Monday, July 31, 2023

Chop, bakery and recipe.

1. The chives, which I subjected to a brutal post-Chelsea chop a few weeks ago, are looking fresh and green again -- just right for new potatoes.

2. I have never seen children get dressed so quickly -- we're going to the bakery to buy bread and some cakes for later.

3. Alec has made 'nacho cheese' from a recipe he's found on-line and is very pleased with himself.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Fruit, through the door and pile.

1. Janey brings a tumble of fruit -- apricots velvety and blushing pink, apples, grapes and tomatoes in all the colours.

2. My small nephew pretends to squeeze himself through a fairy door.

3. Most of the children are piled into the bird's nest swing, holding on to each other and crowing and giggling and shrieking.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Xylem, yeti and shoppers.

1. I cut slivers of purple carrot with a vegetable peeler for Alec's sandwich. The bright yellow xylem is an expected surprise.

2. Towards the end of the afternoon, when I've hit most of my work targets for the day, I pause for a moment and realise I'm getting a headache. So I sit with Alec and listen to the BBC's yeti podcast -- which is very good indeed.

3. Nick and Bettany return triumphant from their day out in Hastings with a shopping bag full of dresses.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Nectarine, Nick's supper and finding a dress.

1. There is one nectarine left, ripe today, and I am the first one down to breakfast.

2. Nick has made a fish pie and a macaroni cheese for supper tonight, and he is very pleased with himself.

3. Bettany has discovered a red and white dotted dress in the back of her wardrobe.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Yellow/white, tying in and iced cakes.

1. To start with, I put a smear of yellow butter on the rim of the bowl for comparison. When the butter inside the bowl is beaten white, I know it's just right for giving a light crumb to my seed cake.

2. Very late with this task because it's been so wet, but I've finally got around to tying in the sweetpeas on the front fence.

3. I'm not fond of icing cakes -- no patience for piping and sticky hands; buttercream smeared with a knife blade is all I want to do. Now suddenly my daughter is strong enough to use a piping bag and do it all herself.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Decongestants, contented and cucumber slices.

1. During my breastfeeding years I couldn't take decongestants. I still forget that this is now an option -- what a relief it is to take a pill and relieve the pressure in my ears.

2. Our neighbour's baby, lying fat and contented in her pushchair, has a big smile for me.

3. Bettany relaxes in the bath with a face mask, complete with cucumber slices for her eyes.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Veggies, co-incidence and brilliant.

1. Nick has found a new recipe for peas and carrots to go with our curry. The cheerful orange and green are much needed on our plates: the chicken korma he has brought out from the freezer is delicious, but monotone.

2. One of those co-incidences: I'd been writing content about air travel after surgery, and one of the dangers was that the volume of wind in your guts increases threefold because of decreased cabin pressure. Towards bedtime, Bettany brings me her book of fascinating body facts and opens it on the page about why going on an aeroplane make you fart.

3. We watch a couple of episodes of the Fast Show -- with a few stops to explain Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall; unlucky Alf's swearing parrot; Tina Turner; and to discuss our disappointment that Brilliant Kid's ideas about the future never came to pass; and also for me to get over my shock when Paul Whitehouse complains that three pints for a fiver is a bit pricy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Just for bees, catch-up and late at night.

1. Of course the new cafe -- called The Hive -- has insect-friendly planting, with honey bees nosing around us as we sit in the sun.

2. A quick chat with the man who brings the supermarket delivery.

3. Coming home late; the soft thunk of the car door; something night-scented in our road; Alec's face below the sash of his bedroom window.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

One more chapter, tonic and game time.

1. Reading just one more chapter to Bettany.

2. The chick-hiss of a tonic can opening.

3. I've had the solo game Wreck This Deck waiting for a few days now. This evening, I'm not needed elsewhere, so I begin.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Dragonfly, balloons and nougat.

1. Alec darting across the path trying to catch a dragonfly.

2. Bettany has drawn faces on balloons and they are leading their best soap opera lives, alternately kidnapping, adopting and orphaning each other. Our day is punctuated by surprising bangs and requests to blow up or knot more balloons. 

3. A bite of homemade nougat.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Watermelon, plant stall and painted.

1. This little watermelon is particularly tasty, and no one else has noticed yet.

2. We pass a plant stall with a donation box. Bettany asks for a little cactus, and I see no reason to say no to that.

3. Alec comes to show me the tiny details he has painted on his gaming figures.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

A change, during the wait and a lottery.

1. Yesterday I baked overripe pears to get them out of the fruit bowl. They are transformed -- sweet, firm and tasty instead of mushy and watery.

2. While waiting for Bettany's toenails to dry, I paint my own fingernails with her shell pink polish.

3. I have a little time this evening to tumble down a Wikipedia rabbit hole about probability and sortition, shipwrecks and missing persons.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Guilt, bookmaking and wave.

1. My neighbour swears me to secrecy about the pastry she is eating, and then we guiltily share some gossip but are caught by the friend I'm meeting.

2. I emerge, blinking, fingers gluey and smudged, from the little book I've been making at an art workshop (part of Tunbridge Wells Fringe). 

3. As I am waiting to cross the road, the bus I've just got off pulls away. From the back seat, the affable man I'd been chatting with about the view, his day by the sea, his recovery and his long journey home, gives me a cheery wave. 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Potatoes, even smaller and sweetpeas.

1. The smoothness of potatoes in the dusty earth.

2. The left-behind brown shells of dragon fly nymphs cling to reeds by the water. I draw one up the reed for a closer look. Its empty tail still articulates, and it clings to the ridges on my fingers as if alive. Pale mites run in circles over the glossy chitin armour plates.

3. The silky great-auntish colours of sweetpea flowers.

Thursday, July 06, 2023

In the house, not doing and escape.

1. There's a teachers' strike today and Alec is at home with us. I like knowing he is breathing and moving and working somewhere downstairs. He occasionally sends a WhatsApp asking for money or proofreading services.

2. I see a garden task that needs doing; but I don't do it.

3. Events conspire and I have a chance to escape for the evening to an open mic event -- Word Up at the Forum. 

3b. There is time -- just -- between supper and the time I must leave to take Bettany to the park for a practice on her new skates and a go on the swings. We discuss what I might read tonight, turning over the relative merits of the different texts in the open mic folder on my phone. She gives me notes and queries as I rehearse a couple.

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Show, cancelled and rain sound.

1. On a whim, despite our fairly complicated schedule, I got tickets for myself and the children to a circussy magical acrobatics touring show -- Splash Test Dummies. I liked glancing along the row and seeing my children leaning forward with open mouths, or little smiles; and other people's children so excited they were standing up. Anyway -- if they come to your town, make sure you go and see them: it's proper laugh-out-loud, gasp-out-loud stuff.

2. We come out of the theatre blinking in the light, and I find my evening plans have been cancelled so we can discuss the show at our leisure.

3. I sit down to read to the children, and through the window behind me I can hear the rain.

Monday, July 03, 2023

Other eyes, long and handbag.

1. The kitchen is full of homework and chocolate-making. My cousin and I find our way into the front room, which we don't often use for socialising and chatting. But it's not a bad space for just sitting, and I wonder if I can make more use of it.

2. At the cricket ground, Alec and his bat are long, and his shadow in the evening sun is even longer. 

3. At story time, Bettany is still wearing over her pyjamas the crocheted bag that my cousin gave her  today.

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...