Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No sleep till Suffolk

The Beastie Boys song has been going through my head as move from room to room avoiding piles and boxes, going through my head in an annoying, cannot get the darned song out of my head type way!

I don't believe I have ever been a particular Beastie Boys fan but I guess you just cannot be my age and not recall a youthful summer or two with a Beastie Boys soundtrack. I'm sorry to say that I know a whole lot of Happy Mondays songs by heart too.

I don't seem to have slept much these last few days, I wake in a cold sweat at about 2am and then toss and turn for the next four hours worrying about packing, worrying about the dogs, worrying about new schools, heavens, sometimes I worry about who will win Britain's Next Top Model. I know, I know, I can't believe I watch it either. These are all big questions at 2am, big questions that you can do nothing about in the middle of the night and I really, really need to get some sleep. I feel like some sort of robot today, operating on low battery power, just. I came so close to posting my keys in the great big council recycling bin along with the plastics. At least the fright of almost losing my keys woke me up a little.

In the face of all this worry I need some seriously meditative knitting. I've been craving lace, I began by casting on for a stole but the thought of it stretching endlessly depressed me so I began again with the magical 299 stitches that mark the begining of Birch. Birch is perfect, gently absorbing and ever decreasing, with a definite end in sight. I imagine being wrapped in this light, warm cashmere shawl whilst sitting under a pergola in Suffolk, enjoying the residual warmth of a summer's day, a glass of strawberry and mint laiden Pimms to hand, a husband beside me and maybe some knitting, (oh, and there might be something suitably out of date providing the background soundtrack). A shawl to remember the old and welcome the new.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Today is Father's Day in the UK and I think perhaps the US too. Sadly The Technical Advisor cannot be with us this weekend but we hope he knows how much he is loved. Likewise my own father is across the sea but I am thinking of him today and hope that he knows how much I love and appreciate him. I know that he is enjoying the copy of Just William which I sent to him. Just William was his boyhood hero and remains right up his street.

Fathers often have the more difficult place within families. Sometimes the role of providing for their family means not getting to spend enough time actually enjoying being part of the family and we have certainly experienced this strain over the last few months.

I remember the games my dad would play with us as children, the silly stories and downright whopping great fibs (why does fatherhood seem to go hand and hand with telling outrageous untruths?) but as I grew older I became somehow disconnected from him, our conversations were brief, not at all like the long, putting the world to rights conversations which I held with my mother. Becoming a parent and watching my father become a grandfather helped to remind me of those childhood experiences and in recent years we have become much closer.

The experience of getting to know my father as a grown up is such a good one and I am very glad to have the chance. I vaguely recalled that he once kept bees but I had never had a conversation about it with him. How much I had missed, he knows so much about bees and talks about them animatedly, it was fascinating.

He knows about so many things, from borehole heating systems to engine stripping and Sherlock Holmes.

I fervently hope that my children will never experience that loss of connection with their father at any time, I am lucky and so thankful to have had the chance to catch up.

And now I hand over to Dylan and Tilly:

Dear Daddy,

Sorry you are at work, I wish you were with us and I hope that you don't have to do lots and lots of work and I miss you a lot.

Love from,

Tilly and Oakley and Teal

Hi Dad,

Hope the weather isn't as bad as it is here today, wish you were here for Father's Day.

Lots of love,


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Celebration and displacement activity

The good news is that we have found a house in Suffolk and we should be moving at the end of the month. The end of the month!! My stomach just flipped and turned at the thought of how very, very soon that is. The house is unseen by me, meaning that The Technical Advisor will shoulder all blame should I hate it, but I don't think I will hate it. It may not be nestled on a little hillside surrounded by trees and sheep as we are presently but it is situated in an attractive village, clad in wisteria and backing onto fields and I think it might be good for us to enter into village life once more.

Obviously moving in just over two weeks means that I have a lot to do, I need to face the mountains of junk which are crammed into every nook and cranny of our tiny cottage, I need to arm myself with bin bags and boxes and do some serious de-cluttering.

Therefore it is equally obvious that I should look for a more pleasant way of spending my time, essential that I should indulge in a little displacement activity. So, ahem, nervously clears throat: welcome to my little shop, open for business at last. Please do come in, browsers are most welcome. Not a great deal to see yet, I guess I need to see if I sell anything first but I would be very glad of any feedback or suggestions.

I am off to blush shyly and anxiously in the corner now whilst looking for further displacement activities, I am thinking now could be the time to get out the preserving pan....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

summer rain

My refurbished deckchair did not make it out of the shed all weekend as it happened. The heavens opened and it rained and rained, it was cold and miserable and we stayed indoors as much as possible, trips outside required layers of clothing and the rustle of waterproofs, the squeak of rubber boots.

Today we have rain but quite a different sort of rain. As I opened the doors this morning to let the dogs out I was surprised to feel a warm air greet me, the sun was not particularly in evidence but the day felt pleasant, I optimistically hung out my washing in spite of the clear evidence of weather rolling down the hills. It was not hugely surprising when I smelled the rain an hour or two later and that's the thing about summer rain, it has this wonderful sweet, muggy scent. Warm and welcome it revives the earth the garden looks glad and air fills with the perfume of grass, rose, honeysuckle and lavender.

Even the rain-hating Setter goes out to survey her lands in this sort of rain. She stands still in the garden, tail poker straight, feathers waving in the breeze, nose twitching, soaking up and reading all those smells.

The summer rain passed on quickly having done its work and now there is no excuse for me not to go and dig up the weeds, the ground will be soft once more and they should pull out easily.

I would rather keep knitting Whisper though, even the agony of 1x1 rib in a lace-weight yarn is more appealing than pulling up the weeds that look so green and lush right now, yet I know if I leave them it will be no time before they stop looking fresh and lovely and grow straggly and weed-like, over-running those more delicate things which need a few more weeks to come into their full glory. So weeding I shall go....

Friday, June 05, 2009

This weekend

I plan to take some time to sit in my deckchair and read a little. The deckchair was bought for about £1.50 a couple of years ago, I claimed that I would recover it and be sitting in it in no time. Two years later.... I finally did it, and guess what, it really took no time at all, I wish I had done it sooner. I lightly sanded the frame, waxed it and the fabric was attached with upholstery tacks. No time at all.

I picked up the rather splendid stripes at the Country Living Fair in March but the company, Deckchair Stripes sell on-line too, the fabric comes in deckchair width so there is no seaming involved, it really could not be easier and really should not have taken me two years to do!

As for the books, my reading tastes go in phases and these last few months my taste is for gentle, vintage tales. I scour second-hand bookshops for the likes of PG Wodehouse and have been re-reading Miss Austin. I feel unable to face modern literature at present and when the second-hand shops can offer me nothing new I know that Persephone will be sure to satisfy me.

I finished my second Dorothy Whipple, The Priory this week and I wept and wept my way through those last pages. At times the characters and sheer romance of this book irritated me but I could not put it down and in spite of the feeling of ridiculously neat inevitability which gathered towards the end I still sobbed and sobbed.
Last night I began Miss Buncle's Book which promises to be very much my sort of book, the sort of book I will want to take my time over, savour and soak, weather permitting I hope to do a little of that savouring whilst sitting in my deckchair.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Time for cherries

The sun shone splendidly for much of half-term week and once again I must apologise for my lack of response to
recent comments. My computer time seems to have been consumed by house hunting. My Google Reader list contains 161 unread blog posts!! I feel a little daunted. I am hoping to re-balance myself this week. It is easy for us to let time get out of our hands and feel overwhelmed. Recently I have let my daily yoga practice slip to, well, not even monthly if I am quite frank. My back and maybe even my mind are suffering as a result and yesterday I made myself spend an hour practising as soon as I got back from the school run. It felt as good as I knew it would and really it did not leave me that short of time for other things, they all got done, I still fitted everything in. "I haven't got time" is such an easy excuse isn't it? The truth is that often we just need to make the time and it can be done if we really try. So I am trying to remember this and instead of whining and complaining I am just going to make the time for the things I need to do and get on with doing them.

So here I am back at my blog and later today I will make the time to download and sort through the 900 or so photographs from the last week, including the ones of some rather fabulous little models who kindly let me photograph them wearing my smocks.

I am also going to make the time to finish off putting items into my virtual shop and opening for business because it just isn't going to happen otherwise.

I will not cheat at bed-time and read super quick stories because there isn't time, I will just read the long ones and after a few minutes I will stop worrying abou the time and take a breath and enjoy the time spend with happy little people who are not hanging around waiting for time but growing in size and independance every day and this time will not come back so I need to remember to cherish it.

And I will continue to house-hunt and find time to ring agents again and again. We will find house, it might take a little time but we will find it.

At the end of the day, after all this and more there will still be time to sit on the sofa and make a little knitting time, time to unwind and recharge, there will even be time to eat a few cherries.