Monday, February 28, 2022

Spring on the ground, alone and return.

1. I look down and there are snowdrops and hellebore and scyllas.

2. The children run off down the parallel path and I am free to walk and listen.

3. The reassuring feeling from knowing that someone who has been in peril is now safe at home.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Brighter later, hazelnut and rainbow cups.

1. It has been a very wet morning -- but the line of blue sky advances from the west.

2. Hazelnut milk in my coffee.

3. To learn that in central Europe they sometimes turn up concave Iron Age coins called 'rainbow cups' because of the way they shine after rain on ploughed earth.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Moment, foam and redbush.

1. On this clear and frosty morning a man takes a moment to smoke a cigarette, leaning on the bonnet of his car.

2. I love the foam leaf the barista makes on my coffee.

3. The scent of a freshly opened box of redbush.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Plain black socks, get out and learning the ropes.

1. Only imagine my joy at finding packs of reasonably priced thermal knee-high socks in the softest plain black.

2. As I go out for the evening, Nick and Bettany are about to start making a complicated type of icing involving eggs and hot sugar syrup. On the whole, I'm pleased to be leaving them to it.

3. We've had a change of gaming system, and none of us knows what we're doing. With a lot of fumbling, though, there's a lot of laughter, and an airship.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Dab, quiet and constellations.

1. To cheer Bettany up by letting her have a bit of my perfume.

2. The faces children make when they are trying to be very, very quiet.

3. In the centre of the Grove it is dark enough and clear enough to see the stars. Bettany finds Orion,  and I point out Cassiopeia and the Pleiades on Taurus's shoulder, and what is probably Jupiter. I prefer to keep looking up, rather than launch my Stellarium app to check.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Kaffee und kuchen, home and cousins.

1. Eating black forest cherry cake and drinking coffee with Rosey.

2. To hear Nick downstairs and to know that everyone is safe inside from the storm. 

3. Bettany confides that she misses her small cousins.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Before the rain, gale and daylight.

1. To get out and back before the rain.

2. I close the shutters against the cold that the gale is forcing through the glass.

3. Zoom means that I can chat face-to-face with another editor based on the other side of the world who specialises in games. It's my evening and the daylight coming from her right seems as magical as the fantasy worlds we are discussing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Valentine, wander round the shops and photo.

1. 'Bettany put this together,' says Nick, handing me an elaborately wrapped gift basket scattered liberally with glitter stickers and ribbons.

2.  Nick and I go for a wander round the shops, just the two of us. 

3. A message from my sister pops up with a picture of our four children picnicking in our parents' garden.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Clop, bye and blankets.

1. The clopping sound of a plastic packet blowing down the street.

2. Nick runs round to the other side of grandpa's car to wave goodbye to the children who are seated in the back.

3. The high wind has filled the house with draughts and this reminds me why we have so many blankets.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Nap, writer and man's job.

1. I have had a rough night so after the children have gone to school, I crawl under a heavy duvet and nap.

2. A man carrying what can only be a writing notebook strides across the car park.

3. Nick sends Bettany to buy chips and she comes back with a warm package and a lollipop -- but she  asked for small chips; so he sends Alec out to finish the job. He comes back with a larger warm package and a downcast demeanour. He is too now old to be offered a lollipop.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Sponge, career and productive.

1. Nick could think of no reason not to buy the pink bath sponge Bettany took a fancy to in the chemist. In her bath she shows me several times that it feels dry even though when you squeeze it, it's clearly full of water.

2. We're still listening to songs from Mulan on a loop. I get to deliver the information that yes, women can join the army. 

3. Alec reports that he had to write a ten-minute play, an acrosstic poem and a short story during Scouts. I feel a bit embarrassed that all I've managed in the same time is a piece of flash fiction.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Proofs, sportsman and identity.

1. To go over the proofs of a book in which I have an essay and see how other writers have approached the brief. 

2. Alec, lithe and long in his football kit, relaxing with a video game in our warm front room after his match in the cold afternoon.

3. Half listening while Bettany tries on Mulan's identity.


Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Coffee, mild and fountain pen.

1. One of those mornings when coffee is really needed: eventually, there is coffee.

2. It's a mild night: no need to bundle a big coat on top of a big jumper. 

3. The smooth movement of a decent fountain pen over good paper.

Monday, February 07, 2022

Winter flowers, purple buds and flannel sheets.

1. Under the hedge: snowdrops. Along the verge: winter heliotrope. Beneath the magnolia's furred buds: bright yellow aconite.

2. These bare saplings growing at the bottom of the field have fat purple buds.

3. To come home and find Nick has changed the bed, putting on warm flannel sheets.

Friday, February 04, 2022

End of the line, bin night and bonus.

1. I have taken this unpleasant task as far as I can without resolving it, so I lay it aside without feeling bad.

2. The busy feeling in the house while the children are scampering about collecting the bins and getting the recycling ready to go out.

3. It feels like Friday, even though it's Thursday evening.

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Teaching, simultaneous and hairbrush.

1. When I pop downstairs, Bettany is teaching Alec to bake biscuits, and Nick is staying well out of it.

2. A photo of the sunset I've been enjoying pops up on social media. It is cheering to know that someone on the other side of town is having similar thoughts.

3. While we wait for Alec to go through the bathroom, Bettany brushes my hair. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Procrastination, stellar and baby photos.

1. I've been hesitating and fretting about hitting send on a submission for a few weeks; but now there is a task I am even less keen to be getting on with. And so, while procrastinating, I do it.

2. 'I'm good at spotting Orion,' says Alec. So I show him the Pleiades, which I can only see out of the corner of my eye. They fade if I look directly. Alec says he look them straight on and count them.

3. The children and I end up down a rabbit hole looking at baby photos.

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 ...