Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Left behind, invoices and reading.

1. I spot a left-behind fork propped against the croquet club railings. 

2. To do my invoices at the end of a very long month.

3. I get Alec to read to us from The Black Cauldron so I can use the time to stitch a nametape into his new swimming trunks. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Slow, caterpillars and sticky.

1. Our birthday Bettany takes her time opening her presents. Though she starts just after 5am, she doesn't get through them all and has some left after school.

2. It's probably a mistake to name caterpillars, but we do it anyway. We're a bit worried about George, as he is smaller than the rest and seems determined to climb up to the ceiling, rather than lounging around eating like the others.

3. Today the Beavers are making bird feeders by coating cardboard tubes with honey and birdseed. It is interesting to see how different the children are: some dig right in and enjoy getting sticky; others carefully handle everything with their fingertips. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Melon, table time and orchids.

1. The kitchen smells of the melon in the fruit bowl -- we'll have to eat it today.

2. To spend some time building Lego and painting a desk tidy with Bettany.

3. To come to a glade where orchid spires are growing. We bend down to catch their faint once-a-year perfume. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Bramble flowers, very slowly and butterflies on their way.

1. The rose-like flowers of brambles. 

2. We make our way to Alec's friend's house very slowly because the boys want to play catch, scramble around on the rocks and go a longer way round. 

3. There are thick tangles of black caterpillars on the stinging nettles by the path.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Scent, cricket and gardening in the dark.

1. A scented birthday present arrives for Bettany and perfumes our bedroom.

2. Alec comes home so bursting with joy about the cricket he has played at Cubs that he seems to be in two places at once. 

3. I spend the evening planting up tomatoes and cucumbers until it is too dark to see -- by which time it is bedtime. I have put them by the front door so we can be sure of supervising them properly.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Light work, mould and time.

1. To have a light work day. 

2. In Bettany's woodlouse jar a piece of strawberry has grown an extraordinary crop of white flossy mould. It makes me wonder why people don't deliberately grow mould gardens. 

3. Alec prefers to wash himself these days -- I love the bit of time I have while he does this. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Uke, ghost stories and lyrics.

1. Bettany reminds us five minutes before departure that she wants to take her ukulele to school. We remind her that it is not tuned, so she can't. There are tears. When I get back from the school run, I find that Nick has spent an hour teaching himself to tune it so it will be ready for next week.

2. I discover that I never did finish listening to an audiobook of dramatised ghost stories by M R James's. So I've got a bit of a treat in store. 

3. For our writing class, Anne has looked into songwriting, and tells us what she has discovered. Our faces light up as we understand -- properly -- that verse, chorus, middle eight and coda are just lines of poetry. And that we can all write poetry, so we can probably write passable lyrics.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Sweetpeas, woodlice and enough.

1. I come downstairs after my phone call to find a bunch of scented sweetpeas in their auntish colours on the kitchen table, as well as some birthday presents.

2. Showing Bettany how to catch and care for pet woodlice.

3. To go to bed feeling as if I've done enough work for today.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Rain coming, old books and the shout.

1. We smell and feel the rain coming before it arrives.

2. Bettany's old school books are stuffed with crafts and photographs of class activities. As she takes me through the thick black pages, she can't believe how small she and her friends were two years ago.

3. I am sitting at my desk at the top of the house when I hear a shout. Alec and Nick on their way back from a cricket match in the rain have seen me through the open window.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Alarm, watering and books.

1. I wake very early and sit up to read. After a time, the alarm goes off and Nick wakes and the children come up. I settle into the tangle of family and promptly fall asleep.

2. Nick helps me to heft watering cans around the garden.

3. All in a moment I suddenly realise how much I have missed sharing my books with people.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Beans, parcels and four.

1. To find little pods growing on our broad beans.

2. Parcels and packages are piling up in a crate in our bedroom -- we've got two birthdays coming up.

3. Alec comes home from his cricket match absolutely buzzing. He hit a four and everyone clapped.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Waffle, lawn and handover.

1. The soft crunch of a waffle lifting off the iron.

2. I love the June light on a lawn of uncut grass, and seeing the variety of seedheads.

3. On a hot evening to bring the smoothie pops that Alec made this morning out of the freezer. Both children have made them in recent weeks, and I feel as if it is a task I can hand over to them.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Eclipse, cod and reading.


1. Nick and I watch the eclipse from our garden. It does not affect the light or temperature much, but it is rather marvellous to see that little bite taken out of our sun. 

2. For lunch Nick proudly produces a tray of cod in a tomato sauce with roasted fennel. 

3. To read a book that is really beautifully put together.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Voice acting, sky and target.

1. The slightly manic voice acting in the episode of Zombies Run Homefront I follow by way of exercise.

2.  To be able to glance up at the sky as I work and to feel the air on my cheek through the open window.

3. To push on through and finish a piece of work.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Mushrooms, pinks and time to read.

1. At lunchtime I mix mushrooms with French dressing, knowing they will be ready for supper.

2. The clove scent of pinks.

3. There is time -- just -- to read to the children this evening before I sign on for games night.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Inset day, our friends and children.

1. It's inset day today: a little bonus Monday with a lie-in at the end of half term.

2. A little way off, we see Alec's friend on his bike; and later his mum stepping across the park for a catch-up.

3. To hurry home through the woods with a child holding each hand.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Pancakes, dog and seaside portaits.

1. To see a stack of pancakes disappearing.

2. As we come across the common I ask if we can quickly divert to check on the tadpoles in Cabbage Stalk Pond. When we get there, a nice little dog, terrier-sized with curly gingery hair, is just coming out of the water carrying an orange ball. She drops it at Alec's feet and looks expectant, so he throws it for her, a good cricketing throw. She races through the grass, leaping like Bambi, and brings it back to me. We play with her for a while, wondering where her owner is. In due course a woman with crutches comes along and claims her dog. We chat -- about the tadpoles, who can be seen wriggling away happily -- and the dog keeps bringing the ball back so we can throw it.

3. At the market we chat to the people at the wooden bunting stall. They have started making little seaside scenes out of driftwood and beachcombings. Although they are not exact portraits, they capture so well the coastal places of Kent and Sussex that we love. Here's Hastings with its tall black net huts; and Dungeness's black and white lighthouse and shacks with coloured roofs.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Geese, on the water and pignuts.

1. Bettany is intrigued by a woman feeding the geese by the lake shore. She saves her crusts so that she too can summon powerful, dangerous birds.

2. Even at this distance we can hear Alec and his friends shouting in their boats on the lake. Bettany and I hire a boat a bit later: the water is a good place to be on this hot, still day.

3. I use PlantNet to check the identity of a tiny, dainty umbellifer growing in the park. It turns out that it is pignut. I try to learn a few wild plants each year, and I'm so pleased to add this one to my collection. I'm tempted to dig for its edible root, but I think that the borough council and the friends of the park would prefer I did not.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Check-in, every sparrow and shushi.

1. The post-bank holiday check-in emails that remind me I am working with real people. I always like the human being sentence -- the one that remarks on the weather, or mentions the weekend. 

2. The news that the wildlife hospital declared Tim's rescued sparrow ready for release.

3. It's not great looking sushi, but we have fun making it and the children are getting some good knife skills slicing it up. 


Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Lollies, weeding and comedy.

1. During a period of warm weather, to slide ice lolly moulds full of orange and pink smoothie into the freezer.

2. To ensure we avoid the attention of the council's weedkiller man we pull out the briza grass and avens growing between the fence and the pavement. The soil smells sweet and damp, and even in that tiny gap there are big worms at work.

3. To sit back with a comedy podcast.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Early, shopping and kebabs.

1. I've been waking early these past few days, and I love to eat breakfast in a quiet house.

2. Bettany patiently and insistently extracts me from my desk to go shopping for a new pencil case.

3. Nick is not delighted by the chicken and chorizo kebabs I ordered from the supermarket. They have fallen apart in the packet. 'It's just meat and sticks,' he says.