Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Latest news from the family

Lara is back to being fighting fit again. In fact yesterday we thought she was entering a growth spurt, as no matter how much food we offered her, she ate it all without stopping. Today has been more normal, so maybe she was just extra hungry for some reason yesterday, but certainly she has a healthy appetite!
It was great to see how she played with Elizabeth on Sunday, once initial shyness was overcome. Elizabeth was really friendly towards "Baby Lara", offering lots of hugs and kisses, and once Lara stopped being shy, there were many occasions for "ooohs" and "aaahhs" from the parents as hugs and kisses were initiated and reciprocated. Too much oohing and aahing from Papa meant none were recorded on video or film, sadly.

Olga's been filling out more forms than a German bureaucrat recently, but for good reason. On Monday morning she submitted her application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, which was successful (of course!). This means she no longer has any time limit on her stay in the UK, which is the next step towards gaining British Citizenship and ultimately a British Passport. The forms for citizenship are being filled in now, and with fingers firmly crossed, Olga should be belting out the national anthem at a Citizenship ceremony in Wycombe well before the end of the year.
Tonight's form-filling exercise has been for a tourist visa to Cyprus - Olga loves her beach holidays, and we have friends living there who have said we can visit anytime. With jobs to be done at home and money tight, we've decided that Olga and Lara should go, and I'll hold the fort here with Mishka. The friend Olga will stay with is Ukrainian, so they can gossip together in Russian, and she has two small children that Lara can play with. I'm godfather to the elder one - Christina - so I'll hear about it if Lara starts trying to throw her weight around!
Anyway, that's for the middle of August, a few weeks away.. a few weeks of shopping for holiday outfits for both girls!!

A Sunday walk

Catherine, Nick and Elizabeth came to visit on Saturday night, and on Sunday we went for a walk around the village of Turville, only a 10 minute drive from us, as we found out. The BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley had many of its scenes filmed here, and one of the photos below is taken outside the vicarage. Elizabeth really enjoyed running in the long grass.

Nick was adventurous enough to climb the nearby hill where you'll find the windmill from the opening scenes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:

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The girls did play together very nicely while the grown-ups had a drink in the pub afterwards:

Cricket locations - one of the best

On Saturday I played cricket for the first eleven at a place I've not been to before - Englefield Cricket Club, on the outskirts of Reading. It's in a country estate, as you can see from the photographs. The local MP lives there - research shows he's not claimed a penny in expenses since he was elected (when told he could claim £400 a month in food allowances, his response was allegedly "Why would I do that?").

We won the game by 97 runs, none of which were my contribution - run out for 0. Oh well, there's always next week, and it was a lovely place to play, made all the more special because Olga and Lara were there too!
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More produce from the vegetable patch

Last week it was time to harvest the first of the (many!) courgettes. One in particular was a giant! The problem now is to find enough recipes involving courgettes to use them all up. Any suggestions gratefully received!
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