It's been awful.
It's Varicella Zoster's fault. L has the pox. So we've been stuck in the house (and the garden: thank heavens, lucky stars and all the deities in the pantheon that this didn't happen when we didn't have a garden to speak of) since yesterday morning, and we're all getting very scratchy and cross with each other. L isn't ill, or at least not so ill so that you can park her in front of the telly, but she's itchy and whiny and we're rubbing each other up the wrong way... And A and S haven't got it yet, but it's surely only a matter of time.
Which is why I'm going to blow my own trumpet. And remind myself what a great mother I can be when I want to. And that I can do the stuff that the books tell you you're supposed to do. And that it was fun.
And that hopefully, those are the days they'll remember when they are grown up. Not the ones like today.
It started on Saturday. Bright, but cold. We piled into the car, packed our passports and headed for the Border. To Ford and Etal to be precise. Apparently they're two little villages with all sorts of interesting things in. But we never actually got there, because L was sick on the way, and we arrived too late for the miniature railway and it was all a bit rubbish until we got to Heatherslaw Mill which is actually in between the two. It's fantastic! It's a proper working water mill, and L, at just 3, was fascinated. By the water rushing in, and the cogs turning, and the big stones grinding against each other, and the flour going into the bag ("like in Bagpuss"*) and the chocolate cake we had in the sunshine afterwards:
So we bought some flour and we took it home, and no one was sick and we agreed we'd had a lovely day.
And on Monday I put on my Ocado apron (I miss Ocado) and my goodSAHM hat, and once A and S were in bed, L and I got busy:
We got our ingredients and our recipe (Nigella's best, because I intend to be a Domestic Goddess. One day) ready:
We mixed our Heatherslaw-milled flour (500g) with our salt (1 tsp), our bicarbonate of soda (2 tsps) and our cream of tartar (4.5 tsps). Then we "stroked" the butter (50g - which is not what Nigella says, but I think it's a misprint, and anyway, I don't believe in following recipes exactly, where's the fun in that?) into the dry ingredients with our fingers:
until we had mixed it all in.
We poured in the milk (300ml) and got our fingers all sticky mixing that in, before turning it out onto the side and "pushing and pulling" it all together. L subscribes to the school of thought that says all food stuffs are improved by the addition of sultanas (I know men who feel the same way about bacon), so we stuck 75g of those in too (the out of focus-ness indicates the vigorousness of the kneading):
Then we rolled it out:
Before cutting them out with a 6.5 cm crinkle-edged round cutter (B agreed with Nigella that the crinkles were very important) and "painting" them with egg:
Then we put them in the oven which we had
before taking them out ("careful Mummy, they're hot") with care and pride:
By this stage, S and A had woken up, so we took (hideouslyuglyjumblesale) Teddy outside and had a picnic (complete with checked "rug"):
The fact that they then ate so many scones they refused to eat any supper that wasn't scones is one we'll gloss over in favour of the best bit: not only did L and I enjoy ourselves, and the girls adore the scones, I got to send them to nursery with them on Tuesday as a "snack", and look like a really proper SAHM there too.
And I live in hope that tomorrow (S and A at nursery (without scones: we've eaten them all), Spotty and I here, with a carrot loaf recipe, or possibly "more scones please Mummy") is more like that, and less like today. Wish me luck. And send me any ideas for entertaining the pox-infested. Please.
* ps and for your viewing pleasure. Here's the best part of that epic episode: You can't (as any fule kno) make chocolate biscuits out of breadcrumbs and butterbeans