Monday, May 31, 2021

Brewing, cricket sounds and grievances.

1. Bettany has packed a potion kit and is ready to brew in the field. (that's the smoothie and pudding she made me when we got home.)

2. As we approach we can hear cricket sounds -- it's a Twenty-Twenty game, so a bit noiser than you'd expect, with shouts and music from the pavilion.

3. Cross, tired children cuddling up to tell me their grievances.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Walk, irises and bins.

 1. When I wave the children and Nick off I realise that the air is so soft and summery that the only course of action that makes complete sense is to go for a walk before starting work. 

2. In the park there are tall yellow and black irises, and in another bed the promise of another colour pairing that is too parcelled up to discern.

3. The children scampering around the house and up and down the street doing their dustbin duties. I only wish that they would do each part of the task without getting distracted and without arguing when we try to put them back on track.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

More toast, no rush and early night.

1. Golden syrup on toast.

2. This evening I don't have anything on so there is no need to rush through the children's bedtime. 

3. To go to bed early so we have time to read before we are too tired.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Browsing, spotted and starling.

1. To feel okay about browsing in a clothing shop.

2. Our neighbour spots me in a coffee shop for the second time and pantomimes mocking gestures through the glass to suggest that I spend more time drinking coffee than working.

3. In the High Street to look up and see starlings on a bird feeder.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Picture message, bluebells and dress-up.

1. Getting a message enclosing a picture collage of my neice.
2. I get my walk in a bluebell wood.

3. The smell of acrylic paint and sealer works its way up the house: in the kitchen, Nick is painting a shield so Alec can go to school as a Spartan warrior on Greek day. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Pondlife, tab and clear.

1. To stand for a few minutes before the rain comes watching tadpoles in a shallow pond.

2. The tab on the back of my DMs that I use to pull them on.

3. Alec takes a bent stick and unclogs the spring gully at Brighton Lake so that water rushes out clear and shining.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Red boots, fennel and tip.

1. An older lady wearing shiny scarlet lace-up boots.

2. The soft fronds of last year's fennel plants in a neglected public flowerbed.

3. To tip a quarter of a bag of epsom salts into my bath. There is something very satisfying and abundant about using a large quantity.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Greek week, seed and buzzing.

1. Nick brings home his haul from Lidl -- it's Greek week, so there's quite a lot of baklava.

2. To show Bettany that her sunflower seed has germinated.

3. Alec comes back from Cubs absolutely buzzing because he enjoyed the athletics activities so much. 'Apart from the skipping. I'm never touching a skipping rope ever again.'

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Microsalad, making history and botanicals.

1. My breakfast comes with dots and curls of microsalad.

2. At lunchtime we watch a live history event: the unstoppering of a witch bottle. 

3. We keep finding snack boxes full of plant material that Bettany has gathered for reasons of her own. To show her how to lay her leaves and flowers out on a tray to dry.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The future is coming, wild children and map.

1. To drink coffee indoors and talk about a future poetry event.

2. The Beavers scamper across to the wild bit of the park on a scavenger hunt. It is pleasant to be led by their interests across the tussocky grass and into the boundary woods. 

3. Bettany, who has never shown an interest in maps before, locating her school, Nana's house and our road.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Dry patch, dry clothes and vegetables.

1. We find the only patch of sun in a rainy morning and sit in it, just taking in the forest and breathing.


2. Nana won't let me 'sit in wet clothes' and so I put on her spare trousers and top without a fuss.


3. By the time I've finished there is a bright array of chopped vegetables ready for Nick to put in his noodle soup.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Vaccinated, coffee and puzzles.

1. I am passed from hand to hand by smiling people in masks and hi-vis, and when I stumble out through a service door into the bright May drizzle, I am partially vaccinated against covid-19.


2. A coffee, a piece of cake and a nice long chat with a good friend.


3. To sit with the children doing rebus puzzles because I am too tired to read to them.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Marmite, books and pears.

1. Buttery Marmite toast.

2. A parcel arrives -- it's a packet of books that I ordered from the marvellous Hunt Emerson's shop. They are signed and doodled and there is a scattering of stickers and a CD of his music. The thought that a famous artist would go to all this trouble brings a lot of joy. 

3. Some not very nice pears become sweet and soft when stewed with some frozen raspberries.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Poetry, confidence and quip.

1. To move lines of poetry around the page.

2. While we are waiting for pick-up, one of Alec's friends confides something that is bothering him.

3. To come up with a quip for a character at games night.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Boots, bluebells and robins.

1. I am looking for a fallen hairclip but  find an entire career of outgrown football boots. Nick promises to wash them and put them on a neighbourhood group so that other boys can get some use out of them.

2. In a copse, a drift of bluebells.

3. The loud song of a robin startles us.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Cleavers, cells and ghost.

1. The children pick bundles of succulent green sticky grass and chase each other with it.

2. Alec has filled two more cells in his blank comic book.

3. To remember that there is a final Battersea Poltergeist episode that I have not listened to yet.

Friday, May 07, 2021

Hug, book and sunset.

1. I hug Nick because I am frazzled. Alec wriggles in between us: he doesn't want to be left out. 

2. I'm starting to think the book we are reading is a bad fit, as it is about an Edwardian teenage girl having Edwardian teenage girl problems with her place in the world and her hunger for a better education. It is, though, exquisitely written. I ask them what they think and they both say they are enjoying it and don't want to stop.

3. The west-facing windows of the houses on the hill reflect soft pink light from the setting sun.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Normal, not sticky and marshmallows.

1. I have an enormous, exciting job on at the moment, but they don't need me this morning. It makes me remember why my boring normal routine is my  normal routine. 

2. The rainstorms are clearing the sticky aphids off the acer. It's a bit hard on the aphids, but it means I can garden without getting gluey residue all over me.

3. Alec is doing campfire cooking with Cubs, so we let Bettany toast a marshmallow over the gas ring.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Gulls, released and confidence.

1. Seagulls hanging in the sky, straining against the wind.

2. To be released from a meeting earlier than expected.

3. Alec tells me and Bettany that everyone knows two people in his class are in love because they keep staring at each other in lessons. 'We don't know why they don't just get together,' he says. We spend some time thinking up things that might be keeping them apart.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Potion book, get out of the bathroom and storm.

1. Bettany shows me her potion book and a jar with fallen flowers from the park floating in it.

2. Alec wants me to help with his wash, but also to leave him alone in the bathroom to get on with it.

3. On a night when the weather is throwing itself against the house to pull the covers over myself and take refuge in sleep.