22 February 2015

Good morning to you all. It’s been an “ok” sort of week, I suppose. We had a couple of positively glorious mornings early in the week – bright blue skies, clear but still decidedly on the “fresh” side – but mostly it’s been cold (relatively speaking), overcast with the occasional smattering of rain. At least the snowdrops are out in force and the daffodils, although just beginning to think about putting their head above the surface, surely won’t be too much longer.

This, of course, is in contrast to the weather those of you in the great frozen northeast are enjoying. I read somewhere that the residents of Boston have been told to stop jumping out of upstairs windows into the gargantuan snowdrifts below and the Guardian had a series of photos of a frozen Niagara Falls. Now that is cold!

Frozen Niagara

Tuesday evening we had a bit of fun and excitement. We went to a “launch” of a film made about some of our favourite people, the staff and students at the Treehouse School in Cholsey.

I’ve written about the Treehouse before – it’s a small (only fifteen students) primary school which was founded three years ago by a couple of teachers/friends who were fed up with the direction of current education practice and policies. They decided to start their own school where “child-centred learning” would be a reality rather than just a slogan. Against all the odds and, in spite of receiving no government funding at all, three years later the school is thriving and, more importantly, the children attending the school are thriving.

Now, they want to build a new school so that they can offer the same extraordinary educational opportunities to more students. So, the event on Tuesday evening was a launch of their fundraising efforts for the next few years – they want to raise £350,000 to build a new eco-school which would enable them to cater for up to sixty students. The event centred on a short film which explains the philosophy and ambitions of the Treehouse School.

If you are interested, you can find out more on their web site and, if you have a bit of change knocking about and fancy supporting a good cause, you can even make a donation to the project!

We had another fun day on Thursday when we met up with a group of former colleagues and their better halves for, as one of my former colleagues puts it, lunch with the “old lags.” We trekked down to meet up with everyone, have a good catch up and lunch in a local pub, which was all very pleasant. I did chuckle to myself when we had finished eating and I casually glanced across the table at the plate of one of the wives and compared it with my own. Christine had eaten everything on her plate apart from the chips (French fries for our American readers); I had eaten everything on my plate apart from the lettuce and tomatoes. I reckon that just about sums up our respective attitudes towards lunch.

Those of you who are “friends” with Nick on Facebook will know that he recently created a sourdough starter and has been baking some sourdough bread. Knowing my love and affection for sourdough, he kindly brought me my own starter and the other day I attempted to make my first sourdough loaf. I followed his instructions religiously – added the requisite amount of flour and water, kneaded and kneaded and kneaded and then kneaded a bit more, let it sit for five hours, knock the air out, let it sit for eight hours more and then pop it into the oven. Simple, yes?

As I remarked on Facebook, I was grateful to Nick for the sourdough starter. I was also the proud producer of a very, very tasty sourdough pancake.

Sourdough Pancake

I think it needs a bit of work! Any tips and advice gratefully accepted.

And finally, Ms Playchute bought herself some ginkgo biloba the other day to see if taking it would have any impact on the general forgetfulness which afflicts many of us. A day or so after she had started taking it, she came into the bedroom and asked me if I had seen where she had left the tablets. I said, “No, I haven’t seen the packet anywhere but clearly, it ain’t working!”

Fortunately, Penelope found this remark highly amusing and I escaped without a smack round the ear.

And finally, finally, in recognition of Sallie & Rod’s departure from Escondido, I ran across the following cartoon in the New Yorker yesterday which I thought was appropriate:

Moving House

Love to you all,



One thought on “22 February 2015”

  1. That is exactly what it looked like but I am happy to report that Rod is NOT boxed for transport… Although I suspect he might like to miss the unpacking. Movers due in Park City on Tuesday, all volunteers welcome❤️

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