Monday, December 21, 2020

Road ahead, nativity and comedy.

1. To spot some friends from school a little way ahead of us and to stop for a quick socially-distanced chat.

2. Bettany's Beaver colony suggests we might like to watch the nativity put on by Tunbridge Wells Salvation Army whose hall we meet in when things are as they should be. They livecast it on YouTube, and it's absolutely lovely. 

3. I put on an episode of I'm Sorry I haven't A Clue and it makes Nick laugh.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Care, visit and stop.

1. A husband who is willing to rub my aching back muscles.

2. A friend comes by with a bottle of home-made creme de cassis that glows warm garrnet red with the light behind it. We take a couple of turns around the park to catch up and it does us both good. 

3. To stop work quite a while before bedtime.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Parcels, gingerbread ruin and sausage.

1. To bring parcels sent by godparents, aunts and uncles down to the Christmas tree. It's satisfying to see the gifts stacking up, and to send out parcels of our own -- but also a very sad reminder that we won't see them this year.
2. Alec gleefully sends a picture of my imploded gingerbread house to his uncle.
3. Bettany has strongly hinted that she would like a big Italian sausage for Christmas. The one she would really like is sold by the slice in the extremely expensive new Italian shop; and the slices are bigger than dinner plates. I hope she is satisfied with the slightly smaller example that Father Christmas has sourced.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

2021, cards and pattern.

1. A delayed parcel arrives with next year's calendar. 
2. Bettany's stack of Christmas cards for her classmates.
3. The satisfaction of using a large stamping block. It never gets old, no matter how many times I repeat the pattern.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Grow, rags and wine.

1. I visioned myself stating the projects I want to grow and increase in the coming weeks beneath a beautiful silver crescent hanging elegantly in an indigo sky. The reality is that you can't see a new moon because it's completely dark. Also, it's cloudy, and this December moon goes new when it is below the horizon. And the children arrived home in the middle and interrupted me to tell me about their days. These are real life intentions, though, so I'm not going to let the perfect get in the way of the good. 
2. To dump six bags of old clothes in the rag bins at the firestation. We've found it difficult to get rid of rags  during the pandemic. It's made me hesitate to buy new things that we badly need, and the bags were cluttering up our storage space.
3. That glass of wine went straight to my head.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Lie in, another person and decimals.

1. To sleep in as long as I want to and still wake up before everyone else.
2. Godmother Larlie swings by with a Christmas box. We keep her on the doorstep chatting because we're so pleased to see another person.
3. Alec wonders at the magic of maths, until decimal sums seem to glitter like a treasure hoard.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Light, clear and dealt with.

1. This morning is strange lightwise as I move along the way home. In places streaks and wisps of mist; in places bright winter sun. But by the time I get to my desk there are dark clouds rolling in from Ashdown Forest.
2. Looking at my plan for the day and seeing that I have a good long clear stretch for working: no calls, no obligations.
3. Nick takes the malfunctioning smoke alarm away and deals with it.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Waiting, woods and silence.

1. When I come down both children are sitting calmly and politely on the sofa waiting for a cuddle.

2. To walk home through the woods -- even on a wettish, grey day with a flat sky it's soothing to be among trees. The real world seems miles away, although I can hear (in a muffled way) the traffic at the bottom of the hill.

3. The smoke alarm goes off right before supper. The silence when it stops.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Wildlife, fold and overtaken.

1. I enjoy finding Dave Bonta's Morning Porch in my inbox. I can't always visualise the wildlife he records, but I always get the feeling of it, one way or another.

2. Alec working on an origami paper star. I tell him that I always find those models really tricky -- no matter how many times I do them I can't seem to master the technique. 'It's like this, Mummy, look.' 

3. As I walk up the High Street I find myself overtaking three runners in high vis because they keep stopping to look in the Christmas windows.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Stitch, scent of Christmas and Alan Lee.

 1. To embroider during a phone conference that must be endured.
2. The smell of cinnamon, oranges and cloves in the Christmas decoration box from a pomander I made years and years ago.
3. Nick has brought a book of 'lost' Tolkien tales home from the library. To spend a little time gazing at Alan Lee's ethereal illustrations.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Longer loop, touchstone list and light reading.

1. To spot a Parcel Force van at the start of my walk, and again halfway round. And also to spot a runner who is doing a longer loop than me.  
2. I'm putting in an order for food for the next few weeks with a slight feeling of panic because 8 December is the last supermarket delivery slot I could get before Christmas Day. But as a family we wrote down everything we expect from Christmas on an A3 page. I've put it up in the kitchen, and I keep returning to it -- a touchstone, and a bright thread to follow. 
3. To read Andrew Wallace's light and funny Space Gravy late at night. He has caught the wonder and glorious, crazy variety of a setting in space that is 'vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big'.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Bacon sandwich, woods and chocolate.

1. I answer rather grumpily when Nick calls through the bathroom door because my mouth is full of toothpaste and the water is running so I can't hear him. It turns out the children have asked to have bacon sandwiches for breakfast and he would like to know if I want one too.

2. Our children running ahead of us through the wet winter woods. 

3. At the market we find a new chocolatier with complicated, exciting chocolates on offer. He is based in Hastings and there is a very distinct seaside feel to his range -- vanilla ice cream, cinnamon doughnut and salt water (a highly detailed salted caramel).

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Delivery, return and entertained.

1. A grim and determined-looking member of the school kitchen staff marches out to tell the delivery driver he'll have to wait until drop-off is finished before coming through the gate.

2. There is something satisfying about Nick bringing the children home rather late and covered in mud because they went the long way round home from school. He says they were looking for the epic puddle that we found last time it rained.

3. The children are watching a Christmas film as part of a Cubs camp at home this evening. It's so... quiet.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Help, adjustment and present.

1. I am standing under a shelter scrabbling through my pockets to sort out mask, headphones, gloves, hat, waterproof etc. A lady comes out of a doorway and asks if I'm searching for my mask. 'Because,' she says, 'I'd give you one if you needed one.'

2. Walking home I realise that the chiropractor has done something about the stiffness down the back of my legs.

3. I work pretty much full time and I'm the main breadwinner. So it's a real privilege that I can be present to help out when the children and Nick come home from school soaking wet after a rainy walk home.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Growing, enough looking and things that I had forgotten.

1. Facebook pops up a picture of Alec so small that he could hide behind the door of the washing machine cupboard. It's a reminder of how far we've come.
2. 'That's enough looking now,' says Bettany. I have to supervisse her dance lesson -- but she doesn't like me watching her.
3. When I dig into the Decmber the First box I discover a pair of festive typing mitts and two pairs of Christmas socks that I'd forgotten I own.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Dress-up, red pepper and choice.

1. To paint a dog nose on to Bettany for Stone Age day at school. 
2. A piece of roasted red pepper with my scrambled egg. It's heartening for the colour and for the meaty texture.
3. I'd meant to go to bed early, but instead I do my invoices because I am a bit behind with my work. That feels like a good choice today. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Planner, dull day and bad memories.

1. The postman brings my 2021 wallplanner. I'm not quite ready to admit that the year is turning -- but owning a planner feels like a step in the right direction.
2. The weather has been very dull, but at least the sun doesn't bother me in the afternoon by swinging across my computer screen.
3. I flinch at a challenging writing exercise -- a memoir of your own stupidity. It's painful to dig around in these memories -- but not as painful as I expected, and it feels safe to work on it in the good company of my writing group.