Thursday, May 30, 2024

Horse bus, humming birds and rest.

1. We circle a reconstruction of Shillibeer's 1829 horse-bus, painted with flower wreaths like a Roma cart. We climb aboard and sit on red velvet sprung seats.

2. To learn that in London of 1897, you could hail an electric cab -- Bersey's humming birds, they were called.

3. We let our tired feet bring us into a bakery for a cup of tea and some juice.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Hardboiled egg, back in line and foxgloves.

1. I hardboiled a few eggs this morning. At lunch, I note that the one Nick is eating has a perfect yolk -- just a little soft.

2. It just takes a few snips to bring the garden back into line.

3. Foxgloves are best viewed in the dusk, a little distance away.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Mushrooms, seeded nettles and rice pudding.

1. It's been so blimmin' wet that there are mushrooms on the common.

2. The nettles that have seeded have a misty grey blue colour to them.

3. Late at night, I'm told that the large rice pudding that no-one except me and Nick wanted at supper has brought a great deal of pleasure. And can I make another one?

Friday, May 24, 2024

Unexpected salad, mint and keep going.

1. The groceries arrive as Nick is getting supper -- which means we can have unexpected salad with our wraps.

2. I find the mint sprigs intended for my drink on the compost heap with the weeds I noticed while I was picking.

3. I hit my target for the day -- but a small push will make tomorrow easier, so I keep going.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Falling sand, full leaf and lime.

1. It's quiet enough that I can hear the sand falling in my hour glass.

2. I have to glance around the full leaves of the tree in our garden to see the children down the hill to school.

3. This week, there's a lime to go in my soda water.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Reflection, weight and wallflowers.

1. The reflection of a flying bird on a wet slate roof.

2. The weight of rain turns the silvery sides of leaves uppermost.

3. Once, a while ago, someone planted wallflowers along the hedge bottom on this road.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Bramble flowers, bee and his own.

1. The bramble flowers strike me as unusually large this year -- almost like dog roses that have been through the wash too many times and come out faded and crumpled.

2. Coaxing a bee out of the window with a piece of card. Bees never seem frantic or annoyed -- they just keep trying, systematically, to find the way out.

3. As I test my son on his French, I think that his neat, cramped handwriting is very much his own -- nothing like mine; nothing like Nick's.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Leftover chips, flan and new PJs.

This weekend marked 20 years since the first Three Beautiful Things post. I don't have much to say, except that I'm broadly pleased with 3BT as a body of work and a creative practice. I really appreciate the company along the way because I've met some lovely folks through this work. The kind words and helping hands have meant a lot. And it's been reassuring to see that people enjoy reading it. 

1. The smell of last night's leftover chips warming up for lunch.

2. Unmoulding a caramel custard -- a proper French one which says it's bio and a flan.

3. My child's obvious pleasure in the new pair of navy blue pyjamas we picked out together. She says they are 'preppy' and just right for a sleepover.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Herbal tea, efficient and delaying tactic.

1. Tea made with lemon balm from the garden.

2. Nibbling on a couple of pieces of fancy chocolate after lunch. This one is coffee and biscuits flavour, which seems efficient.

3. The sounds of Alec delaying bedtime by hunting around for a new reading book. We notice it because we're in bed early ourselves.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Looking up, pink cakes and roses.

1. There are a number of people standing under the turkey oak staring up into the canopy. They are pretending they are taking a phone call or waiting for their dog to poo or trying to decide whether to run home and get their bags-for-life -- but really they are taking a moment to feel awe at the scale of the branches and the sheer quantity of new leaves.

2. I go earlyish to the bakers to be sure of getting a good choice of cakes. I don't bother trying to decide: I get one of each, and two of the pink ones.

3. The rose feed that I add to the vase swirls in the water, then dissipates.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Steady rain, canon and heat.

1. We wake to the sound of steady rain after a few hot, dry days.

2. I tumble down a bit of a rabbit hole after a social media discussion of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major -- you'd know it if you've ever been to a wedding. I toss a couple of sketches from John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme into the thread, and then queue up some of his other works on Spotify. 

3. I quite enjoy the heat therapy part of my physio -- it's such a simple, pleasant intervention. The choreographer Twyla Tharp in her book The Creative Habit describes heat as her sacrament, and that's one way of considering physio tasks. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Her name, flavour notes and up the hill.

1. Bettany sets off up the hill to school. I hear someone in the crowd jostling around the door make a joyful shout of her name.

2. Our coffee apparently has a flavour note of apricots. I'm not convinced. But when I take a draft, there it is -- definitely yellow fruits, although I couldn't say if it is specifically apricots.

2. As I am hurrying down to the High Street, I see Nick coming up from the station with his suitcase. 


Monday, May 13, 2024

Festival, fairy garden and ants.

1. We live in the sort of street in the sort of town where we can stroll across the park to a literary festival.

2. Bettany has been at work with a trowel and watering can, and now the front garden is full of fairy houses. 

3. To watch ants hurrying their eggs and young back into the deeper galleries of the nest I have just disturbed in the compost heap.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Two left, weeding and wisteria.

1. There are just two Jaffacakes left, so I have them.

2. The crackling, popping sound of weeds lifting out of gravel.

3. While the kettle boils, to watch bees tumbling in and out of the wisteria.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Over the field, the path divides and perished.

1. After the bridge, the hard path cuts across the middle of a grass field spangled with buttercups.

2. The hard path continues left; or there's a line of bare earth scored through the grass over the curve of the slope down to a stile in the valley.

3. My old theraband has perished. The edges have ruffled, and it crackles interestingly when I stretch it a few times. Then a quarter of it rips off in my hands.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Tiny rain, snail and kneading.

1. We can't feel the tiny raindrops, but we can see the rings on the still pond.

2. A snail in a pinkish shell watches us come up the path.

3. Today we've got time to knead flour and water into pizza dough.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Voting, brownie and listening time.

1. The way polling stations appear overnight, apparently constructed from office supplies, and then vanish again at the end of the day.

2. The last piece of the brownie Bettany made at the weekend is now very gooey and soft -- exactly right.

3. Dozing and listening -- now we're on to the chapter about rotator cuff pathologies.

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Essay, azalea, swift call.

1. On the breakfast table is the essay Alec was fretting about last night -- printed and ready to hand in.

2. From a garden the scent of azalea.

3. Half-heard through the open window while I'm deep at work, the call of a swift.

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Obscure reference, corn beef hash and that chocolate.

1. Today's episode of Zombies Run! opens with a reference to an Australian improv show, which I only know about because of my habit of fossicking about on the internet looking for rabbit holes to tumble down. 

2. Corn beef hash is what is for supper, and it's pretty tasty.

3. We get a fairly pricy box of chocolates delivered every once in a while from the chocolatier Coastal Cocoa. All of the chocs are delicious and we enjoy them very much -- but every once in a while, one turns up that is absolutely worth the subscription price. Last night we had a dark chocolate ginger caramel mini egg that made us both gasp with pleasure.

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...