Friday, March 31, 2023

End of term, unboxing and send.

1. Bettany's dance teacher is wearing pink sparkly bunny ears.

2. The children's excitement at the unboxing of the enormous red hamper we have won in the PTA's raffle.

3. Hitting send on an application.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Fog, buzz and rollers.

1. A strange yellowish fog has settled over us during the night. It turns the view from the window into something extraordinary -- but I don't have time to get bored of looking at it today.

2. There's a bit of a buzz in the family WhatsApp group: a photo of my niece has appeared on CBeebies this morning. 

3. Bettany with rollers in her hair watches the apprentice.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Ready for summer, no waiting and not raining.

1. First thing I go outside to brush the mud off Bettany's shoes and my gaze falls on the blank surfaces of the pots I planted up earlier in the week with summer bulbs.

2. There are plenty of people clustered around the bus stop, which suggests I won't be waiting long.

3. Of course the rain has stopped by the time I rush out of the house in my waterproofs and wellies -- but at least it's not an uncomfortable, cold, dripping outing.

Monday, March 27, 2023

About last night, cutting and practice.

1. The pictures and stories from last night's party start to come in and bring a lot of pleasure to us with our hangovers.

2. Because of the price of meat, we've had to cut the lamb curry with a tin of chickpeas. But it still smells and tastes amazing, and perhaps the chickpeas make it a little more nutritious. 

3. The hesitant sound of Alec's piano practice, underlaid with his counting. I think I like this much better than any concert or perfected piece (which is lucky, because he will spend a lot more time practising than performing).

Friday, March 24, 2023

Planting in layers, waiting and winding down.

1. I realise that under the crocuses that are just now finishing under the driving rain I have planted crimson tulips.

2. It's a wet afternoon and there's nothing to be done but waiting, and nowhere to be but here.

3. It's been a busy, unusual day with too many moving parts. In the evening, once everything has wound down, I go back to work.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Our biscuits, new pens and daisy.

1. At coffee time, there are dark chocolate ginger biscuits. 'These are for adults only,' says Nick as we put them away separately from the family biscuit tin.

2. I clear out my gaming pencil case. Next month, when I've forgotten this, I will be surprised by some new pens.

3. One lawn daisy -- bright white and looking up -- has planted itself between the paving stones in our back garden.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Footnotes, tea and up the Amazon without a paddle.

1. I think I'm supposed to be listening to a meditation podcast but I keep getting distracted by the asterisk leaves of cleavers at the foot of the hedge.

2. Jo offers a wooden box of teas to choose from, which strikes me as much more civilised than our heap of boxes and plastic jars.

3. In tonight's game, we are making our way very slowing up the Amazon on a barge. It seems a very civilised way to travel, despite the rain and the heat and my character even bashes out an article on last episode's exorcism... only then we're attacked by giant mosquitoes.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Spices, yew pollen and grape hyacinths.

1. Going through the spices to see if we've got everything we need for what Nick is making for supper.

2. To pull on the branches of a yew tree and shake out the pollen so it shines in the sun.

3. In a pot of lank, straggling leaves I find grape hyacinths shouldering their way up like greenish blue mushrooms. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

Street stories, cleaned and picked for the team.

1. Our neighbour describes the day jewellery robbers pursued by police rode a scooter up our street and into the park, flinging their booty into the bushes as they went.

2. After a morning of rain, the air is new-washed. When I rinse some plant pots in the back garden, the water shines and glitters and gleams in the clean light.

3. Imagine our excitement when we discover that Alec has been picked for the team in an away hockey tournament.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Little room, a good morning and our lunch.

1. We wake to the radio sounding out A.E. Housman's poem Loveliest of Trees, which is one of my favourites, particularly at this time of year; and particularly when I'm busy and feel I can't prioritise things like blossom trees.

2. It's a beautiful morning, clear air and bright sun, with triangles of frost where the gables' shade falls on the roof.

3. For no special reason, except that it's just the two of us today, Alec and I order in sushi for lunch. It arrives late and we end up eating it naughtily and in silence while he has a remote history lesson with headphones on and the camera off.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Meal plans, cancelled plans and filling my hands.

1. Nick mentions that he has filled the gaps in my meal plan for the rest of the week with recipes from a library book on Middle Eastern cookery

2. I'm sad and sorry that my evening plans have been cancelled -- but also pleased because I won't miss out on reading to the children and hearing about their days.

3. Debobbling a jumper is a tedious task, but it's mindless and fills my hands while I listen to the excellent golden age crime podcast Shedunnit. And at the end of it, my jumper looks much more respectable.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Forecast, without a hat and tea with lemon.

1. The weather forecast reminds us that these foul conditions are not forever: the wind is swinging round later in the day.

2. It's blowy and wet, but it's warm enough that I can go out without a hat.

3. My pot of tea comes with a couple of lemon slices. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Skiing, poke around and cooking from scratch.

1. I have my first skiing lesson for many, many years. The instructor takes me right back to basics -- how to position myself, how to move my feet -- and it makes all the difference. I please myself immensely by fitting another turn into my run, and by getting almost to the top of the rise at the end.

2. To poke around the garden centre with my parents.

3. 'Mummy and I are cooking from scratch,' Nick says when asked about supper.

Friday, March 10, 2023

More crocuses, magpie and muffins.

1. On this chilly, wet morning when spring seems further away than ever, I spot more crocuses -- this time the white and purple striped variety -- reporting for duty. 

2. A movement through the glass draws my attention. The tail of a magpie leaves the frame.

3. I bake a batch of muffins by myself and without having to assist anyone or support them in managing big feelings when things go wrong (which they don't).

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Early snow, work station and mischief.

1. I wake rather early and am the first in the house to know that it has snowed overnight. When I open the shutters, bin men are making the first footprints. One of them is taking a photo -- but I'm not sure if it's for work purposes or because he likes the look of the untouched snow.

2. My new monitor stand is an upgrade from the old one. Once we've screwed it all together and clamped it to the desk, we marvel at how easy and effortless it is to adjust the screens.

3. While I am reading to them, the children share some stories of school mischief. Their reactions are a mix of irritation at the disruption, interest in the reactions of their friends and the teachers, and joy in the comedy of it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Crocus, very cold indeed and comfort.

1. Another dark purple crocus is standing guardsman straight outside the back door.

2. It's a bitter, bitter evening and I'm very glad I've got a ski jacket to wear. 

3. There's nothing to do this evening but listen to podcasts in bed among a pile of pillows.

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Takeover, chess and re-reading.

1. Nick takes from my hands the task of choosing and buying a new monitor stand for my desk.

2. To be beaten by your own child at chess. Although I'm told I put up a good battle and used my queen well.

3. There is time before lights-out -- just -- to read a chapter or so of a very comforting book, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.

Monday, March 06, 2023

Nutmeg, scilla and catkins.

1. To grind a little nutmeg in the mortar and pestle.

2. Poking up through the dead leaves, a few summer blue scilla.

3. Catkins hanging from every hazel branch.

Friday, March 03, 2023

WFH, very pink and planets.

 1. The teachers' strike means that Alec is working from home. I like the occasional updates that he rockets breathlessly up the stairs to bring me. Less pleasing is when he interrupts me to ask if I can come and find the pen he has dropped.

2. Bettany tries on the brand-new bargain basement ski suit that my parents have found for her. It is very, very pink.

3. The proximity of Venus and Jupiter, glittering distantly in the duck-egg blue evening sky, surprises me as I'm wrapping up my day's work. I can't resist sharing the marvel of it on social media. At supper, Nick reports that it's been on the news.

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Installation, found it and nearly done.

1. I meet some friends for coffee and we visit the new installation at the library. It's not a life-changing experience; but being there with friends is life-affirming.

2. In the last shop -- a local indie, as it happens, for max virtue -- I find the perfect hairband at an acceptable price.

3. With some pleasure, I see that I am two thirds of the way through this tedious book. 

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Forsythia, urban legends and raindrops.

1. To spot a smattering of yellow on the forsythia hedge across the way.

2. Bettany and her friends have discovered the joys of urban legends, and we are treated to the highlights during supper.

3. Bettany and I have cut out a lot of felt raindrops for her World Book Day costume. But now they are pinned on to the skirt, I'm wondering about the minimum amount of sewing I can get away with. 'My mother will do those,' says Nick confidently. 'Or some of them.'

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 ...