Thursday, 30 June 2011

Still no laptop...

...but after a happy afternoon at the Pick your Own farm (or the Pick and Mix farm, as Daughter #3 wistfully calls it) we have STRAWBERRY SOUP JAM.

OK, so you do have to be a tiny bit careful that it doesn't drip off your toast, but it tastes divine. However, the children, having seen it oozing and bubbling blackly for hours in the pan, refuse to believe this and will not be persuaded to try it. Result!

Last night was Daughter #1's High School Prom, which meant the day was given over to preparatory pampering and glamour. Felt like a very proud but utterly knackered Fairy Godmother by the time she and her friends pulled away in the hideously vulgar (but apparently de rigeur) limo. Next time will someone remind me not to have my photo taken with a radiant 16 year old who has spent 4 hours getting ready, when I haven't had time to wash my hair or put on mascara? Today am barricaded in my office and writing hard, as a distraction from the urge to loiter in front of the mirror counting wrinkles and wondering where the years went.

Friday, 17 June 2011

In Search of the Good Life

My laptop net-booky thing died. In laptop years it was probably about 247, and had admittedly had a pretty hard life, but its demise - from a hideous virus caught from some horrid instant-messenger thing downloaded by a daughter - was still a blow. I had such high hopes when I first got it... and although not all of them may have quite been realised, it's been a very faithful companion for the last 3 years.

And yet, a month on and I haven't really begun to look into replacing it. As someone who spends quite a large proportion of their energy ranting at the junior members of the household about the time they spend online and the fact that they 'chat' incessantly to cyberfriends but have a tendency to monosyllabic grunting over the dinner table, the removal of one instrument of addiction has made life a whole lot simpler. It's also forced me to confront the extent of my own internet habit. I wasn't quite at the 'grunting at the dinner table' stage, but I will own up to keeping my netbook open in a corner of the kitchen and checking emails/twitter 25 times every ten minutes, indulging in the odd happy half day hour of James D’Arcy cyberstalking hanging out in my favourite shopping haunts, only half-listening to the children and generally letting large slices of life pass me by. I do of course still have my work computer, but that's up two flights of stairs and is too serious and scary to be used for loafing.

Since the demise of the netbook I have - amongst other things - taught Daughter #3 to sew,watched an entire series of Improving Educational TV on DVD with daughters 2 and 3, not updated my blog, traipsed around the byways of Cheshire collecting elderflower heads and turned them into elderflower cordial, spent an inordinate amount of cash in real shops and had an inordinate amount of fun doing so with Daughter #1 (who is in a state of post-GCSE euphoria and pre-prom excitement), made progress on the new book, not updated my website, assisted in the completion of a 1000 piece jigsaw depicting 1970s toys, made bread, all but disappeared from twitter, cooked stuff from actual recipes involving more than five ingredients, gone to bed before 11pm, got past base camp on Laundry Mountain, been an even more erratic emailer than ever and missed my online friends.

So - to buy or not to buy? that is the question. Feel like I've inadvertently stumbled upon the sunshiny Good Life in the gap where my twilit cyber-existence used to be, but every now and again I think about the all the interesting, inspiring, stimulating stuff going on online and feel my fingers twitch in the direction of my credit card. I think I'll probably give in eventually, but I don't think I'm quite ready yet. Does anybody have a good recipe for strawberry jam?