Friday, March 25, 2022

Sweep, free and roving star.

1. To take a paintbrush round and sweep the dust off the houseplants.

2. Remembering that I have a voucher for free coffee on my phone.

3. We watch the bright spark of the International Space Station pass, first from the back garden where it goes over Orion's head as if thrown from a slingshot, then when it goes over our roof we run through the house to watch from the front door.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Shadow, lemon cake and Milly-Molly-Mandy.

1. The way Alec walks close behind us in case he needs to hide from someone we know.

2. My mother brings lemon cake that is light as a feather. She says she doesn't know how it turned out like that, though.

3. Bettany brings a Milly-Molly-Mandy book upstairs for me to read to her. It's a new edition, a nice knocky hardback, and the designer, with a good eye for detail, has given it a 1930s feel.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Still here, green/yellow and squiggle.

1. Before winter on my morning walks I would pass a man slowly walking big grey-muzzled dog. They are still here.

2. Yellow on the forsythia hedge, and a fuzz of green on the willow.

3. To sign a birthday card.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Bath, magnolias and hammer.

1. I catch up with some reading and treat my stiff muscles in a hot bath.

2. I hear a rumour that the magnolias are out.

3. The hammer Nick lends Bettany for Cubs is at least two generations old and the handle is polished smooth by labour.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Tidying, dusting and boing.

1. The way making a slight change to the children's rooms will send them into a tidying frenzy.

2. Alec asks for advice on dusting his desk.

3. It is satisfying to lift up the end of a spiralised courgette.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Doors open, trap and book.

1. At coffee time it's warm enough to have the back door open and we can hear birdsong.

2. I lay a trap for grumpy Bettany, who won't talk to me. I go upstairs and turn to a YouTube video of Li Ziqi making maltose lollipops and crunchy fried dough twists. In due course my sulky child comes upstairs and sits on my lap.

3. The children chose a book that I wasn't sure about -- Noah's Island by Frank Cotterell-Boyce. It's about a school trip stranded on an island in the Atlantic because they've broken the internet, and it's all rather surreal and feels a bit contrived. But the characters are rock-solid convincing, and I'm really starting to care.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Packet, poems and sky's a strange colour.

1. The postman hands me a long awaited packet of photo prints -- two pictures (lots of copies for grannies and godparents and aunts and uncles) of the children.

2. Bettany is rather taken by poetry at the moment, so we curl up in bed with the wonderful Puffin anthology, I Like This Poem. This is my second copy, as the first one fell apart from being read and read and read.

3. I've been pondering the strange yellow-grey sky all day. The Sainsbury's man says it means snow. Even the poet George Szirtes (one of the best people to follow on Facebook) remarks on it from Norfolk.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

End of school, snack and hidden spring.

1. I spot Alec coming out, all woolly hat and long legs in his PE kit. He doesn't want to walk home with me and Bettany, even though there's no-one at the house, and I've got the key.

2. Bettany hates the snack I've brought. She also hates the way I try to walk home. She wants to go across the common. 'Then I can catch a rabbit and eat it instead of banana.'

3. It's like the woodland has hidden spring in its fists. Guess which hand?

Monday, March 14, 2022

Sunday lunch, pudding and clearing skies.

1. Thick slices of tender pink ham from a gammon joint, rosemary roast potatoes and bright spinach with grana padano.

2. Bettany asks for a small piece of an unfamiliar pudding. When offered seconds, her face lights up.

3. It has been raining steadily all day. But when I glance up just before home time, I can see clear sky on the horizon.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Spring bulbs, home and still light.

1. Poking around in the back garden, I find a wire basket in which bright purple and yellow crocuses are growing.

2. To hear Bettany knocking at the door.

3.  Supper has been called, but my screen has not yet switched to night-time mode.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Reading on the train, bronzes and Stone Henge.

1. To read science fiction on the train.

2. I meet a friend at the British Museum But there's time around that to look at other things. I lead her straight to the Benin bronzes, because everyone should see those. They are not behind glass so you can look right at them, rows and rows of them, along the back wall. As we are leaving, a party of tiny school children come in. Two girls, hand-in-hand, make a beeline, past all the cases, to the bronzes.

3. We're really here for the Stone Henge Exhibition. I can't stop thinking about the Scottish stone balls; and the mysterious chalk drums buried with three children.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Tea, crocuses and liquorice.

1. I order jasmine tea and a madeleine and feel very dainty.

2. Some of the pale crocuses are beaten down by cold rain and careless feet -- but as a body they are standing strong and purple.

3. It turns out that Bettany doesn't like sherbet-filled liquorice, so I quickly eat it for her.

Monday, March 07, 2022

Geese return, apology and A New Hope.

1. Can't see returning geese, but I can hear them honking above the clouds and in the dark. Now I know that for sure spring is coming.

2. He says that his neighbour has sent an apologetic text message about the noisy party last night. He adds, 'But she's eighty-five!'

3. It's only a Starwars ABC book, but my tiny cousin's eyes are like saucers.

Friday, March 04, 2022

Kind, rhizomes and clear.

1. After weeks of sulky, ill-tempered weather, to step outside and find the air and the light are kind.

2. The groundsmen have weeded the iris beds so that the rhizomes -- fat with hope -- are exposed beneath the ragged fans of leaves.

3. There is always a pile of paper at the end of the kitchen table. To clear the lot into the recycling.

Thursday, March 03, 2022

Coffee, deadline and whiskers.

1. Our neighbour takes as careful sip from one of the coffees he is carrying across the carpark.

2. ...and I've met my deadline.

3. I draw some practice whiskers with eyeliner on Alec's face before he washes at bedtime.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

All well, supervision and home in the rain.

1. It's the day we hear what secondary schools our children will go to. I've been hearing about disappointments all day, and it sets my nerves on edge. To hear the news that all is well, and we've got what we were hoping for.

2. I have gone into the sitting room to be out of the way while Nick and Bettany make pancakes. After a little while, Nana pops her head slowly round the door and says that she's going upstairs and has left them alone in the kitchen, in case I need to keep an eye on them.

3. As we hurry home together after dark the fog and the drizzle throw the glare from the streetlights around us. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Sauce, tantrum and word time.

1. Nick proudly presents a pan of homemade pasta sauce.

2. The sound of someone else's child throwing a tantrum.

3. To sit drinking beer and moving words around.

Hardboiled egg, back in line and foxgloves.

1. I hardboiled a few eggs this morning. At lunch, I note that the one Nick is eating has a perfect yolk -- just a little soft. 2. It just t...