Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Pour, bookshop and woodsmoke.

1. The espresso for our affogato comes in a little cup with a pouring spout.

2. We discover a barge that is also a bookshop: a tidy, swaying space lined with books of every genre, to suit all tastes. The bookseller sits by the door, welcoming and observing his customers from a tangle of blankets, beard and hair.

3. Walking along a canal; the smell of woodsmoke from the stoves on the narrowboats.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Pink sky, around the mud and caraway.

1. We get up at around dawn in these short days, and so I catch the sky turning pink.

2. The beaten path that goes up the bank and round the muddy place on the track.

3. Caraway seeds in my coleslaw.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Skater, extras and bao buns.

1. Early session: one woman has the ice to herself.

2. My package includes a sticker and free sample of wrapping paper.

3. There are fat white bao buns for supper.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Treasure, obscure and meat.

1. Digging into the Christmas boxes, I'm finding all sorts of things that I bought in the January sales last year and hid away.

2. What I really like is half-listening to an obscure piece of music on Radio 3, with the knowledge that later today I can check the schedule to find out what it is and then -- if I feel like it -- seek it out on a streaming music service.

3. In my bowl of soup this evening there are pieces of chicken from the roast we had at the weekend.  

Monday, December 11, 2023

Elf, our stall and sojourn.

1. Bettany jumping up and down to see her reflection in the mirror -- she's dressed as an elf so she can help at Santa's grotto.

2. Our room at the school Christmas Village fills with people eager to knock the elf off the shelf with Nerf guns. In a quiet moment, I flip through the notes in the cash box and feel satisfied with our contribution.

3. Alec has been reading My Family and Other Animals and wonders if we could possibly move to Corfu so he can have a tutor.

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

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, except that I enjoyed and had fun working on it.

3. It's a wet night, and I have so much to do before I go away, but Bettany wants to practise skating ahead of her class treat to the ice rink later this week. So we join the crazy folks who can't stay off the ice, even when their gloves are soaked and they leave a wake in the puddles lying on the rink.

Monday, December 04, 2023

Baking, applause and supper.

1. The clatter of a tin on the oven shelf.

2. I am a little early to collect Bettany from the show she's watching. From the café, I can hear the finale and the applause, and feel it, too.

3. I leave Alec with his dough: he seems to know what he's doing, adding milk and flour and complaining by turns that it's too wet and too dry. Half an hour later, we're eating pizza scones for supper.

Friday, December 01, 2023

Leftover curry, advent coming and folk music.

1. There is leftover curry for lunch, and Nick even finds a bit of meat that the children did not gobble up last night.

2. Just before bed, there is a flurry of excitement as the children open the parcels containing the advent biscuits sent over by Bettany's godfather.

3. Half listening half drifting off to sleep to an ethereal industrial track by The Unthanks.

Lolly, rabbits and fairy festival.

1. As we walk, the grinding, crunching sound of Bettany working on a chalky double lolly. 2. Midsummer afternoon on the common -- rabbits gr...