Friday, September 29, 2023

Transport, showtunes and smooth journey.

1. There's something rather hopeful about a city so full of bikes that parents and children cycle together at rush hour. 

2. At the very back of this slow, near-empty train, someone is singing showtunes, taking requests and enjoying the unusual acoustics.

3. It's been a slow journey, but I pretty much walk on to a Tube train, and then on to a train heading towards home. I've had plenty of time to read, and plenty of time to think about everything I've seen and done today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Sausage rolls, case and horror shorts.

1. The sausage rolls come out of the freezer pale and cardboardy. But 25 minutes in the oven and they are crisp, golden and tasty.

2. A friend has lent Bettany exactly the kind of suitcase she wanted for her school residential trip.

3. Another editor recommended The Magnus Archives podcast for its eerie horror short stories, and I listen to a couple as I wind down for the evening. It has the framing device of a frustrated and misanthropic archivist trying to make sense of a disorganised archive of uncanny experiences. The stories are satisfying and original, very much in the spirit of the not too horrible Victorian tales that I enjoy.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Geese, nails and tea.

1. Still half asleep, I hear geese going over the roof. Autumn is here.

2. Bettany paints my nails, and then I paint hers. 

3. I really was very ready for that cup of tea.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Flown, TV night and wet socks.

1. The fly with has been bothering me while I'm meditating for the last couple of days finds its way out of the back door.

2. It's just us girls this evening. Bettany lines her babies up on the sofa so we can all watch Red Dwarf together. But it's a scary one ('Quarantine'), so we follow up with a Mabel-centric episode of Gravity Falls.

3. A rather bouncy Alec returns from Scouts, boings up the stairs to see me, and bobs about the room telling me how wet his socks are.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Look up, fighter and falling asleep.

1. I'm looking in the wrong place. Both girls are up near the ceiling in Bettany's high sleeper. 

2. Games night. My reporter character is standing in the right place to shoot a depraved Nazi sorcerer (they're the worst kind).

3. I fall asleep holding my phone on which I'm listening to Doreen Carwithen's East Anglian Holiday and playing a word puzzle.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Disappearing, buoyant and shortbread.

1. Downstairs there are seats away from the air con, the loud speakers and people talking. I vanish into Mrs Gaskell's chilling historical novella, Lois the Witch.

2. A buoyant child bursts out of the audition, confident and content, whatever the outcome.

3. Even in the garden I can smell the shortbread I have baking in the oven.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Lyrics, biscuit and getting rid.

1. I've got some non-wordy tasks to do, so I can play music with lyrics -- namely Vashti Bunyan's sweet, otherworldly folk songs. They are like nursery rhymes from an alternate reality.

2. In the biscuit tin I find a jammie dodger.

3.The cardboard packaging that we've been storing for what feels like months is out in the garden awaiting the dustcart.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

The let, manners and using the piano.

1. There is a holiday let in view of my office window. Watching people arriving and searching for the key never gets old.

2. Uncle Yoghurt takes a spoonful of Bettany's pudding and she has the good manners to ignore this.

3. Bettany and I assert ourselves into Alec's room and announce that we are using the piano to practise her audition piece. Over our la-la-laing we can hear him telling his gaming friends that we will be gone soon.

Friday, September 08, 2023

Word, improvement and pub.

1. Bettany finds a word funny for some private reason, murmurs it a few times and chuckles.

2. Dropping strawberries and blueberries on to a shop cake. 

3. Stepping outside in the dark, at the bottom of the hill and over the road the wash and flow of people having a good time spills out of the pub.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Water on a hot day, free sample and out doors.

1. The sound of a bubbling fountain on a very warm day.

2. The pharmacist provides a free sample of the fancy face cream I was considering.

3. Listening to Bettany reading while doing a little gardening.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Almond cakes, iced tea and evening cool.

1. She brings soft almond cakes for pudding.

2. In the fridge I have a jug of lemon iced tea.

3. Sifting compost as the evening cools.

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Flat pack, ice lollies and helper.

1. From time to time, I am summoned down to help with the bed building.

2. At 4pm, everything stops for rocket ice lollies.

3. There is a lot of cardboard packaging to put away until recycling day. A helpful child appears at my elbow, willing to do some folding.

Monday, September 04, 2023

Break-up, autumn planting and in the park.

1. The sound of Nick breaking up the old laundry basket so that it can go out to the bins.

2. Pulling end of summer weeds out of a container, topping it up with compost and putting in some autumn bedding plants -- an interesting twisty grass, some lychnis seedlings with soft silvery leaves, a few scented pinks and some dark red geums.

3. In the park, towards the start of evening on a hot day, it's cooler and there's another mother free to chat.

Friday, September 01, 2023

Last, gift of music and a large box.

1. The receptionist notes with (I think) some regret that it's nearly the last session.

2. A lad comes out of the music shop carrying a guitar-shaped box, followed by a very pleased-looking grandmother.

3. Alec has the new desk chair he has been pining after. But the children are more interested in the box it arrived in.

Charity shop run, work complete and not ice.

1. Bringing donations to the charity shop with Nick to carry the awkward things.  2. Sending an edit back when I have very little to say, ex...