Thursday, 20 October 2016
All alright are we?
Truthfully, right now I could really do with someone to cheer me up. What I'd really like is to curl up on the sofa with a mug of tea, and have a proper laugh with someone. Laughing is one of the best things ever, and yet I don't seem to do it enough. There's not been many laughs around here lately, for one reason and another. It gets like that sometimes, don't you think? Life can wear you down to a nub. I felt it physically pushing my head to the ground this past week. And the world seems like a dreadful place at the moment. I'm ashamed to be human these days. I'm waiting for Planet Earth II, so that my faith can restored by the beautiful creatures that live here too. I'm longing for David's soothing tones, as he tells me about the whale, the spider, the monkey and the gnat. I'll sit and watch with open mouthed awe at things I will never see face to face. It will put a smile on my face for sure.
But the laugh. It's the laugh that I want. A proper belly laugh. A real tears streaming down your face chortle. A 'remember when' giggle. A rally of sniggers. A loud, raucous guffaw. An aching of the cheeks, as I cry 'no more!'
Tell me, when was the last time that you had one of those laughs?
Saturday, 1 October 2016
If the blooming showers will ease up, we are off for our first doggy walk along Porthmeor beach since Easter. The dog ban is officially over today, and I for one look forward to this seasonal change in our weekend routine. We drive to Gramps' house (he overlooks Porthmeor, lucky devil), and descend upon him with all the noise and fuss that an unruly family can muster. Depending on the weather, we either have tea and biscuits with him before our walk, or after. Sometimes we do both. Sometimes he comes along with us too. I always have a sneaky peak of the Saturday papers. He takes The Telegraph. They do a good magazine and gardening section, even if their politics are decidedly Middle England Conservative Nonsense. Sometimes Marc and Olly go up into the loft and play with the Hornby trains, and then Gramps and I have a giggle together.
I have been very fortunate in always getting on famously with my in-laws. My sister in law is my closest friend and confident. My mother in law was one in a million. My father in law is the most sprightly eighty seven year old you'll ever meet. He still vaults his garden wall. He has an indomitable spirit, and a tireless energy. He is out dancing with his close friend, Christina most weekends. He and I share the same naughty sense of humour, and he delights me with his quick wit and close to the wind jokes.
We don't see as much of him during the summer months, and that's partly due to his hectic holiday schedule. He still lets out his holiday flats, and has a very busy social diary. But come the day that the dogs return to the beaches of St Ives, there we are knocking at his door. He knows, because he buys in shortbread fingers, and treats for Honey. "Come in, come in." he says. We take our shoes off at the door, and hang our coats up on the peg. Olly and Gramps have a special bond; Olly was only eighteen months when Granny passed away. Being too young to understand, he transferred his affection from Granny to Gramps, and they often sat cuddling on the sofa together. He brought smiles and laughter at a time that was overshadowed with grief and sadness.
Honey loves Porthmeor. If she could talk, I think she'd tell you that it's her favourite place of all. She sits by the cupboard in Gramps' kitchen, waiting to be given her treat. She lollops up to the front door, and enters via the cat flap. She barks at us, impatient to get going. She runs along the path past the bowling club and putting green, and reaches the beach before any of us. Again, she barks. For a stone. She loves to be thrown pebbles. She carries them in her mouth, and digs them into the sand. Once she's made a suitably comfy hole, she'll sit there happily. Over the years, people have stopped to take photographs of her sat in her hole. I like to think that somewhere, she's on someone's camera roll looking pleased with herself.
We may well carry on into town, and grab a take away lunch on the harbour. The colder months are for eating lip smacking, hot as Hades pasties. It's the only time of year I eat them. They are definitely cold weather food. The gulls aren't so abundant either, so there's less chance of it being snatched by one. We sit on a bench overlooking the harbour, and munch them down. Olly scales the harbour walls using the ropes that secure the boats. Sam and Alfie did the same thing when they were little. A little bit of family history repeating itself.
All in all, October remains one of my most favourite months.
Have a lovely weekend, friends.
(the photos above were mostly taken during a day out Marc and I had to celebrate our wedding anniversary. A day discovering ancient monuments and settlements. A day that I saw a Goshawk. A day for sitting outside Betty drinking a cup of tea, and watching the butterflies. I hope you don't mind that my pictures rarely correspond to the text. It's got to be a terrible habit of mine to unleash my camera roll willy nilly onto the pages of my blog :)).
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
The flowers are starting to go to over. No amount of dead heading will stop their gradual retreat into the earth. I've collected lots of seed, and they are tucked safely away inside envelopes, ready for next Spring. I'm already thinking about changes to the garden for next year. Truthfully, it was a mixed bag in the garden this year. The slugs and snails had the last laugh, and laid waste to most of my efforts. All those vibrant young plants that I had raised from seed in the greenhouse seemed to be gobbled up overnight. My tomatoes and cucumbers were prolific, but my courgettes, beans, sweetcorn and Olly's pumpkin went the way of the flowers. I remain undeterred, however, You have to have a half glass full mentality in the garden. It serves me well, seeing as I'm a glass half empty kind of gal in the house.
The sparrows are back in the privet, and squabble incessantly. They scrap on the bird feeders, each of them trying to usurp the other from the wire mesh that contains the peanuts they love so much. There haven't been many birds visit the garden this summer. I've put it down to the nesting gulls on the roof. They raised their two chicks up there, and became very territorial if anything or anyone came into the garden. We even watched them dive and chase a luckless heron who had the misfortune to fly over the house. But this past week, we have had a posse of long tailed tits visit, and the robin and wren can be heard too.
We are still to have our wood burner installed, but the weather is very mild here so no need for the warmth of a flickering flame just yet. I'm still able to throw open the windows of a morning, although we've had a lot of rain. The flip flops have been put away for another year, and the wellies are back out. I'm still getting used to having socks on my feet. They feel all squashed in and uncomfortable. And too hot. Walking to school in the rain is a pet peeve of mine. We only live a couple of minutes away, but I can still get soaked to my knickers on the daily run.
There are pollinators still. They mainly concentrate on the flowering ivy now. And the large white butterfly is ever present. But numbers must have been down this year, as I didn't see a single painted lady, and only a few commas. I've missed seeing them fluttering to and fro in the garden, or out along the hedgerows. It may be that my eyesight isn't as keen as it was. It has deteriorated a lot this year. I find it takes me longer to focus my camera on some bug or other, and they've wandered off long before I've clicked the shutter. It's all very frustrating. I may not be grey like my blackbird, but other areas of me are feeling my age somewhat.
We've picked tons of blackberries, and they've been turned into jam and lots of crumbles. We are big crumble fans here. Olly eats it for breakfast. He's not supposed to, but can be found with his bottom hanging out of the fridge snaffling up last night's pudding. Autumn is the return of slow cooked meals, roast dinners and hot deserts. It's also the return of the satsuma and clementine. How I love their shiny orange presence in the fruit bowl. So easy to eat too. I also really enjoy a crunchy, sharp English apple. But they are scant around here, more's the pity.
Telly is always better during the darker months too, don't you find? I'm ecstatic at all the gritty psychological crime dramas returning to our screens. Series three of The Fall starts Friday. Literally cannot wait to curl my cushion into my mouth while watching it. And I am trying to enjoy Bake Off, even though it will be the last. For me anyway. I cannot countenance watching it without Mel, Sue and Mary Berry, even though I salute them not jumping ship, and following the money trail.
And from this weekend, Honey is once more allowed to walk along the beaches of St Ives. Hoorah!! She's keeping quiet about it all, but I just know she's looking forward to the return of our daily constitutional along Porthmeor. She'll have to run to keep up with me though; I've started running in earnest again. I'm aiming to complete my first park run the first weekend of November. I am struggling a little with joggers nipple, so have ordered a very stern looking sports bra. I must be keen. Or else my mid life crisis is having some positive effects.
How's everything with you? Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons too? Are you also looking forward to those surreptitious glances in your neighbours windows now that the nights are drawing in, and your dreadful nosiness at the lives of others can be satisfied under cover of darkness? Or is that just me;)) Have a lovely evening. I'm in the middle of another Anne Tyler. Olly and Marc are in bed (Marc has a cold) and Alfie is doing maths homework at the dining table while huffing and cracking his knuckles. Oh and Sam is currently auditioning for LUDS. That's Liverpool University Drama Society, which will be performing A Taste Of Honey at some point this term. Good luck Sam!!
(the above photos were taken at the Barbara Hepworth sculpture garden and museum last week. Me and my friend attended an event organised for the September Festival here in St Ives. I had coffee and a croissant surrounded by exquisite works of art, and then a lovely informal lecture in what was probably her living room. If you look carefully you may spot us).
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Some randomness from here. My whole life is pretty random actually. Does that count as one?
- There's been a change of colour around here. Everything becoming more muted in its' palette. Earthy tones are returning; those moss greens, bracken browns and slate greys of nature are more visible as the sharp yellows and bright blues retreat. There's the odd pop from the boats in the harbour, or the buckets and spades outside the post office. But the colours are easier on the eye, which pleases me very much.
- I have bought a new jumper. It's grey. Of course it is. I always buy grey jumpers.
- Olly starts Beavers on Wednesday. It's his first after school club. I've held him back from them for some reason. Alfie was already swimming, surfing, tag rugbying and judoing at his age. Sam eschewed clubs until he found drama in his teens. What cubs do your children go to? I kind of feel that you can do too many. Alfie certainly did, and he burned out. He does none now.
- My friend Sarah wants me to start going to yoga with her. I kind of want to, but I also don't want to. To be frank, I'm petrified of breaking wind during dog head down. It's happened before, to my eternal shame.
- We spent a lovely morning visiting St Michaels Mount on Sunday. Unfortunately the battery in my camera died, so the last picture above is the only evidence. Olly loved all the weapons in the armoury. Of course he did. CJs latest (and hilarious) post told of a boy and a desire for an axe. I can sympathise. I found Olly wielding the fish gutting knife this week....
- I'm currently reading 'The Devil's Serpent' by Sarah Perry, after having a huge Anne Tyler fest over the summer. I read a really intriguing article about Ms Perry, and was desperate to get hold of the book. So hurrah for Kindle daily deals.
- Olly seems to have settled in well into his new class. There is a definite shift towards more formal schooling, rather than the emotional and social aspects of development that his first two years concentrated on. We have spellings, reading books and maths sheets. It's all a bit too much, but he's taking it in his stride for now. I'm remaining very laid back about it all. I really don't have much truck with SATs, which is what it's all geared toward. I won't set any store by their outcome in the summer either. I feel dead rebellious in the playground, brandishing my devil may care attitude.
- My phone is broken. Again.
- It is still very mild in St Ives, and the flowers in the garden are thriving. I even have some late blooming Dahlias. I have tidied a little, but have given way to laziness in the face of such floral abundance.
- It's my wedding anniversary tomorrow. Twenty years of marriage. I don't recognise that girl in the wedding photos.
Friday, 16 September 2016
The beach is a place of upheaval. With every wave, and every advance and retreat of the tide, the landscape is rearranged. I'm lucky enough to walk the beaches every day. There's a lot to choose from around here. Sometimes I walk with Honey. Sometimes with the family. And every now and again, I walk alone. Whenever I need some space, or some time to clear my head I wander down to the sea. I come and meditate to the sounds of the water's edge. That surge and tumble as the waves advance and retreat up and down the beach is a balm for the soul. I allow myself the time to stand and stare. I breathe it all in; a slightly salty, fresh smell peculiar to here. The sea smells different elsewhere. It sounds different elsewhere too. I feel a sense of kinship with it. My bit of sea.
Life hasn't quite returned back to normal here. Marc is still looking for work, and I am feeling rather restless. It happens from time to time, as any of you who are familiar with this space know. I went to a wedding in August, and at the reception I was sat next to the bride's Grandad. It turned out that this gentlemen could read palms. I'm a cynic when it comes to this sort of caper. But as he took my hand, I felt the hair on the back of my neck rise. He told me things about myself. Good things. Personal things. Strange things. "You don't believe in yourself," he said. "You dither, and procrastinate. What are you scared of?" I shrugged my shoulders and smiled, but could feel the tears prickle behind my eyes. "You need to shout louder, my dear, so that people can hear you once more."
How to do that though? How do you shout louder when you have become used to whispering? And who do you shout to? Yourself? Someone else? The world? I'm buggered if I know. The days just slip by somehow, and I find that before I know it, another year is pushing on towards the next and I'm no closer to grasping hold of what exactly it is I'm feeling restless about. I'm not dissatisfied with my life. Far from it. But I feel itchy from time to time. It's an inner itch that keeps me awake at night, and has me drifting from room to room. Picking up and putting down again. Am I having a mid life crisis?
My antidote is always the sea. Standing there listening to the song of the shore helps me regain balance once again. Helps me to clear my head, and gain perspective once more. It helped me this evening as I stood and took the pictures above. Now I just have to figure out what on earth this itch is.
Have a lovely weekend friends.
Thursday, 8 September 2016
Yesterday I paid a visit to the smallest room, and as I turned to avail myself of the facilities, I was confronted by a rather sad looking cardboard tube sparsely decorated with tissue. I sat there muttering under my breath, and then yelled. Loudly. After a short while, the door opened a fraction of an inch, and an arm thrust itself through proffering a full roll of the finest white two ply.
That, my friends, has been a recurring theme around here for the past few months. And it has driven me absolutely mad. Ditto damp towels on the floor, tea spillages up the stairs, a wanton disregard for washing up, a laundry pile that would make a professional weep and sky high food bills.
But just like that, it's all over. Today saw Sam back to Uni, and Alf and Olly back to school. I couldn't believe the quiet. I couldn't believe the tidy. I couldn't get over the fact that my cupboards stand a good chance of not being bare thirty seconds after the weekly food shop. I drank a cup of tea in silence. And it was bliss. My mind hopped, skipped and jumped around sabbatical memories. And there are some corkers. We have been a full and busy house this summer. And sometimes it has been hard work. But it has also been flipping marvellous.
Knowing me as you do by now, you'll be pleased to hear that the house has been ship shaped and shiny'd. The anti bac wipes and spray with bleach has been put to good use. Nothing has escaped the purge. And this anal retentive girl feels calm and replete once more.
Onwards and upwards then. Back to normal once more.
It's so good to be back.