Friday, February 03, 2023

Dawn, wonder pens and after nightfall.

1. 'What are you doing? Get back into bed!' says Bettany severely. I assure her that I'm just looking out of the window at the pink sky. I can't help but think of it as a warning to shepherds, though, and expect rain later.

2. I've seen these friction-erasable pens spoken of with a mix of reverence and wonder on embroidery forums. Everything I'd heard was true -- the marks miraculously vanish when I pass the iron over them. 

3. I bring Bettany's completed number day T-shirt upstairs to her darkened room. She is fast asleep.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Networking, sticky and pamphlet.

1. Even though I have a deadline today, I put my head into a zoom call for local editors. I'm very glad I did: freelance editing is a very isolating business. The work needs deep focus, and I can do it much better if I'm not tied by the social obligations of an office environment; but seeing live faces and hearing people's stories in their own voices always perks me up.

2. While the men are out, Bettany and I spend a satisfying fifteen minutes decluttering the sweetie cupboard by finishing some open packets and throwing away anything that seems too sticky, or that we don't like. 

3. At last there's time to sit down with a new poetry pamphlet -- Charley Barnes' Leaf-eater. I'd recommend it to anyone who is fond of dogs, or has experience of small children; and anyone who wants to see the winter world in a completely different way. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Four-minute shower, boys and nougat.

1. To achieve the four-minute shower presently prescribed by this winter's arbiters of virtue.

2. Far below me, through the white noise of my work, I can hear Alec and his friend hooting and laughing at the video game they are playing.

3. After supper, while the children are distracted, we cut a few slices off a piece of nougat and quietly eat them.


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

All well, pigeon and ales.

1. A text message with 'All is well for now' news.

2. An enormous wood pigeon with ill-fitting feathers stumbles around the garden looking for sunflower hearts. It resembles a chaotic friend with a drinking problem who has arrived two days late, still wearing last night's evening dress, for your child's first birthday party.

3. The landlord quietly leaves on my table a heavy-bottomed taster glass of the pale ale he has just put on. It's nice -- light like unripe fruit and a bit different to the metallic bitter I'm drinking.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Tape, parables and extra person.

1. Gently removing the last of the painter's tape.

2. I'm cooking supper and half listening to Alec moaning about his scripture homework, which involves writing about the meaning of parables. I suddenly find myself saying, without really knowing where it comes from, 'Read the next couple of verses: Jesus literally explains the sower and the seeds, step by step. It's the only parable with an explanation.' I think that 2,000 years ago, the disciples must have shared Alec's feelings, and perhaps made some of the same grumbly noises.

3. A few chapters ago, the children and I noticed an extra character present in a scene and wondered if there had been a mistake. But now all is explained. It's very subtly done; and I hope the editor got the same pleasure as us.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Rain, productivity and showing things to children.

1. Raindrops like rhinestones on Alec's blazer -- he just caught the edge of the rain.

2. When I come to look at Toggl Timer and to fill in my work data for the day, I realise just how much I've achieved -- and just how tired and broken I was last week when I was ill.

3. To explain to Bettany something we've seen on Horrible Histories, I end up playing some Bee Ges videos. Does showing children things they've never seen before ever get old?

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Porridge, fennel and drinks.

1. We climb to the top of Tunbridge Wells to see the famous view -- but the town's bowl is concealed under mist as thick as porridge.

2. In the mushroom soup that I have for lunch is the taste of fennel.

3. Bettany and I drink fancy orange juice topped up with soda water and all the ice we can find. Mine also has a shot of fennel vodka -- probably it's cocktail name would be Unfamiliar Screwdriver That Came With The Lamp You Bought Online.

Dawn, wonder pens and after nightfall.

1. 'What are you doing? Get back into bed!' says Bettany severely. I assure her that I'm just looking out of the window at the p...