Monday 25 February 2013

The new Button birds

As I sit here with my glass of wine, I have a warm fuzzy feeling at the thought of our new young sprightly hens all tucked up in their coup.

Scrubbed floors and perch, fresh wood shavings, cosy nesting boxes and the most nutritious hen food that money can buy awaited our four new additions to the Button family today.

I must admit, I didn't get on well with our last lot of chickens. They had an evil glint in their eyes, and seemed to have it in for me from day one. And I couldn't bear to be within ten metres of them. 

Now suddenly our new batch can do no wrong in my eyes. And I see myself as the 'mother hen', or perhaps 'broody hen'. 

We each have our own hen, which we chose from the 'chicken shop'. We told the girls they could choose whichever hen they liked. But interestingly they both opted for the bog standard, considerably cheaper, Warrens. I think they felt a huge sense of loyalty to our last lot of chickens who were also Warrens, and whom they loved very much. 

However Tom and I were like kids in a sweet shop, and there was no way we were going for boring Warrens. 

I chose a beautiful silver Suffolk whom I have named Snowdrop. A pretty name for a fine bird. And Tom has named his hen, also a Suffolk, Ethel (a name we considered for Dolly). 

Betty has named her chicken 'Pecky Becky', and Dolly has named hers 'Super Chicken to the Rescue', or 'Super Chicken' for short. 

And while the Warrens were pretty cheap, the Suffolks were bloody expensive. Our proper country friends would be appalled if they ever found out how much we had spent. They are more for getting their poultry for 25p a piece, and bidding in incomprehensible loud animated speak at the local farmers market - an experience that absolutely terrified me the one and only time I went along to try and buy a duck. 

Anyway I do hope that the four little ladies are getting on well, during their first night together, and that they aren't too cold or frightened in their new surroundings...

Saturday 9 February 2013

Princess Sodor Island and the royal family

Dolly casting a spell
On Fridays, Tom looks after Dolly and I get to work uninterrupted.  At lunchtime we always go to the 'slidey bench cafe' which is a cafe at a renovated mill (which has slidey benches).

Yesterday we were all on our way to the cafe and Dolly had decided that we were all members of a royal family. I was 'Queen', Tom was 'Prince' and Dolly was 'Princess Sodor Island'.

We walked along the pavement to the cafe with Princess Sodor Island sporting her pink fairy princess dress, her woolly tights, her clip-cloppy sparkly shoes, and her battery powered talking wand.  But despite icy winds, she refused to put her coat on, informing me: "Princesses definitely don't ever wear coats, Queen."  I charged on ahead while Prince and Princess clopped along slowly in the cold drizzle.

At the cafe, it turned out that Dolly's mission was to turn everyone into frogs.  She started with a lady sitting alone and quietly reading her book.  She waved the electronic wand in the lady's face and shouted "Ha ha, I have turned you into a frog, Mrs Frog!"  Mrs Frog studiously ignored Princess Sodor Island.  She then turned her attention, and her wand, to the mill's tour guide, who offered an embarrassed 'ribbit' while Dolly stared at him.

I tried to get Dolly to sit next to us and behave herself while Tom and I had a conversation about our weekend plans. After about three seconds of this, Princess Sodor Island butted in angrily: "Queens do not talk. They are just supposed to sit there and eat chocolate," before zapping me with her wand.

This kind of thing continued throughout lunch, with the princess haranguing the waitresses and customers as well as me and Tom, but looking far too cute for anyone to muster any cross words (although I suspect Mrs Frog was close to storming out).

At home she casually changed back to her usual clothes and told me off for calling her Princess Sodor Island - the game was evidently over.   I left Tom attempting to follow Dolly's incredibly complicated-sounding instructions to a game of shopkeepers and returned to the office, where I saw the pink fairy princess dress and clip-cloppy shoes in a little heap on the floor next to my chair.

Thursday 7 February 2013

Tom's homemade soups: the bane of my life

Before I go into a rant, I should point out that Tom is an amazing cook, and creates all sorts of wonderful, mainly mince-based, delights.

But unfortunately, he does have a bit of a soup-making fetish. And when I hear the words: “I think I’ll just go and make a nice soup” my heart sinks. 

These are the reasons why: 
  • His concoctions usually involve using anything and EVERYTHING he finds in the fridge – normally vital ingredients I have ear-marked for other meals. Nothing is safe.
  • He somehow manages to leave splat soup-matter (from where he has used the hand-held blender) over every single wall, surface, and floor, but is adamant that the splats don’t exist, and that it’s all in my head. 
  • Large vessels of soups then take up all the space in the fridge, leaving no room for anything else. (Although at this point there isn’t anything else because it is now all in the soups). 
  • Our children don’t even like soup, so this means I make daily trips to the shops to replenish stocks so that I am able to make them a non-soup meal. 
  • I am often not able to stomach his ‘creative’ combinations. 
  • Tom and I disagree on what the consistency of a soup should be. He likes very watery, and I like a consistency not that dissimilar to that of baby purees. 
  • So sadly, I don’t like his soups either. 
  • Even he admits that sometimes his soups taste pretty foul. 
  • Still doesn’t stop him though. 
Having said all this, he does make a pretty mean mushroom soup (I had to add this in, to save his feelings).