Thursday, 31 March 2011

One Day by David Nicholls - no spoilers!

I finished reading One Day at the weekend. I cried when it finished and I had shed a tear or two before then as well. It was a wonderful read; full of love and hope, humour and upset.
The first chapter is set in the late 80s, as the couple finish their degrees in Edinburgh. It is St Swithin's Day and the book checks in with them on this day for the next twenty years.
It was immediately of interest as Emma and Dexter are just a little older than me and I studied at Edinburgh around the same time. I could identify with the cultural references throughout the book - the drug culture I wasn't part of in the early 90's, Labour's win in '97, the war in Iraq - and I loved Emma.
I rarely cry when I read a book; I am much more likely to cry in response to something I have seen. Whether it was lost youth, the story itself or remembering first love(s) I have no idea but One Day still stays with me a week on and I would recommend it to anyone - although my friend's Mum didn't enjoy it, so perhaps it's ideal for a 40-something.
Oh and it's educational - I will always remember that 15 July is St Swithin's.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Lovely things

Oh dear I've been away a while. Two and a half weeks!
It is fair to say that I am pretty risk averse so all the changes that have taken place at home and in my personal life have taken a little bit of time for me to work around. I'm not moaning; life is good - just diffferent with Dan out of the house so much.
So, I have let my blog go because, like most of us, it is part of a list of things we do after parenting and working.
Also on that list is knitting. crochet and reading. For the first time in a really long time I am reading a book that I cannot put down. I read it any second I have - when the kettle is boiling, whilst I'm eating and I am dreading its end, although I have to keep going as I am so keen to find out what happens. I have finished one little person's scarf, I will try to remember to photograph it another time and I am moving gradually through Jane Crowfoot's Crochet Club (when I say gradually: I am on the second section of the first month but everyone else is on month 3 now)
The much needed change in the weather and light means gardening has moved to a higher priority - and of course, in this house that means our home garden and the allotment. There is no nicer place than our plot on a sunny day and there is so much to do. Yesterday I spent two hours weeding just one and a half beds. I have not made a planting plan yet but the potatoes are chitting nicely and we always use plug plants rather than seeds anyway.
So, as the name suggests - lovely things......

I am sure I have gone on (and on) about daffodils but  as someone who can be a little low as the seasons change I find daffodils help me focus on the light and warmth soon coming my way. These beauties were £1 from M&S and have filled four little vases around the house. The hyacinth was acidentally knocked over when I was mowing the lawn and I have to say I am pleased, as the smell has been incredible. In fact, my garden smells great at the end of a warm day - my obsession with blue hyacinth bulbs has paid off.

Last year, I took a deep breath and did some sewing, courtesy of Clothkits. It took me so long to pluck up the courage to start that Scarlett had nearly outgrown her dress by the time it was finished but it was so easy. Yesterday, their latest catalogue arrived:

This year, I am tempted to make Scarlett a doll (my eyes are drawn to the red-head with the green dress on the chair) but I also saw this little beauty:

On Thursday, I went to the Country Living Fair in London. It was a treat from my Aunt and we had such a great day - maybe some of the stuff isn't my cup of tea and dear me, do you need pointy elbows at some of the vintage stands - but it was so nice to have time browsing and chatting whilst discovering some great craft and creative stands. Having had my debit card declined at the station, my spending was limited but I think I did quite well:

Lovely organic cotton pyjamas from Fair Play - just look at the gingham trim on the legs and around the collar. Fingers crossed we will not have any nappy failures whilst these are on.

OK, so I know it isn't all bunting, gingham and homemade lemonade but there is something so appealing about space, air and greenery now that I live in a town. This cover just made me feel good, and hopeful, so I have subscribed. What a bargain (I say that as someone who works for a magazine) - £26.99 and  this gift, which was selling for £25 on a separate stand:

I have coveted a Jan Constantine for some years now but the costs are quite prohibitive and I have never been sure that one of her cushions would work for us - but a purse? Now that is something I can work with.

Finally on my list of lovely things is my lovely daughter and a lovely time at the allotment yesterday. The broccoli was delicious, but that was all there was!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tired Tuesday

I am feeling low on words so here is my little bear at Jimmy's Farm:

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Day 6

My tonsils have nearly returned to normal leaving me with the beginnings of a nasty cold. I sound quite snotty sexy.
Today was a beautiful day but I couldn't bear to be at home again so I kicked around with Dan at the pub.  We ordered hanging baskets, we priced coffee and tea, we ate lunch together, we gave the Ladies toilets a little bit of a colour, we purchased the paint for the hallways and we did some gardening.
The accommodation above the pub is, unfortunately, in a terrible state but it is so much bigger that I thought. Three bedrooms, a lounge, a bathroom and an en suite. Each room has some lovely charms - an enamel bath with claw feet, Victorian fireplaces and wide original floorboards.
At the moment there is no decision to be made, but with a deep clean and a lick of paint it could provide us with quite a dilemma.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Wanted : A Dummies Guide to Pruning

I am trying really hard not to be ill today - it is such a lovely shiny day that I feel very uncomfortable staying indoors.
On my To Do List for a long time has been 'prune the wisteria'. This grows haphazardly up the front of the house. I love it for all that it promises but, as it never flowers, I don't really like it.
I have therefore left well alone the last two years and it has grown and grown, twisted and curled around itself and covered most of the front of the house as well as creeping up the side and even into the fascias. Such is its freedom that it pulled our phoneline out of the wall causing me to make several angry calls to Talk Talk before a BT engineer came out and showed me the torn wire (bizarrely, it cost me nothing).
So, I have just wobbled my way up a ladder and tried my best to get my wisteria to resemble all the trimmed and pruned ones that I see as I drive around.

Whilst up the ladder I realised I don't understanding pruning. I don't really have a plan of what I am trying to achieve. I have to ask my Dad each year what I am supposed to do to my rose bushes. With the wisteria, I think I am supposed to leave one strong main branch in each direction rather than bundles (although I can still see bundles in the photo) and I think this will 'condense' the energy into these branches so that we see some flowers. We definitely get enough sun.
This would be totally forgiveable had I not studied botany at college.....

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Struck down - again?

Oh dear, we have been so poorly. Is it me or have I been overcoming viruses since September last year?
Had I taken my Clever Friends advice and looked in Scarlett's mouth I might well have seen her tonsils and realised that this was coming my way but no, I went ahead with my cold virus diagnosis (with a five minute head-spinning 'is this Swine Flu?' moment) and now I have been struck down at one of the most busy and positive points in our lives.
So, here I sit whilst my husband stands behind his bar.