Friday, June 28, 2024

Odd half hour, ribbons and cooler.

1. I have an odd half hour today to catch up with my professional development. I've been so short of time recently that even reading a newsletter feels like a luxury.

2. Bettany and I knot ribbons for her birthday decorations. We work from opposite ends of a string to create the curtain effect she has in mind.

3. The air temperature has dropped quite suddenly from uncomfortably warm to refreshing.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Brewing up, air con and spooky optimism.

1. At breakfast, while we are working out all the adjustments we need to make for the heat, I remember that what we really like on this sort of day is cold-brewed coffee mid-morning. It's exactly the right time to make it, so that is what I do.

2. To wait in a dimly lit place with air conditioning.

3. It's late and we're very sleepy, but we still enjoy the optimism of The Spooky Men's Chorale singing 'We'll Give it a Go'.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Ice lolly, music and standing out.

1. I remember that there's a kulfi lolly in the freezer on this hot afternoon.

2. At my desk, I can half-hear Alec and/or his friend playing the keyboard.

3. After the game, there's a moment to stand out in the warm night under the sky.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Nests, lime blossom and tink.

1. I show Alec a bird's nest I have found. He shows me where a gull is nesting on a chimney pot.

2. On a warm evening, the scent of lime blossom in the park.

3. The tink tink tink-tink-tink-tink sound of the beads on her bike spokes.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Basket, free cake and chilli night.

1. 'I love shopping,' Bettany announces as she tows the basket around The Range. 

2. As it was my birthday, there is a free cake waiting for me at the bakery.

3. Sharp lime rubbed round the rim of my beer glass; and the bright green coriander and onion scattered over our plates of chilli.

Friday, June 21, 2024

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 gossip in Chapel Place.

3. Alec slices watermelon.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Streaming music, warm out and curry night.

1. I am still not over the novelty of streaming music -- you think of a song, or half remember a song, or hear about a song, and then you listen to it, straight away without waiting. And then you can listen to various covers; and other tracks by the same artist, or similar songs by artists that you've never even heard of because they are Chinese or Argentinian.

2. At the end of the afternoon, to step through the back door and find that it's warm out. 

3. Grating a cucumber to go with the railway lamb that Nick has cooked for our supper.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wodehouse, lozenge and caught it.

1. Nick has brought me some PG Wodehouse books from the library. There are plenty to choose from, and with their familiar characters and comforting well-worn settings, they are instantly forgettable so can be re-read and re-read. His body of work is rather a lovely gift to the world.

2. There's a lozenge-shaped moon, rather severe, watching us play.

3. She had to sprint, while I took my time getting a ticket and walking down to the Tunbridge Wells platform -- but over the tracks the London train is pulling away while I'm coming down the stairs, so I think she must have caught it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Pink geraniums, an hour out and treat.

1. On a shaded path through the woods, the glowing faces of tiny pink geraniums.

2. I spend an hour talking with the residents of a care home as part of their entertainments programme. I tell them about Three Beautiful Things, and then join the staff in helping them write cards to friends and relatives. I think my favourite was the man who asked me to write that he could not have hoped for a better son-in-law. I also liked writing out the Lord's Prayer for an elderly clergyman; and hearing an elderly lady's memories of watching Shirley Temple films with her sister and her mum, who would, afterwards, run up copies of the star's dresses, one in pink and one in blue.

3. Alec and I treat ourselves to a snack from the corner shop and a walk home across the common.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Cocktails, more strawberries and scuffle.

1. Nick's pinacolada arrives in fancy a glass pineapple. Mine is rather dull by comparison -- but it packs a good punch, has a foamy top and there's a yellow flower floating in it.

2. Last birthday, Bettany received a kilo of chocolate and we are still enjoying that gift nearly a year later. The worktop is taken over by rows of chocolate-dipped strawberries and popcorn. 

3. The unseemly scuffling at late suppertime around the foil tray of leftovers from the Turkish mixed grill we failed to finish for lunch. Even after negotiations, there's meat for tomorrow as well.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Valerian, taste and hearing the rain.

1. I've had a wary eye on the valerian plant that has seeded itself right by the hinge of the back door. I've never had valerian in the garden before, and I am pleased to see it -- but it's chosen a spot where it is vulnerable to crushing. Right now, though, I've got a moment to ease its roots out of the crack, and I've got a spot where I can plant it.

2. A quick taste of what the children are having for their supper is enough.

3. Working and half listening to the rain.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Meet-up, ready to eat and evening sky.

1. As I am leaving the post office, through the glass door I see Nick coming towards me.

2. It's worth it to buy the more pricy ready-to-eat produce. We're getting more perfect peach moments, and fewer pans of stewed fruit.

3. Opening the window before bed -- crescent moon in the sky that fades from duck egg blue to pearly yellow.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Still, enthused and laws of nature.

1. The physio positions her chair so I don't have to move my head to chat with her while we wait for her acupuncture needles and my muscles to do their work.

2. So enthused am I by the prospect of meeting Peppy for a cuppa that I write a news story in the ten minutes between her call and the time I have to leave the house.

3. Talking through science revision and seeing that the laws of nature have not changed since I did year eight science.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Draft, working location and bacon.

1. I think I might have some material already written for the job I have just agreed to do. Five minutes in my archive, and I have a draft to start from. 

2. Doing a structural edit means I can work on my Kindle from bed or a coffee shop if I like.

3. We're all drawn to the kitchen by the smell of frying bacon. 

Monday, June 10, 2024

Artist's world, free fruit and lighter later.

1. Looking into the world of an artist, where dogs and chickens run wild through cluttered collaged backgrounds.

2. Nick is very pleased with himself because the supermarket app has promised him a free bunch of bananas to go with the free box of strawberries he has just brought home.

3. It stays light so late that we can go out walking after supper.

Thursday, June 06, 2024

Carrying, baking and learning French.

1. Now that Bettany has a rack on the back of her bike, I don't have to carry her jumper and water bottle.

2. The me who is now mixing fairy cakes is grateful to the me who earlier this afternoon took the butter out of the fridge.

3. I learnt French mostly by a total immersion method, with lots of roleplay and vocab lists and describe what's going on in this picture. Alec brings his revision flashcards down so I can test him. As I review the declined verbs (regular and irregular) and the rules he is learning, a few half-remembered phrases suddenly make a lot more sense.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Garden, hope and strawberries.

1. We take our coffee into the theatre garden where we can look up into the trees.

2. Among the shopping are new season strawberries -- two boxes because it was an offer. The berries have a glossy shine and a deep scarlet colour that seem very promising. Even if they don't taste as good as they look, I can hope.

3. Cracking a chocolate-dipped strawberry with my teeth. And it's a good strawberry, too.


Monday, June 03, 2024

Up, cistern and the same old characters.

1. A very small person with pale blue eyes and fine blonde hair crawls along the bench seating to tell me all about her morning with lots of pointing and 'Up, up.'

2. The landlord has been round to fix our loo flush, which has had an intermittent fault for a few weeks now. It feels great to pull on the chain with the certain expectation of hearing water rush down from the cistern.

3. Almost ready for sleep, I try to explain to Nick that I'm going to return briefly to Blandings to read a chapter of Summer Lightning before I sleep; but I get P.G. Wodehouse mixed up with H.P. Lovecraft. And we think that this would be something we would both read.

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...