Wednesday, 15 March 2017

And She Was


Lundy Cove

St Minver threw her comb at the Devil through that very hole.
 Apparently she was a crack shot.

'The Moules' where these immortal lines were written

'They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
 Age shall not weary them, not the years condemn.
 At the going down of the sun and in the morning
 We will remember them.'

( For The Fallen, John Binyon)

Fancy weekend gaff

Port Isaac as seen from The Doctors house





Honey Cottage



You find me in between painting shifts. I had a sudden urge to start painting yesterday tea time. Not the most convenient time, but I need to strike while the iron's hot. I've been meaning to paint said items for about six months now, and just couldn't be bothered. Of course, I've got paint splatters on my jeans and new top (Breton, obvs).The jeans are too big for me since I've started running. Apart from the around the waistline area. My stomach is a law unto itself, I'm afraid. Can I blame Olly? After all, it is kind of his fault that my tummy puts me in mind of a deflated balloon. Particularly when I lean over the bath. Although he did tell me the other day that he thought my tummy was looking "less fat." I'm not sure whether to be pleased or not.

Olly will be seven on Friday. Seven! How? He has two big front teeth that kind of stick out, because his other baby teeth are refusing to budge. It makes his little lisp and difficulty in pronouncing his R's more noticeable. I kind of adore it. His hair is still a mass of unruly curls, but has gone the way of his brothers. I miss his golden halo very much. He would like a new scooter, please. One that lights up. He would also like a corn snake. His best friend Finley gave him a leaflet all about them gathered from 'Pets At Home.' Well, that's what friends are for. He may be a little disappointed that I've got him some Fimo instead. I figure he can make himself a snake out of it. We are going to the new trampoline park. I shall be sitting on the comfy cushions and watching all the action. Gravity and three kids equates to... well, you know.

The running is going very well, thank you for asking. I have entered my first 10K run in May. I'm now at the stage of enjoying my thrice weekly runs, rather than gritting my teeth and swearing. I still find the first kilometre hard. I can't seem to get my breathing right. But then, I am able to step up a gear and happily run for an hour. I don't run particularly fast, but I'm conquering the hills (St Ives is all about the killer hill) and my legs are lengthening their stride. I'm conscious of my posture, and try to keep my head up and back straight. And my sprinting days of old come in handy for that home stretch. I'm like Mo Farah then.

All is quiet on the home front for the moment, which is a relief. No major problems. No teen thing that I can't handle. Actually I'm at the stage of denial when it comes to the stuff I'm finding hard to handle. I'm hoping that a bit of unconditional positive regard will set matters right in the long run. Sometimes I mutter 'bugger off' under my breath, but mostly I am trying to adopt a more zen approach. Anyway, I was such a moody teenager. With such a woe is me attitude. The apple never falls far from the tree, eh?

I've been watching, and listening, to our resident blackbird. He's a handsome chap. And his herald to the end of the day is really rather beautiful. I think it's my absolute favourite thing about Spring. Actually it's just as well it is, because weather wise, there is very little sign of it. West Cornwall has been trapped under grey cloud forever. The odd hour of sunshine arrives, and I get all over excited and hang washing out on the line. But before you know it, the damp low cloud rolls back in, and I'm forced to gather it all back in again. In the garden there are lots of loveliness waking up, unfurling and growing apace. I'm walking around and taking note of what needs to be done. I have sowed my first seeds in the greenhouse. The cornflowers have already germinated. I have lots of geranium cuttings and several salvias too. It was my first attempt at trying it, and I'm hooked.

I have been watching Broadchurch. Have you? Rather harrowing, yet compelling. That's the sum total of my televisual participation. An hour a week on Monday. The rest of the time I am reading or staring into space. I find I can kill the whole evening doing that. Sometimes my head is just too full. Do you know what I mean? I crave absolute quiet, and a clearing of the senses. I suppose it's like a form of meditation. The only noise is Honey's snuffly snore, and I find that rather comforting. My ten year old girl is having some trouble with her back legs; they give out every now an again. It may be the start of arthritis, says the vet. Age creeps us on all of us in the end.

Right, last cup of tea before bed.

Laters lovelies,

Leanne xx

(the above photos were taken last weekend in North Cornwall. Specifically the Southwest coast path  between Polzeath and Lundy Cove, And Port Isaac. An unexpected couple of days away with a good friend. She brought champagne. I bought smelly cheese. It was top notch).


Monday, 6 March 2017

Weathering









Don't fret, I told myself as I loaded up some photos from my phone (big camera is at the repair man). It's like riding a bike. It'll all start to flow, and before you know it you'll have written your first post proper. I mean, how hard can it be?

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Turns out, quite hard. I loaded the photos above at the end of last week. I thought I'd write one of those catch up posts. Then I thought that maybe I'd do a 1'0 Random Things.' To get me back in the game as it were. If you're like me (and if so, my condolences) you have ideas popping into your head all the time, and it can get terribly arduous trying to pin them down into some kind of coherant whole. Things like plots, characters, story ideas, dialogue, internal banter, fantastic endings, great titles, genius twists and turns, a clever turn of phrase, side splittingly funny asides, tragic prose worthy of a Bronte. And all the rest.

I never have pen and paper to hand either. I really should carry a notebook around with me at all times. These snippets, these starts of stories remain out of reach and float away into the ether. I'm reminded of the preface to Garrison Keillor's 'Lake Wobegon Days,' when he loses a couple of stories on a train journey. Try as he might, he can't remember them, and so can't recreate them. By the end of his train journey he feels as if he's lost some great "landmark of American prose." It's like losing something that was never lost in the first place. And it's so terribly frustrating.

In my mind's eye, I'm sat in a cafe with a coffee and my pad and pen. I sit there all day scribbling away, or watching the world go by. The owners know me. They know just how I like my tea. They know that I'm partial to a bit of carrot cake on a Tuesday. I always get a window seat. I'm never shoved in the back of the establishment. And it's there that I write my grand opus. Or perhaps I'm sat at a desk in a room in my house, writing into the wee hours. Or the library. One of those gorgeous Victorian ones, like the Central Library in Bristol. Or The Brotherton at Leeds University. I'll be researching my ass off, surrounded by tottering volumes of obscure works of prose.

It seems that I get carried away with the romance of writing, but not the actual graft of it. Because I would imagine that for people like Sarah Grace Perry or Nina Stibbe or Barbara Kingsolver or Iris Murdoch or Margaret Atwood or George Eliot or Jane Austen or Rachel Joyce it is graft. It is lines crossed through pages of work. It is stop and start again. It is all chewed pencil ends and writers block. It is wearing your heart on your sleeve and putting yourself under the microscope of literary scrutiny. It must be terrifying.

Where was I?


Thank you for your open arms of welcoming me back. You are all so very lovely. I raise my mug of builder's tea to each and every one of you!


Leanne xx





Thursday, 23 February 2017

A Hopeful Return







 Well hello there!

How life just trucks along, eh?

Back in November, I just couldn't see the way to writing another coherent sentence. I was lost in a sea of parental woes, and the strife of the daily grind. I wasn't able to cut a path through it all. And I was hung up on guilt too. The guilt that comes from being the person seemingly without a role that those around you see as valid. And it had rubbed off; I no longer saw myself as a valid contributor to life and the world around me. It really knocked me sideways to be honest. To wake up one morning, and realise that what I 'did' wasn't seen as worthy or important or indeed mattered. At all. That pound of flesh just wasn't enough anymore. More was required. I reckon that I could have set myself on fire, and it still wouldn't have enough for some.

If you ask me how I feel today, I wold tell you that I am still struggling somewhat. Unequal relationships are difficult to manage at the best of times. And during the worst of times, they are downright impossible. And somewhere along the way I have allowed this to happen to myself. I have allowed all that I am, and all that I do and have done be relegated to the fourth division. The bottom line is that I can't do it all - paid employment, house-keep, be the main carer to the boys, look after others, look after myself - without back up.

Ironically one of the places that I received this support - this back up - came from here. Being able to vent my spleen through my blog, really helped with managing the frustration I could feel. And the back up I received was immeasurable. It really did make the difference between running away and staying put. Just the mere fact of being validated helped. And I walked away from it. Silly girl.

So I come back once more. To try and articulate the stuff of today, in the only way I know how; ham fisted and all over the place. But that's okay, right?

Leanne xx



Monday, 7 November 2016

A quiet closing

 




Hey there.

How are you all?

This morning I took Honey for a walk a little way along the cliff path from Porthmeor beach. The tide was very high, the wind was fresh and the air was clear. The smell was quite incredible. And the noise of the surf roaring in from the sea was a keening roar of sound. It was cold. For the first time in so long I stood on top of the hill in coat, scarf and wellies, feeling the low chill of Autumn all around me. I'm ready for this change.

It's all be a bit topsy turvy here actually. Some of it good. Some not. But then, isn't that they way of life? And I've just not the words to go with it all. I've had pictures. You can find some of them on Instagram. And I've been making little videos, which give me a lot of pleasure. Silly things really; a wren giving off a warning in a tree, mine, Olly's and Alf's feet as we dance, Olly running in slo mo on the beach.That kind of thing You probably do stuff like that all the time.

I've been thinking about gently closing the door on my blog. I feel as if it's run out of steam. Or maybe I have. I've run out of steam. Yeah that's it. I'm not sure what to put here anymore. So I've avoided it. I don't work. I don't craft. I don't do anything really. And this space just highlights how little I do. How little I have accomplished. How teeny tiny small my life is.

I have loved writing here. But I think that it's time to say goodbye.

I'll still look in on you all.

Keep smiling!

All my love,

Leanne xxxxxx




Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Best Medicine





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?

Leanne xx



Saturday, 1 October 2016

Ode To October

Lanyon Quoit



 





 


Hello there!

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.

Leanne xx

(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

Breakfast In The Garden















Olly and I were sat in the conservatory this morning, watching a blackbird pulling worms out of the ground. It's the same one that's been visiting for about a week now. His return heralds the start of Autumn around here. He has a slight discolouration on one of his wings, which makes it seem as if he's going grey. We enjoy watching him hop warily about the garden poking about here and there. It's a gentle start to the day for us. Olly is enjoying school, but the increased work load is taking its' toll on his energy levels. Skarloey, the cat enjoys watching him too. But his days of chasing down birds are most definitely at an end.

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!!

Night night.

Leanne xx

(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).