Thursday, April 22, 2021

Over, haul and pudding.

1. For some weeks I've been fretting quietly about chairing a fiction editors' discussion over Zoom. Now it's done, and I was really lucky to have some supportive helpers. We think it went well. 

2. Nick shows off his haul from the new Lidel.

3. Bettany has invented a surprise pudding -- chilled malt loaf pieces with purple icing and sprinkles. At least she's showing an interest in cooking.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Haircut, puppy and weeding.

1. I come downstairs to find Nick has been to the barbers and now has a velvety head.

2. You miss an awful lot when you're in a hurry. There's a woman walking in the park with a black labrador puppy, all big feet and soft, unformed features. She looks like she expects a compliment and a chat -- but I can't stop today.

3. The clear patch of ground that I have just weeded. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Together, weeding and oxalis.

1. To sit cuddling both children as we get ready to face our days.

2. I spend ten minutes weeding in the front garden and get a good neighbour chat while I do it.

3. Tiny oxalis plants seem too  delicate to push their soft green leaves and spindly stems out of the leaf litter along the base of the park fence -- and yet there they are.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Stock, cricket ground and happily occupied.

1. To return to my chicken stock and find the carcass has fallen quietly apart.

2. The cricket ground feels more like itself now the soil has dried out and the daisies have appeared round the edges. In winter, walking round feels like an intrusion at a time when the place would prefer not to be seen.

3. Nick tells me later that Alec had a little smile on his face throughout his online art class.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Brisk wind, baby news and silent companion.

1. Our coats dry fairly quickly in the brisk wind that has got up following the shower. 

2. To get news that a friend has had her baby.

3. While I am working, Alec comes up and quietly reads a comic nearby.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Curled buds, come with and dance.

1. The curled buds of tulips hiding among the leaves.

2. To my surprise, Alec says he'd like to come with me.

3. Bettany's dance camp can't do the usual end of session show, but they perform one of the dances  -- 'Stick it to the Man' from School of Rock in the car park, and it's glorious to see how much a good teacher can achieve in two days. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Buzzards, dance camp and fairy forest.

1. To catch sight of buzzards circling.

2. To collect a smiling Bettany from her dance camp.

3. To find a cushion of moss that looks like a fairy forest. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Unexpected snow, orange jelly and giggles.

1. The moment between opening the blind to see unexpected snow and realising that it is going to spoil your plans for the day.

2. Bettany has made orange jelly with peaches in it for supper pudding.

3. I get the giggles during writing group.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Snip, bath and satisfactory work.

1. To snip off a few dead hyacinth heads in the garden.

2. Alec announces that he will be taking a bath this evening. And can he listen to a podcast. He suggests I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue, and promises that all the rude jokes go over his head. 

3. To have spent an entire weekend focusing on my own writing with a Solus Or virtual retreat.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Joke, watering and tired.

1. My goddaughter has been sending us daily jokes. Today she picks one that Bettany suggested. What is the Sheriff of Nottingham's favourite dessert? Robin Pud.

2. The little can I use to water the orchids makes a soft glugging sound.

3. The children are very tired out from their bike ride in the forest and they are mellow and cuddly rather than keyed up and in denial.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Call, game and cardboard VR.

1. A courteous call early on to say that work will not be coming today. It's annoying not to have the money -- but it's lovely to have the time back and the looser schedule.

2. It is so unpleasantly cold out that we don't linger, but hurry home to wait for Nick there. Alec asks if I will play on the Xbox with him in this spare slip of time, so I do. 

3. Throughout the day Alec comes upstairs to tell me about and finally show me the virtual reality headset he is making out of a cardboard box and the iPad.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Comfort, prize and snowflakes.

1. I've been pushing forward withe a project that is outside my comfort zone -- helping to organise a professional development event -- and now I'm tired and aching and anxious. It is very cheering to snuggle in with the children, who are lying in bed reading. 

2. Bettany is of the opinion that she deserves a prize for trying to be less bad tempered. Luckily I have a spare Frozen pop-up pencil, which she likes very much.

3. I should be working but I am watching flurries of snowflakes whirling across town.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Out, weather and slow to start.

1. To put on my shoes and leave the house.

2. Is that snow?

3. Lloyd Alexander's The Book of Three is excruciatingly slow to start, as tedious Prince Gwydion infodumps a load of nation-level back story and central casting farmboy Taran moans about his identity crisis. As I read it to the children I can see why Alec has abandoned it. But then Gurgi and Eilonwy turn up, and the story seems to come alive. I think it's the character-level conflict: poor Taran can hardly bring himself to associate with either of them, but he has to, or he can't move forward -- and it's like the lights have gone on in the story. 


Monday, April 05, 2021

Chocolate for breakfast, visit and in the woods.

1. To eat large pieces of Easter egg for breakfast.

2. My parents come to visit for the first time in over a year to sit in the garden, drink Champagne and see how much the children have grown.

3. In the April woods, still bare but so very nearly in leaf, to see the children running about among the trees, now behind us, now ahead.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Buds, call to work and Easter box.

1. I spot a few buds on the bare stems of the wisteria. 

2. Towards the end of the day, a pleasant conversational call about some work.

3. Bettany plays on the floor with the coloured eggs and toy rabbits, lambs and chicks that we've brought out of the Easter box.  
 

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Other editors, glam and disconcerting shoot.

1. As always it is good to talk with other editors, even if it is in yet another Zoom meeting.

2. Bettany asks me to help her look like a diva for her dance class watching week. She wants hair chalk and eye shadow and glitter on her cheeks, and will I paint her nails.

3. I notice a strange waving.... thing in one of the pots of sunflower seedlings. It looks like the shoot of some disconcerting alien fungus but as I look I notice wings and eyes. It's a small cranefly emerging from it's pupa.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Greeting, eggs and hot cross buns.

1. On this warm spring morning, with restrictions newly lifted, an older man greets me with a jaunty 'Fine day!'

2. A tree decked out with little eggs. Bettany loves a good Easter tree, althought she is less fond of walking, but perhaps I can tempt her out here  soon.

3. The smell of toasting hot cross buns.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Bulbs, walking time and reviews..

1. Candy pink tulips, still streaked with green, have popped out now. In the middle of the pot the deep velvet blue hyacinths are still going, scenting the back garden. 

2. Robert and I walk across the Common to pick up the children from school: peaceful time to catch up.

3. Our writing group has a lot of fun this evening. We're writing product reviews, with a focus on the absurd. The laughter and lightness are a relief and a joy.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Baby, brother and coloured cakes.

1. A message from my mother to say that Rosey has had her baby.

2. A call from my brother to say he has arrived home safely from Antarctica.

3. Bettany's rainbow fairy cakes come out of the oven and they are much brighter and more beautiful than I expected.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Cross off, wren and Word glitch.

1. I drop off a parcel and cross a nagging task off my list.

2. In the park to catch sight of an impossibly small red-brown wren with its tail stuck up in the air.

3. I ask for help with a Word glitch on an editing forum and get a whole host of helpful tips and explanations.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Yellow, cheese and sketch.

1. Patches of yellow blossom have appeared on the bare twigs of the forsythia hedge.

2. At supper Nick puts the cheese board on the table.

3. Alec sitting in bed working away in his sketchbook-journal.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Sick day, leaving cakes and journal.

1. Poor Alec is sick, so we keep him off school. It means a lot to me that we can do this without worrying about work commitments.

2. It's fun to leave a couple of cakes on a friend's doorstep.

3. To see that I am approaching the last pages of the journal that I use for gaming notes. It makes the sense of time passing tangible, and helps me remember the sociable times we've had playing together.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Coffee, cleaning and chocolate eggs.

1. A really good cup of coffee shop coffee and a socially distanced walk on the common.

2. It is satisfying to clean grime off white-painted window crosspieces.

3. Bettany interrupts my work to ask very nicely if she can have a few extra mini eggs for her Beavers activity -- making chocolate crispy nests.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Loaf, recyling and brownie.

1. Alec is hungry and cuts himself a cheeky slice off the end of the loaf that I have just brought out of the breadmaker.

2. To discover that Amazon will give me a little bit of cash for my very old Kindles.

3. Eating a small piece of Bettany's brownie after supper.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Pram, scone and calm.

1. I spot a personal trainer working with a mother who has a pram parked off to one side.

2. The children have picked out a maple and pecan drop scone from the new bakery. Nick brings it up on a plate with a cup of tea and it is delicious.

3. Often dress-up days at school are just stressful with tantrums and last-minute costume changes. But this evening the children talk about what they want to wear tomorrow and help me find it and name it.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Loan, unscripted and long.

1. As I am coming home from my walk I fall in with a neighbour. We end up discussing roleplaying games, and by the time I step through our door I'm holding a brand new game that he'd like me to take a look at.

2. Half listening to Bettany chuntering away to herself in the bath. She making a pretend YouTube video about potions.

3. Alec folds his improbably long body on to my lap for a cuddle before bed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Hum, no rush and vaccinated.

1. Bettany, as usual, claims that she didn't like the film we sat her in front of while she recovers from a bug. Not one of the songs, and none of the characters met her approval. But later I heard a snatch of a tune muttered under her breath.

2. The clock on the station tower tells me that I've timed it right so there is no need to hurry up the hill.

3. Nick got the call earlier today that he can have his first dose of vaccine. When he returns at supper time to say all done, he's bought parcels from the new cheese shop to celebrate.  

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tiny gardens, ghosts and tiny island.

1. Showing Bettany a few of the things growing in the garden, including the vigorous crop of lambs lettuce growing around her fairy house. Another fairy garden, a shallow pan, has filled with mossy humps and hummocks.

2. To sit with Alec chatting about the Usborne Book of Ghosts, which was much prized when I was little,  and has recently been reprinted.

3. We stumble across the story of Palmerston Island: an English sailor founded a dynasty that still lives there today. If you haven't tried the Radio Garden app, by the way, it's well worth your time. It allows you to navigate a world of radio stations on a globe map.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Cousin call, break through and time.

1. The way my sister's toddler asks for Alec and Bettany as soon as the call starts.

2. One of the steps in the archaelogy course Nick and I are doing is to try copying the shale pendant found at Starr Carr. I have a go at drilling a piece of slate using a flint. The moment I break through is remarkably satisfying.

3. We've gone for a slide-in-the-oven ready meal this evening, which means there is time to relax before supper.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Sprouts, reading and artefact.

1. The marvel of finding a sprouted acorn at the bottom of the compost heap. But also the beanstalks that have grown on the kitchen windowsill from hard dry beans. 

2. Alec takes over reading our book when my voice gets tired. We end up discussing the best voices to use for the different characters.

3. Nick and I sit in bed marvelling over the stone age pendant found at Starr Carr. It seems like science fiction to experience an object remotely -- but that's the power of skilled observation and thoughtful analysis by expert archaeologists.