Saturday, 29 June 2013

Catching Up and Preparations for the School Fete

Well, Thursday and Friday this week were spent catching up with jobs that needed doing both in and outside the house.  Firstly, some rhubarb had been sat on the side slowly going rubbery and needed cooking up into jam.  I bought myself a muslin cloth from our local discount store (they stock everything in there and very reasonably priced too) and set about making the jam.  I always just boil it up with a liberal sprinkle of sugar and hope for the best.  Rhubarb seems to have quite a high pectin level so seemed to jellify quite quickly, probably after 10-15 minutes or so.  I heated my jars up in the oven to sterilise them for 10 minutes and then set about trying to sieve the jam through the muslin to eradicate all the stringy bits of rhubarb.

After a few minutes of not much progress, I gave up.  The potential waste of the rhubarb pulp was upsetting me too much, so I decided just to put it in the jars as it was.  Texture is good.  I popped the waxed paper on top and on went the lids.  I used my French preserve jars for this, whose lids are like a flexible plastic, put on some homemade labels et voila!

Next on the agenda were a few jobs in the garden.  I had also bought some compost at the discount store and just needed to pot up some tomato plants for the school summer fete.  I also needed to put a couple more tomato plants into a grow bag I already had in the greenhouse and plant some fennel plants (now looking a bit worse for wear) into the borders in the garden.  It did feel good to get these jobs done as they had been nagging at me for a couple of weeks, but I just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm.  I need a good deadline sometimes and as the fete was on Friday, it was the push I needed to just do it.  I also potted up a few English Marigolds for the fete too and swept up the decking leaving the garden looking a lot tidier. 

I must just share this photo of my Philadelphus/Mock Orange plant, which after about four years of waiting (so worth it) is finally in full flower, looking magnificent and smelling heavenly.  It blends perfectly with next door's pale pink rose too.

Next job on the list was Jolly Jam Jars for the school fete again.  I had been collecting together lots of bits and pieces to fill the jam jars with, namely chocolate, lollipops, toys, makeup, bubbles, stickers, etc.   I made four for girls and three for boys and one for the grown ups which was filled with fabric and other small sewing bits and pieces.  I popped fabric jam covers on the top and sticky labels on the side and they were ready to go.  These sell for £1 each and are really popular.  I have even been known to buy one myself when one year I found one full of fabrics and ribbons.
The fete itself was on Friday afternoon and after a morning spent baking jam tarts and making popcorn which I then bagged up, it was time to go over and help set up.
I completely forgot to take my camera with me so there are no photos I'm afraid but the fete was held outside in the playground between showers.  (We were very lucky with the weather).  I helped to man the book stall and there were vast amounts of books donated.  Even by the end there were loads left which I then had the back breaking job of wheelbarrowing back into the school building.
Anyway, the fete itself seemed to go well.  I bought a couple of cups of Pimms early on to sustain me and at only £1 per cup it was considerably cheaper than Wimbledon.  I also bought a few plants, namely another Johnson's Blue geranium for the garden at home, an alchemilla mollis (to go with the one I bought in the Yorkshire Dales), a Verbena bonariensis (ditto) and a couple of sweetcorn plants.
I did also buy a few books which at 3 for £1 they were very reasonable.  I couldn't find any fictional reading books that I fancied reading, but I did find a great M&S book about slow cooking
with some fabulous recipes in it.  I also found a book about simple knitting projects for the home in which a knitted throw took my eye and I might even venture to make one some time soon.


The rest of the money I had with me was spent on some new items of school uniform for my daughter to wear next year. The school were selling them in time for the new uniform being introduced in September.  I'm gradually getting myself organised after six years of not having to worry about uniforms for school.  It is good preparation for Secondary school though, where uniform has always been compulsory.

After a long and pretty exhausting afternoon I ventured home.  Luckily I had prepared beef stew and dumplings for dinner and all I had to do was heat up the stew and add the dumplings then eat it. A quick catch up with what was going on with the tennis and a brief watch of Glastonbury whilst doing a bit more patchwork followed, and thus ended a very busy week.  I'm glad it's the weekend tomorrow as I need a rest.

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