Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Guests Are Due At 7.30.....

November is Dinner Party Season here. For some reason I went slightly mad and invited numerous friends and family round, and now there is something booked in for every weekend. As a result I've had to do a mad scrabble and order loads of wine to ply everyone with. Mid-week is no better- we're off to see Nicholas Crane give a map-related lecture (older TVBF) and I need a frock for a dinner dance at the Running Club by the end of Nov. Can you get ball gowns in fluorescent lycra?

Tonight, I decided I would make local pheasant and chestnut pie with profiterols for pudding, all washed down with something cold and suitably fizzy. I do everything from scratch- pastry, sauce, veggies etc which is fine when the rest of the house is in order. As it is, L is still walking about in his PJs despite regular prompts to have a bath, de-grease his hair and get dressed; Pop is wandering about perfuming the air in her own inimitable way (she smells revolting and her coat is full of mats, so she too has been told to expect a bath and a hair wash); Ted is sporting a yellow streak down the centre of his back (we won't ask where that came from), M is out mending Uncle Charle's computer for the umpteenth time and F flies back in from France at 4 this afternoon and needs collecting from the airport. Both the boys have asked for pizza for supper which I've just realised are so enormous that they won't fit in the oven together, so will have to be cooked one at a time which will slow things up on the oven front.

On the plus side (*and most important) the wine has been in the fridge since 8am :o)

The guests arrive at 7.30, among them a colleague of M's and his wife whom I have never met. Their surname is Crump, which I think is fantastic. Fi and David are also coming, and I haven't seen them since April when I was dressed as a fairy with a long green wig, a tutu and wings. David was dressed as a Haggis at the time, and Fi was Tinkerbell. I wonder if we'll recognise each other?


I treated myself to two new dishes this week, which will be plonked on the table and stuffed full of potatoes (home grown), carrots and peas....


I also found some nice-looking elderflower and rose tipple in Waitrose for the non-alcoholics drivers among us...


And I have even cleaned the window sills...... I hope you are impressed?




This is because they all looked like Spider Pantries. And now look: there isn't a single, silk-wrapped moth or caddis fly in sight....It's so clean you could eat your dinner off it (just don't look at the ceiling above which is currently hosting about a hundred mosquito escapees from this morning's Moth Box foray)...
 
I finally lost my rag with the state of the dog's room and chucked out a bed that Pop has comprehensively mauled which M has been nagging me to throw away for months. She tore the innards out of it long ago and her favourite game for a while now has been to pull the mattress part out and dive into the resulting hole before leaping out of it at an unsuspecting Ted.
As a result, there were bits of black material strewn across the floor. I tried hoovering them up with Poppy's assistance but it was a disaster because she likes to chase the hoover, so I put her outside and ignored the baleful little face staring at me through the glass whenever I went past.

It was hopeless trying to clean up with her in the house in general actually, because she kept baiting Teddy (who was trying to sleep) by leaping on his back, growling and biting his ears. When he didn't react to any of this she darted round behind him, grabbed hold of one of his back legs and tugged it. T has the patience of a Saint, but even he finally flipped and ran after her. She was so busy looking back over her shoulder at him that she didn't notice where she was going and crashed into me. I of course happened to be carrying a stack of posh dinner party plates over to the table and only managed not to drop them on her head by performing the kind of unattractive wobbly wiggly move that my children would have loved to get on camera and post on You Tube under my real name with links to everyone I know.

I yelled at her and she shot under the table, only to appear a millisecond later wagging her tail and wiping her paws on me as if nothing had happened. Grrrrr.

Nature sent some butterflies to calm me. Two Peacocks and at least two Red Admirals were sunning themselves on the house wall earlier this morning, along with a big fat iridescent green beetle......





Ted managed to find a quiet spot at last and settled down for a snooze in the warm sun....


It didn't last long.....


While I was extricating Pop from her unwarranted attempt to clean T's teeth I spotted a chrysalis sitting on top of some recently weeded gravel.....


I have a sneaking suspicion this may belong to a Large Yellow Underwing Moth, of which we have hundreds here. Note the Spiracles, the small, evenly-spaced holes that run down either side of the case. This is what the moth breaths through....



It wiggled its bottom end while I was dithering about where to put it which made me jump. Eventually, it dawned on me that I could keep it in a jar and wait to see what hatches, so that's what I've done....More in the Spring (hopefully).



On the subject of moths, the Herald who had decided to hibernate on the wall to the Attic has sensibly revised his plans (after the acquisition yesterday by L of Borderlands, which has the most frightening looking cover and which he has been playing at full volume ever since) and has moved somewhere more peaceful. 

You guessed it.

Our bedroom.

He's on my side, exactly like last year when another Herald came in from the cold and spent a few weeks of the Winter snoring gently on the wall..... Can you spot him?



The Moth Box Lamp was lit last night and I had three new species in the box this morning, which means the total for 2014 is now above 300 (I've revised last years' down to 260 as some I know I got wrong and I have also discounted the micros, because they are a mine field to ID and are often only reliably distinguished by genital dissection. Let's not go there. So in fact we've already beaten it). Among the new moths were these two Sprawlers, a moth I have wanted to see for a while. The real moth is on the right in the pic below, beside his image in my Moth Bible.....


It's not just Lepidoptera that get attracted to the Lamp, all kinds of insects are drawn to it. I haven't had a chance to ID these yet, so if anyone knows what they are please shout....The middle one is really tiny, only a few mm in length. Aren't those feathery antennae fabulous? :o)




Right, M has arrived home, bunged the pheasants in the oven to roast, grabbed a book and dashed off again to pick up F from the airport, Pop has woken up and is wandering about looking about ready for her bath and hairwash, and I can hear L mooching about upstairs still doubtless in his PJs. If I don't stop now we'll be eating pheasant sandwiches with clothes pegs on our noses, so I'll leave you with a pic of Miss butter-wouldn't-melt Pops and wish you all a lovely weekend.....




CT :o)

20 comments:

  1. HI CT Well I do not know were you found the time to write about the going's on that is happening in your home today. love the butterfly shots. I didn't think they would be still around and loved seeing the Moths. You dog is so cute. Have a great weekend adn hope you dinner party goes off well.

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    1. Thanks Margaret :o) Lovely party and no hangover today! x

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  2. Heehee, this all sounds like a mighty fine dinner party! There is lots to comment on in this lovely long meaty post, lovely bowls, cute pups, fascinating insects but I am sorry - my favourite bit is Mr & Mrs Crump.
    Have a great weekend.xx

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    1. Mr and Mrs Crump also have Baby Crumps! Lovely evening and I don't feel too knackered today....bonus :o) Enjoy the rest of the weekend xx

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  3. Hope that you have a great time, and that Pops behaves and that Teddy shows up as his usual debonair little self! Love your new dishes, and the windowsill is very impressive - want to come and tackle mine!!! Happy dinner parties. xx

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    1. Pops was so well behaved I was suspicious M had swapped her for someone else. She smelt nice too, after her bath :o) Good luck with your window sills- my next task is the windows themselves! xx

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  4. Here's hoping that the dinner party was a joyous success. I spent part of today cleaning windows and sills. I blame the low level sunlight. It's almost impossible to ignore the dust.
    Leanne xx

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    1. I agree- suddenly all my windows look like murky grimy things that no one can see through :o( Hope all's well with you and yours xx

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  5. Hope the party went well, great post with lots to read, I too love the second insect with the feathery antennae. Have seen a few Butterflies still out on the wing when the sun comes out and have been checking the Ivy flowers for Bees. My son too has been playing Borderlands all half term, only managing to go out side when it gets dark ! it pains me to see them in when the sun is shining, I said that's why he's so tall, like a mushroom growing in the dark !
    Amanda xx

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    1. Lovely party and all the food worked (phew). Couldn't believe the flutters yesterday, so lovely to see them. I will also keep an eye on the ivy, but we don't have enough sand here for them to nest in so I'm not expecting to see the holes, although you never know...
      What is it with lads and their computer games? L is being dragged out for a walk today and is furious! x

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  6. How brave to put on a dinner party! I get freaked out when I have to cater for people, any attempt at cooking meat always goes dreadfully wrong. I overcooked beef once and it was too tough to chew. I think I need to stick to veggie meals at least I know what I'm doing.

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    1. I haven't done one for six months so it was a bit overdue. Normally we number 13 or 14, so last night's 6 was a breeze in comparison :o) The trick is to make as much before hand as you can then just bung it all in the oven xx

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  7. Wow, this is just a typical day in your life and a dinner party to boot. Girl, you have the energy of 5 people. Sounds like you had everything in order, hope you got everyone washed n shining. Love the butterfly's, ours are long one and we are expecting snow today.

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    1. Wow! Snow! We've got warm sunshine here at the mo but it can't last- colder weather is forecast this week. Looking forward to seeing your snow pics :o) Would also love to see your butterflies next summer.... :o)

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  8. Well I hope the pie was delicious, the guests merry and the dogs not smelly!

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    1. The pie was good (phew), the guests all behaved themselves, and so did the dogs :o)

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  9. Your dinner party food sounds lovely and those dishes are wonderful - I now have Blue Dish Envy in a big way! This mild weather is still encouraging no end of insects although I would like to discourage any further mugging of my person by hungry midges which spill in when I open the windows.

    I wonder what your chrysalis will hatch into. I am dead impressed that you can even hazard a guess as to its contents!

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    1. I really like the pottery too. It comes from a market stall in Winchester and is good thick stuff, so hopefully a bit smash-proof :o)

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  10. Hope the Dinner Party went well - rather like those beautiful blue dishes! Spotted a Red Admiral here on the patio on Saturday. A nice selection of moths as always and I look forward to seeing what the pupa produces in due course :)

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    1. Amazing to see so many flutters still out and about. Brimstones too. But today I think they will be hiding as it's turned cold and wet. Fingers crossed for the pupa- do you think yellow underwing? x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x