Friday, August 25, 2023

Bay leaves, finder's fee and slug.

1. To pull the bay leaves out of the mince we are having for supper tonight.

2. I am promised a finder's fee for some snippets of news I've discovered.

3. At last we catch the slug that has been leaving silvery trails on the kitchen mat.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Back to base, the clean up and plan.

1. After lunch on an unbearably hot day, two office workers returning with boxes of ice lollies. 

2. Showing Alec how to scrape sticker residue off the outgrown bunkbed that we are cleaning up ready to sell. It's not a task he loves, but he finds some satisfaction in peeling off a long strip of Lego tape.

3. We have a plan for this evening: to lie in bed listening to music.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Spices, beetroot and snipping.

1. At coffee time we go over what Nick is making for supper, and I pick the herbs from the garden and locate the spices he needs. 

2. Slipping the skin off a cooked beetroot.

3.  Beside me, Bettany is snipping something from a magazine.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Circling back, familiar things and small repairs.

1. Our conversation keeps circling back to the bits we enjoyed about our holiday -- a couple of exceptional meals; getting out so early that the dogwalkers were still on the beach; our single sea bathe; an eclectic little museum; and lots and lots of resting in quiet, shaded rooms with our books and devices. 

2. That feeling of coming back to our own kettle and beds and garden (in the four days we've been away, the gladioli have flowered and the beans have ripened).

3. In our absence, the landlords have done some repairs around the house. Paintwork that previously looked a little scruffy is now white as new snow; the bathroom sealant has been redone so it's clean and fresh again; and the oven works once more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Flora, radio and cooling.

1. To take Keble Martin's Concise British Flora and a cup of tea into the garden for a quiet sit-down in the sun.

2. Alec and I sit in the very warm bedroom listening to I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue.

3. Once the sun comes off the roof, I open the blinds and shutters and let the cross draught do its cooling work.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

On the common, shower and cleaning.

1. Out early walking on the common. It is looking particularly lovely, and rather pleased with itself in the morning sun.

2. A short rain shower, mid-afternoon.

3. My child is so desperate not to go to bed that she is learning how to clean the bathroom.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Epsom salts, puff balls and blackberries.

1. You need a strongish solution of Epsom salts for them to work their magic, and it's very satisfying to empty half a bag into the bath.

2. Among the leaf litter puff balls are ripening the colour of chamois leather.

3. Among the brambles, gleaming blackberries.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Looking forward, midges and on the sofa.

1. At the end of the afternoon, I have a herb walk to look forward to.

2. Looking up the bank at the thousands of midges dancing in the dusty evening sun.

3.  Bettany and I sit almost back-to-back on the sofa with our devices, playing the collaborative game The Past Within

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Tyler is busy, magic shop and teacake.

1. Since 2015 I've been waiting to direct Alec to the text game Lifeline so that he too can connect with Taylor, a stranded astronaut.

2. Today I walk down the hill to investigate a new herbal apothecary that appeared as if by magic on Castle Street. I have a good chat and book myself on to a guided walk across the common.

3. With my 4pm cup of tea, an orange-flavour marshmallow teacake.

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Afternoon, chefs and suspension bridge.

1. Alec and I step out into the wet afternoon sun, blinking in the glare and sneezing at the smell of wet pavements.

2. For supper, Nick has made a chicken pie; Bettany has made a watermelon basket.

3. On the MOOC I'm working through, they show newsreel footage of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940. The suspension bridge deck ripples like a ribbon (as the voiceover says), and there is some cognitive dissonance in watching it, not to mention the apparently calm demeanour of the motorist who abandons his car halfway over and strolls towards the camera. 

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Sign-off, lavender and practice.

1. My tasks today include two novel sign-offs. It's satisfying to see these projects go on their way.

2. As I am weeding out seedy plants from the front border, the scent of lavender around my hands.

3. There is time in the evening to listen to Alec's music practice and marvel at how, little by little with each practice session, he is improving.

Monday, August 07, 2023

Bounce, nest and line.

1. For most of our visit, out of the corner of my eye, the four children have been visible on the trampoline, either bouncing or lying in a heap talking about important child things.

2. In the old privy I find a swallow's nest, which must be fresh this year because the moss showing over the lip of the clay cup is still green.

3. I go with Alec to the greater barn where Uncle Tim has set up a slack line. It is anchored at one end to one of steel beams and at the other to a tractor that is swallowed up by the vast space. Alec can now get himself on to the line, and walk five paces.

4. As I open the rooflight, three jackdaws launch from the roof of the outbuildings.

5. Bettany calling out flower names as we walk down the lane.

6. Taking a last long look at the view across the valley, noting the positions of the hills, the hedges and the field walls.

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Coffee time, stuck indoors and desk pad.

1. During lockdown we got into a habit of halting everything for coffee at the kitchen table in the middle of the morning. I still look forward to my caffeine, biscuits and company.

2. The weather is so vile that I'm glad to be at my desk all day.

3. When Bettany is supposed to be getting ready for bed she is working away adding more data to a drawing on her A3 desk pad -- something she's seen today that she wanted to express or capture. 

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 ...