puddles right up to our muddles!

What a day this has been. The camera was in action, so the snaps will help to illustrate!

Soggy me in Donaghadee!

It's like being back in monsoon season - except this is Northern Ireland and it's supposed to be the height of the summer. 62mm of rain fell in twelve hours (about 2 1/2" for your non metric types). But did it put a dampner on the plans for today? Nope. Charlene's blog will fill you in on some bits and I'll fill you in on the others!

The churches in Donaghadee started their "festival of hope" today with a family fun day... uh... should that have been "family fairly flooded day"... but still fun-ish!

Mum, our long-time friend Maurice, Charlene, Philip and the girls!

Prettified princesses - though how could you improve on perfection!

Now the rain it just kept a coming... seeping everywhere... and as the afternoon wore on, there was rising damp from the ground up in both trouser legs, so there was nothing for it but home.... crafts and baking. Thank goodness Grace was having a sleepover!

Robo popped in, so Grace showed her how to make foil-foam stickers...

... with great results! Glad I brought the kit back from London.

But clearly it was all too much for Robo....you need to be young to have stamina!

...and Grace IS young, so it was baking next! Scones and pancakes...

Fantastic results from a pretty smart 7 year old!

So now everyone's in bed except me; the kitchen's tidied, the house is quiet, the rain is beating against the window and there's such a homely smell of just-baked bread. It's lovely having children about the place, even if they're only "on loan" - thanks Charlene and Philip. Though it takes the shine off it all a little bit to know that there are a lot of folk hovering near sandbags around the country, hoping their homes won't flood... or that the water damage won't look so bad in the light of day. Tonight, I'm grateful for so many things - including a dry home.

And today was all about....

... cancelled trains... rain.... radiotherapy.... new shoes for 22 month old lil' person.. a play in the park... and the suckiest apple juice from a big-boy glass....

then at tea time.... Sasha's 18th birthday tea at Pier 36.... with daft dads.... lovely aunt Elaine... brill brothers and Cake Head Ted (where was that hat when my hair fell out!?) and of course, a very happy, very glamorous birthday babe. After all you guys have been through over the last year, this was a lovely evening and I was really glad to share it with you - thanks!

Ali's "died and gone to heaven" pudding

Just read Ali's blog and here's the recipe for the chocolate cheesecake.... (originally from another friend called Ali with a few Wils tweaks en route). HEALTH WARNING: this is seriously yummy, and seriously rich - a little goes a very, very long way. Also, I'm not great on quantities - I work more by instinct!

The base is the usual mix of crushed digestive biscuits, melted butter and if I'm not using chocolate digestives, then I add a couple of teaspoons of drinking chocolate powder. Any normal size of round tin/dish for cheesecake will do - an 8" tin will make a deepish pudding, so I use a slightly bigger tin for a shallower pud - this is one really rich boyo and a little is enough!

So, the filling:
  1. 200g tub of cream cheese (using Phili lite might reduce the decibels on your screaming arteries?)
  2. 50g icing sugar
  3. couple of bars of Green & Black's chocolate (about 200-225g?). I like the one with the orange and spice flavouring - the orig recipe says Galaxy, but hey - chocolate of choice.
  4. 250ml tub of double cream
  5. family bag of Maltesers - slightly smashed!

Melt the chocolate and while it's cooling slightly, mix the cream chese and icing sugar in another bowl.

Add the double cream to the melted chocolate then add this mixture to the cream cheese mix.

Stir in the maltesers and pour the whole whoopla over the biscuit crumb base.

Chill it in the fridge until about half an hour before serving.

I think it's really good served with a strawberry and raspberry mix as the fruit cuts the heck out of the sweetness - I usually blitz the raspberries (though sometimes I add a little sugar syrup if they're really tart), then seive the seeds out and pour the lovely fresh sauce over the strawbs.

Mega calories and always goes down with chocolate lovers. (And therefore not so bad for me as I only do chocolate in teeny quantities just to be polite!)


Success at last!

So the tidying got sorted-ish and the daily trips to get nuked at radiotherapy started all over again on Monday. I've no idea why it's so tiring, but it is - I'm pretty flaked.

But hey! Success! I finished a book. A whole book. Ok, I've done it before, even post chemo, but this was a Book Circle book and of late, I just never seem to get to the end of book club books. And here's the joke. I was the only person in the group who actually finished "Labyrinth" by Kate Moss. (Understandable really - reads like it was written by a committee - the medieval French bits were ok, but the rest was tedious.)

Best of all perhaps was that Ali brought her bodhran and we had a session - qwere craic! (For non-locals - that's a little singsong with various instruments including Ali's Irish drum and it was all rather jolly good fun!)

Maybe the Book Circle and Pudding Club should be renamed the Music and Pudding Club?!

and this is Sunday...so far.

Anyone got a spare bed in this neighbourhood? I've done it again. Ok, I should have done the "Sunday thing" and curled up with a book or gone for a walk, but I didn't. Instead, I confined myself to quarters this afternoon on account of a somewhat overheated (radiotherapied) mammary.... (too much info?!)... and decided to do a wardrobe clearout. And yes. I've done it again. You know the enthusiastic emptying... followed by the "I'll just give it a wipe down..." followed by the ".... now I'm wiped out... need a cuppa.." and that's as far as I got. So it's all still emptied... and sitting on top of the bed... the floor... the chair.... the stool... the steps.... and I'm clean out of puff, enthusiasm and it's time to go to church anyhow... so, anyone got a spare room? (Or a spare maid?)

so this was Saturday

And how was your Saturday? Mine was spent cleaning the rental house for a French family who arrived from Sligo three hours later than planned - so there was time to nip out for coffee - twice!

Entertainment came courtesy of my (very kind volunteer) co-scrubber today (Robo) who's terrified of wasps... and this isn't just wasp season... Bushmills was clearly hosting the all-Ireland wasp convention today. Robo couldn't cope. She went nuts and did a totem dance round the table, over to the loos and back towards the counter (much to the amusement of other diners) when a teeny one (wasp, not diner) flew past our table in the Copper Kettle at lunchtime.

Then on the way home, Robo leapt wide eyed and screaming from the car outside the Mace ATM and went running towards the bin (3 new wasps waiting for her there).

And finally, she made a scene IN the car when taking our leave of the French mum who wondered if it was "un mawnster wosp"? Honestly, if it wasn't for the sweaty palms and the clear sense of terror, you'd pay good money to watch her in action. (Anyone got tips on keeping the buzzers at bay?)

More entertainment back in Bangor - "Mamma Mia" (again). Most amusing moment? Meryl Streep doing the star jumps on a bed (and she's what... 50 something?) while a neighbour further up our row (same age bracket) is climbing stiffly over the back of the chair to the aisle because of a locked knee..... sore... but a nice touch of reality!