to support. It made watching my children run around free and happy, loved and safe, that little bit more important this weekend, and a lot more bittersweet.



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