Tuesday, 31 May 2016

happiness is...

... when your dad puts up a swing at the back door, for all those moments when you need a swing in your socks and you couldn't be faffed to go down the garden...

Thursday, 26 May 2016

the other International Phenomenon

At eleven the other evening I said, 'Right I'm off to bed. With an International Phenomenon.'
Kevin, who was reading reports for a meeting the following day said, 'Well actually, I'll be up in a while'.
'No, says I tapping the cover of I am Pilgrim... the other International Phenomenon...'

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Late evening light on a lake near a friend's house. Strong early evening light in the garden, on the road and over the hill. These evenings are stretching and unfurling with possibilities, although sometimes we spend them by the fire as the rain falls...

Monday, 16 May 2016


We are being spoiled . We wake to the sun pouring through the windows. I put on a wash, knowing that it will dry outside. We eat outdoors - coffee in the morning, lunch in the garden, the smell of woodsmoke from the barbecue wafting in through open doors at supper time. Last night I washed a tired boy's dusty feet before folding him in under his duvet to sleep while the sun was still shining at half past eight in the evening. I often think about my children's childhood. Will they remember sunlit days, the swing under the branches of the sycamore tree, picnics and reading on the grass, camping and the musty smell of tents, homemade cakes and warm early morning sleepy hugs. Oh, I hope they do. Whatever they remember, I hope they feel that their childhood was full of love.

I've just finished My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, which is essentially about the love between a mother and daughter. It's a story told about poverty, the grinding endlessness of having nothing, coming from nothing and all the pain that it brings. But it's the emotional poverty that really hurts. A mother who cannot bring herself to tell her daughter she loves her. A daughter so glad to spend time with her mother that it doesn't matter what her mother says, so long as she can hear her voice. It's written in a deceptively simple style and yet it cuts to the bone: human relationships can be tricky things, but no matter what your childhood or your upbringing was like you must sing your own song, write your own story.

Sunday, 8 May 2016


This weekend was a real mixed bag. On Friday we had our first barbeque of the summer season. Kevin chopped some wood and we lit the fire and before long we were eating lamb and herb chipolatas, homemade beef burgers and salmon cooked in little tinfoil parcels to stop it from burning. After, while the embers were still hot enough, we toasted marshmallows and using chocolate digestives made our version of s'mores. To say the three boys were happy would be an understatement. At some stage though, deep into the night the rain arrived and it stayed and wrapped us in its grey, dank blanket for the whole of the following day. And then today, Sunday, dawned a little gloomy like someone having a slight huff having not got their own way but slowly, slowly the day decided to smile rather than frown and we got to have the warmest, most summeriest day so far this year. But now as I write, with the children showered and tucked up in bed, the rain is pelting down and the darkness has drawn in and that sunshine seems like it belonged to another day...

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

picnic by the sea

The May bank holiday brought us to the sea. We bumped along in the Landrover until we found our perfect spot next to a wide expanse of sandy beach. We didn't let the ominous clouds stop us. We picnic~ed (in the Landy, as it happened, as of course it rained) rolls with cheese, pastrami and homemade chutney, Golden Syrup cake, apples and tea from the trusty blue camping kettle. After, with wellies on, it was onto the sand to build castles, play rugby catch, take photos, fly kites and generally be whipped by the wind. All that fresh air! We drove home through the hail showers so glad that we'd gone and always so grateful for the sea.