Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Almost too much wildlife, yam and summer cup.

1. Once the corvids have mobbed the buzzard out of sight, I sweep my gaze down and happen to catch a deer leaping into cover.

2. The caramelised smell of a baking sweet potato.

3. I'm back to using my insulated to summer cup to keep my evening soda water with a dash of bitters icy. I'm looking forward to using it for my Aperol Spritz at Friday evening cricket, once the pitch dries out enough for it to go ahead and for us to sit on the grass. 

Monday, April 29, 2024

Quiet hour, brownies (warm) and not waiting any more.

1. Everyone is still asleep. It's too quiet to do any housework and it's too rainy to leave the house. So I finish a languishing knitting project while listening to an audiobook about osteoarchaeology.

2. A taste of Bettany and Nick's latest batch of brownies, still warm from the oven. 

3. Alec and I dig in with Stranger Things -- I've been looking forward to it, but wanted to wait until he was keen to watch alongside me. 


Friday, April 26, 2024

Escape, tulips and samosa.

1. This morning, I'm piling into a car with friends to escape into the Weald, where we will visit a garden planted with 45,000 tulips.

2. Slender white 'Triumphator' tulips still carrying drops from the shower we have just missed.

3. Nick and I split a samosa from the corner shop across the park -- they really are very good, but have to be an occasional treat because fried pastry is not a key food group in middle age. The children have one each because they're growing almost faster than we can feed them.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Done, moon and Irish fairy tales.

1. A meeting that is over by 9.30am.

2. A big full moon is stuck on next door's chimney pots.

3. By my bed is a large and comforting book of Irish fairy tales that I can use to read myself into sleep. The last two stories involved heroes whose values or physical needs clashed with their quest so they failed -- but one got more chances; and the other was forgiven entirely.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Eggshell, turkey oak and grateful.

1. Smacking a hardboiled egg to break the shell.

2. Pale green leaves on the huge oak tree at the corner of The Grove.

3. There is nothing quite like hearing about the history of diseases to make you feel grateful for living in the twenty-first century. I'm listening to Crypt by Dr Alice Roberts, and I've reached the chapter on leprosy.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Filler, thirsty and in the north.

1. Smearing a bit of filler into the holes in Alec's bedroom wall where we've taken out screws and fixings. We're summoning the energy to redecorate, so I thought I might as well do the filling.

2. I only realise when I have a cup of tea in my hands how thirsty I am. 

3. The wind has been in the north for a few days, and that side of the house is noticeably cooler. I'm glad I can escape into the warmer rooms on the south west side.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Morning, errands and entertainment.

1. I murmur an acknowledging greeting to a passing bin man.

He is a well brought-up African and replies with eye contact and a warm 'Good morning. How are you?'

I then have to respond with information about my wellness, and a polite inquiry about his. For me as a well brought-up woman from south east England, this is terribly awkward; but I value the disruption and  I appreciate the warmth.

2. A new tube of toothpaste and a birthday card -- these are not difficult errands. 

3. I discover that Is it Cake? is a real thing, not just invented for a gag on Ghosts. I only know this because my husband and daughter are fans.

3b. The episode of Successville in which Martin Kemp gets so confused that he forgets his own name will never, ever get old.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

In the pond, spotted leaves and better kind of chocolate spread.

1. No tadpoles that I can see -- but something flips in the water just beyond my field of focus.

2. I take the muddy path so I can check on the orchids -- their spotted leaves are present among fine new grass blades.

3. Nick has bought the better kind of chocolate spread -- the one with loads of hazelnuts in it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Before, filler and in the recycling.

1. Getting back just before the rain.

2. Smearing filler into wall holes.

3. We have had a collection of empty Prime bottles for a while now because when this influencer-powered energy drink first came out, the children were sure they would be valuable one day. But now thinking has changed, and I get permission to put the lot in the recycling.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Coffee, just passing and flowers on the bank.

1. Unexpectedly, a chance for a coffee and a gossip. Our slower times have converged again.

2. I make a short (and rapid so I'm not noticed) diversion through the park and to see Bettany and friends playing on the swings.

3. In my absence, the bank has become covered in spring flowers -- violets, primroses in various shades of yellow and ochre, and anemones, and even some early bluebells.

Friday, April 05, 2024

Squirrel, spring flowers and tracks.

1. Squirrel! Little skinny thing with a bottle brush of a tail crossing the snow to a twisted latch.

2. Where the snow was yesterday, among the bruised winter grass are yellow genapy flowers and white anemones and others that I don't know. 

3. Up high where there's nothing but snow, rabbit tracks.

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Weather, translation and acoustics.

1. Today the ski instructors are wearing greatcoats against the falling snow.

2. At the food market, an English man without much French explains to the cashier that he is leaving tonight and that he is grateful for all her help.

2b. We go home a rather long way, despite the rain, wandering among the chalets. I catch the scents of wood smoke and of goats.

3. There is a spot from where, by some quirk of mountain acoustics, I can hear the piste bashers working far above us and over the valley.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Falling, icicles and sleepy song.

1. To look up and see snowflakes falling from a blue sky.

2. Among the dark pine branches icicles shine, thawing and freezing, thawing and freezing.

3. My niece tells me about sleepily listening to my sister sing 'Feed the birds, feed the bag, tuppence a bird.'

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Dusting of snow, familiar face and tracks.

 1. Waking up to a dusting of snow down in the village -- just enough to brighten the drab winter grass and the pines up the mountain.

2. To find that the children have the same instructor as last year and that he remembers us. 

3. We take the passage facile, still covered in powder snow, cut only by pair of ski tracks.

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 ...