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.
I loved being in London last month but its also good to be back. Its not town mouse or country mouse for me: city, country, I love them both.
This picture is a little reminder to me of some of the lovely things about living where we do. Our neighbours built a chicken hutch a few weeks ago and filled it with three black and white hens. We can hear their contented clucking from our bedroom window. Last week we were given six eggs: white shells and yellow yolks. We ate them boiled for lunch. Delicious.
In a word, or in an image
Something called me from my sleep
Love and blessings
Ours to hold but not to keep
(Paul Simon, Love and Blessings – such a beautiful song)
Take a some hot weather, extended family, a boat and the mountains, beaches and rivers of Scotland and what do you get? Tired legs, brown feet, sore shoulders and many precious memories.
Wednesday: paddling down the Isla with my husband in the evening light, wading in the warm water to carry the boat over the shallows, seeing a fish leap from the water.
Thursday: ice-cream cones on a bench in the sun at Crammond with my Dad and my sister.
Friday: jumping in a puddle at the beach with Auntie Wilma, burying our feet in the soft mud; Daniel running in the sprinklers at the playpark.
Saturday: paddling down the Tay in the sun with my husband, waving to the fisherman standing in the water; arriving at the shore for a picnic with Granny, Grandpa and the children.
Sunday: walking up through Glen Doll to Corrie Fee; watching both my babies strip off happily to play in the burn; climbing Mayar with my father-in-law in baking heat.
So many good memories. Other things happen, we are all tired out, but this is what we will remember, the richness, the blessings …
Right now I am:
Listening to the sound of little K in her cot, hoping she goes to sleep soon.
Glad that D is asleep, wondering how bad his chickenpox are going to be in the morning.
Wondering if K will get chickenpox too, and if so when.
Happy to have a reasonably tidy and clean house.
Enjoying a browsing a new blog (Attic24) and reflecting on the nature of blogging.
Recognising that I find encouragement and inspiration from reading the blogs of creative home-makers and mothers. Wishing I knew more of them to meet face to face.
Feeling satisfied that I have had a chance to tidy my workspace this afternoon.
Feeling hugely grateful for the arrival of the ‘folks’ (my in-laws) with their patience, time and child-minding abilities!
Looking forward to some me-time and us-time while they are here.
Wishing it wasn’t still so cold and wet.
Feeling satisfied about some thrifted purchases this week from my two favourite ‘thrift’ shops.
Planning some other posts in my head.
Deciding to start posting some ‘sneak-peaks’ of our house, starting with this corner of our ‘sun-room’.
Reflecting on the weather, I remember thinking at the start of this month: In like a lion, out like a lamb. I think that refers to March weather and applies vice versa: in like a lamb, out like a lion. I look back and see Daniel and Kirsten playing in a paddling pool on 2nd March and now here we are on 3rd April and they are playing in the snow. Out like a lion for sure. Maybe there is some kind of hidden sense in this crazy weather of ours, a sense and pattern that people long ago worked out.
Another saying my mother always quoted: n’er cast a clout, till may is out. She said it meant, never take off a layer of winter clothing, til the may blossom is out on the trees (that is hawthorn). Of course, with all this lovely weather the may has been out for a week or so. In which case, mum would probably have said: well, maybe it means until the month of May is over. She’d prefer that interpretation, anyway. She liked to quote it as my sister and I would be digging out sandals and summer skirts after a week of spring weather.
So maybe this weather is part of a pattern, a much bigger pattern that we do not remember and notice very often, unless we stop and reflect. And maybe that is why I like to write here: it helps me see and take note of the patterns, big and small.
Isn’t that just what I said? I was awake at 4am this morning putting little K back to sleep when I glanced out and saw by the light of the street lamps, snow. Snow. Snow? This is crazy, freakish weather. I wish I understood what makes us swing from summer heat to winter snow in a few short days. I do not think I have ever experienced anything like it. But we take it in our stride: keep the fire blazing all day; dig out the snow suits, hats, gloves, sledge; put on a thermal vest; keep going.
The children do not even stop to question why this today and that yesterday. They wake up, they get on with it. D believes it is Christmas at last. K heads with certainty to the sandpit, now damp and snowy and picks up a spade. We build a snowman. Happy.
(But I think of the little lambs we saw on Monday morning, days old, preparing to be put in the field: “Lambs do much better with the sun on their backs to warm them”, the farmer said. I can believe it.)
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: the sun’s been shining like it was the middle of July. Outside temperatures have been over 20C in our garden every afternoon. The earth is getting dry and dusty. The children have been splashing around in the paddling pool wearing nothing at all. Everyone has that relaxed look that warm weather brings – no more bundling ourselves up against the cold, we’ve been wearing tee-shirts and flip-flops without even the hint of a shiver. Lunch in the garden and ice-cream cones all round.
All this, I reminded myself today, is before the buds are even out on the trees. Its not quite right, this freakishly warm weather. I take comfort from the fact that we’ll be back in our winter clothes before April is out and there will surely be rain soon in this part of the world. Its been lovely though: just the shot of warmth and sunshine we all needed. And I’ll pray we have some more summer days between now and September.
We went for a walk last week: myself, two friends, two three year-olds, two one and a bit year-olds. We walked round the old railway, where we often go. The children walked and ran and took turns to ride in my double-buggy. They dropped stones and sticks in the wet ditches. We tried and failed to lift the fallen trees by the side of the path. We stopped at the bench for popcorn and a drink.
From there the right of way cuts across a busy field. A busy field because there is always something different going on there: ploughed, furrowed, planted, growing, grown, harvested, baled. The path only exists as it is walked in again after each activity. Last week the field had just been planted. We could see small orange seeds in the dry brown earth. We could also see pieces of pottery turned over in the fine soil and I picked them up as I walked. Here are my favourite fragments: such small pieces of things that were once beautiful. Such tiny fragments of lives once lived.