Bright and shiny


I made these one evening this week as a gift for a friend we visited yesterday.  They were so easy and fun to do.  I like the challenge of a very simple design, simple materials and only one variable.  It is like being given six pieces of card and being asked to doodle something different on each (try it and surprise yourself).

I also liked the simple folded box I made to put them in.  This little project ticked so many boxes in what motivates me to make: using materials I already had; making them for one person I had clearly in my mind; a useful end product (I hope – no-one can have too many coasters, can they?).  A little bit of colour in among the grey.


There and back again

So we went and came back.  It was dry.  It was cloudy.  We paddled.  We walked.  We were the only people staying.  There was a wood stove lit evening and morning.  We ate chocolate cake and strawberries. There were hot showers.  There was no mobile signal.  There were no midges.  It was perfect.

It was so good to be away together.  As parents, its easy to forget how we enjoy each other’s company.  It was good to have a destination.  It was good to travel.  We laughed.  We enjoyed the journey.  (And yes, it was good to come home.)

It was good.

Weekend away

MapsIt should be seven o’clock in the morning, but actually its ten past eight and we’re about to get into the car.  There have been all sorts of preparations going on, packing for our first night away by ourselves since D was born.  Both D and K seem completely unfazed by our departure. I won’t tell you where we are going but I know that weekends don’t come much better than this.  Watch out for the photos when we get back.

Purple prose

And even in the farthest northern reaches of her Kingdom, beacons burned brightly from hill top to hill top, across the valleys and the rivers, and the old rebellious peoples gathered at the fires with their children and celebrated the long reign of this victorious Queen.

Jubilee Bonfire Beacon

(We could see at least twelve other beacons burning on the hills around.  No bunting, no national anthem, no flags, no sausage rolls, no rain just a huge fire and a glass of sloe gin.  Not bad.)

Into the woods

About eight weeks ago a large bulldozer came and removed the slide, see-saw and toys from our playground.  We are told they will be replaced but we are still waiting.  That means that a walk to the park is not so inviting when we get to just after three in the afternoon and we need to go somewhere, out, but close.

It feels like we have walked all our walks a lot over the holidays, so yesterday afternoon we made some popcorn and headed in to the woods.  Not our closest woods, but our favourite ones. They are only a mile and a half away.  The trees are a mixture of old beech trees, oaks and birch.  Above the tree line, you get out into heather.  During the storms last year some old giants were laid low.

Daniel complained on the short walk up to the hill, but he got a second wind as soon as we climbed the last gate into the woods.  We raced from tree to tree. He examined the holes under each, he poked a stick into them.  We talked about which animals might be living there. At last, we reached the fallen tree.

For the next 45 minutes it was a cross between a house and a ship.  He had to climb along it to look after the hurt crocodiles at the other end.  It had a loft, a cupboard, a bed and mobile phones made out of pieces of bark.  Kirsten sat happily on the log, part of the game and doing her own thing.  I breathed deeply and listened to the wind in the trees.  It was a good place to go, into the woods.

In like a lion…

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.