Friday, April 29, 2022

Enough for now, galaxy and litter.

1. At the back of my mind has been a worry about running out of soil for earthing up my potato pots. But now I look at the bottom of the compost heap I see I have enough for now, and more coming on in the other compost box.

2. A whole galaxy of dandelion suns.

3. Nick gleefully picks up litter all the way back through the woods. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Tiny weeds, fairies and poem.

1. To pull a few tiny weeds from the potato pots.

2. By looking sideways through the back window we can see floating willow fluffs caught on the sunset.

3. There is a lovely poem by Grace Nichols called Granny Granny Please Comb My Hair. The child says that her granny takes her time, while her mummy 'is always in a hurry'. Bettany brings me a comb and asks me to do her hair while she reads it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Footprints, cliff-hanger and flow.

1. Ahead of me there are footprints in the dew.

2. The children are so thrilled by the cliff-hanger that they ask if they can read the next chapter to me.

3. To vanish into work so completely that an hour passes in minutes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Birdsong, empty park and a warning.

1. Half awake I can't tell whether the birdsong is on the radio among the music or falling through the skylight.

2. It's still daylight when we come home from Cubs, but the sun is low. Bettany has a quick go on the swings in the empty park. She says she hasn't come here for ages because she doesn't like the crowds any more.

3. I swear I've never read this Agatha Christie book before, but there is a very familiar passage where a male doctor decides to fob off a female patient with a hard-to-find proprietary laxative in a tasteful salmon pink coating. When I read it previously, this passage struck me as well observed and skilfully conveyed, saying a lot about both about this character specifically and generally about a certain type of professional man. To me, at that time, it felt like a warning, woman to woman. Thanks, Mrs Christie.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Babysitter, St George's Day and account.

1. The children come and sit on me to tell me all about the agency babysitter they had last night. Alec hid in his room and shut the door, but Bettany is very pleased to tell me about the ad breaks in Britain's Got Talent.

2. The train disgorges scouts, cubs and beavers, each group in a different uniform. It makes me think of the parade of playing cards in Alice in Wonderland.

3. The story of the day comes out in a disordered rush, the streams crossing and clashing as they vie for their turn to speak. Among the torrent I can make out quad bikes, a climbing wall, hot dogs, sweets, packed lunches, a boy called Gideon, a hamster wheel, last one standing, sumo suits, queuing, a bouncy castle, stilts...

Friday, April 22, 2022

New person, pursuit and race.

1. Mostly my cousin's new baby just wants to feed -- but I do get to hold her, and stare into her dark blue eyes for a moment. Then she goes back to rooting across my chest and cardigan,

2. With a handful of sunscreen, I chase a mischievous three-year-old down the garden. I'm glad it's not just my children who were very, very tinksy.

3. I have an idea that if I'm quick-smart making my connection, I won't have to wait half an hour -- and sure enough there is a train to Tonbridge waiting all the way down the platform. I have to run, pulling off my mask as I go but I just make it to a seat in the first carriage and replace my mask feeling very, very pleased with myself.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Potato leaves, expedition and set-up.

1. I check my garden and find that there are (at last) dark green potato leaves sticking up through the soil.

2. We go on an expedition to the industrial estate and come back by a winding way, stopping for coffee and to explore an unknown playground. 

3. I've left Nick rather grumpily setting up Bettany's new tablet. All evening notifications on my phone's parental controls tell me that he's succeeded with getting various apps to work.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Hiding with a book, overlooked and coltsfoot.

1. My small niece and I hide ourselves away with a book.

2. I find a little green foil egg lying on the flowerbed.

3. We find a bank of fluffy white globes: coltsfoot seed heads, ready to be blown.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Check list, puzzle and out out.

1. Suddenly Bettany has a clipboard and is making a tick list for her packing.

2. I make a call to my parents to check the children are behaving. Nick and Alec take it over to do the day's Wordle.

3. Nick and I, just the two of us, go out for a leisurely supper and make our way through half a dozen  oysters of various origins, a seafood platter and a bottle of Brut.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Quality time, alarm and potatoes.

1. Alec has claimed with every step that he hates everything on offer in any coffee shop, but he is quite pleased, in the end, with his breakfast of milkshake and cake.

2. The alarm to remind me to put the potatoes in the oven sounds when we are halfway home. Alec says it's lucky it didn't go off in the coffee shop as that would have been cringe.

3. Banging skewers into baked potatoes -- the clink on the worksurface, and the dribble of potato juice.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Happy families, memory and Piranesi.

1. The children and I play two games of happy families, and no-one throws their cards down and storms out.

2. I do a writing exercise from Sarah Salway's Everyday Words that centres on a happy memory. I work my way back through time to the long walk I made across the Weald. Afterwards, I check the details in this blog -- and of course, the account I made then differs from the version I've pulled out of my head.

3. I've come late to Piranesi, but my goodness, I'm enjoying it so much. I feel so sad and sorry about putting it down each night, and in between I can't stop thinking about it.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Compliment, gardening and self-improvement.

1. Our neighbour stops in the park specifically to tell me how beautiful Bettany has become.

2. I lose myself in the trimming of a congested laurel bush, deciding which branches (dead, diseased or crossing) to cut out and letting the glossy leaves fall around me.

3. I am shading a diagram made using a technique I learned from a life coaching session to plan my priorities for the next few months. First Bettany comes to see what I'm doing, and then Alec. When I explain, they get their notebooks and make their own.

Friday, April 08, 2022

No thank you, tidying and puzzles.

1. Alec politely declines a painkiller this morning.

2. In the background, I am half aware that Bettany is going through one of the boxes on Nick's bookshelf. She will probably come to my desk next.

3. In some back issues of Phoenix the children find some picture puzzles that we haven't done -- or perhaps we have done them, but forgotten. 

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Message, no slugs and best plates.

1. A mid-morning message about a birth in the family, with a picture of a brand new person.

2. The complete lack of massive slugs in the compost bucket suggests my nematodes have worked very quickly indeed.

3. We get the best plates out and eat a packet cheese cake for pudding.

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Toastie, water and haircut.

1. I am really hungry and a cheese and onion toastie eaten in the sunshine with Bettany next to me is just sublime.

2. We have time to stand by the dripping wells at Grosvenor Rec and hear the water drops falling.

3. Six-inch lengths falling under the hairdresser's scissors.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Done, children and module.

1. Ticking things off my to-do list.

2. The knobbly warmth of the children piling in next to me on the sofa.

3. I push on with the final module of the course I'm doing -- it's already late -- and surprise myself. One more evening and I can close this box.

Monday, April 04, 2022

Find, IT and knife skills.

1. While tidying, Nick finds some chocolate.

2. Alec has made some adjustments to his laptop so Minecraft runs faster and with more detail. He is very keen to show me the difference it makes to the sunset and the rendering of the leaves. 

3. Slicing vegetables very finely for crispy duck pancakes.

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 ...