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Showing posts from May, 2009

Sinking Boats

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Well, the long-awaited moment has arrived. The bags are packed (not), the legs are waxed (not) and we’re ready to go (not). Watch out Turkey, here we come!

This time a year ago, neither N or I could sail. We spent last May half term tacking around the Straits of Gibraltar learning How To. We haven’t been on a boat since. Yet here we are, insane or stupid enough to be taking our precious cargo of beautiful little girls on a 40ft boat around the western Mediterranean. Of course, this seemed like a good idea six months ago at the time of booking, but now the moment of truth has arrived, amid huge excitement from the junior crew (blessedly ignorant of their parents boating skills), and I have to admit to a few queasy moments wrapped up in notions of blatant parental irresponsibility. Ahem!

This is the first step, of course, towards a planned sabbatical. Well, planned as far as I am concerned (but N, of course, keeps moving the goalposts and finding excuses to delay). I have had this in my s…

A Sunny Day in May

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As the rain blasts against the window and the sheep huddle under the horse chestnut, I thought I’d take us back to the sunshine and optimism of last Monday.

It was one of those rare but sublime days of crystalline light where everything shined with the reflective intensity of a newly scrubbed diamond. It was, quite simply, dazzling. Most of all, it was physically impossible to stay inside. The outside called from the moment I drew open the curtains in the morning.

So after the most cursory attempt at household chores, I was out there, camera in hand, to record the beauty of the hour, and the passage of early Spring into late Spring. Here is what I saw:

Forget-me-nots are a favourite of mine, for their colour, their simplicity and their tenacity.


The acid of euphorbia, the purple and white tulips, the sculptural bud of the allium, and the large leaves of comfrey are set against a mossy dry stone wall.


The view down to the reservoir.


The contrast of shiny dark purple tulips and white sweet…

Miracles of Nature

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In my post 'Fleeting Delights’ I mentioned long tailed tits and the pleasure their little dance had given me in a mundane moment one morning at home. Equally special was the nest (pictured above) I found lying on the grass shortly after we got home after the Easter holidays. I couldn’t see where it had come from, but it was just lying on the lawn in all its quiet splendour, and I had no idea what bird had constructed it. It had clearly been blown out of somewhere by the high winds.

I took it into the village school with L as their topic this term is ‘Holes’ – and it struck me that the opening into the nest was a perfect example of the topic. After looking at the way the nest had been so beautifully constructed with moss, lichen, feathers and fibres, it was gently placed in a box and put on a side table. I had been muttering to the Head Teacher for a while that I thought we should try and find space for a Nature Table, and I’m delighted to say that bringing in this nest seems to ha…

Fridge Food - Two Italian Salads

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Just so you don't think I've been slacking, I've just written a new post on my Fridge Food blog. If the sunshine earlier in the week got you excited and you like Italian food, then go take a look.



Words of Wisdom from a Six Year Old

At breakfast today, L looked up from her bowl of porridge - all just-out-of-bed mad professor hair, dark round eyes and freckles - and said, from nowhere:

"Cool girls that think they're cool go out with boys with guns in their pockets and hoods up". She added, as an afterthought, "And skateboards".

Is she right? Is this really what we have become? If this is what a six year old who watches Peppa Pig and Charlie and Lola perceives, then Houston, I think we have a problem.

Gurkha Campaign

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If you've been prepared to die for our country, surely you have a right to live here? Far more than many who are daily allowed through the gates....

What do you think?

(Read more here.)