Thursday, March 28, 2024

Book treasure, worn and speaker.

1. Finding treasure in the Oxfam bookshop. I only popped in to look for a card.

2. Bettany doesn't wear makeup out and about, but nonetheless her palettes are worn to holes from practice, practice, practice.

3. The change in sound quality when Nick switches on the Bluetooth speaker.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Poached egg, acer and bramble.

1. Carefully opening my poached egg so the yolk runs on to the toast.

2. The acer tree -- lime green edged with crimson.

3. Bramble shoots, tender green, point straight up at the changeable sky.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Due, birthday cards and just a trial.

1. We're due a delivery... but are we really? I haven't had any of the promised notifications and I can't find it on my account. I've got so much to do, and I don't want to be chasing through an automated contact system or waiting for a phone call. To hand the emails and reference numbers over to Nick and let him deal with it. 

2.  In my family at this time of year, it's reasonable to buy birthday cards in bulk and do a mass mailout. I stack them up and hand them over to Bettany with her special pens.

3. A horse chestnut tree essays a just few new leaves -- testing the air with languid green fingers.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Grape hyacinths, snake's head and chimes.

1. On this road, it seems as if intense blue grape hyacinths have forced their way out of every crack.

2. Under a garden hedge, the basket-weave bells of snake's head fritillaries.

3. We keep hearing the chimes of the ice cream van, sometimes near, sometimes far in the serpentine suburban ways and parks and avenues and drives. Our paths never cross, though. So we go home the long way to pass a shop with a freezer and we get something for Alec, too.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Mary Oliver, cowslip and kulfi.

1. To have a slim blue Mary Oliver book.

2. On the bank by the road, one cowslip, rather dazed. 

3. Remembering that there is a kulfi lolly in the freezer.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Forsythia, twos and on telly.

1. The yellow stars are working their way along the forsythia hedge.

2. Two magpies playing in a puddle. Two squirrels chasing round a sycamore. Two rabbits with orange fur on the backs of their necks.

3. We are giving Zena Warrior Princess a try, Bettany and me, cuddled up on the sofa to watch fantasy wars fought across Iron Age Greece.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Gift plants, hospital pyjamas and no charisma.

1. Plants which were gifts months ago have bloomed -- a paperwhite narcissus and pale yellow wallflowers. Both are scented if you care to bend down and try.

2. The bus picks up a man wearing hospital pyjamas. The driver knows him and spends the entire journey encouraging him to keep on with the work of turning his life around. As he gets off, he calls, 'No surrendah, big man!' and the driver agrees: 'I like the sound of that.'

3. Tim brings out some miniatures to represent our characters in his new game. The dice gave me an elf magic user with low charisma, and I'd imagined a scruffy, ill-favoured sort with rather rigid morals. But Tim finds a looming, creepy figure with an unhealthy pale face and an eerie white cloak. He looks like he has spent too long over his books in poor lighting, and perhaps made some bad bargains with unholy entities.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Box of books, lighter coat and child asleep.

1. There is a heavy box of new books waiting on the stairs.

2.  There's a warmth to the air that makes me wonder if I should have put on a lighter coat. 

3. There's a child asleep on my bed as I am working this evening. 

Monday, March 18, 2024

Bud vase, tomato and the poem I needed to hear.

1. Among the faded cut daffodils that I'm putting on the compost heap there is one that will do for another day in a bud vase.

2. For the burger that Alec has cooked me, slices of tomato with the seeds discarded.

3. Tonight, I hear a poem that I really needed to hear, in which the teenagers in someone else's house sleep long and deep, just like my son.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Puzzles, tea time and the new rug.

1. This morning, while we are still lying in bed waiting for the bathroom to come free, I share my morning New York Times puzzles with Bettany.

2. At tea time, a dark chocolate biscuit and hot mug appear at my elbow.

3.  I'm still enjoying the give of the new rug under my feet.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Using up that cauliflower, sunset and a bit of a moon.

1. For lunch, there is a particularly good cauliflower and chickpea curry that Nick has made.

2. On my way over the common, I come across the place where people dawdle so they can watch the sunset tangling in the trees to the west. I stop for a moment, too.

3. High above us is a bit of a moon, veiled in the mist.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Avocado, in the rain and supper smells.

1. I didn't expect this: the avocado is perfectly ripe.

2. The world runs with water today -- all about me in the woods, there is movement.

3. I come downstairs before Nick calls supper because the spicy scents are so enticing, and I'm curious to see what he's making.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Locked away, milkshake and last stitch.

1. Halfway through the afternoon, I spot the builder carrying his power saw across the car park so he can lock it away in his truck.

2. Making a milkshake for Alec when he comes in from school.

3. Pulling the cut yarn through the final knitted stitch.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Pinks, robin and not dead.

1. Waiting for me at breakfast is a pot of pinks, just perfect for the front garden.

2. Later in the day, Alec produces a card he has made for me -- a drawing of a robin in oil pastels, made from a photo he took on a day out we had together in the autumn.

3. I go to take out a dead fern to make room for my pinks, but find close to the soil, tight furled fronds, waiting for next week, or the week after.

Friday, March 08, 2024

Wallflowers, birdseed and tinkering.

1. I have been waiting since before Christmas, recently without much hope, for my wallflowers to bloom. And now there are bobbly little buds in the rosettes of leaves at the top of the stems.

2. At coffee time, Nick throws a cup of seed out for the birds.

3. Last thing at night I go in to check on Alec and find him tinkering with the poem he is writing for his English homework.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Stars, move on and late.

1. It's just handful of the very brightest celestial bodies scattered across a smeary sky -- but after weeks of flat orange night cloud, they seem quite precious.

2. Sarah Millican makes a particularly earthy observation and comments about our response, 'That was a move-on laugh.' 

3. I have a piece of gravel in my hand when Alec, in his dressing gown, unbolts the front door.

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Apple, end and almanac.

1. The trick of slopping bottled lemon juice over apple slices to stop them browning.

2. In the hedge, withered sloes. Winter will end soon.

3. A few days late -- but we make time to look over the almanac for the month to see what to look out for in the sky and in the garden this month.

Monday, March 04, 2024

Phone, Sunday walk and new rug.

1. A leisurely chat on the phone.

2. On a sunny afternoon at the end of winter to walk around the market picking out cakes for tea.

3. Now, at last, I have time to roll up the old worn rug in the front room and put down a new one. The room immediately feels tidier and brighter and more intended.

Friday, March 01, 2024

At the table, night at the theatre and part way home.

1. We've had to hurry a bit because our train was delayed -- the relief of seeing our friends at the cafe table.

2. Sitting high up in the Barbican theatre to watch the magical production of My Neighbour Totoro. It has the gentle feeling on the original, and the sense of a modern world overlaid on a very, very old and mysterious world.

3. We took a gamble and jumped on a train that was going part of way, rather than wait for the very delayed and probably extremely crowded service that was going all the way home. Now we are standing on a cold platform at close to midnight, I have my doubts. But then connecting train -- the one we should have caught -- arrives. There are almost no seats, even this far down the line, and the air is a fuggy mess of beer and frustration. I feel like we made the right choice.

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 ...