Friday, July 31, 2009

Weather eye, from knee height and brotherhood of brides.

We've got a game going on Twitter. Tweet your beautiful things in the style of a 3BT title (eg: Long horizon, little clouds and plate of lemons.) and tag it #threebeautifulthings. You can follow me, too if you like: Threebt.

1. This garden on a hillside is so full of sky. Hilary says: 'I just like watching the weather.'

2. At two, everything is marvellous -- including a cat that streaks across the room when you try to stroke it; 'Aeroplane! In the sky! Making a noise!'; running faster than your parents; and 'One, two, three, four, five' apples on the tree.

3. Lorna and I slip round the the back of the house to bounce on the trampoline and talk about being brides. I need to get out of breath, and be reminded that I am not the only woman getting married.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What they like doing, first rain and combining colours.

1. They give me CV advice with such joy that I think this is what they've been waiting for all morning.

2. I like to stand on the doorstep as the first raindrops fall from a slate-blue sky.

3. I take a yellow bowl from the cupboard and put yellow plums in it. Then I change my mind and get the purple bowl instead.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The heat, re-fill and kettle's on.

1. Scarlet and orange and amber bonnet peppers -- they look like my nasturtiums.

2. At Linda's reading, I liked seeing her partner slipping a second glass of water on to the table behind her.

3. I walk through the door just as the kettle clicks off. I put my mug next to the one already on the counter.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Got to go, the milestone and story.

1. He says as we wake up on a work day: "I hate leaving you."

2. She says that her little girl has reached another milestone. "Now she cuddles me."

3. We listen to H E Bates' gentle and affectionate story, The Maker of Coffins on BBC 7.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book, bubbles and sofa.

1. I am kicked out of bed for being wriggly, and decide that what I really want to do in the quiet hours before Nick wakes up is not write blog, diary or story, but finish The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society because love is clearly in the air, but so far, none of the characters have realised.

2. The last piece of bath fizzer drags a tail of tiny bubbles through the foam on the surface of the water.

3. I like to sit on the old long sofa from old flat and talk with Katie until my problems are unravelled.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Found you, sharing the line and forces' sweetheart.

1. Small boy calls for his mother in the market. By the time I turn round, she's dabbing the tears off his face.

2. I like chatting to one of the neighbours as we peg out our washing.

3. Nick comes back from the tank rally and says he's seen Dame Vera Lynn 'And she's tiny, like a little bird.'

Muuu-um, hand-in-hand and apple.

1. She tells her mother not to embarrass her, then asks if she can press the button to open the train door.

2. I like holding my goddaughter's very small hand as we walk to the tube.

3. For a couple of weeks I've been testing the apples on the branches hanging over the wall between the solicitors' car park and the street. Tonight, one falls off in my hand.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bottle of jewels, perfickly clean and in the sky.

For anyone in TWells -- my former teacher, Linda James has a book launch at Waterstones on Tuesday. More information on her website, Writing Under Water.

1. I have picked aquamarine ink today. By chance I put the bottle down so that the sun coming into the kitchen window lights it up like a sapphire.

2. I pick up the material for my wedding dress. The assistant who served me said as I inspected it: "Have you got clean hands, and nice hand cream on so roughness doesn't catch on the fabric?" What a kind way of telling me to be careful.

3. "What did you run down the drive for?" Nick asks when I am off the phone. I explain that Alan mentioned that where he was, there was a dramatic red sunset against dark clouds. I'd gone out to the street to see if we had one, too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Task, shake off the dust and chard.

1. Sitting on the floor, polar thriller on the radio, and filling my hands with the mindless task of loading a thread holder with 38 hanks of floss in beautiful subtle colours .

2. I take the weeping fig outside and clean the dust off its leaves.

3. There is chard in our veggie box, with glossy lilypad green leaves and crimson, white and yellow stems.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Delivery, ribbons and pearl onions.

1. The front door sticks because there is a parcel on the mat.

2. A fat cushion of a package of threads and ribbons from Di van Niekerk for an ambitious long-term embroidery project.

3. Pulling spring onions from my window box -- the bulbs are like the whitest pearls.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

At last, cherry colour and post.

1. I spot three lemon-yellow flowers on my cucumber plants.

2. In a charity shop where the clothes are organised by colour, a jumper the colour of morello cherries catches my eye. It's only £2.

3. I like pushing a parcel into the letterbox.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Turn it, book exchange and tucked in.

My aunt has just emailed this morning to say that she has completed a walk of 100km in 24 hours and 50 minutes -- raising with her friends almost £4,000 for Oxfam and the Ghurka Welfare Trust. What an amazing achievement. Her team, Ladies that Don't Lunch, has a Just Giving page, if anyone wants to know more.

1. For the two of us together, turning the mattress is no chore at all.

2. I have a book about polar explorers for Nicola, and she has one for me. Her boyfriend is disheartened: 'I don't have a book for anyone.'

3. I like to come home late and find Nick already in our newly-made Sunday bed.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heavy, pan and potatoes.

1. Small children coming out of the theatre try to take control of the day: one small boy goes limp and floppy in his reins so his father must pick him up and carry him.

2. Nick buys us a bright and heavy new frying pan to replace the old one that has a worn spot.

3. Using the sharp edge of a washing-up brush to scrape the skin off new potatoes.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Eye-candy, sky tide and sleepy.

1. "So much eye-candy for the girls," says a spectator at the homecoming parade of our local troops, First Battalion The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment.

2. We go to the very top of the Tate Modern and eat supper looking out across London as the night washes in.

3. I like to read last thing at night, and to feel my head getting heavy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fill, muffins and the night rain.

1. I like to hold the long spout of my watering-can and dip it in the rainwater barrel.

2. He calls me into the kitchen. He wants me to see the tray of chocolate muffins he has made for me.

3. After the flat has been put to bed, I get up, draw back the curtain and unlock the door to look at the rain falling outside.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Doormen, scent of cucumber and birthday books.

1. A door opens on to the street. One boy stands guard just outside, the other lies across the threshold using his greying toy lamb as a pillow.

2. I brush past a tea towel hanging on the line. It smells fresh and bright because Nick has used it to squeeze the juice from grated cucumber.

3. Nick has an evening of baseball lined up. I retire to the bedroom to enjoy my large pile of birthday books.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Museum pieces, the expert and prescription.

1. Schoolgirls who are bored of the maritime museum pose against the glass dividing an exhibition from the main hall, all legs, long hair and mischief.

2. We sit on a bench in front of a long case of brass bits and pieces of a maritime nature. A small boy in a school party points confidently to a dip circle: 'That's the steering wheel' and then to a green starboard lantern: 'And that's the engine.'

3. I like to see a friend who has been working too hard relax and laugh and drink too much wine -- under doctor's orders, of course.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tea's up, nest and vegetables.

1. Nick brings tea -- and a plate of his home-made jam tarts -- into the sitting room. My mother is very impressed.

2. His set of pastry cutters nest so that you can pick them up as one; but they separate easily.

3. New potatoes that taste of earth and... well potato. A sweet, soothing, cold and juicy piece of galia melon. I love Able and Cole.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pine tree, tomatoes and heroes.

1. I like to look up at the stars of pine needles, and hear the wind breathing through them.

2. After a day of bright sun and wind, the tomato plants are looking droopy, so I water them.

3. We watch Ray Mears' Real Heroes of Telemark -- a documentary that combines bushcraft, skiing and sabotage of a Nazi atomic bomb programme. How could I not love it?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Post, blackcurrants and nuns.

1. We are woken by the fall of a fat pile of letters. When I investigate, I find a wedding invitation among the magazines and bills.

2. The smell of blackcurrants cooking into their own deep red syrup.

3. All day, we've been telling each other that we're going to listen to "the nuns" -- the second batch of Sacred Hearts episodes. It's a historical drama set in a Renaissance convent, a dark love story with a tense setting where reason and religious hysteria collide.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Deer, hill and the other half.

1. The watchful deer are lying in the shade flicking their ears.

2. I like climbing a hill just because I want to see what's at the top. It's a piece of open ground, dry grass and parkland trees, a fragment of distant downs and a peep of the big house on the other side of the hill.

3. In Sevenoaks, mothers walk with teenage sons who look like princes.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Snip, lettuce and spectacle.

1. The slinking curves of a black cat shape has been cropped out of the bright world background.

2. To tear apart a head of Little Gem Lettuce, twist the sunlight yellow heart leaves off the bitter root, rinse off the mud and greefly and spin (rrr-rrr-rrr-wumph) in the salad dryer.

3. Before I can start reading, I must dip my glasses in the bath to stop them steaming over. The water reveals a hidden rainbow sheen on the lenses.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

No thanks, the runner and lavender.

1. Those people who buttonhole you in the street to persuade you to sign up for something: I like to tell them I'm in a hurry.

2. Jubilant Nick comes home triumphant after running his yearly three mile race in 35 minutes.

3. My fingers are faintly sticky from the dried lavender I've been stuffing into an embroidered heart.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Rain, wet feet and lime blossom.

1. The rain comes, hissing on the ground and clearing the air.

2. I like walking in the rain wearing sandals so that the water goes in and then comes out again.

3. The lime blossom smells even better (sweet, sour and charming) wet than dry.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Voice, last and hooked.

1. At the other end of the phone he says: "It's good to hear your voice."

2. There is one loaf of bread left in the bakers. I buy it.

3. We listen to Tartuffe on the radio -- it's a translation by Roger McGough in funny, current wordgamey verse. I am hooked from start to finish.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Free fruit, dog having fun and the allotments.

1. The wild raspberries are ripe: all the sweeter for being free.

2. In the park, a strange-looking dog (it has the head and legs of a terrier, but a barrel-like body that makes it look like a well-fed piglet) runs up the path, looking like its having the time of its life.

3. I like to walk along the path through the middle of the allotments, and see how other people's vegetables are doing; and to admire the ingenuity of their cold frames made from old french windows; and to watch their CD bird scarers flickering in the sun.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Not alone, needs some work and teabreak.

1. I have to do the weekly food shopping alone because Nick is out looking for mortgages. As I struggle home with the bags, I try to remember when I last had to do this by myself -- it was a long time ago.

2. We view a house that has 1970s geometric sunflower wallpaper in the bathroom. It must have been quite something when it was new. In the cellar, the cobwebs hang in swags and sagging stalactites from the low ceiling.

3. In the graveyard, the volunteers explain (with a trace of guilt) that they are on their teabreak.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The rain comes, scarlet and the gathering.

1. After a period of bright hot days, waking to a cool, wet, misty morning, and joining the earth and plants in a sigh of relief.

2. Scarlet squares of red pepper and quarters of golden tomatoes among the green and purple salad leaves.

3. I like to see teenagers sitting on a bank on the common: a place to be away from their parents and their duties.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Bus stop, salad leaves and last class.

1. At the top of the stairs, Anna has a whole wall of her children's drawings. I love the bright red corregated cardboard bus.

2. Putting homegrown salad leaves on the supper table.

3. Michael brings strawberries and cakes to our last art class. I'm going to miss my Thursday night drawing. I really didn't think I could draw when I started; and now I can, so that's a result.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Pink milk, diseases and sweetpeas.

1. I put the last of the stewed strawberries on my cereal to turn the milk pink.

2. Rosey disappears into the bathroom. A moment later, she shouts through the door: "I think I've got internalised tattooing disease and logopetria." I start to wonder what she's up to... and then remember that I left my copy of The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases in there.

3. My father apologises for the tiny bunch of sweetpeas; but even the brave few have perfumed the kitchen.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Got it done, different inside and red dots.

1. I had an awful experience trying to book some train tickets recently, and I've been putting off trying again and putting it off... and off... and the people who are doing the same journey as us said: 'You'd better get in quick if you want the cheap tickets' and I put it off some more and worried about it. And then yesterday, I did it. Tickets are in the post.

2. We view a house that is 1960s ugly on the outside, but wonderful inside where an architect has put in a glass door to the garden that runs the full height of the split level sitting room, dining room and kitchen.

3. The paprika falls on my soup in dots, which expand suddenly like ink drops in water.

Art book, gossip and watermelon.

1. Among my birthday presents is a new book of Tove Jansson's art, featuring lots of bits I've never seen before. 2. Stopping for a ...