Monday, August 31, 2020
Friday, August 28, 2020
1. Alec doing his own packing to go to Granny and Grandpa's. He appears to be planning on a long stay, judging by the amount of clothing he is taking.
2. There just happens to be a slice of cake at coffee time.
Thursday, August 27, 2020
1. Last cricket session of the season. Bettany chasing a ball outruns one of the boys and remembers to throw the ball back, rather than carrying it.
2. A toddler running after a tennis ball turns to look at me, checking whether I am watching her pick it up.
3. A football rolls towards us down the side road we are walking up. I return the Dutch woman's favour by stopping it and dribbling it back the way it has come until we see a little boy jogging to meet us.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
1. To take half an hour off and play Lego Marvel Superheroes with Alec. We don't have a specific quest in mind, instead preferring to run around the city throwing cars at each other.
2. The trees are thrashing in an August storm and we are indoors.
3. Salt crystals scattered across a tray of roasted new potatoes.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
1. A godmother brings Bettany the hobby horse she has wanted for a long time. The look of genuine joy on my child's face. And also, later: the horse joins us at supper, eating a few wooden vegetables; Bettany dressed in her sheriff outfit clopping downstairs to tell Nick that 'this town ain't big enough for the both of us'; and finding her asleep in bed cuddled up next to the horse.
2. It's wonderful just to enjoy time with our friends, sitting sprawled in the park.
3. I do offer him a dignified umbrella -- but he and his children think that borrowing Bett's pink princess brolly would be more funny.
Monday, August 24, 2020
1. Bettany asks me to go to Nana's round by the main road while the Nick and Alec go across the estate. She pretends we're not racing them, but secretly we are -- and we win.
2. To point out to your children that there is no need for them to fight over an abundantly available resource -- in this case, acorns.
3. For dinner we have one of those recipes featuring ingredients that the children wouldn't usually touch with a bargepole -- watercress, anchovies and capers whizzed into a pesto. It is eaten with a lot of enthusiasm.
Friday, August 21, 2020
1. Grandpa brandishes the spanner he has brought to take the front wheel off Alec's bike for easier loading.
2. While we are unloading the car, the football rolls out of the boot and down the hill. I have to chase after it in my slippers. There is absolutely no hope of my catching it before it rolls into the High Street at the bottom, though. Luckily, a kind lady in big boots is game enough to stand in its way and catch it. It is all a bit absurd, and we share a moment of laughter.
3. To Alec's unalloyed delight, Tom Carradine sings his requested song, 'I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair' from South Pacific.
Thursday, August 20, 2020
1. Feeling spits and spots of rain on my arms. I am drenched by the time I get home. Being out in the rain comes with a whole bundle of experiences, from cold stinging dots to the water trickling down my neck to the sounds of falling water. I am grateful that I don't have to include 'anxiety about arriving at work soaking wet' to that list.
2. One of my clients has need of me again and we've got a meeting towards the end of the afternoon. I used to know how to use their conferencing system; but my skills have dried up. I have an anxious play to see if I can make it work. Then my 'handler' calls me to check that I know how to get in. He apologises for micromanaging -- but it's exactly what I wanted at this moment.
3. To start reading a new book with the children. Inevitably they fight over who gets to sit next to me, so I point out that whoever sits on the floor by my feet can make a nest of blankets and cushions. They fight over that, too.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
1. We have re-heated pizza for lunch.
2. I have the children for a couple of hours this afternoon. I sit with them putting icing and sprinkles on little cakes. Then I play a video game with Alec. And then I start Bettany off making another gymnast.
3. Bettany (wearing her new school shoes) and I slip out into the summer evening to deliver some cakes.
Monday, August 17, 2020
1. Nana makes us ice cream cones to eat on the way home. She is determined to get the ice cream right to the bottom of the cone.
2. Bettany and I use a craft kit to build a little acrobat who flips over on a twisted string when you squeeze two rods. She is very pleased with herself and says that 'Gymnast Judy' is her favourite toy in the whole house.
3. Nick has taken over making supper so I spend the time cutting back some jasmine shoots to maintain a human-sized width in the narrow space outside our back door. I don't like the sticky sap on my hands, but I do like the heavy perfume and the improved space.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Friday, August 14, 2020
1. A passenger on the train waiting at the other platform spots Alec's bike and explains with gestures that we should look out for the carriages with red markings as these have bike spaces.
2. The children, streaked with sand and mud, running and shrieking on the beach, collecting shells and dead crabs.
3. The five of us huddling under one big umbrella while we wait for the rainstorm to pass. A lot of people hurry past us on their way back to the car park and we know that if we only wait, we'll have the beach to ourselves.
3a. Bettany finds two bright, newly painted pebble ladybirds on fence posts. I wonder if they are the work of the sturdy blonde teenage girl who pedaled past us in such a determined way five minutes ago.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
1. The park is so quiet and clean and cool this early in the morning.
2. To pull a new bar of soap out of the dark blue tissue paper packet.
3. It takes a long time to settle the children and we go to bed rather late. I'm so tired that I'm tempted to forget about my physio -- but I do them anyway. It's perfunctory; but it's done.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
1. Even this early in the day it is uncomfortably warm for walking. I am so grateful that I am returning home to work and that I can overheat in peace without worrying about professional appearances.
2. To remember that ice lollies came with the grocery delivery.
3. Nick brings the children home filthy, hot and tired from playing on a friend's waterslide.
Monday, August 10, 2020
1. A long drink of cold water in Nana's kitchen. She has taken over the naming of the children's clothes before school starts again.
2. Even in this hottest part of summer the spring at Brighton Lake is still flowing. We poke dead leaves and sticks out of the gully until the water runs freely again.
3. Bettany has chalked encouraging words on the brick pavement in front of our house.
Saturday, August 08, 2020
Friday, August 07, 2020
1. On a hot afternoon to have a chat and a catch-up in the shade.
2. To stare up at the places where the edges of an oak tree's canopy meet the sky.
3. Alec rides a little ahead of us down the path in shadow splashed and speckled with with sunlight.