Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Aubergine, tinker and soothing.

1. The way an aubergine changes colour when sliced.

2. To watch Alec tinkering with a 3D model, swinging it back and forth, up and down on the screen. He's taught himself to use the app that comes free with Windows, and has been working with a friend over Zoom to create a steam engine. I love to see him quietly involved in a project. I like it when he responds to a problem that has upset him by stepping back to resolve it (sometimes literally with undo, undo, undo; and sometimes by taking a little break).

3. We've found a soothing local history podcast to listen to at bedtime.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Gasp, puppets and across my lap.

1. The delighted gasp when a child opens a gift that is something they really wanted.

2. The verses from The Gruffalo come tumbling out as we play with shadow puppets.

3. Bettany falls asleep across my lap.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Alone, cake and match.

1. We're having trouble getting the children out of the house. Nick says, 'Do you want to just go for a walk by yourself, and then when you come back, I'll go?'

2. When Bettany has finished decorating her birthday cake it is... quite something. To remember that though I baked this cake, it is not about me.

3. To find a piece of ribbon that perfectly matches the tissue paper I've used to wrap Bettany's presents.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

New, down and call.

1. Starting a brand new novel edit.

2. Alec is cross at reading time and says he doesn't like the book. But while I am reading he comes down from his bed and sits next to me on the sofa. 

3. A long and leisurely phone call with a friend when I was supposed to be making a meal plan and shopping list. 

Friday, June 26, 2020

Quiet, iced coffee and company.

1. For a moment it is so quiet and still that I can hear the whirr and the clank of the crane working all the way down the end of The Pantiles.

2. Bringing a jug of iced coffee out of the freezer.

3. To take Alec along for the company.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Macaroni, tin and lollies.

1. Bettany is gluing out-of-date macaroni to a piece of card.

2. In our stash of things-that-might-be-useful there is a tin that is the right size for a pen pot.

3. To hand out ice lollies on a really hot day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Discouraged, dwarfs and raising.

1. I am discouraged by my lack of progress with my physio. From the start of April I diligently worked at rebuilding my core strength. And then I picked up a passing virus. The exercises and the heat therapy have become uncomfortable again; even an amble down to the woods leaves me aching; and I am so stiff in the morning that I need a paracetamol before I can get up. During my video appointment the therapist says sadly, 'It's one step forward, two steps back. ' When he acknowledges this, it makes me feel much better, and I am determined to press on. He adds, 'And your muscles will remember, so you'll get back on track sooner.' I queue up podcasts to keep me distracted from discomfort while I do my exercises; and line up reminders on my phone and to-do list about drinking water, stretching and taking paracetamol.

2. 'Who are the dwarfs in The Hobbit?' Alec demands suddenly as we come into the park. I discover I can reel them off almost without a hesitation (I think I would have forgotten Oin and Gloin if I hadn't recalled Gimli son of Gloin from Lord of the Rings).

3. When our little garden smells strongly of jasmine, to lift the watering cans and slosh some water around. It is warm enough to raise that petrichor rain-on-dry-ground scent from my pots.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Paid, hoover and sweet potatoes.

1. To -- finally -- receive a cheque of some money I am owed, this time written out in my married name.

2. Alec needs to run the hoover round as part of a Cubs badge. His enthusiasm leaves me with enough energy to attack another room.

3. The smell of roasting sweet potatoes.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Wensleydale, gaming and apricot.

1. Slices of apple with Wensleydale cheese.

2. Alec leads us on a roleplaying game adventure all over the kitchen table. We fight giant rats in exchange for a bed at an inn. Then we hear that a dragon has killed the king of goblins. Bettany declares herself queen and we go to the castle to let the goblins know there's a new boss in town.

3. The way the stone of a ripe apricot lies loose inside the fruit.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Love, birthday presents and stream.

1. 'Mummy, I love you more than the world. I know I shouldn't, but I do.'

2. A very long packet of beautiful pens and a weighty box of chocolate.

3. The golds and browns and shifting blues of sunlight playing on a stream through the woods.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Rainbow, flowerperson and first aid.

1. To comb hair chalk in rainbow colours through Bettany's curls for her end-of-term dress-up dance lesson.

2. Bettany should have been a... as she puts it, 'flowerperson' earlier this summer -- but the wedding has been postponed. Very kindly the bride and groom have sent her the dresses she would have worn so she can enjoy them as the chances are that she will have outgrown them by the time new date comes round. She is thrilled and tries them on very, very carefully.  

3. While I am rinsing hair chalk off our second born, Nick cuts his finger -- but it's okay: Alec, using his Cubs first aid skills, sorts everything out.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Sweets, clove pinks and sleep.

1. I'd forgotten that we'd ordered sweets from A Quarter Of until the box arrives in the middle of lunch.

2. My parents brought us a bunch of clove pinks and they have made the bedroom smell spicy.

3. To go to bed without any delay because we are both tired.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Done, right length and linen change.

1. To knock a task I've been dreading off the list.

2. The book we are reading has chapters that are the right length for a bedtime story; and they end at a comfortable, satisfying point.

3. To settle into a bed with clean sheets.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Takeaway, boxes and jasmine.

1. I take the children to get takeaway coffee and biscuits, because we can. 

2. We've bought a new food processor and it arrived unexpectedly today. By the time Nick and I have finished unpacking and investigating it the children have taken the boxes into the front room, changed into what they imagine mechanics wear and using a picture they've found on Google made a... 'is it garahge, Mummy, or a garage?'
I don't have the heart to tell them that most mechanics round here would call it a 'garridge'. Anyway, they have a lot of fun fixing cardboard box cars raised up on two chairs.

3. I spend the evening in the kitchen with the back door open enjoying the scent of jasmine while engaged in a convivial, challenging games night with the Tuesday Knights.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Jasmine, teatime and greeting.

1. The jasmine by the back door has flowered. Its scent follows me through the house.

2. While I'm deep in work a slice of cake and mug of tea appear at my elbow.

3. Alec is so determined not to go to bed that he asks to come upstairs and say hallo to my writing group.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Out, swing and jigsaw.

1. To pack snack and a map and get out of the house promptly.

2. We find a wild swing down in the woods. Alec says he's too scared to try it, but Bettany has a little go, and he is encouraged. It's funny to watch them daring to start higher and higher up the bank until Bettany properly scares herself and screams. Later she tells me that she was as brave as the time at Dreamland when she finished her ice cream very quickly and ran off to join the nearest queue so she could go on a ride by herself without Alec.

3. To let Bettany put the last piece in the jigsaw.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sit out, wipe and helper.

1. I often cook pancakes for weekend breakfasts. Today, Alec takes over and I sit at the kitchen table with a cup of tea until I am needed.

2. To wipe a dusty surface with a damp cloth.

3. With Bettany helping, I start to pack away some ornaments that I don't want to dust. We're interrupted by a phone call. When I come back to the task Bettany has wrapped the lot.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Instead, excuse and daisies.

1. To wake up early and lie in bed reading instead of doing something productive.

2. To have a good excuse for buying lots of sweets (I need boiled sweets to suppress my cough, and Bettany has a birthday coming up).

3. To get round the garden I must push through huge, drooping daisies.


Friday, June 12, 2020

Distracted, fried egg and bubbles.

1. I'm on a call -- but there is a sparrow feeding its baby in the tree outside the window.

2. A fried egg for lunch when I assumed it would be scrambled.

3. At nearly seven, Bettany still gets joy from me blowing bubbles.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dots of rain, replacement and birthday plans.

1. To feel dots of rain as I walk up the hill.

2. We've been using a coffee pot glass that is not quite the right size. It cracked earlier this week. I go up to town to an actual shop and buy a replacement glass (correct size) and a one for spare.

3. On our walk around the park Bettany and I discuss her plans for her birthday. It's nice to know what she has in mind, though I do try to steer her away from a chocolate cake with orange jam inside and peppermint icing on top. It makes it easy to think up nice things to keep her amused.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Plans, toads and meet.

1. To flip through a bulb catalogue and make plans for the spring.

2. We find two tiny toads clambering around grass stems and leaf litter on the common.

3. Nick has been at his mum's while we've been out walking. To catch sight of him coming along the path paralell to us on his way home.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

In the rain, large boards and make it work.

1. BBC Radio 3's sing-along song this week is 'Singin' in the Rain'.

2. The sight of builders carrying large plywood boards always makes me smile.

3. To fail at technology -- and then to make it work.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Done, not cheering properly and moon.

1. I tackle a chore that I've been putting off. The satisfaction of cleaning something dirty.

2. The children are pretending to be skiiers, and we've been cheering them on every time they pass us, with pretend cowbells and 'allez, allez, allez'. At the finish Bettany bursts into furious tears and shouts at everyone. It's because she thought we were just cheering Alec and not her.

3. To look at the moon through binoculars.

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 ...