My week … the one with the pumpkin carvings

Its been a funny old week, one in which I have felt a bit disorientated and out of sorts. Its an extra week’s holiday for me, but there’s a lot going on in the background and its not been as restful and relaxing as I would have hoped for. I think its the Covid uncertainty all around us and this week I’ve been trying to fit in extra things just in case there is a further lockdown, I’ve organised and attended appointments and done some present buying (I’ve a few family birthdays and a big birthday for a friend before Christmas.) We Mr S is doing more decorating and this week its our bedroom. This means I’m on a camp bed at present and the upstairs hallway is full of our bedroom furniture, I find it really unsettling and am craving order and neatness!

For someone who isn’t a huge fan of driving, it makes me feel nauseous, I’ve done loads of miles this week, nearly 400. Whilst half of these were in the one day to see my parents ( Each way is 100 miles, 80 miles of windy, rural roads and then v exciting, 20 miles of fast, straight motorway) the other miles were simply completing all my jobs and school pick ups. It was so good to see my parents, its the first time I’ve been to their house since lockdown and Little Miss and I spent a relaxing day with a top lunch cooked by Dad.

One of my numerous appointments was an x-ray at the big hospital and I was disappointed at the Covid precautions. A couple of weeks ago, I attended a clinic at a different venue which was highly secure, the consultant in scrubs, mask, health questionnaire done, temperature taken etc.. This time, I walked through the hospital with a questionable one way system, no health checks, staff with masks only and it just felt wrong. In the past few weeks, Covid cases have risen and both of my children’s schools have had children sent home to self isolate. I am amazed that we got through a half term with no self isolation cases among our household, although I do think its inevitable and we are ready and prepared.

This is a long preamble this week, but here’s some of this week’s highlights …

  1. We decorated our bedroom.

Well, we’re still in the midst of this but it should be finished tomorrow. This was the most contentious redecoration so far on our little project list. We’ve been doing so much decorating because we hadn’t done any ongoing work for the past 18 months, as we weren’t sure whether we would have to move to be nearer our son’s new school. Fortunately because he’s at the closest special school, we don’t need to move and can now tick off those home projects. Coupled with Mr S retirement (I still can’t believe he’s retired at 54) we’ve been making big progress on our list in the last month or so. The big argument on this project was not the wall colour, its called heartwood and is a lovely heather / mauve colour but the bedside table lamps. You would not believe the time spent on this decision, too cheap, too light, too dark, doesn’t complement the wall colour, not in stock. Considering in the last month, we’ve chosen wall colours for 3 rooms, picked a new carpet and sofa with ease, the table lamps were a long and tense negotiation!

2. We carved our pumpkins.

Normally, I would have done the pumpkins a little later than today which is October 25th. However with horrible weather forecast for the whole day and other activities more difficult with upstairs being out of bounds, it seemed like an ideal opportunity to do the pumpkins. Both children have been looking forward to carving pumpkins, its something we do every year and they had been thinking and even sketching designs. I was so impressed how independent they were, Little Miss is creative and at an age where she can do it without help or supervision but Little Man was equally determined to do his on his own. I helped him scoop out some of the seeds but the rest is all his own work. He was determined that his pumpkin was going to be wearing his army helmet and the design was based around this. At her farm session yesterday, Little Miss picked her own pumpkin, its not only big but a beautiful specimen and looks lovely. With the addition of the farm pumpkin, this meant we had a spare pumpkin, so I did one too. On one side I carved Covid, the horror for Halloween and the other side a rainbow, the light in dark times, so 2020!

3. I browsed recipes.

I adore Nigel Slater’s cook books and in looking for a good recipe to use up our pumpkin, I spent far too long browsing his GreenFeast, autumn, winter book. Whilst I did find a recipe I’m going to do in the next few days, roasted pumpkin with a home made accompanying hummus, I spent a long time looking and being inspired to try other dishes. They are all simple but the flavours and combinations are mouth watering. Its one of those cookbooks which is as comforting to read as are the recipes.

4. I watched Strictly

I love Strictly, it gives me all the sparkles and feels and I am so grateful that the production crew have done all they can to bring it back live for the autumn. I watched the intro show last Saturday and then the first week’s dances yesterday. Its too early to try and make a prediction and work out who I’ll be cheering on each week, however for skill and potential, I liked HRVY, Clara and Nicola but Caroline was simply charming and her tears of delight at dancing had me, I think she could be another Susan Calman, who is one of my all time favourites.

And finally

Its half term this week, a half term like no other! Its going to have a bit of a Halloween theme, whilst we’ve done the pumpkins, we still need to decorate the house and I’m planning a big window display. As like the early lockdown days where people put teddy bears in windows to keep little children amused on their walks, there’s a similar activity this half term, to put a pumpkin where they can be seen as part of a pumpkin trial, an alternative to trick and treating. It sounds a great idea and as someone who really dislikes trick and treating its a winner for me! The children have asked for the swinging doughnut on Halloween, adapted from the sticky pudding game from my childhood Scottish Halloweens and also to make cheesy bat biscuits as its what we do. I’m happy to do these and given the forecast it’ll be a half term of indoor games, crisp walks and baking.

Have a happy half term.

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