I spent Saturday with one of my oldest, best and finest friends. Here she is, a full five years ago but not a bit different from this weekend. With only one child between us (instead of our usual seven), and that child being the baby we had a day together to do exactly what we liked. So we wandered, stopped for coffee and cake, ate lunch, shopped a little, had a mini-makeover, stopped for more cake and carried on talking. I’ve known Sarah since university and our conversation always flows and eddies, drifts around all sorts of topics, celebrates our similarities and explores our differences. We spoke a lot about our children (how to discipline them, how to make them feel loved, what to read them at bedtime); we discussed fashion and money and schools and our childhoods. We compared notes on turning forty and how that makes us feel (our next birthday for both of us.) At convenient points the baby slept. The sun was shining. What a lovely way to spend a day off.
So we are back into the school routine after five lovely long half-term days. This is one thing that has changed now D is at school: holidays are looked forward to and specially enjoyed by us all. I like having everyone at home; I like planning activities (without the panicked – what on earth are we going to entertain ourselves with feeling that I got only a year ago); K loves having D around to play with; D loves being at home to play with his toys; a trip to the shops or out for coffee has a fun, holiday feeling. And, lest I forget, we have cheerios for breakfast.
We were home for Thursday, Saturday and Monday. Daniel was at a friend’s birthday on Thursday afternoon and K had a friend to play (two three year old girls, two hours – eight different activities! I counted: hide and seek; biscuit making; blowing bubbles in the garden; biscuit icing; snack time; dancing to music; face-painting… I’ve forgotten one). We did a treasure hunt for coloured objects … which led to an unprecedented piece of creative scribbling in the hall. Days out on Friday and Sunday (lunch with friends) and friends here for lunch on Monday meant the days felt full without being overwhelming. A little lesson learned for me: forward planning of holidays is essential. Note to self: start thinking about Easter now.
Provence – the colour as opposed to the place. I’ve been painting with it. And very much enjoying the result. It has transformed an ugly old chest of drawers into a piece of furniture I can really enjoy. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (mainly because it says you don’t need to sand or prime before you paint) and after adding wax, I’m pleased with the result. The chest is for little K’s room which is painted a pale pink. I was inspired to combine the pink and blue by the bunting on her wall and this funny little owl.
Here’s the chest before I set to work. I’m sure it has been upcylced once before – but whoever did that stripped it, waxed and and changed the handles. I really did not like the dull wood. Warm blue – green? Much better.
While I am recoiling in horror from halloween with its uncalled for obsession with all things ghostly, ghoully and gruesome, I am very grateful that this year I have discovered pumpkins. I’m falling in love with their beautiful colour, so lovely and aumtumnul; I love everything that we can do with them that match so well our needs at this time of year: providing us with warmth, colour, light and hot food. So for the first time I made two pumpkin lanterns. I made a pumpkin pie. I am ready to make pumpkin soup. I am about to roast pumpkin seeds. What more could a body ask for? (Really, I should have photos of all of these lovely things but my lovely R is away with the camera.)
I made some bunting this morning as a present for a little girl’s birthday party. It was a bit of a rushed job but I made it in time (just). It reminded me that I’ve made a couple of other strings of bunting that have never appeared here. I like making bunting: often unexpected colours and patterns look good together, I like adding letters and stringing it together into something jolly and celebratory. I also like that I can reuse all sorts of material for the flags: these ones include pieces from a little girl’s dress; napkins; a cot sheet; a skirt of mine; shirts; pyjamas and a pair of jeans.The one I made today (there’s actually an ‘O’ on the third flag in, a bit hard to see but too late to change.)Lovely colours for a little boy (above) and my ‘Christmas’ bunting that hangs permanently on our stairs.A big thanks goes to Kate who made beautiful bunting for D and K and is my inspiration for all of these!
Its cold and wet and dark outside (4.30pm). The snow of last week has melted and its raining. But we are packing for almost a month of sunshine. Twelve hours from now, we should be safely at the airport all set for a long and eagerly awaited trip to Cape Town. It could not be better timing. I am looking forward to a rest, a change, to reconnecting with family and with each other away, to a healthy dose of sun and bright, bright colour. Meanwhile, there is a little more packing, organising and tidying to be done.
If you read yesterday’s post, please read Kate’s comment: she has translated the writing and commentated on the circumstances so much better than I could. For some reason I thought Levy was a man: it is much more poignant to discover she was a girl, probably young, unmarried.
These are the books I found the card in. I was first attracted to them by their size and the patterns on their covers. They are all inscribed U. Levy, Apirl, 1936. One contains a newspaper clipping and a slip advertising books or a bookshop.
There were other similar books in the shop when I bought these, but I felt I couldn’t justify buying more – after all, I can’t even read them. I left one with a newspaper clipping inside it, very short, about why the dream of a home in Palestine could be reality.
I wish I knew how these precious books came to Scotland. There is such a distance in time, space and experience between this little village in 2012 and the streets of Berlin in 1936. As Kate says, the books and the postcard survived a raging storm. I only hope Uschi Levy and Ursel Lindemann found safe harbours and a place to call home.