I Was Swallowed By A Hippo

Castle life, Aga strife, slummy mummy, average wife

Egg-citing Developments

20130822-082851.jpgHannah’s gone. She was the estate ranger and was with us for two years, barring a winter trip to Mexico where she fell in love with an Austrian tatoo artist in Guatemala. Now she’s off to sunnier climes to follow her heart but she will always have a home at Torrisdale and will be missed so much. She had a huge impact on the wee community here and really brought people together which will hopefully continue in her absence. It was an emotional send off and the place feels very empty. We are now down to Pete and the two WWOOFs but they leave on Friday. It sort of feels like the place is emptying out for winter.
There are some new additions to the family, however. We have adopted Hannah’s 4 chickens which is hugely exciting. I’ve never owned livestock before and the thrill of collecting eggs is immeasurable. With my tubs of lettuce, spinach and rocket and free eggs on tap, I’ll never have to visit Evil Tesco again. And I’ll be waif-like*.

So I’m in a bit of a slump without Hannah, my swimming and wine (not together) and bad Aussie accent buddy but fortunately a Very Exciting Event is occurring next weekend which will bring joy and happiness back to my life. I almost can’t believe it’s happening but my wee sister and baby niece are visiting from New York!! AND my big sis is driving them down AND my mum and dad are coming too. It’ll be like a Roberts bomb exploding. I can’t wait. And Niall is beside himself with excitement. I think he was only joking about booking a flight out to “anywhere that’s not here”**.

*it’s never going to happen

**FYI you can only fly to Glasgow

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I am BESIDE MYSELF with excitement! I have completed not one but TWO projects in the past week. This is unprecedented for me. I am not a completer-finisher, more a do-half-a-job-then-give-up-er but I have excelled myself this week. I started a crocheted cushion for India’s room way back when but typically got bored of it and pushed it aside with barely 4″ left to go. However, thanks to a genius friend and her inspired online Crochet Camp*, I picked it up again and got it all sewn up in record time.

The second project took a mere 2 days from start to finish and I reckon with a bit more focus and less facebooking whilst watching really BAD movies, I could knock one up in a night. It’s a cushion cover made from an old travel rug stiched together with blanket stitch. Easy peasy and there’s a mountain of old blankets here crying out to be upcycled. 20130818-210748.jpgI’m already imagining a cushion cover empire which comfortably funds the leaky roof and a nanny for each child. Back in the real world however, I predict enthusiasm will become boredom which will lead quickly to resentment and I’ll be surrounded by half finished,hacked up old blankets whose hopes of a new life have been cruelly dashed by my apathy. My husband calls me half-a-job-Roberts (not really that affectionately TBH) and my wee sister is quick to remind me that I haven’t even completed a third trimester (first baby was prem, second was very prompt). I’m nothing if not consistent.

*Crochet Camp is a Facebook group set up by Kat
to teach beginners and support more experienced hookers (yes, yes, get over it). It was meant to be temporary but myself and the 1,135 other members are going to keep it going as it is a wonderful place to show off projects, plea for help and get fabulous ideas. I’m sure this is what Tim Berners Lee wanted to the Internet to be. It’s the antithesis to all the ghastly trolling and hideous threats that seem to be common place now. Hang out in Crochet Camp and feel the love!

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The end of summer

20130812-083536.jpgHow quickly things change. I’ve gone from shorts and flip flops to wellies and a gillet* in just a few days. There is a definite nip in the air and the trees clinging on to their leaves but only just. The sea is slightly less inviting although I braved a dip at the weekend with a visiting cousin and it was devine. Not for much longer though. Autumn is upon us and I’m secretly delighted. I’ve always been a fan. I love the smells and the colours and the freshness and cosying in and extra layers and even the shortening days. I don’t doubt I’ll be pissed off with the relentless wind and rain and mud and cabin fever but hopefully I’ve banked enough sunny memories to see me through til Christmas.

Other changes are afoot too. Zoe starts nursery on Thursday which for some reason feels like a massive deal, even though she was going to nursery 3 full days a week in the olden days when I was working. Maybe because it’s at the school and she’ll wear a sort of uniform. It all seems very grown up. 60% (3 kids!!!) of her class go to playgroup twice a week with her so hopefully it won’t be too scary and new. It begs the question though, what on EARTH will I do with the other one for 2.5 hours a day? Who will she fight play with? I’d really love a promotion from Laundry Assistant to Marketing and Communications Director** but I don’t think that’s possible even with just one wee chap running about, seeking danger. I can’t help but wonder, how DO people work from home when they have kids? Oh, wait, I’ll ask Niall…ah, apparently it’s hellishly stressful and nigh on impossible. He really needs an office that isn’t in the dining room. This castle is just too damn small***.

*it was my token ‘rural’ purchase. I thought I’d look the part, mincing about the castle grounds in it. I was wrong. The online photo cleverly played down the lurid orange colour. I look like a survivor from The Posidon Adventure.
**I don’t know what that is but it sounds good
***That is a joke FYI


Getting Involved

20130805-082538.jpgWeekends are pretty hectic at Torrisdale. Saturday is usually change-over day for the holiday cottages and a minute after kick-out time (10am) an army of over-60s, headed by my MiL, descend on the houses to remove all trace of the previous occupants. It’s like Kim and Aggie meets Dad’s Army Wives meets CSI. I am not yet involved in the cleaning but I like to think I’m doing my bit with the laundry. The NASA style washing machine and dryer are housed in our bathroom so it’s a case of chipping away at the gargantuan mound of washing piled up outside until all that’s left is the gargantuan pile of family laundry. Very occasionally I catch myself thinking, Lady Mary (Downton) would never have to do THIS*. And then I remember we’re not living in a ropey early 20th century period-pain drama. Phew.

Another task I’m enjoying is the meeting and greeting of guests. I do love a chat with a total stranger** and have met some really lovely people. We get a lot of repeat bookings so faces become very familiar. It’s wonderful to see people falling in love with the place. I do need to up my game on the history though. I’ve found myself making up nonsense when asked, perfectly reasonably, who built it and lived in it in The Olden Days. I think I should probably stop spewing forth a thinly disguised Downton Abbey plot. Apart from anything else, it just sounds so implausible…

*Another random thought I have frequently occurs when trying to change an explosive nappy on a wriggling toddler. I can’t help but wonder, does Victoia Beckham ever get poo on her hands and then forget to wash before preparing dinner and then remembers halfway through her mince and tatties….
**I can’t pretend anymore. I’m turning into my mother.

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