Friday, 29 July 2011

Happiness is a Chicken, a Courgette and a Taste of Adam Ant

It is said that God won't send anything your way that you won't be able to cope with. It is said that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. It is also said that Maltesers are the lighter chocolatey treat, implying that, at ONLY 11 calories a sweet, they will not make you fat.

One of these is a lie. (Especially if you buy the bumper bags.)

I think it's safe to say it's been a trying and anxious week for a reason I cannot go into in depth. Suffice to say that this morning I am full of motherly pride and admiration for my children. And that no matter what life throws at them, they will tackle it and cope with it and come through the other side stronger, maturer and with just the tiniest of a life-battle scar which will be there to remind them, when the next crisis happens, that they got through the last one and so the next challenge will hold no fears.

My role has been limited to the usual Mum worrying, trying to maintain an air of calm and a full cake tin, and saying little prayers at odd moments during the day when I feel the Universe has a vacant phone-line to 'Life Crisis Dept ext. H.E.L.P!

And on a lighter note, I am thrilled to discover that chickens eat courgette!

Yes, it's Harvest Galore at the allotment, and I have a kitchen full of beetroot, courgettes and beans. And a fair few cherry tomatoes, but I can deal with those because they are like Nature's Maltesers only they are red and have barely 1 calorie each and probably won't make me fat(ter) no matter how many I eat.

So yesterday I am staring at this massive pile of courgettes. I have earmarked some for courgette soup supplies to go in the freezer for Winter, and touchwood, no-one has yet said, 'Oh, courgettes again,' at dinner time, so I can get away with presenting many variations on 'Courgette Surprise' and hiding them in veggie bolognaise, veggie curry, veggie pies, veggie pizzas for a while yet. Andy has said that if push comes to shove he can make some courgette wine. And then I thought, I wonder if chickens like courgettes?

Actually, I don't know why the thought hadn't occurred before given we've been allotmenteering for nearly six years and had hens for more than four of those. It seemed an obvious solution to coping with a vegetable glut. So I took a courgette - okay, let's be honest, it was more a marrow - cut it in half, and presented it to les madames. Les madames regarded it with suspicion and paced around it warily for, oh, about five minutes, and then they mooched off to the tent for a game of Cluedo and jug of sangria.

Ah well, I thought. Worth a try.

But then I looked through the window about ten minutes later and there was Mrs Pumphrey up to her shoulders in the middle of the marrow! I can't tell you how ridiculously happy this made me feel! I can only excuse my delight as a disproportionate reaction to the stress of the week, which just goes to show that if you are in the midst of a mucky life mire, all you need to lift the spirits is a chicken and a courgette.

Another spirit-raising moment this week came when my friend, Sarah, procured us two tickets to go and see Adam Ant in concert in December! Being the oldest by 6 weeks, I shall be in charge of making sure no pants are flung onto the stage, because, yes, the seats are close enough to be able to achieve successful pant-flinging without the aid of a catapult and Sarah can get very excitable when confronted by leather trousers and a pair of pert buttocks. We are very much hoping that Adam Ant still has pert buttocks, although the main reason we are going to the concert is, of course, to hear fine music and see creative artistic interpretation.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is sunshine. Good. I think a bit of sunshine is very much what is needed here at the Manor. May your weekend be light and sunny, too.

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