Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Birdsong, expedition and neat slices.

1. The deep silence makes birdsong stand out.

2. Alec comes up to remind me that we have decided to walk out one day and find the tall tree on the horizon.

3. The lasagne -- made with soy mince -- comes out in neat slices. 'Like housebricks,' Nick says.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Digestif, new leaves and sponge fingers.

1. After lunch, when the children have stopped arguing about going upstairs for quiet time, we drink a shot each of the mint liqueur I made last summer by way of a digestif. It feels very civilised.

2. There is a faint mist of yellow-green on a birch in The Grove and one of the horse chestnuts is hung with damp little leaves.

3. We eat a couple of those savoiardi biscuits for tea -- the Italian cafe on the corner has turned into a food shop, so now we're eating Italian versions of several staples. We had these biscuits when my siblings were babies in the eighties. They are a nice shape for small hands, and they melt in the mouth, so they're just right for people who are learning to eat. But they were called sponge fingers then.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Food shop, nap and predictable.

1. Nick calls up the stairs to say that he's returned from our permitted once-a-week food shop. We hurry down to see what he's got.

2. Napping in the afternoon.

3. I spend the evening watching the sitcom Spaced -- it's soothing, I know what happens next and takes me back to a comfortable, predictable time of my life.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Kiwi skins, acknowledgement and postcard.

1. The way Alec always insists that the skins of kiwi fruit are delicious, and that we would grow to love them if we would only give them another chance.

2. A client acknowledges a piece of work with 'a thanks for all you've done this week' -- and only then does it occur to me that yes, I have delivered a fair amount for them, at pace, this week, and I feel satisfied with that.

3. To hear that a postcard has arrived.

Friday, March 27, 2020

A sound, contact and sing-along.

1. While I'm picking tiny weeds out of pots I hear from one of the walled gardens up the road a toddler and his dad playing and laughing. The sound is such a joy, and I feel a lot better for hearing it.

2. During the 8pm cheering for NHS workers I catch the eye of a neighbour over the road and he gives me a firm nod to communicate, 'AOK. I'll call if I need anything.' His handclaps are louder than anyone else's in the brick box of his porch.

3. Alec calls down the stairs that Nick and I are being too noisy while we watch Tom Carradine's Cockney Sing-Along. We get the giggles, so I quietly close the door. The songs are not too rude, so perhaps we'll let them join us next week.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bread machine, garden and handwriting.

1. The sound of the bread machine starting up. It always seems to be asking a question: 'What have we here?'

2. Every spring there is a day when Bettany announces that she want to clean up her fairy gardens. We salvage the decorations, and any pretty small plants and tip the rest into the compost heap. There's some scrubbing to do, and some snail removal, and then we put in soft fresh compost and hunt for new little plants around the garden..

3. I am working on a narrative project for a friend that calls for handwriting -- a lot of it, and it needs to be legible, and not my own script. It's pleasant to vanish into a slightly tedious task that calls for all my concentration.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

No touch, biker and SHE KNOWS US.

1. I realise that a physio appointment by video is completely pain free.

2. Bettany didn't know how to ride a bike at the start of the week. But today we watched her wobble off round the park, pedalling hard on a rusty pink bike with tiny wheels that is much too small for her.

3. We're doing a Writers' HQ Novel in Sixty Minutes video. The faciliter gets one of the other participants up on screen to read her story, and the children go crazy 'BECAUSE IT'S A GIRL FROM OUR SCHOOL AND SHE KNOWS US!'

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Up first, enough space and meet-up.

1. To wake earlier than everyone else and get some time alone.

2. We've had so many weeks of rain and the sense of vast space that clear skies supply is very welcome indeed.

4. My writing group meets on a video conferencing app. It's crackly and as a group we are still learning the grammar and syntax and etiquette of video conferencing -- but it's a relief to see the familiar faces and to keep the routine going.

PS: One of the exercises was to recommend three things online. Mine were:
a. Human/kind Journal
b. Morgen Bailey's website, in particular her 100-word story competition.
c. Dave Bonta's Morning Porch.

Monday, March 23, 2020

No ants, what's normal and front garden.

1. From my desk I can see the construction site down the end of the Pantiles. It is very still: there are no high-vis ants moving around on the upper levels.

2. For Mothering Sunday I have signed myself up for an online writing retreat. It's reassuring to see other people's word-counts for the day. When you work so much alone it's hard to know what 'normal' is.

3. My aunt says that she has been spending a lot of time weeding the front garden so she can talk at a distance with the neighbours she is not allowed to see formally.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Nothing exciting, compost heap and not reading to the children.

1. We are woken by the police knocking on our door, but we had heard and seen nothing of the thing they are investigating. We decide that once the police have woken you up, you can expect no more excitement for the rest of the day.

2. The bottom of the compost heap is ready for sifting -- which is fortunate, as I don't think it will be easy to obtain compost for a while. I've got some seeds saved from last summer. I'll sow them as soon as the earth feels warm enough.

3. I am too tired to read to the children, so I offer to put an audiobook on. They choose The Secret Garden, which seems an old-fashioned, out-of-place choice, until they point out that they've heard about a new film version. It's nice to sit in the dark on the sofa and just listen.

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 ...