It’s been a good weekend.  It started on Friday when I had to take Isabella to hospital.  You’d think that wouldn’t necessarily be a Good Thing: but it gave us several hours of mother and daughter bonding.  As she was the last child to be seen in Day Surgery and we didn’t get home until about 7p.m., and the boys were round at David’s having a Boys’ Night, we treated ourselves to a TV supper of scrambled eggs on toast in front of the film Maleficent.

If I’m completely honest I always agree to a film or television programme any of my children suggest with a touch of hesitancy.  For example, they love Sponge Bob Squarepants and I don’t: and there are programmes they will happily watch for hours and hours and which I can’t wait to switch off.  But Maleficent – for those who haven’t seen it – is a different spin on the Sleeping Beauty story and I thought it worked well.  In fact I really enjoyed it.  I’ve always liked the idea of acting one of those strong, rather feisty women who cause trouble… (I have an as yet unfulfilled dream to star in just a single film… any film producers out there, please take note!).

In fact Bella liked it so much she started watching it again the following day, but by then the boys were back, Alex had a friend round and after doing some stuff in the garden and having lunch I decided to take them all out.

I’ve written a few features about Kirklinton Hall in the past and had kept meaning to take the children there and to walk down to the river, waterfall etc.  Unfortunately it’s closed on a Saturday and it started hailing anyway, so we headed to Whitesykes garden centre at Longtown for hot chocolate (with the obligatory cream and marshmallows) and ice cream – or just a cappuncino in my case – and to play on their fantastic climbing frame as the sun had come out again.  The children all ran around playing a version of Tig which involved the person who was ‘it’ being a pirate: when all of a sudden it started hailing again, this time heavily and rather more persistently than earlier.  After hiding under the climbing frame or in the various summer houses and garden sheds, we decided to head home.

Such have been the vagaries of the temperature recently that there was snow on the hilltops when we awoke this morning and then the temperature climbed throughout the day to at least 13 degrees – having been as low as 2 or 3 yesterday.  Alex was saved from having to come with Bella, Edward and me by a friend coming round and inviting him out, so while they headed off to do whatever 12-year old boys like doing best, the other two and I went down to Penrith.  Both were saying they didn’t want to see a ruined castle: but once we got there neither wanted to leave.  Unfortunately we noticed the ‘no climbing’ sign a bit too late… We went in the playground in the park as well and the only way I could persuade the two of them that it was time to leave was to promise Edward faithfully that I’d take him back there again sometime.

Having had lunch with my friend Penny and done some shopping in Booths, it was time to go home.  Bella busied herself picking daffodils and making chocolate cake while I cooked dinner: I think today’s Yorkshire Puddings were possibly the best I have ever made (and I do love having an oven where you can see through the door!).  We finished with some homemade Apple and Blackcurrant ice-cream as well as some locally-made Mint Choc Chip and Vanilla.  Why is it that home-made ice cream takes so much longer to soften enough to scoop than commercially-made ice cream?

It’s been a particularly pleasant and happy weekend.  Inevitably there have been a few squabbles and tears, but very limited: in fact the three of them were all playing amicably together this evening, building a helicopter in the hall out of the dining chairs… my garden is getting marginally tidier and is bursting with spring flowers (every time I look something new is blossoming: I particularly like the delicate white flowers on the damson tree) and my house is full of flowers as well, some from my garden and some given to me.   Spring is here, and whilst the weather may be fickle, snow on the hills glistening under blue sunny spring skies lifts the heart.

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