There is a show in the UK called Escape to the Chateau and then there is a spin off show called Chateau DIY. These programmes follow families that have bought huge chateaus in France and are doing them up.
You can buy these chateaus for a fairly reasonable price because many of them are so run down that you can’t live in them until you have done some work on them. So these families have a big job ahead of them – but it always seems wirth it in the end.
I don’t think I would have the energy to do this, but I do love the idea and the romance. I have holidayed in France several times and one of my favourite memories was a two week holiday that we had in The Loire Valley. I was only about ten when we went, but even then I could appreciate how beautiful the region was.
I would ride around the campsite on my bike and we would take walks in the grounds of a chateau. Then we would stop off at a local market and buy cheese and bread, and my parents would drink copious amounts of wine.
It was the perfect holiday. I won’t be taking on any huge DIY projects but I quite fancy escaping this cold and wandering aimlessly around the grounds of a chateau once again.
I believe that when you are ill, or at least recovering from illness, you need to fix yourself with food. And there is nothing more satisfying than pie. Flaky pastry, a creamy sauce and loads of chicken and veggies is a miracle mixture. There is no way that you can eat that and not feel a little bit better.
And then the cold weather is on the way this week and so we all need a little bit of winter flubber. Pie is full of all the calories, so why not have a couple of slices, if only to keep ourselves a bit warmer over the next few weeks.
I love watching Christmas cooking programmes. I’m not really into cooking shows ordinarily, but the Christmas ones are something different.
My favourite is always Nigella. For those of you that don’t know who she is, she is a cook rather than a chef. And she is famous for being quite sexy with her cooking. Her descriptions of the food alone, are enough to turn most people on.
Her Christmas shows, and the ones other chefs make at this time of year, are always so magical. There are always twinkling lights and a houseful of happy friends enjoying the canapes she has made.
It’s what we always imagine and hope for Christmas to be – even if it very rarely is that way.
I was supposed to be running 100 miles this weekend and instead I’m sitting on my sofa doing naff all. And I’m feeling incredibly guilty.
However, when Noah woke up this morning and saw that I had decided not to go, he said it was the most sensible thing he’s seen me do in a long time. When a seventeen year old is saying things like that, you know you can sometimes be a bit of an idiot.
Having been ill with COVID I decided that my lungs just wouldn’t be able to hold out for up to thirty hours of exercise. That is an extraordinary amount of time and I need to give myself a break.
No more feeling guilty. In fact, feel proud for not putting myself at risk like I would normally do. I’m growing up – sort of.
We had a bloody long day at school today because it was the dreaded Open Evening, where Year 6 students and their parents can come and look around the school and see if they would like to be members of our school community.
I say ‘dreaded’ because it’s a 13 hour day, and you are ‘on’ the whole time. However, I do actually really enjoy speaking to the younger ones and asking them about what books they enjoy reading.
We did a Gothic room in our department and I was responsible for getting the kids to draw their own Gothic monsters. And some of them were interesting, to say the least.
I asked everyone to give their monster a name and we had everything from Richard to Mrs Jelly Legs.
I find it so sad that the creativity seems to just get sucked out of kids as they reach their teenage years. My Year 9s couldn’t even come up with one thing that scares them and yet three years earlier, they could have come up with a three headed monster called Richard.
Don’t grow up, kids. I love you just the way you are.
The news at the moment, is terrifying, quite frankly. All that we see at the moment is the shocking news about the energy cap that doesn’t appear to be a cap at all. A note to the government: a cap doesn’t keep moving.
We are now looking at possibly £6,000 energy bills by next April and there are many people in this country who earn less than £10,000 a year, so how they are going to cope is anyone’s guess.
There have been calls on Twitter for a general strike, where we all just down tools until the government have no choice but to do something about the price increases.
I don’t remember a time in my life when people have actually felt scared about the winter and it is going to lead to people losing their lives.
I don’t know whether us Brits have it in us to strike, but it would certainly lead to an interesting time. Perhaps it would bring us all together as one? Perhaps it will just end in riots and chaos?
Who knows, but I hope that people are safe over the winter.
I was just watching the documentary about Operation Yew Tree and I found it really interesting to see how people dealt with the accusations.
For those of you not in the UK, this was a police operation that was launched after the death of Jimmy Saville to find other men who had committed sexual assaults on minors.
However, the whole thing became a bit of a witch hunt and there were lots of men that were arrested when there wasn’t any solid evidence that they had done anything.
Now, I’m not commenting on whether or not it was right that these men were publicly identified before they were charged as I think that there is an argument for and against that, and I don’t feel that I’m educated enough to put forward my thoughts. But I did want to comment on the way in which the men coped with the accusations, as I think that’s a really interesting thing to come out of such terrible circumstances.
Some of the men were obviously very angry, and I feel that I would be really angry if I’d been publicly shamed when I had done nothing wrong. But there were people who really took it in their stride and kind of accepted what was happening. They weren’t admitting guilt, but they were just allowing the police to do their jobs without fighting.
I found this really interesting as it’s human nature to fight when we feel wronged, but perhaps for a happier life, we should just go with it and stay quiet. And the man who did just sit quietly, had far less bad press than those that fought.
When you recover from any form of addiction you are told to ‘let go and let God’ and I see that as being very similar; we learn that we can’t control people, places or things, we can only control our own reaction.
I like to think of it as being a fish and it is far easier to swim with the current than against it.
There is nearly always a right way and a wrong way to do things, but I have to say that I really enjoy seeing people do things the wrong way.
I think that everything is down to interpretation and you can’t be angry at someone who has gone about something a little bit wonky. In fact, I think that doing things in a different way can be show a certain amount of creativity and bravery.
I worked in a holiday place where we used to have to go out to guests staying on the site and check that they had no problems with their cabins. We had to fill out a sheet with the cabin number, our name to say it was us that checked and then there was a notes column that was meant to record any problems.
That final column was just labelled ‘notes’ and so this new guy went round all his cabins and wrote what he thought of the guests. The column was filled with things like ‘the lady was fit’ and ‘they had a cute dog’. I saw his sheet in the folder at the end of the shift and I was nearly crying with laughter reading some of his comments.
Now, that guy did eventually get the sack (for other offences), but I did admire the way that his brain worked. And these creative ways of doing things can sometimes lead to amazing discoveries.
Apparently, the glue on our Post-It notes was discovered as an accident, and instead of just chucking away the mistake, they filed the idea away and it became a serious money spinner.
Listen to the people who do things differently because they’re not always wrong!
My dad is currently moving into his own little flat that is in a retirement community. I was a little bit against the move originally, but the more he talks about the new place, the more I find myself wanting to move there too.
I think I’m letting my imagination run wild because I’m creating this cast of characters made up of eccentric old people, thinking about all the crazy things that could be going on behind their closed doors.
Dad has told me that every time he arrives at his flat, some old lady is out on the landing to talk to him and they already know his name even though he has never met them. I find it hilarious because he is probably the hot young man in the building given that he is still in his sixties.
And then there’s the parties. The lease states that they are not allowed, but the residents seem to tell a different story. These guys seem to love a drink and I think the socials can become a bit raucous.
My point is that I think we should all be aiming for a retirement flat where we can live out our days having resident’s meetings and cheese and wine socials.