Day 210

Level 2 Chi Kung.

Dropped Katie at school, having secured a promise that she wouldn’t let anyone drink the potion. Managed to catch Arina’s mummy at the school gate and told her of my concerns. I was somewhat relieved to hear that the pills are, in fact, valerian root, a Russian herbal remedy. I will keep a watching brief on the wider issues.

Fighting the chaos. Another day, another tedious task… I began sorting out the children’s rooms. It is the first time I have had a good go at this since we moved to Blackheath and, as a result, there are two laundry baskets and four large boxes of accumulated crap to go through, plus loads of stuff on the floor and under the beds. For the first four hours or so, it felt like I was working and working but not really getting anywhere. Then, suddenly, just before school pick up time, I started to see glimpses of order emerging from the chaos, and by the end of the day several large bags had gone down to the recycling bin ready for collection first thing tomorrow. This kind of sorting out is one of my least-liked jobs and most dispiriting of all was finding puzzles and toys for very young children which I had taken out of circulation 3 years ago (when Katie grew out of them) and packed away in a box on top of the wardrobe ready to be used if number 4 ever arrived, or otherwise given away. I clearly recall how many hours it took to clean everything and reunite puzzles and jigsaws with all their pieces. Unfortunately, Katie’s autistic friend Agnes is a climber and got the box down from on high. I was still working at the time and didn’t have time to re-collect everything and pack it away again so, inevitably, the (beautiful, expensive, laboriously cleaned) toys, now totally age-inappropriate, were returned to general circulation and appear to have been comprehensively trashed – very annoying.

On a lighter note, some interesting finds:

– A plastic plant pot, half-filled with compost, into which several wine gums had been planted. No sign of germination.

– A lunchbox, like a biscuit tin but with a clear plastic panel in the lid, filled with composting grass, on top of which languished a latex lizard.

– A plastic grocery bag half-filled with what looks, and smells, like rotted-down cow manure (why?).

After collecting Katie, I gave the kitchen the good scrub it very much needed and then had some of the lovely courgette soup to keep me going through Katie’s trampolining lesson.

It has been on my mind that I needed to use up the dozen or so egg-whites left over from making so much custard over Christmas. I suggested to Nick that pavlova might be good but he said that friands would be better. Not sure if this is due to his fondness for friands or because pavlova is his area of expertise, whereas, with friands, the ball is firmly back in my court! After trampolining I got straight onto making the friands. The mixture is essentially the same as you would make for madeleines or financiers but is baked in a deeper tin with some fruit pushed into the middle. 12 egg whites is sufficient for 3 mixtures so, as I only have one set of friand tins and didn’t want to be up all night, I made some up as friands and some as little shell-shaped madeleines. Even so, it was after 11:30 before the final batch came out of the oven and I then had to wait for them to cool before I could put them in tins and fall into bed. Yawn!

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