Entries in home (25)


monday morning


As a stay-at-home mother, Monday mornings seem unusually quiet. It's about empty beds and full wash-baskets, but also the chance to take time for a quietly indulgent breakfast involving jam (will my extravagance never end?) and a catch up with the weekend papers.

School drop-off today saw all the children being herded into the hall as there was apparently 'a slight smell of gas in the science labs'. Oh. So moving everyone into a building 20 feet away from the science labs offers ideal protection from an impending explosion. 

To take my mind off potential disasters I'm going to play this on repeat while my second pot of coffee brews (once again pushing out the boat of excess). Not the best quality video but who needs boring old clarity when you have fabtastic prints, Cass grooving, Michelle Phillips' beautiful face and a man with tight, stripy trousers? Whether you're at home or at work, happy monday to you.





reasons to be cheerful (part 3)


Rainbows. Fleeting and elusive, revealing the ultimate beauty and complexity of light, they seem like such a gift. I remember my 12th birthday, walking home from school with friends as a double rainbow appeared directly over our heads.  We stood awhile in awed silence, arms around each other. 

So here's to summer days making rainbows with sprays of water and hunting them down in sudden summer showers.





Bathtime for our six year old usually involves goggles, shipwrecks, sharks and rather more water overboard than I care for. But sometimes a bath is more tranquil, especially when taken late afternoon after a busy day. I love these rare moments of stillness; time to sit quietly alongside him and let my gaze linger on the simple beauty of his face, usually so animated and expressive. And just be together.



little house

We live in quite a little house, an Edwardian lodge that stands at the entrance to a manor house. It's quirky inside with diamond-leaded windows so hard to clean that the only window cleaner we could persuade to begin slipped away halfway through his first visit, never to be seen again.

We have no hallways; you can walk (or run) in circles throughout the downstairs. And many children do. No upstairs sweep of hallway means you can hop between bedrooms and bathroom. The saving grace is a double height breakfast room that lets in light year round and is where we eat, draw, make. It’s really the outside space that makes this house so special. In front we look onto fields that slope towards an ancient church and at the back, our garden opens onto a lake that is stocked with trout. It’s divided from us by a small stream that we dip rods in and watch the ducks and water birds that make their homes in the greenery. And do a lot of mud poking to see if we can unearth the ferocious crayfish with their rust-coloured claws and furious temper. 

Surrounded by woodland, we’re familiar with foxes, badgers and the deer that delicately pick their way between the thorns of a wild rose to pluck the newly emerged buds. Then there are the birds. Blue tits are our favourites for their perpetually rotating heads and perky, bossy ways but we also enjoy the cry of the buzzards, the dart of the tiny wren that lives at the base of the lavender and the woodpeckers that echo through the woods. All this wildlife thwarts our desire for a lush, flower-filled garden but I’m not sure now that I’d want it any other way. The profusion of wild flowers is more beautiful to me than most cultivated blooms and their fragility in the vase reminds me to appreciate these short seasons while I can.


good morning

Do you have a sense of how the day will unfold before you've even opened your eyes? My checklist starts the moment I begin to surface: have I slept well - do I smell burning toast (or worse, the smell of old burning crumbs) - what's with the noise? - is it raining? Then there's a nebulous sense of uneasy discomfort that's sometimes present, as expressed in Jenny Holzer's plaque. It's funny and true and self-indulgent so I typed it out and have it propped to remind me, maybe, to chill.

Once I'm up the worst is over. Unless there's no milk for coffee (or worse, no coffee) or we have visitors and I'm expected to speak, smile and make breakfast all at once. But there are things that reliably make for a good morning. Sitting outside is one of them - in silence, with coffee and an egg or two, sourdough toast or, on a weekend, a warmed croissant. The iron tang of a frosty morning is as appealing to me as the wet green of a spring day and with a bit of air, warm coffee and diverting birdly antics, I'll be happier by the minute.

Then there is light. The low slant of a winter morning or hot yellow of a hot summer day are the spurs I need to get up and get out. I stalk light around the house with my camera. It's elusive, forcing me to work fast and, at the same time, to look.  

A good morning is a fine thing. What do you need to make your morning sing? I'd love to know.

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