Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Birthday girl, fantasy novel and swap.

1. Bettany's joy at being given a plastic heart of Tafiti jewel from Moana; and that she brings balloons to blow up so we can decorate the kitchen.

2. The heft in my bag of the YA fantasy novel that Alec wants to bring in case he gets bored during supper.

3. The balloon Bettany has carried all the way from the diner suddenly bursts. Her friend immediately hands over her own.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Bus stop, after rain and nine years ago.

1. Some people get off the bus; then there is an anxious gap before I see Bettany and her big rucksack coming along the aisle. We step back on the pavement and wave to Nick and Alec, who are still sitting on the back seat.

2. The air is clearer and colder than when we went in, and we are breathing the smell of rain on dry ground.

3. To stand in the evening light and tell the children that this time nine years ago I was nursing Alec to sleep and my waters broke. For several days, Alec had been startling people in the street by telling them that the roses were blooming and his baby was coming.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Returner, open mic and back window.

1. One little girl comes back three times to write poems on postcards for the wordy washing line.

2. I did not think that Bettany would get up on stage and read a poem at this open mic event with experienced poets -- until she did.

3. ...and breathe. At around sunset we stand watching the last of the light reflecting off the windows of Broadwater Down. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Eating, summer things and sizes.

1. To catch Bob Cratchit having a go at his orange slice. Until now, I wasn't sure if his tongue was in working order, or even if he would feed at all.

2. My  parents bring velvet-dark sweetpeas and a paper bag of cherries.

3. Visiting the school where Alec will go in September we marvel at the boys in Year 7 with their piping voices, and the young men who will be in Year 13 next year.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Time for reading, the effect of sunlight and tiny things.

1. There is time for reading before I start work.

2. We put Bob Cratchit the butterfly out in the garden. The sun warms him and he becomes much more active, climbing to the top of his mesh cage.

3. A box of really tiny chocolates.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

More art, butterfly and visible mending.

1. Nick and I go to look at the Henry Moore exhibition up at The Amelia Scott (aka the library), and our town's fine collection of portraits by Joshua Reynolds and Gainsborough. Then we have a huge lunch with a glass of wine.

2. Bettany finds a butterfly with a dud wing. She names him Bob Cratchit and we bring him into the butterfly cage to live out his life free from concerns about predatory sparrows.


3. An article about how visible mending shows pride in a garment's story gives me the confidence to darn a much-loved dress with contrasting thread. I could have been braver and embroidered a leaf, but the tear was large and the mend needs to stand up to the washing machine.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Drying butterfly, studios and chef Alec.


1. To find another butterfly drying its wings in the sun beside the shell of its cocoon.

2. We set out walking through the suburbs to find artists at work in sheds and chalets, and stacks of oil paintings in a greenhouse. South East Open Studios.

3. Alec, instructed by a video of a rather subdued Gordon Ramsay, cooks burgers for our supper.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Bright dresses, talk to me and sprinkles.

1. Hot weather means bright clothes. Today we are both wearing emerald green.

2. To bring a knowledgeable friend to the new library, museum and art gallery and ask her to talk at me about the collection of oil paintings.

3. The pattering sound of a few cake sprinkles falling on the floor.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

In passing, proper summer and end of the day.

1. To tell a neighbour that we're hurrying to catch a train to London to see my cousin's directorial debut -- a play about a relationship deteriorating in a darkly funny way. I'd recommend it, but it was one-night only and completely sold out.

2. It is actually warm enough that the idea of sitting outdoors for dinner is very enticing.

2b. Catching sight of my other cousin (boyfriend in tow) coming up the street towards our table.

3. To watch the sunset scrolling by on the train back to Waterloo.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Baking alone, work and smoke.

1. How easy it is to bake cakes when you are not trying to teach someone else.

2. To tuck a little work into a spare half hour while everyone else is otherwise engaged.

3. Bettany comes home smelling of campfires and with a small blister on her finger, which should teach her not to make the same smores-related mistake again.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Sugar-peas, washing and interview.

1. I somehow end up leaving the garden centre with 36 sugar-pea plants -- Bettany's fault. We give a few to Nana, and then go home and somehow make space in our own garden.

2. I wash the dirt out of my fingernails; then I have to wash Bettany.

3. To read over Alec's homework: he has interviewed a few people over the age of 25 about their experiences with communication. It's funny trying to guess who the subjects are from their answers.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Plants, sequence and reader.

1. A quick plant chat over the fence with my neighbour.

2. There is something so comforting in the yoga class's familiar sequence of movement. 

3. To be enjoying a book so much that I keep making excuses to slip away and read it. Johannes Cabal and the Fear Institute really is excellent.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

The same, children are home and a satisfying conclusion.

1. As we walk up the hill with our lunch in a shopping bag, we meet our neighbour, who has been out to do the same thing.

2. I am close to a good stopping point when I hear voices downstairs: the children have come home.

3. At the end of our book, good triumphs, the hero gets a medal and a standing ovation, while the antagonists are just sort of... brushed aside and rendered harmless. It's a satisfying ending. There's no need for revenge, which, in any case, rarely feels good when achieved in real life.

Monday, June 06, 2022

Rest, scent and call.

1. 'You just need to rest,' says Nick and leaves me in bed with Disney+.

2. The faint smell of incense in the church we visit to view the jubilee flowers, and later the resiny, peoplish scent of the oud perfume I tested in a shop.

3. The children phone us, mainly to ask for more screen-time so they can watch a film but also to pour out a disordered narrative relating to the treetop rope course they've done today.

Friday, June 03, 2022

Clear sky, caterpillars and jubilee.

1. I wake well before dawn and go to the window. Foxes sprawl across the tarmac and run among the cars and shadows, shrieking and mewling their private thoughts in the secret hours.

1a. Glance up. Marvel at the rainwashed air to the south and west.

2. The caterpillars that have been shredding my honesty are climbing the wall and the window to find a good spot to pupate.

3. Balanced on the wall, a jug of beer.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Serene, dogs and bounce.

1. We pretend not to see a member of staff who has sought out a serene place, very far from the centre of operations, to sit and listen to running water.

2. One glass case holds model dogs in all materials. It looks like someone's personal collection, but I did not find any information to explain it. I like the idea that the collection has been kept safe and coherent.

3. My children's heads appear briefly over a high parapet. They are jumping up and down to see over.

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...