Tuesday, 29 June 2010

In an ideal world...

  • Babies would come complete with teeth.
  • The arrival of little man's final two molars would not have coincided with mummy having PMT.
  • Mummy would have had her Mooncup boiled and ready before her period started.
  • Little boys would instinctively know how to use a hankie.
  • Rain would come at regular intervals rather than vast quantities in a short period of time after weeks of drought.
  • Mummies would not be distracted by their children in the back of the car whilst passing a mobile speed camera positioned about a hundred yards before the change from a 40 to 60mph zone.
  • The tastiest food would also be the healthiest.
  • Therefore, cakes would be calorie-free.
  • Clothes would make it into drawers and wardrobes between being washed and being worn again.
  • Internet connections would not inexplicably stop working.
  • Children would not be automatically drawn to the one thing they shouldn't mess around with.
  • Everything would be where it belongs, including, for example, the tin of pins being actually in the sewing box and the kitchen scissors being in the kitchen utensils pot.
  • Toddlers would be compatible with mummy's desire to do crafty things.
  • I would have remembered I need to put the washing out on the line instead of writing this before it's time for little man's bath.
  • Life would be dull and predictable.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Getting away from it all

The little man and I have survived two nights' camping in Silverdale in north Lancashire. The rose-tinted, blogsville, let's look on the bright side version goes something like this:

  • The weather was stunningly warm and sunny, which meant we got a fantastic view over the Lake District from the top of Arnside Knott.
  • We did lots of little ambles, pottering through the woods, sauntering along the beach, finding empty snail shells, checking holly leaves for prickliness, tripping over tree roots and marvelling at butterflies.
  • Little man particularly enjoyed the muddy beach at Arnside. Not only did he get to scoop up handfuls of mud and throw it into the incoming tide, but he also got to watch trains go over the long bridge over the Kent estuary. Boy bliss. I drew him pictures in the mud with a rock.
  • We ate yummy proper ice cream, prompting his first ever demand to go to a 'shop'. I eventually realised he meant the cafe where we bought ice cream and played with their ride-on car.
  • We had a hideously nutritionally deficient picnic mostly consisting of sausage rolls (from a craft bakery, of course!), crisps (the organic sort aimed at babies and toddlers for no reason I can actually fathom) and a satsuma. We sat on the picnic blanket in the dappled shade of some oak trees and watched squirrels scampering about. Little man is charmingly fond of going for a 'picpic'.
  • There was plenty of space on the campsite for little man to run around, mostly without the usual worries about traffic or vicious dogs. He was very excited about the tent and kept going in it to play, despite the fact it must have been about 40C in there in the daytime.
  • I feel like I've had a break just from being somewhere so beautiful and peaceful. I saw a little stone place called Woodwell Cottage where I could happily retire, right now, and spend my time knitting bobble hats and making wonky pottery jugs.
Obviously, there were some fairly significant negative aspects, mostly concerning sleep, or the extreme lack thereof. Also tantrums, the first proper kicking and screaming type ones (something tells me this is not unrelated to the previous point). And running away, not due to the innate desire to explore but due to the desire to disrupt whatever boring but essential task mummy's trying to get done, such as cooking dinner, washing up or packing the car. And cooking on little gas burners with a toddler about wasn't much fun either. I don't think I can adequately describe just how much harder and more exhausting it is being alone with a two-year-old in such circumstances.

But hey, I'd do it again. In fact my memory of the bad things is already fading, as it helpfully tends to. I quite fancy Rhosneigr on Anglesey and Eskdale in Cumbria. I just wouldn't recommend it to anyone else unless you, like me, have a ridiculous need to 'get away from it all' into the middle of nowhere every now and again, and you have the ability to sink into ever lower depths of knackeredness and frazzledness and somehow manage to carry on regardless.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Three nice things

1. Cross stitched hearts on linen. They may become an embellishment on some kind of little bag or picture made from my fabric stash, which is mostly old clothes.
2. Flowers in a salad, namely pansies and chive heads. Salad is good at the moment. Lettuce, radishes, beetroot, mangetout and courgettes are all provided from my dad's allotment. Herbs and flowers from the pots in my back yard.
3. The lighthouse on Ynys Llandwyn. The picture is not great as it was pissing down with rain and I got drenched. I wanted to take pictures of the pretty snails all over the island, but the camera was getting too wet. On the other hand, if it hadn't been raining, the snails wouldn't have all been out.

I love those blogs I read that often come with beautiful photography. The sort that inspires you to get off your backside and do something creative. My pictures are very much point and shoot I'm afraid.

I'm being dragged off to see the snails in the fish tank now. They're not supposed to be there, but I don't suppose they're doing any harm. So bye for now.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


Whassat? Goose poo.
Whassat? A feather.
Whassat? A police car.
Whassat? Rubbish.
Whassat? A dog barking.
Whassat? A cement mixer.
Whassat? A flag.
Whassat? A shopping trolley in the canal.
Whassat? A sycamore seed.

That was in a ten-minute walk back from the garage (where I have spent a small fortune on servicing and a new timing belt). We haven't even got on to the why, why, why yet.

Here's my big why for the day: Why do I have to sit and be jolly with the little man while we make a card for daddy for this Sunday?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

A little light poetry

We've all been there, haven't we? Deciding to write poetry whilst drunk at some point in our angst-ridden teens? No? Oh, just me then. Anyway, here's a little something from the eighteenth-century Japanese Zen poet Ryokan that is reminiscent of such incidents, with less of the angst:

Stone steps, a mound of lustrous green moss;
The wind carries the scent of cedar and pine.
The rain has stopped and it is beginning to clear.
I call to the children as I walk to get some village sake.
After drinking too much, I happily write these verses.

As translated by John Stevens in One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan (2006, Weatherhill).

Just one of my new books that arrived last week. How ironic that I have to buy books to remind me that I'm trying to live a simple, low-cost, less consumerist kind of life. Oh well, cheers!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Doing Stuff

I haven't been feeling very inspired to blog of late. And in the past few days I've had sudden urges to Do Stuff instead. Like cross-stitch pretty red hearts on undyed linen. Sort through the kitchen cupboards. Vacuum the bedrooms. Book my car in for a service. Draw round mine and little man's hands and string the results across the dining room. Grate freshly pulled-up beetroot into salads. Deadhead pansies. Drink green tea with mint. Phone the tax credits people.

I'm not sure when this flurry of activity will end. I'm just going with the flow in a slightly bemused taoist manner. Of course, the activity has been interspersed with plenty of shared naps, sitting down for a nice cuppa, gazing at trees blowing in the wind and sitting on my backside watching telly. I wouldn't want to overdo it.  

I've been musing on a post about simple living, one about cookbooks, another about my perfect playlist for driving, one about the driving itself. Maybe one about toddler learning. By which I probably mean un-learning or something. Possibly even a post about measures of success in life. But I'm going to stick to my general life philosophy: I'll do them when I feel like it. So much easier to wait until then, I find.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Letter to Australia

To: Mum and dad, somewhere in the Australian outback.

Thanks for the postcards, it sounds like you are having a fantastic time. Little man especially likes the thorny devil picture. He still thinks you are on every plane that goes overhead. And he wants to go on a plane too. I've told him he can when he's a bit older.

S and I have found the perfect solution to your gooseberry glut. They're fermenting nicely. The rhubarb brew is coming along well too. The allotment is relatively weed free. The raspberries have some sort of orange fungus on them. Little man is steadily eating his way through all the onion leaves for some reason.

Sat out in your garden with some friends a couple of weeks ago to keep the frogs company. We're having a barbecue there soon. I see you've been running your wine rack down though. I might even have to buy some. Shocking.

The car's running ok. I'm going to take it to work tomorrow. I've strewn a bit of rubbish around the passenger footwell to make it feel more familiar. I've also retuned the radio to get rid of whatever easy listening station you had it on. It's now tuned to Rock Radio and my iPod frequency.

No major news to report. I now have a blue bin. Little man and I may go to Oban for a few days next month.

J x

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


How can my son shun chocolate sponge pudding then ask for a Ryvita?
Why does he always eat the leaves of the onions at the allotment?
Why is there always sand in his shoes even when we've been nowhere near any sand?
Why did he tell me to shush when we went for a walk in the woods today?
Why is my quiet next-door neighbour moving house and not the one whose telly I can often hear loud and clear at midnight?
Where can I buy mini egg cups to fit my bantam eggs?
Why, nearly eighteen months after splitting up, am I still not sure whether my marriage is actually over or not?
Why do I have an insane desire to take my son camping when it gets light at around 4am?
Why isn't The Vampire Diaries on tonight?
What day is it anyway?
Are my goldfish happy?
What does 'aween' mean in my son's world?
Was he listening to my language today when I a) gouged my finger on the clothes airer and b) stubbed my toe?
Why do I want to listen to Paolo Nutini whilst doing housework and AC/DC whilst driving?
When will I get time to go and climb Tryfan?
What time will little man wake up tomorrow?