I am sitting here, a vision in my fleecy dressing gown. Olly is watching something appalling on TV, Alfie is gaming upstairs with his friend and Marc has just returned home for the weekend. It is all entirely normal and humdrum, which is exactly the way that it should be.
I've had real trouble with my blog. It has been playing silly buggers for the past couple of weeks, and I almost gave up on it completely last Tuesday, and toyed with trying to set up a new blog on another format. But here I am again, banging away at the computer, and writing about nothing in particular.
I've also been busy. Flying around with my scrub bag, pricing up work and sending out quotations for new jobs. We have been unexpectedly busy this half term week. The good weather forecast has meant last minute bookings, which in turn has seen Karen and I frantically getting properties that had been closed for the winter ship shape and shiny. I think I've got repetitive strain injury in my wrist from the amount of glass and tiled surfaces I've polished.
We've also attended some very murky scrubs too. I'll spare you the details, but I'm thinking of buying a sharps bucket for future end of tenancy cleans. The cost of that particular job will definitely reflect the possible hazard to health. We've become much better when it comes to pricing. And standing your ground when those around you think you're the lowest rung on the ladder (apart from the tenants. I think they're seen as the actual lowest low).
Anyway half term has been a bit of a damp squid. I had to cancel all the plans that I had for Olly and I, which was hugely guilt inducing. He did get a play date with his chum, and I was able to take him out this afternoon to The Bluff. He ran up and down the dunes, thrashed about in the pools left by the retreating tide, and helped me to beach clean. Nanny was with us too. She has become something of an eco warrior since moving to St Ives, and can often be seen with her bag collecting plastic debris from the beach.
There were thousands of nurdles in amongst the sand. Nurdles is the name given to those small plastic pellets that form the raw material of the plastics industry. I'm buggered if I know how they actually end up in our oceans, but I suspect it's all part of the huge amounts of industrial waste that is dumped every year. You just cant collect any real quantity of it, as you pick your way across the beach. You'd need to sift through every bit of sand. Olly and I were trying to think of machines that we could invent to solve the problem. He came up with some very creative ideas, and it gave me hope that our youngsters will be the ones that deal with this problem that has been inadvertently caused by those that have come before.
It can be very depressing once you start the process of cleaning your favourite stretch of beach. In fact as we were leaving, I could see a carrier bag dancing along the sand. It was too far away, and I felt terribly ashamed that I had left it to wend its' way along the beach. There are also times when I simply can't lift or drag the huge swathes of fishing nets, plastic barrels and the rest that has been lost (or tossed) from fishing vessels. Our beaches aren't patrolled by any agency or council department. There isn't any official whose job it is to clear them of such waste. So it just gets washed back out to sea with the returning high tides. But as my mother so sagely points out, what we collect and take away means that there is a little less every time. And Olly seems very pleased with himself too.
In other news, the blackbird and his lady friend are frequenting the garden more and more. He sits on the fence, while she hops about on the grass. The garden is starting to wake up, and begin it's annual cycle once again. The alium bulbs that I planted last year have all started to come up, as have the tulips. There are foxgloves galore, and all my pelargonium cuttings are thriving. I'm acutely aware that my time in the garden will be quite limited this year, so I have been mulching and tidying in earnest. I've cleared the pond of palm leaves. The frogs are back, although the frogspawn will no doubt be eaten by the newts once again. Nature in tooth and claw right there. I'm hopeful that the garden will still thrive despite my neglect this year. Just another thing to feel guilty about.
Alfie has an interview for sixth form college at the end of the month. He is hoping to do an advanced diploma in game and web design. He doesn't want to do A Levels, and is unsure whether he wants to go to University. I think he'd like to earn money sooner rather than later, and is unwilling to consider leaving Cornwall just yet. All this may change of course, but it has been an important step for Alfie to consider any future at all. His teachers have all been fantastic in their belief in his abilities. He is such a bright spark, but lacks all confidence. He is also starting to mature emotionally, which has been a huge relief. His outbursts and bad language are now very rare, which makes for a more harmonious home I can tell you. We seem to be making friends again, and share a laugh together. Our relationship has been fraught for several years, so I can't begin to tell you how happy this makes me.
Running has taken a three week back seat. The lurgy, work and a general feeling of fatigue have contributed. I'm hoping to get a couple of runs in next week, and then build back up to four a week once more. Karen and I have signed up for the Plymouth half in April, so I need to be match fit by then. We are up to a comfortable ten miles (we were), but I need to be running fifteen. I'm not bothered by times. I'm a steady runner with a good sprint finish. I shan't be racing anyone. I'll be competing with myself, which is always the way with me.
One more thing before I go and top up my glass; can I recommend the novel 'Eleanor Oliphant Is Extremely Fine.' A beautiful book about loneliness and friendship. It moved me to tears - "You've made me all shiny, Laura" - and I haven't read anything this good in a long time.
Have a wonderful weekend, friends. I shall be scrubbing; at home and abroad, having friends for supper (not literally you understand. I'm making lasagne), and maybe baking a cake.