Now that the days are slowly lengthening you might imagine opportunities to sit by the fire and read are fewer. But no, reading is as part of my daily life as cooking and eating and school runs and laundry and walking the dogs. I often have two or three books on the go at once and that's the case at the moment. I'm nearly finished Sightlines and it's been such a joy that I'm lingering over it, stretching the words over a few more bedtimes. Kathleen Jamie's essays are rooted in the natural world and are informed by her interests in archaeology, whales, birds, bones, pathology, islands and people. She brings us alongside icebergs, through whale museums to the islands of Rona and St. Kilda, past noisy gannetries and glinting orcas, to the moon and deep into the mysterious landscapes of the human body. All the way I journey with her, never leaving home and how my heart soars.
Friday evening: Hazy light outside though the candles are lit indoors. A glass of gin & tonic, book (Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, only 20 pages in, already in love) and pink tulips from a birthday dinner. The smell coming from the kitchen is glorious - lemon and rosemary on the potatoes roasting in the oven. Upstairs the sound of Lego bricks being rummaged through and a touch of brotherly bickering. Fires are burning bright as the wind has picked up a little. From here I can see the garden plants moving to their own music. Oh, Friday evening you are the stuff of dreams.
I know. Don't laugh. It's killing my teenager that his mother is doing embroidery... but honestly it's very relaxing and as it's totally new to me I'm merrily getting it all wrong. My French knots won't knot and that Buttonhole thingie ain't happening. I'm just doing it my way. I'm slowly learning that sometimes in life my way, wrong or not, is good enough.
Sometimes, when the rain and wind have been at their worst it's been really hard to imagine Spring. But today the sun is (finally) shining, the floors have been mopped and outside in the garden the crocuses, irises, hellebores and snowdrops are all out. The wind has dislodged all sorts of branches from the trees, including lumps of moss and there at the top right hand corner of the photo you'll also see hazelnuts from the corkscrew hazel in our garden. And shining in the Spring light, a box of Hadji Bey Turkish Delight, surely a taste of warm days if ever there was.
Oh it's a bit uninspiring all this rain. Today it's too wet to consider all but the briefest of walks and even then I only go up the hill. The low lying cloud and mist have covered the hill in a blanket of damp grey. Quick - get back home, indoors to the fire, maybe a few stolen pages of reading (the poetic and beautiful essays in Kathleen Jamie's Sightlines). Not quite hibernating but certainly something close to it.