January – a sad start to the year after the loss of my Dad; cold weather
February – ahhhhhh, sun and sea and family in Cape Town for three weeks: good times – a birthday, a cricket match, a grown-up weekend away, lots of days at the beach.
March – more snow;
April – 8 years married – still loving it; sunshine at last and afternoons in the garden; D learns to ride his bike; weekend with good friends in Ely
May – paddles in the canoe; visits from my Canadian aunt and cousins; apple blossoms and yellow poppies in the garden; first visit to the dentist; Gran arrives to help out with…
June – the arrival of our littlest; first sports day; walks; family to stay; fun with friends; strawberry picking; five of us climb a hill
July – summmer holidays; braiis in the garden; sunflower growing; a precious week away in Gardenstown; a new citizen is added to the United Kingdom.
August – birthday parties; a flower show; first day of school
September – another birthday; a ceilidh; a dedication service; some family feasts; a final harvest of apples
October – an eighty-year old and a three-month old enjoy each others company;
November – cold; leaves turn slowly; a long weekend in Edinburgh; D loses his first tooth; E gets her first tooth. Not enough sleep.
December – Christmas parties; Christmas food – time to celebrate.
Summer has definitely come to an end here this last week. I’ve got out my boots and a warm jumper. We’ve lit the first fire in the stove and reluctantly turned the heating on. In the garden the plums on our tree are finally ripening. Our apple trees are weighed down with fruit. Rowan berries are bright. A few leaves on every tree are yellow among the green. After such a good summer, I welcome autumn: I love the brilliant colours and mild days; the yellow fields, the bales stacked high; I even enjoy trying out my warm clothes for the first time in months. But still I feel a little heavy at the thought of seven months of cold, layers, dark mornings and short afternoons. I’d better enjoy this time between the seasons while I can.
We enjoyed a rare evening out on Saturday – by ‘we’ I mean Ross and me without D and K (but with E!). What a pleasurable escape from the everyday: watching a performance of ‘As you like it’ in the grounds of a castle on a summer’s evening while eating a picnic of all my favourite food. And the best bit about it – a mere six miles away. The play was put on by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men at Glamis Castle. According to the websites, that’s Shakespeare’s finest comedy, performed at Scotland’s most beautiful castle.
Glamis Castle deserves a post all to itself (coming up): it is one of my family’s favourite places to escape to and definitely one of the best tourist attractions in Scotland. Our picnic included smoked salmon, oat cakes, carrot and cucumber sticks, crisps and sour cheese dip, rolls and pate, grapes and chocolate eclairs. According to the BBC, this is: “Open air theatre as it should be and at its very, very best.” Yes, I’d say it was just as we like it.
Tomorrow my little boy starts school. As I cradle his littlest sister in my arms I wonder where the last five years have gone. I want every moment with him back, when he was two months old and lay against my neck just like she does now; one year sleeping on his stomach; two years – strong and chubby; three years, four years, five years.
These are D’s first shoes, worn today by Esther for the first time. I bought them before D was born, for my husband on our third wedding anniversary which just happens to be leather. This week we picked up up his black school shoes in size 11. Yes, I’m happy to see him growing every day, but oh how I have loved these first five years with Daniel. After tomorrow, things will never be the same again. For him, though, the best is yet to come.
So very grateful for the birth of our baby daughter. So beautiful. So loved. Such an undeserved gift.
Despite the cold, cold spring and the lack of sunshine, the strawberries in the Vale of Strathmore are ripening and ready to eat: so delicious and tasting of summer. And so good to think of how few miles they have to cover from field to plate.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to go;
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, – ‘snow’.
Driving back from Edinburgh last night, we saw a flock of geese flying south in a ‘v’. All the fields were full of round bales. The sky was clear and blue and the sun was bright. Today is cold and wet and windy. You can read the whole of this poem, by Rebecca Lyman Field, here.