We had two wonderful family filled weekends recently:
Joth’s parents came down for the first weekend and we had such a lovely relaxed time. Sita and I nipped off for a lovely shop in Totnes on the Friday when they had arrived. The boys came with us and happily wandered around and Dante and Anton were busy, eating Spelt biscuits in the buggy. I so enjoyed a bit of female company for shopping and Sita bought me a lovely wicker bag that I have been craving, the weather was warm and the kids had a play in the play area before we went home so everyone was happy and Sita had bought a fish pie with her for us to go home to.
On the Saturday we had a nice lazy start with the kids having a pyjama morning while Brian fitted some outdoor lights for us.
The lodger mucked in as usual. I’m pleased that I’m feeling far less uptight about having lodgers than I used to be. I even find myself feeling that there are some sides to it that are good for me and good for our family. It often disperses any family niggles as we have to behave, the boys are better at pulling their weight with setting the table and clearing up when the lodgers are around, and it’s good practise for the boys to be more polite. I also think generally that there is a lot to be said for not having life the way you want it all the time. Not being too precious about everything can be a very good thing.
The amount that we are paid for having lodgers also makes me see our money in a new way. We get £115 a week for each lodger, which is £14.50 a night and we have to give them breakfast and an evening meal out of that. There’s not enough left over I reckon. Food is so expensive now. We will have Sam for 8 weeks and Anatoly (the Russian) for 8 weeks overlapping which is £1840. When we have 2 lodgers we sleep in two rooms (Joth and I with the little ones and the boys in bunks as they usually are – Oscar is looking rather big for his bunk bed these days. He can’t sit up!) Joth has to work in the outhouse (which is set to get colder) and cooking for 2 more adults is quite a lot more work aswell as more costly. So, I find myself thinking about money in terms of how many weeks of lodger it costs us. Also, if I spent £5 less each day that would add up to £1800 a year (or 16 weeks worth of lodgers). Surely I can find more ways to spend less.
Anyway, Lucas and the little ones came with Sita and I to the Cider Press in the afternoon and we had a nice wander round. Sita bought Anton and Lucas a Christmas decoration each and they spent ages choosing. Anton was very clear that he wanted a little bell! Lucas loves the ritual of choosing as much as the item itself.
Ron and Sheila came over for a celebration in the evening. We toasted Brian and Anton as their birthdays were close and had a baked alaska for fun.
Sita had managed to find one of the special candles which Anton had been wanting (having seen it on my friend Emma’s cake) which worked beautifully on top.
The meal was an easy one with chicken rolled with pesto and wrapped in bacon, roast potatoes and sugar snaps. I’m so relieved that although I’m not getting much better at cooking I am better at not getting in a flap about cooking for large numbers. I did find a few extra bits of forgotten chicken in the oven later though which would have been useful! I really enjoyed seeing Ron and Sheila. I find them so relaxed and generous. The little ones were on good form and it all worked out fine.
Ron (a sculptor) and Lucas even managed to share a bit of Fimo clay modelling!
On the Sunday the boys had archery and the lodger likes going too. Brian, Sita and Joth dropped them off and took the little ones to Riverford shop and then to Staverton. They all came back for lunch before leaving for Hemel. I was a very special weekend. We had so many lovely chats and lots of gentle chaos that is the way with so many people in the house! I love the way the house comes alive with family. It felt very right having Brian and Sita with us again. We all loved it.
And even after they left we were still enjoying the results of their visit as we had lots of lovely things to eat still. I was also very proud of myself for finding a great recipe to use up our left over croissants, 6 eggs yolks (after the baked alaska) and lots of cream – this fabulous croissant bread and butter pudding. It was absolutely delicious!!
And yes, that was the one we made! Perfection!
The next weekend Dave arrived with Charlie. Charlie was so excited to be here that he wouldn’t go to bed until 12 but was still up ready to play early the next morning! He and Dante took so much more notice of each other than last time and even gave toys to each other and gave the odd affectionate stroke! C also seemed to be quite taken with Anton. It’s funny to think that Anton will be the cool older cousin.
The weather had definitely suddenly got colder but we still took the kids out to the pirate ship for a quick play in the afternoon before coming back for Tacos.
We tried to give Dante and Charlie a bath together but Dante hadn’t read the script and refused to cooperate. Bedtime went more smoothly though so we had chance to watch “Life of Brian” with the older ones which they absolutely loved and had a card game of “Pit”.
The next day we had a brunch and then got packed up to go to the Dart Valley Park for the day while they are doing their £5 for a car full offer. The sun came out for us and everyone had a great time. I cannot believe it but the older ones went in the lake again at the end of October! They weren’t the only ones either!
Dave and I said afterwards that it had been one of our best weekends for chatting. I always feel better for seeing my brother – I love you Dave!