Friday, October 15, 2021
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Monday, October 11, 2021
Thursday, October 07, 2021
1. The small parcel is a mystery: I'd forgotten that I ordered a skein of silver thread.
2. I push on with a story that I'm finding difficult. It was supposed to be a ghost story for Halloween and it's set in a world I'm not familiar with. I got feedback from a technical expert, and it became clear that it needed to be re-worked from the ground up. So I started again, and it was no longer a ghost story. So now I don't have a ghost story for Halloween. But get me: I knew what to do with the advice; I'm still working at my story; and I'm fairly sure that in due course, it's going to be a piece of work I can be proud of.
3. The pub has changed hands, and dinner is a lot posher than we were expecting -- small portions of perfect, exciting food made and served with careful attention to detail. My parents tell the manager that they are here in the 1960s and forgot to pay the bill so the landlord called their parents a couple of days later. He seems slightly astonished to think that people were eating there more than fifty years ago.
Wednesday, October 06, 2021
1. Playing with polybead clay we discover that some colours are willing to streeeetch into long cobwebby filaments.
2. Alec has come in from playing football and even after washing he has put mud on the towels. It's such a boyish thing that we don't have the heart to be annoyed even though the towels were new clean this morning.
3. The children are, apparently, so tired that they don't have it in them to argue about a new book. They quickly choose Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which I'm sure we've read before.
Tuesday, October 05, 2021
1. I could hear how very wet it was in the dark before dawn -- but now I walk to and from school the world seems new washed.
2. I do like being a parent helper at Cubs -- aid the leaders in their mission to get other people's children running around and over-excited. Also, learn about fire safety.
3. We stop in the darkest bit of the park and stare up through the trees at the stars.
Monday, October 04, 2021
1. On a clear evening to see Jupiter hanging just above the horizon. Alec, trying to get a picture, presses his new phone to the window.
2. I don't know why I fought so hard against reinstalling the printer. After that, it produces the perfect colour image that I wanted.
3. Douglas Adams once said that the only way to eat a ripe mango with dignity is to take off all your clothes and stand in a washing-up bowl. I realise I have one of those -- running with juice and tasting of coconut and resin as the best mangoes do -- as I am cutting it up for supper pudding. I contemplate putting the bowl in the fridge so Nick and I can enjoy it in peace after the children have gone to bed.
Friday, October 01, 2021
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Monday, September 27, 2021
1. To remember that I can ask the children to take on a few tasks, and they will actually do them: set up the waffle-maker, do some mixing, dust the stairs, fold the picnic rug.
2. To catch sight of our friends waiting outside the station.
3. I have been quietly seething at Liziqi's morning glories (7:38) because I have never succeeded in growing them. But today I spot that a single spindly plant, surviving against the odds in our front garden, has some furled silk parasol buds on it.
Friday, September 24, 2021
1. There is time this morning to walk out and meet Nick on his way home from the school run.
2. Our beans are done now: the crop has slowed and they have stopped putting out new leaves against the snails. It's time to strip them out and let the vines sink into decay. The space they have left makes the garden seem more peaceful.
3. I come down to find Bettany diligently applying gel icing to the fairy cakes I made earlier for the school's MacMillan coffee morning. She asks me to help.
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
1. To spend some quiet time with Alec calmly packing for his school trip away.
2. Sunset is at our busiest time of day -- we're eating supper and persuading the children to take steps towards bedtime -- so I usually miss it completely. But this evening I'm on a train and I have a moment to look at the sky streaked pink and blue.
3. Our first in-person games night for eighteen months. The video meet-ups were very convenient; but I've missed the physical presence of my friends, the drama of dice rolling and the visual aid of figures and maps.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
1. Something has gone wrong with Bettany's gingerbread dough. It is disappointingly soft and can't be rolled and cut. We blob it on to a tray and it bakes okay.
2. Bettany has promised to practise the ukelele for a Cubs challenge. She started to learn at school, but hasn't got very far amid the year's disruption. I sit with her as she works through her book, and we have a laugh making something close to music with the two chords we know.
3. Putting names in all the children's shoes. I get ridiculously excited when I come across a shoe with a white lining -- it means I can use a marker pen instead of a fiddly shoe label
Monday, September 20, 2021
1. We find puffballs on the common and the children burst a few to marvel at the black smoke of spores.
2. The spiders have come back. One has strung a web in the ivy across from the kitchen window, close enough that we can see him watching and waiting.
3. I've nearly missed the blackberries -- but this time I remember to bring a box out with me. They are nearly over and I don't get many; I don't even fill the box, but it's enough to say that we've had blackberries this year.
Friday, September 17, 2021
1. To weed my oregano pot. For weeks when I pick oregano for a salad I've been dodging a poppy (now gone to seed) and a herb robert plant. They are not weeds elsewhere in the garden. There is a lychnis seedling in there, too, which I will save, perhaps tomorrow.
2. There is glitter among the dust I have swept off the sideboard.
3. The sound of Bettany muttering grumbles about her day as she sits across my lap and watches a badly scripted YouTube fairy tale.
Thursday, September 16, 2021
1. The tak-tak on the door that signals the arrival of my friend and her baby.
2. Someone has stuffed takeaway litter in a burrow under the wall. Someone else has kicked it all out again.
3. I bring Alec to his first Scouts meeting. The joy on his face when he sees a friend -- and the joy on the friend's face.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
1. I love using epsom salts in the bath because you need such a lot of them. I weigh out half a kilo for Alec and bring them upstairs. He tips them into his running bath with a satisfying swish.
2. Detangling a doll's hair while I listen to Bettany reading.
3. With relief, I sink into Liziqi's beautiful world. I have no expectation of following her makes as everything is in Chinese, and there is a vast gap between her resources and competence and mine. There are times to be productive, and there are times to just watch.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
1. To marvel at this season's growth on the willow that was cut down last winter. The shoots are now over six feet. I wonder which of them will grow into branches?
2. Nick comes upstairs to hide from Bettany: she has set up a supermarket in the kitchen and is forcefully recruiting customers.
3. The moon blurred gold behind clouds.
Monday, September 13, 2021
1. We hear jingling bells in the street below us. Bettany exclaims, 'Santa!' with a level of joy and wonder that surprises me, because she has unpacked and dismantled the Father Christmas story in great detail on several occasions. She squirms round to look out of the window: it's only a passing dog.
2. The smell of blue wood smoke at Forest School.
3. Alec in his wellies, down on one knee, showing his little sister how to use a fire flash.
Friday, September 10, 2021
1. To accept that today I will not be productive because it is the day of Alec's 11-plus exam.
2. To drop a bag of outgrown and broken down shoes into the recycling.
3. Alec returns confident, almost cocky. He is content with his exam performance.
Thursday, September 09, 2021
1. The dog walkers caught us at the beer hatch buying a jug for our end of heatwave street party. 'Are you going? Be there in a minute.'
2. The party started to break up when the wind got up, blowing along the street lifting napkins and ruffling our hair and clothes.
3. The children and I watched the rain begin from their bedroom kneeling up on the sofa with our faces wedged below the sash window. A boy ran up our street in the growing dark, pulling against the parent who called him back.
Wednesday, September 08, 2021
1. The dew splashes my ankles as I walk around the cricket ground.
2. To find that Bettany has set up a little restaurant table in the garden.
3. Sparrows peering down at us from the gutters. I think they might be looking for water so I set up a shallow pan.
Tuesday, September 07, 2021
1. Thinking that in this heat I need to drink more than usual, and then remembering that I have a box of liquorice tea.
2. It's hot today, but I don't have much work on so I can afford to take things at a slow pace.
3. To find that a cucumber has been growing un-noticed in the shade.
Monday, September 06, 2021
Friday, September 03, 2021
Thursday, September 02, 2021
1. The Sainsbury's man says he is impressed by my tomatoes, which -- so far -- have not succumbed to the blight.
2. It's the day for picking a new bar of soap from the tissue-wrapped selection in the bathroom cupboard. There are only two left of the original dozen but Bettany and I weigh up lavender versus vetiver, even though we know that both will be used eventually.
3. Cuddling up with the children to read our current book, Peter Green and the Unliving Academy. We didn't find time to read any of it while we were away. It feels good to snuggle back into our old routines.