Monday, 25 July 2011

Ethical Pickle

I thought I was going to be in an ethical pickle, but thankfully I am not. You see, an ASDA has just opened up in our town. For those of you who don’t know ASDA is the name of WAL-MART in the UK. I have real issues with WAL-MART. First, they totally dick their employees by hiring many people for the maximum part time they can be--because only when you get to be full time do they have to pay for health insurance. This leaves many people working at minimum wage in the US without health coverage and that is a crying shame. Secondly, they dick the farmers by paying them such low prices for their crops that farmers cannot turn a profit. They also often will not make a permanent contract with farmers so that from week to week they never know if they have a buyer for their goods. This is because the general public has gotten so accustomed to unnaturally low prices that we often don’t know what the true cost of food is. They are not the only ones who do this, but they are certainly one of the worst.

Here is my ethical pickle--I too want to save money on food but not at the expense of the farmer and the employee. Luckily the health insurance issue is moot here as we thankfully have the NHS and everyone gets free health care. I was afraid that the prices would be so low that I would be tempted to do all my shopping there. If the prices on their website are to believed we could cut our food bill in half. Thankfully it is a smaller shop--not a mega ASDA. Many of the things we buy are not for sale there. Their produce aisle was shockingly sparse, their World Foods aisle not much to brag about and their Free From aisle tiny. There was no soya yoghurt at all. But I did find a *few* things that were cheaper than I get elsewhere.
White Oatly--our preferred brand of non dairy milk was £1.06. Chocolate Oatly will still have to be bought elsewhere.
Nak’d bars--these whole food, raw bars are made from nuts and dates and are good for you and delicious. The cheapest we have seen them are 75p each but here they were 2 for £1. Limited flavours, but that’s ok.
Cashews--were cheaper than the health food shop but not when the shop runs the buy one get one half price sales as they often do. That’s when I stock up on more expensive foods like nuts and flax and hemp. But until a sale cashews are cheaper at ASDA. But they had no other nuts but peanuts.
Napolina tinned tomatoes-- these are the best tinned tomatoes--with 70% tomatoes and the rest tomato juice. Other brands have 60-65% tomatoes. ASDA sells these for 50p a tin--99p a tin elsewhere. But sometimes Sainsburys runs sales and sells them half price and I stock up.

But other than that everything was priced higher or the same as other shops. But mostly it was still full of processed garbage at a low price and not whole foods. For example there were only 3 sorts of tinned beans and one kind of dried beans. But ready meals--you betcha. Oh and not a fair trade item in sight. Not one. Not even sugar or bananas and I think every other shop I have been to has eat least these.

We are not shop loyal by any means. I keep a record of which shops have what items--e.g. you can only get the brand of curry paste we like, Rude Health gluten free multi grain corn cakes and chocolate Oatly from Waitrose whilst Sainsburys sells the best priced fair trade basmati rice and their spices are the cheapest by far. Specialty items like tofu and tempeh, tahini and nutritional yeast flakes come from a Health Food Shop. Most produce comes from the market. With the exception of tenderstem broccoli--3 bags for £2.50 at Waitrose and if I want stir fry veg with mushroom already done up to save time the Sainsbury ones are much nicer.

When I was at the ASDA the queues were enormous--all the way down the aisles--making getting to that bit of the shop difficult. I ended up having to get in the queue nearest the tinned tomatoes to be able to pick some up. I ended up next to a woman and we were talking about the size of the shop and she watched my buggy so I could nab my tomatoes and I did the same so she could get tinned pineapple. She saw I had a large bottle of white vinegar in my buggy and so she asked if I was going to do some pickling. I laughed and said no we use the vinegar for fabric softener explaining that we have sensitive skin and can’t use heavily artificially perfumed fabric softener. I neglected to say the kind with 100 artificial chemicals and beef tallow--that’s right folks Downey and other liquid fabric softeners contains beef fat (at least they did the last time I looked--I doubt they’ve changed the formula) but then she leaned over and SMELLED me. She said “oooo, you don’t smell like pickles!” and I laughed. The vinegar really does soften and your clothes really don’t stink. Good to know.

But there is my ethical pickle tale--the tale that begins with ASDA pissing on farmers and ends with being sniffed in a shop by a stranger. Glad it all worked out for the best.


Saturday, 23 July 2011

The End and the Beginning

It is the end of the school year. Finally. I have been so exhausted and run down and my hay fever has been horrible. There is this tree in the churchyard that smells like a French whorehouse and will not stop blooming. Rain does not wash its gallons of pollen away. It still stinks no matter what the weather. I have been living with my inhaler in hand as I seem in perpetual asthma mode and am just now recovering from a nasty bout of bronchitis. But now school is out for 6 weeks and we can rest, relax, do some DIY and be creative. As for my American teacher peeps who are pissing and moaning that they have to go back to work in 3 weeks all I have to say "Shut up you bastards. You have been swanning about since end of May. You have nothing to complain about."

Yesterday was the last day. Year 6 always has a big assembly where they do parodies of popular telly programmes and adverts (where there are always at least some boys dressed in drag) and then they sing sappy songs about love or friendship and they get their autograph books and start to blub and everyone cheers them as they run down the aisle back to their classroom to gather their bits and bobs and start their new life as secondary school students. The kids write their own sketches and this was one of the funniest conversations I overheard. Child A is autistic and obsessed with toilet humour and Child B swears a great deal, terrorises his neighbourhood, likes to pretend to shoot people who make him cross and will probably grow up to be a criminal.

Background--these 2 boys were supposed to be writing a parody of Harry Hill's TV Burp where he takes the piss out of programmes that have aired that week and the way to solve a problem as to which is better is to shout FIGHT! and the 2 things fight it out in a pillow fight in your jimjams sort of way.

Child A: We have written it and it will be called Wilshere Dacre Fart
Teacher: That is not acceptable.
Child A: Ok, we can call it W.D. Fart
Teacher: the school name is not the problem here. You're not having the word fart in the title.
Child B: But...
Teacher: You asked me at the start what words you could use and I said no fart, bum, wee, poo or knickers. Nor could you use any sort of real violence or fake guns or disemboweling.
Child B: Aw *beep*

It was eventually called Wishere Dacre Belch and I'll be honest here, the sketch was completely unintelligible because they could not stop laughing but at least there was not farting or mindless violence.

The nicest thing that happened was that child A's mum gave me a bag of some teff flour as a gift!!! How cool is that--specialty gluten free flour! They are gluten free as well so we have been exchanging recipes. It was the most thoughtful gift I have ever received as she clearly knows me well. I get lots of milk chocolate from children which I send a gracious thank you note for and then put in the staff room for others to eat. Even when I did eat dairy I preferred dark chocolate.

As for Ruth--my new blue ukulele (it has assonance--all those ooo sounds) we are getting along famously. I can play 4 chords and have nearly mastered Camptown Races (doodah, doodah) I am already getting calluses on my fret hand-- Woohoo!

This summer I plan to read, write and make some stop motion animated films with my Digital Blue Movie Creator (this cool camera that lets you make films and edit and add sound effects) as well as learn to play Ruth a bit better.

Happy summer!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Woohoo! A Blue Ukulele!

I bought one! Can you believe it? When we got back from the concert last night I was really pleading my case for having one and learning to play. Spiderman was saying it was a waste of money as it would only gather dust. Like a child begging for a pet that they promised on their life to care for. You know the story. “Please let me have a gerbil. I’ll feed it and give it water and play with it and clean out the cage! P-p-p-please!” and the parent relents and 3 weeks later that parent is cleaning out the gerbil cage and muttering swear words under their breath or worse there is a dead gerbil who died of neglect from being cared for by an ADD kid. I am determined to prove him wrong. I REALLY want to do this.

So yesterday at school I was wistfully saying that I wanted one and a co-worker said she had bought her daughter one in a shop right down the road from where we live for £17.99! It was FATE. I was sure of it. As soon as I checked with Spiderman to see if I needed to wait until after payday I toddled on down there in the pouring rain (so you know I *really* wanted it) and bought a gorgeous royal blue uke! I also got a cool digital tuner to help me keep it in tune.

I can do a few chords but it still doesn’t sound right (Spiderman insinuated that was because it was a ukulele) but I am going to get my musical mate Clare who plays the mandolin to help me with strumming and finger placement.

In the mean time here is the history of the ukulele for anyone who cares. Happy playing!

The Ukulele is a musical instrument, which many people associate with Hawaii, but it originally was a Portuguese musical instrument, called the braguinha, having been taken to Hawaii in the latter part of the 19th. century, it soon became part of the Hawaiian culture. It was the Hawaiians that gave this musical instrument the name Ukulele (UKU meaning 'Flea' and LELE meaning 'to dance') In the early part of the 20th.century the ukulele became very popular in America. It was about this time that the ukulele-banjo was invented, due in part to the popularity of the banjo, and the lack of volume obtained from the soprano ukulele. The ukulele-banjo or banjo-ukulele or even banjulele, as they are known, were made popular by the English comedian George Formby, who even today is the person who most people associate with the banjo-ukulele. By the second half of the 20th. century the popularity of the ukulele had declined. Today the popularity of the ukulele is kept alive by the efforts and enthusiasm of a few people worldwide that still listen to, and play the ukulele.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Robin Ince's School For Gifted Children

According to Robin Ince's blog:
The original thinking person's comedy night, this time themed around science fiction, with guests Frank Skinner, Toby Hadoke, Richard Sandling, Helen Keen,Helen Arney and Darren Hayman. Note to the public: this is not an actual school for actually gifted children - it's a comedy night designed to be slightly more interesting than the mainstream.

We went to this last night and it was a blast. It was very funny and geeky--it was even held at the British Library! There were comedians and singers. Toby Hadoke of Moths Ate My Dr Who Scarf fame was hilarious and Richard Sandling--this huge beardy bloke brought all these homemade films of great moments in Sci-Fiction filmed with him and his mate's in his flat that were very lo-tech but priceless. Have you ever seen the film Be Kind, Rewind? Like that. Frank Skinner in the last year has discovered Science Fiction as a genre and is reading everything he can get his hands on and gave a very funny interview. Darren Hayman sang some touching and poignant songs on his guitar as he swayed forwards and backwards so far i thought he might fall over as his eyes were closed when he was singing. he sang songs about the first dogs in space and missing the leafy grass of home and I wanted to sob. These were the first dogs who made it back alive. How many dogs did not doesn't bear thinking of.  Helen Arney  played the ukulele and now I want one!!!! It was the coolest instrument evah next to the accordion--absolutely perfect for singing silly songs and sing-a-longs. She sang a wonderfully clever song about getting your husband cryogenically frozen--well just his head (she never liked his body much) and one about the Sun having the hump because we know so much about space now he doesn't seem so special. Watch this space (and stuff cotton in your ears Spiderman) I want a ukulele!!!!

It was a great evening of entertainment for only £7.50 each. Amazing. I bloody love it here.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Staff of Life

Bread has been called the staff of life and I am not surprised. But since I have given up wheat you start to notice how many things are bready. I have invented a wonderful gluten free pizza crust/flatbread plus a killer brownie recipe but the desire for a bit of bread was nagging me.

While I still can tolerate spelt and barley there might come a day when I cannot so I want a few gluten free recipes up my sleeve. Besides if I learn to bake gluten free then I can save spelt and barley for things like pasta and couscous and not overdose by adding in the bready bits and developing another intolerance. I would not say I am celiac but I can say I feel 100% better without  wheat flour. And since I much prefer wholemeal/rustic/brown/multigrain bread this works well. White bread as we all know is low on nutrition and fibre and high on carbs that convert quickly to sugars in your bloodstream. White gluten free baking is the same. Made with a high amount of starches (corn starch, tapioca starch, arrowroot, potato starch) plus white rice flour it is just asking for a blood sugar crash and a headache.

As I mentioned previously we are soon spending a weekend in Wales for our best friend’s wedding. It will be fully catered and the chef is making vegan stuff  especially for us. Which is cool. But since recently going mostly gluten free I was a bit worried about asking for too much. Vegan and gluten free? That’s asking a lot since much of gluten free baking relies rather heavily on eggs. So I got to thinking I needed to get some vegan gluten free bread recipes under my belt. If I bring some gluten free bread for the weekend we can eat like other folks and the chef can concentrate on the vegan side of things.

So I did what I always do. I google. I found about 10 pages of recipes which I read and made a big ole nerdy chart to compare the ingredients. This one uses 2 cups flour with 1 cup starch while that one uses only ¾ cup flour and ¾  cup starch. This one uses 1 TB of sugar to activate the yeast and that one calls for ¼ cup maple syrup to feed the yeast. This one uses 3 flax eggs and that one uses NRG Egg replacer powder. This one uses  2 TB oil and that one uses 1/3 cup oil. One thing they did agree on is that gluten free bready things will not rise as much as their gluten-y counterparts even with a healthy dose of xanthan gum and that they need something to help them keep their shape as they tend to flatten and spread. If you want dinner rolls use a muffin tin and if you want buns then use a hamburger bun pan. Never heard of that? Me neither. But I googled it and it is a pan you can put you dough in to keep all your buns uniform. I decided to buy some Yorkshire Pudding pans as these pans are cheap (a £2.20 pan makes 4 buns) and are readily available in England.

After I had compiled my nerdy criteria I went back to google for a more refined search eliminating rice flours, too many starches, NRG egg replacer and copious amounts of oil. This is what I found.

With some very easy modifications (she used sorghum flour and can’t find that here) I made these and they were wonderful. Nice and whole grain with a soft interior and crusty exterior with lots of yummy dried onions on top. She did a bit of melted margarine with the dried onions--I skipped the marg and just put lots of dehydrated onions.  They came out a bit small--like mini buns--but 2 buns each was enough for dinner with 4 left over for soup the next day. Friday night we made Philly Cheese Steaks with neither cheese nor steak and the buns were perfect. They held together well. The cheese I used was this one. . Let it cool and it is spreadable cheese. The tempeh steak recipe I used was this one sans the mushrooms.  I served it with roasted broccoli and a salad of carrots cut into matchsticks with lemon juice and poppy seeds. 

They were absolutely tiny and perfect and not crumbly at all which supposedly can happen to gluten free bread--particularly ones without eggs. There is also supposed to a problem with them going all hard and drying out, but  stored mine in an airtight tin and they next day there were fine. Quite soft. I think I’ll be able to whip up a batch of these to take for the wedding weekend and we can just carry them in our airtight tin and give them to the chef and he can use them for food as needed.

Here is the modified recipe for Onion Rolls--sans gluten and egg, but not taste.
Grease your pans so you’ll be ready once everything is mixed. For rolls use muffin tins, for buns use hamburger pans or Yorkshire pudding pans or whatever you have.

2 cups whole grain gluten free flour--she used 2 cups sorghum and I used 1 cup buckwheat, 1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup starch--she used 1 cup tapioca starch. I read that too much tapioca starch can make foods bitter so used 1/3 cup tapioca, 1/3 cup cornstarch, 1/3 cup arrowroot. 
1 TB xanthan gum
1 ½ tsp salt
2 TB sugar
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
2 TB yeast The only yeast I had was fast acting yeast for the bread machine. It foamed up like mad like the head on a beer but I wonder would the granule kind for hand baking work even better.
2 TB olive oil
3 TB ground flax + ¾ cup water
1 tsp cider vinegar or any light vinegar
Lots of those dehydrated onions

Sift your flours, starches, xanthan gum and salt together.

Place sugar in a small bowl and add the water. Stir to dissolve the sugar then stir in your yeast. Set aside to “proof” (go all foamy) I proofed my yeast first and by the time I got all my flours sorted it was this huge tower of yeasty foam like that dude’s skyscraper afro from Kid n Play. Google image Kid n Play if you are not a child of the 80s and you don't know what I'm on about.   So definitely do the flour first.

Combine the flax and the water and blend until you have a thick slippery consistency. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken. It will go all gooey like eggs.

Add the oil and vinegar to your yeasty water then add the proofed yeast and the flax eggs to the flours and stir and stir and stir until mixed. The good thing about gluten free baking is you don’t have to worry about over mixing making the dough too tough as there is no gluten.

For muffins, fill muffin tins half way. For buns divide the dough into 8 parts and pat into place with WET hands. The dough is super sticky so keep a bowl of water handy for re-dipping. Add (quite) a bit of dried onion to the top of each and press it gently in.

Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 50 minutes or until doubled in size. I let mine rise on the stove top for 30 minutes then turned on the oven to preheat to 190C/375F and let the dough rise 20 more minutes with the warm oven underneath. They never did get very much bigger, but there was some difference in the risen size.

Bake for 30 minutes or until rolls are browned and they sound hollow when tapped on bottom.

The texture is best after they cool. They also cut much easier if you are trying to split them into buns after they are cooled.

These will definitely be in rotation when we need bready things like hamburger buns or rolls to go with soup. Happy gluten free eating!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Ahhh Spider!

You know you are loved when your husband brings home a gigantic hand carved wooden spider as a gift. Well maybe in your house that would be grounds for divorce, but in mine in a reason to do a little happy dance every time I see it. Nobody but us would consider this to be a beautiful, thoughtful appropriate gift. I love being us.

This dude in the market has been selling these amazing, hand carved, two toned, wooden spiders for weeks. We have longingly admired them, but they were ENORMOUS and cost £35. Now, £35 is a very  good deal for an amazing, hand carved, two toned wooden spider, but it is just a wee bit out of our price range as we have some expenses coming up (like our best friend’s wedding in Wales) so we had to restrain ourselves and be good. Besides the other ones were freakin’ HUGE and we had no place to put them.

However, Saturday the dude had a smaller one (that is still on the gigantic side) for only £20 and when I got home from the public library there it was waiting for me, in all its glory.

It is about as big as a record album—for those who remember vinyl. And this was the smaller one!  
                                                                Top view:
Front view:

Side view:

Is that not *gorgeous*???? Look at that beautiful wood. Check out those sexy jointed legs, those flirty curled up palps, that raised abdomen ready to shoot strands of silky web and those sharp fangs. It should be noted that while the size might make you think it was meant to be a tarantula, it is in fact a spider. You can tell this because spider fangs are like pincers--they open outwards and come together in the middle, while tarantula fangs move up and down and stab their prey in a downwards motion. These fangs are pincer shaped. We know this because we are geeks. Think of it this way—all tarantulas are spiders, but not all spiders are tarantulas.  It has the eyes carved on top in a cluster as spider eyes often are (although there appears to be 10 not 6-8, and they are square shaped but I won’t quibble.) I like how the pattern of the dark wood provide some camouflage effects--much as real spiders have to survive in the wild. I particularly like the way there are “false eyes” in the front with the pattern of dark and light wood with the true eyes being on top.

We have it positioned in front of the Big Lizard (we don’t have a telly but we do have a large monitor hooked up to a DVD player. Monitor. Big Lizard. Geddit?) In the photo you can see she is guarding the remote from attackers. I imagine when we have some folks over for dinner and a film (namely the ones whose wedding we will be attending shortly in Wales) we’ll have to move it, but no matter.

 All the Spiderbabes love it. All the beanie baby spiders from National Geographic are in awe. We tell the girls if they eat up all their crickets they can grow up big and strong like their new wooden sister. They sigh and climb their tanks to get a better look. But being spiders that can’t see for toffee so they just make a little webbing and climb back down, secure in the knowledge that they are loved. And we do love you all--especially your new wooden sister.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Fudgy Wudgy Brownies

These are some of the best mother fudging brownies I have ever eaten. They tick all the boxes for me:

Not tooth achingly sweet
The original recipe I adapted them from called for something like 2 cups of sugar plus the dates. I cut the sugar back to ½ cup, added ¼ cup maple syrup which lends a buttery taste but also is rich in minerals and kept the dates to add sweetness, moisture and fibre. They are plenty sweet.

Full of Fibre
These have dates which provide sweetness but are also chock full of fibre. But the secret ingredient for making these so moist is 1 ½ cups black beans. You could use a tin of beans that have been drained and rinsed, but I used beans I cooked from scratch. They also use a bit of flax meal for an egg substitute. Flax provides fibre as well as Omega 3. 

Virtually fat free
Most baked goods need butter or oil to provide this much moisture which also adds a tonne of fat. These are dense and fudgy and moist but that comes from the beans and dates, not oil. We need fat in our diets to help us feel full and to lubricate our joints, but these desserts don’t need them.

Gluten Free
I chose gluten free flours that are high in protein, calcium and iron but low on the Glycemic index (meaning their sugars are released slower in the bloodstream and will help you avoid a sugar high and then a crash) The tapioca starch is higher on the Glycemic index being a white starch but it is balanced by the wholemeal qualities of the buckwheat, chickpea and quinoa flours.

You can eat one and feel like you are getting a treat but not one full of refined flours and sugars or unnecessary fats or animal products.

Spidergrrl’s Fudgy Wudgy High Fibre Low Fat Gluten Free Vegan Brownie Yum Yums

Note: if you want to do them not gluten free then use 3/4 cup wholemeal pastry flour and ½ white flour (or another ½ cup wholemeal) .

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
Sift together
Dry ingredients:
¼ cup buckwheat flour
¼ cup chickpea flour
¼ cup quinoa flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup tapioca starch
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup Demerara sugar (or brown sugar)
¾ cup broken walnuts (optional)
Handful dark chocolate chips (optional)
Wisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. The wisking mixes the different flours as well as puts a bit of air in there for lightness.

Wet ingredients:
1 ½ cups black beans (one tin drained and rinsed well)
1 cup pitted medjool dates--this can be anywhere from 7-10 dates depending on their size)
¼ cup maple syrup

Whiz those together in your food processor until it is completely smooth.

Then add:
1 TB balsamic vinegar (or cider vinegar but I think the balsamic compliments the chocolate flavour--but if you are not a vinegar whore like me who keeps at least 5 different kinds around just use what you have--you just need it to react to the baking powder)
3 tsp instant coffee (optional but enhances the flavour)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 TB flax meal (ground flax seeds)
1 cup water

Whiz that all up until it is smooth then mix in with the dry ingredients. Spoon into a greased 9x12 or 9x13 pan. Sand the top with a TB of sugar to make it look all glittery/sparkly --optional but groovy.

Ill be honest I did the first batch in my food processor and the second batch in my vita mix blender. The second time the liquid ingredients were considerably smoother owing to my blender having a stronger motor than a Vespa. Probably also because I couldnt be bothered to blend it long enough in the food processor. But both ways tasted good. It was slightly harder to scrape it all out of the blender than the food processor. Do whatever you like just blend it up well, ya dig? .

Bake for 14 minutes then take the pan out and rotate it and put it back in for another 14 minutes. Test with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. If not put it in for 2 more minutes.

Let cool before you slice. Slice it into 16 brownies--4 by 4. Store in an airtight tin. I think they taste better the next day. Yum!

Rude Fruit

 Check out these cherries we got at the market. The market often gets rejected fruit and veg that is not exactly identical or is too big or too small or not curved enough in the case of bananas. But these are the funniest reject fruit I've seen in ages.

I have seen cherries that look like your bottom but never ones like this. *giggles like an 8th grade boy*

It reminds me of that Blackadder episode where they find the turnip that is exactly the same shape as a thingee. And Baldrick says that it is particularly ironic as he has a thingee shaped like a turnip!

Happy eating!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

I'm singing in the rain

Well, as a testament to our British fortitude we had sports day in the rain. We have a fantastic teacher who coordinates something like 35 different races/games/challenges and each child has a score card in their house team colour. The children are free all morning to go wherever they like on the field and play whichever game takes their fancy. You receive points for how well you do--3 points for first place, 2 points for second and 1 point for third which all go for your house team score. After lunch we do proper competitive races and relays and then the house cup is announced for the team with the most points. Each team elects a male and female sport's captain from year 6 who support and encourage them. The team captain's have to make a little persuasive speech to be elected.  It is great fun because the morning is fun like a fayre without having to pay and the afternoon is more sporty. In the morning even if you come last you still earn team points and you are encouraged to try again to beat your score--we'll cross out the lower one and write your new higher one but we'll never cross out a higher one and make it lower if you do badly on your second go.

My bit was the spud and spoon race. I like to do it every year and I have my little talk about not gripping the potato with your thumb because it is cheating down pat. One year a workmate signed up for it before I saw the list and I forced to do sack race. So now I make sure I am the first to sign up for my beloved spud and spoon race. I like it because I can reuse the same wooden spoons from year to year and compost the potatoes (which are more like mash by noon) in the school compost. Yes we have school compost. all veg scraps and fruit peelings from the staff room (the staff room also puts in a huge amount of tea bags as well) plus the canteen plus the pack lunches go in and the compost is used in gardening club in their organic garden. How cool is that???

So it was ranging from spitting to pissing down to bucketing down on the weather front. We playing in the light to medium rain with kids devising ingenious ways to keep their score cards dry like tucking them in their knickers. So ADHD kids cards were soaked and the ink ran and tore apart and it was not uncommon for them to hand you their cards in 2 or 3 pieces. When it poured we all went in and played games until the rain slacked off a bit then we all went back out and braved the weather for a bit of fun. I ran my game dressed in my giant yellow rain punch and wellies. It was a bit hard to wave the flag to say GO from under the poncho but on the plus side I could keep your card dry as you raced.

The afternoon relays have been postponed as the field is really too muddy for that and we'll do them next week. But I am proud to say we did it. We braved crap conditions with a smile so kids could have a great time. Now I'm going home to dry off and snuggle up with a hot drink and a good book.