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Nellie Knows : The Wokingham Paper : 5 June 2015

This was previously published in The Wokingham Paper on 5 June 2015.

As I write up my column on the second of June I should be excited about the sun, warmer days and barbecue weather - instead I am wearing socks and my finger is poised on the central heating boost button. Talking about the weather is a very British thing to do and as far as I can remember we have been chatting about it in all weathers (boom boom!). I think my earliest memory of weather was the Summer of ’76 when we were officially in a drought and my mother, not wanting her plants to wilt and die, rigged up a hose from the upstairs bathroom with an old and heavy iron which transported the bath water, Norsca and all, onto the borders. I can also remember going to bed when it was light and then getting up again asking Mum what was for breakfast, little knowing that it was only 9pm and I had only slept for about 2 hours! Shortly after that I possibly learnt to tell the time!

Half term

Talking of time and I have mentioned this before but I have no idea where it goes and we are now looking at the last half of term for the current school year. Where did half term go?

Ours was a mixed bag of fun! On the first Friday our youngest was invited to be a mascot for the Reading FC Women’s match against Millwall. She took her role very seriously with an early night the day before, thorough kit check and made sure she had a full bottle of water, not to mention the travel checks and clocking watching. She walked through the players’ door with a cheeky grin and the next time we saw her she was on the pitch with the team warming up. That night she slept in a signed shirt and got up the next morning to take part in the Futsal League in Guildford.

We dashed off to Wales for a bit in half term staying in the very familiar surroundings of South Wales and then heading from the valleys to Anglesey on a journey that takes 4 hours from Brecon yet 4.5 from Wokingham. I went a day earlier than the rest of the family and had a great evening with friends at Glanusk before spending a morning in Crickhowell visiting the many venues on the Arts Trail.

Anglesey is stunning, I had never been before and neither had my husband who hails from the Valleys. The scenery is stunning, the island is steeped in history and the islanders are incredibly proud of where they live. We were fortunate to head to RAF Valley and saw the Red Arrows display, all I can say is WOW! Our friends gave us an island tour and laughed when we tried to pronounce Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch, it comes as no surprise that I failed and I don’t mind telling you I have had to double check the spelling!

Arts in Wokingham

Of course the arts aren’t just alive in Wales, in Wokingham we are very lucky to have the Art House in Broad Street Walk which is home to a unique collection of ceramics, paintings, furniture, jewellery and sculpture made by Berkshire based artists and makers. It’s open Thursday and Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 5pm. There’s also The Robin’s Nest in Wargrave which is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm daily, and 11am to 2.30pm on a Sunday. I’m a big supporter of independents and shopping locally and love places that offer something a little bit different.

In the kitchen

As it’s officially summer I should be preparing marinades and whipping up salads but no it’s been the rainy season so we have been comfort eating and falling back on the fail safe recipes of bolognese, toad in the hole and roasts. I read in the papers that a school in Basingstoke has banned packed lunches which would present a problem in our house as my lot all enjoy preparing and cooking with me, plus they don’t always enjoy the choice on offer. This morning (Tuesday as I write and it’s blowing a gale) I sent my youngest off to school with a Thermos filled with pasta and sauce which she helped prepare last night. This will set her up for the day and keep her going during football training this afternoon, then it’s toad in the hole for supper but by the time you read this it will be salad days, it will be!


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