A Walk Around Our Garden

Our new garden was one of the things that I loved when we first viewed this house. Apart from being just the right size, it is also enclosed, so Jessica (and later, Alice) will be able to play out there while I am in the kitchen. I worry it makes me sound like I am planning to abandon her out there all day, but really I just want her to be able to explore on her own when she wants to.

The kitchen windows look out into the garden, and there are french doors out too.

The first third of the garden is decked, and is edged with a flower bed which I plan to fill with snowdrops, crocuses, and daffodils. There is an arbour to one side, covered with a peach climbing rose which has the most heavenly scent.

Next there is grass to one side (with a swing for Jessica) a gravel path, and then to the other side an apple tree, a pear tree, and a fuschia. I am so excited about the fruit trees!

The last portion of the garden has raised beds and a little bin store. The gravel path leads to the back gate, which opens onto a little passage which leads round to our garage.

The garden which backs on to ours has a large tree, which makes a beautiful backdrop to the garden as well as giving us some privacy, and for now at least doesn’t seem to be blocking our light.

I need to decide how we will cut the grass…it is a small area and a lawnmower seems overkill, as well as there being nowhere to easily store one. We have on our list of garden jobs to clean and seal the decking, and plant in the spring bulbs, as well as looking for a table and comfortable chairs so we can eat outside.

When we visited a local nature reserve a month or two ago, they were selling small chairs and stepping stones made from little logs. I’d like to get some of those, too.

I love the idea of being able to follow the seasons on our very own garden stage, of feeding the birds, picking the apples and pears, watching the tree shed its leaves, the seasons turning again and again.

For now it is so lovely to be able to just walk out of the kitchen door, sip my tea, and breathe in the fresh air.

Advertisements

Sunday Morning

This moment is perfect. The house, our new house, is quiet except for the breeze stirring the curtains through our open window, and the soft breathing of Alice, who is fast asleep on my chest.

Carl and Jessica are both asleep, and after too late a night and several feedings part of me wishes I was too…but I don’t want to move Alice while she is sleeping, and I am enjoying just absorbing the quiet.

We have been here a week now. Most of our possessions are still packed away in boxes in the garage, and we have no sofa, radio, or tv. Until last night we had no internet access either, but our new neighbour is kindly letting us borrow hers.

The house is lovely, it has a happy atmosphere, and I love how it is a blank canvas. We went sofa shopping yesterday but couldnt find anything we liked so the search continues. So many had such deep seats that, being on the short side, our legs stick straight out.

I have a mug of Earl Grey to drink, and since I started writing this, Jessica has come to snuggle with us. Alice is now snoozing in her cot. The morning is quiet and feels gentle.

When I was away in hospital for so long, it made me really grateful for the simple pleasure of waking up with my family. Nothing beats being together, especially in our own home.

I hope your Sunday morning is as blessed as mine,

Love, Mimi xxx

The Gentle Delights of a Rainy Day

After so many days of blistering heat, rain, cool rain at last.

As soon as I woke up this morning I could see the light was different, a grey light heralding the rain. Rain was so welcome today.

Today was the day I handed the keys back to our little Victorian terrace, and did the checkout inspection. Oh how I’ll miss that house. It was just the cosiest home to be on a rainy day. The patter of raindrops against the old glass windows, the occassional plop of a raindrop down the chimney.

Having given back the keys, we took Jessica to soft play to burn off some energy and do something just for her and she was so good and had a lot of fun.

We drove home in the rain, and it was so wet that the rain made almost a low mist around the tyres of all the cars.

And now here we are back at my inlaws. Jessica is listening to music with her Grandad and Alice and I are upstairs. This is one of those perfect moments which I wish I could preserve forever. Alice is soft and warm, dozing next to me. The rain is falling steadily; I have tea and a box of chocolates and not one but two books to choose from.

I have seen the Mitford series recommended by several people recently, so I treated myself to a copy of the first and so far I love it. A line from very early on in the book has stayed with me…’let me be a blessing in someone’s day’. That will be my new morning mantra.

The other book is just right for reading as we prepare to move into our new home. The plan is to take inside just the essentials at first and then carefully curate what is left. Then we’ll be going room by room to do any decorating or refurnishing. I can’t wait to slowly put our stamp on it.

Reading Rosamunde Pilcher and Joanna Trollope and D E Stevenson (especially the Drumberley series) has been really inspiring me about the kind of home I want to make…the kind where there is always a shepherd’s pie in the bottom of the oven, a jug of flowers on the table, and the scent of lavender in the air.

Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying this cosiest of rainy afternoons.

Miss Pettigrew

Miss Petrigrew Lives For A Day is a delightful book published by the wonderful Persephone Books. If you haven’t discovered it yet, do read it…or better yet, you can listen to it here, on radio 4 for the next few weeks:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00761hk

It really is a lovely champagne cocktail of a book, a kind of grown up fairy tale.

It is worth reading the fortnightly letter which Persephone publish on their Website; as well as coming across little gems like this radio serial, they often mention exhibitions, articles, films and the like. It is almost impossible to browse their catalogue without wanting to buy something.

It was through Persephone that I discovered the works of Dorothy Whipple who I just love. Alice’s first middle name is both a nod to her, and a memory of my grandma who was also a Dorothy, although she was Dorathy rather than Dorothy…and always went by the name of Dottie or Dot.

I find it wonderful to think that when Gran was pregnant with Mum, the egg that would become me one day was already in Mum, so in some ways Gran carried us both. In the same way, when Mum was pregnant with me, the eggs which would become Jessica and Alice were inside me, so she carried us all. That line of links to the generations before means so much to me. 

Grandma’s Blanket

Here is my little Alice Apple laying on a very special blanket. My gran crocheted it when my sister was born. I used it to, and then my little brother. Next came Jessica, and then her cousin. Now it is Alice’s turn to snuggle on it.

I wonder if Gran ever thought when she was making it that one day her grandbaby’s babies would be using it.

I love the blanket for itself as well as for its history. It is such a pretty stitch with a scalloped shell edging, and the wool is so so soft.

I am having a special day today. It is just Alice and I, alone in the house. I had so many days like this with Jessica, but with Alice this is the first. I plan to sleep when she does, to rest, and to just soak up her new baby smallness.

Happy two week birthday, Alice Apple x

Juggling

When I left you last, Alice’s bilirubin levels were not what I had hoped for. From my last post you may have guessed that we are home – or at least, home from hospital staying with Carl’s parents as our house is not ready yet .

Alice’s bilirubin levels finally started to fall. They took a blood test at 3:00am in the morning, and I had to chase the results the following afternoon. The paedatrician spoke to the registrar and they said we could at last go home. I could have cried with relief.

We were told we could abandon the feeding plan and just fedd her on demand. I’m struggling to remember what day it happened…Thursday.

And here we are on Sunday…but things still aren’t quite as easy as I would like. I am very worried about Alice getting enough milk from me, so I have been expressing so I know how much she ia getting…but it takes time and she keeps waking up hungry just as I am about to express. I’ve had to give her a little bit of formula here and there which I hate. I cried when they made me give it to her in hospital.

Today everyone is out. Carl is desperately trying to finish packing up the old house. So Jessica, Alice and I are here together. Jessica couldn’t be sweeter or more helpful if she tried. I am struggling with the juggling though. Breakfast was really late and just as I was about to express Alice woke up hungry. I have an infection in my wound and alongside my antibiotics I am meant to lay down and give it an airing three times a day then rub in antibiotic cream. I haye touching it..and today there has been no time. I feel a mess. How do people cope?

Carl was hoping to finish packing today but now thinks tomorrow. Which means out of his two weeks paternity leave we will have had one afternoon together as a family if we are very lucky.

I am so worried about Alice, about the feeding, about how sleepy she is. Is it her body fighting off the jaundice, or is it coming back?

I had a brief feeling on Friday morning of being myself again at last. Three years of a lot of worry and pain, I was ready to put them to one side and rediscover who I am again…but it does feel like the grey clouds are coming back.

I’m sure in a week or two I will be feeling better, as Alice grows, as we finally move in. It all feels so far away right now though.

I think I need a cup of tea…

A Tale of Two Sisters

Alice is laying in her crib, impossibly small. She is not quite 6lbs, and looks like a fairy child. Her hair is silky and dark, and I look at her in wonder that she should by rights still be in my tummy. She sleeps peacefully, and I cannot help but watch for the soft rise and fall of her chest.

After I had brushed my teeth, I popped in to check on Jessica. I stopped short…who was this tall girl, laying spread across her bed? When did her legs get quite so long? Her curls quite so riotous? Who is this chld, where did the round cheeked bubbins go?

And yet…they are so alike…but so different. It is like looking back in time, looking at Alice, although Jessica was never quite so small.

It’s a happy moment, two sisters slumbering peacefully.

I do not feel as peaceful as I might. Tomorrow I have them both on my own for the first time, and I have no idea how to entertain Jessica all day when I am as immobile as I am. Plus my wound is infected and I am on antibiotics so am not feeling great.

And Alice, how I worry about her. She has been particularly sleepy today…could it be the jaundice creeping back? Or is she ill? Or just warm from the sunshine? Is she yellowish or less yellow than yesterday? Is she getting enough milk from me when I breastfeed her?mshe seems more satisfied after a bottle of expressed milk. I don’t know. Her tummy button looks a bit red…could it be the start of an infection?

I had hoped that being home from hospital,I would finally stop worrying and start enjoying her. But I find my mind consumed.

It isn’t that I don’t worry about Jessica or Carl…probably more that I am used to doing so, and this is all new for me.

But just in this moment I am going to try and out worry aside and think about my beautiful girls, sleeping peacefully.