Flowers On The Windowsill

One of the many things I love about Mum’s house is that she always has flowers and plants and pretty things.

There is a pretty willow heart wreath on the front door, and masses of potted violas in the porch. The twisted willow twigs are adorned with beaded butterflies and flowers.

On the windowsill is this beautiful bunch of flowers, bought for what would have been Gran and Grandad’s wedding anniversary.

I love coming from this home, from this knowing how special these things are. I love staying here and seeing Jessica soak it all up like a little sponge.

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A Royal Wedding

Today has been a glorious May day. Bkue skies and sunshine, everything seems to be in bud or blossom. What a wonderful day for a royal wedding!

I am staying with Mum for a few days, and she had to work today, so I took Jessica on the bus to her Godmother’s house where we had lunch and watched the Royal Wedding. The bus journey was lovely, winding in and out of little villages and past several rivers and streams.

I loved Meghan Markle’s dress, I thought she looked so elegant and classic. I loved Kate’s dress too, but I really like how they each chose something in their own style.

I’m not quite sure about the American preacher, and I felt sad for Meghan’s Mum sitting all alone. Overall though, what a lovely day. The girls made their own crowns and flags, and we toasted them with elderflower and rose presse.

Watching the procession through the streets of Windsor was a real sight to behold. All that bunting! The horses, the crowds, the sunshine…it was so English.

I read just now that on that spectacular veil, Meghan had one flower from each Commonwealth country embroidered. I love details like that.

Being blessed with a happy marriage, I always feel emotional and happy to see a new marriage starting. It isn’t just the Wedding but the wed-ding if that makes sense.

I hooe that at very nearly 4 years old a bit of today will stay in Jessica’s memory when she is older. Although when I asked her what kind of wedding dress she would choose, she told me she isn’t going to get married as she doesn’t want a baby in her tummy…and is going to be a policeman!

Third Time….Unlucky

Tonight was our WI annual meeting, and it has become our tradition to have a Victoria Sponge competition, the entries being served for refreshments in our break. There are two classes: traditonal (which must be made to an exact recipe, no variations) and modern – in which pretty much anything goes.

I always enter the modern category, and have tried so hard every year. One year I filled raspberries with raspberry gin, sealed them with dark chocolate and then used as the centre to a victoria sponge truffle. Another I did a vegan wheat free cake which used grated potato. It was much nicer than it sounds, and I christened it the King Edward. I also borrowed my Mum’s decorating idea one year, cutting a hole in the centre and then filling it with a jam jar full of garden flowers.

This year I thought I was in with a chance. I made a three tier sponge filled with raspberry, rose and rhubarb jam and buttercream. I piped the top with buttercream and then topped it with carnations (edible!) fresh raspberries and strawberries, macarons and meringues.

For the first year, we had first, second and third in each category, so I was really hopeful of placing somewhere.

But…nothing.

The grown up in me knows it is the taking part, that there were lots of very talented bakers taking part…but the rest of me feels really gutted and gloomy. I tried hard. I was proud of my cake and hopeful. And now I feel…kind of rubbish.

I wish I could be a bit more adult about it…but I am also trying to be honest about my feelings these days. Have you ever stopped to think about how many times we ask how someone is, or are asked ourselves, and the answer is ‘fine thanks’….when sometimes we aren’t fine. Or you find out later the person who said ‘fine thanks’ to you had just lost their job, or had a shockingly bad morning, or was actually struggling with addiction or anxiety or depression?

Or maybe nothing as serious as those things…but ‘fine’ doesn’t really cover it, does it?

All that sounds more dramatic than it really is. I have been feeling a bit fragile of late, I tried hard, hoped, it didn’t come off as I hoped, and I feel a bit rubbish about it.

A storm in a teacup really. Tomorrow I will wake up feelimg better, I am sure. But just for now, please don’t offer me Victoria Sponge…

Poised

Everything feels ever so slightly on the brink just now…mostly in a good way, like when you are on a swing, and there is that split second when you have swung backwards as far as you can, and it feels like time freezes for a moment, before you swoop forward and swing upwards.

We have 15 weeks (or thereabouts) left before we become a family of four. A new baby in the house…on the brink of such a wonderful change in our lives. I can hardly fathom it is real. I feel her kick and think soon, soon, you will be here.

We have a few weeks, maybe a couple of months or so left in this house. A new house, a new town, and the accompanying shift in the pattern if our days. The huge Kon Marie style de clutter which will accompany this…

We are on the brink of the first long bank holiday weekend in May, win lovely things planned. Being together as a family. A day out and picnic with dear friends tomorrow. Seeing our house again. Hopefully an hour or so in the bluebell woods.

So in this little pocket of frozen time I am sipping cool water in front if the fan, watching Britain’s Best Home Cook, and flipping through the new issue of Project Calm magazine. Later there is some picnic shopping to do, washing to peg out, and a sweet little girl to collect from preschool. But just now, there is a little pocket of quiet time to savour slowly. 

Monday Morning At The Bookshop

This morning dawned slightly more than drizzly with a stiff wind which has a real edge of chill to it. In the days before being a Mum, it would be the kind of day I would wish I hadn’t had to go to work on, the kind of day perfect for snuggling down with a blanket and tea and a book.

But…

I have a little one to look after, and Mondays are story-time-at-the-bookshop days, and so we put on our raincoats, took up our umbrellas, and sallied forth.

If I can’t spend the day snuggled down crocheting and reading, taking Jessica to the bookshop is a very good second choice. It is lovely here, we are lucky enough to have a branch of Foyles in town. I think of it as a proper bookshop.

She is sitting on a red bean bag listening to stories. I have had a browse of the books, and am resisting the smell of coffee and cakes which is drifting down from the other end of the shop.

It is such a lovely way to start the week. I’ll miss this, soon. I am so aware of time passing just now. Soon there will be a baby, too soon there will be school, and soonish…there will be a new house in a new town. Not very far away, but a bus or a train ride away. We won’t never come, but I don’t think we will be here every week.

But oh, our house. It is a townhouse with a lipstick red front door, and room for books, a kitchen with so much more space than I have now, and a lovely garden.

We’ve been so happy in our little Victorian Terrace and I shall miss it very much. I wish too we could afford a period house where we live now, but I think we will be very happy in our new home.

As long as everything goes smoothly, I’ll soon be writing of our adventures in The Townhouse On Halcyon Close.

Exciting timea ahead…

A Couple Of Christies

I have come to that unhappy point where I have read more of Agatha Christie’s books than I haven’t, so I don’t often stumble across one which is new to me.

Luckily just this very thing happened last Monday though. I had an antenatal appointment at the hospital and they had a shelf of second hand books for sale to raise money for toys for the waiting room. And so it was that I picked up The Secret of Chimneys.

It features Chief Inspector Battle rather than Marple or Poirot, and is a proper rollicking adventure with foreign royalty, stolen papers, missing jewels, blackmail and intrigue.

I’ve been stealing little moments here and there to read just one more page, and just now finished it. I closed the book and said to Carl ‘Now that was a damn good read!’

He really doesn’t have much time for reading but I do hope he finds time for this.

The other in my Couple of Christies isn’t by her but about her and I’m glad I picked it up to try. It is fiction, and the set up is that this is the real story of what happened when Agatha Christie went missing. Based on true events, the writer suggests that she was blackmailed into committing one of the murders that she wrote so brilliantly about. Naturally she wants no part of it but is left with little choice when her daughter is threatened. A Talent For Murder is the first in the series, and I am looking forward to reading the next one. Without wanting to give away too much, I really liked that the author isn’t afraid to kill off characters. It is always disappointing reading a novel just knowing that at the last minute everything will come right and everyone will be saved.

Early Morning Earl Grey

Our little family is living in busy and exciting, if tiring times. Our new little one will be here in August all being well, and we are house hunting!

We’ve seen one that we liked enough to make an offer on, but then had some unexpected good news which increased our budget fairly significantly.

Last night, we were all tired out. After Jessica went to bed, Carl went for a half hour ‘power nap’ and I decided to join him.

I woke up at 6:30, and Carl and Jessica stayed asleep until 8:00!

I crept downstairs in my nightie and put on my favourite long grey snuggly cardigan. I made myself Earl Grey tea and toast with butter and raspberry jam. I opened the back door to let the damp early morning air in, and settled with a blanket and my book.

I am reading The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie which I picked up in the antenatal clinic waiting room last week. They were selling books to raise money for toys for the waiting room, and by luck I hadn’t read this one. I am really enjoying it…no Poirot or Marple, but a proper twisty turny plot and a country house, secret identites, stolen papers…a bit of blackmail and one murder so far!

I love my little family beyond all words, but that little pocket of time to myself, especially coming on the back of a good night’s sleep and good mortgage news…was just blissful.

We have a couple more houses to look at today. I had hoped to go to the bluebell woods, but it is damp and slightly misty, so I think we will wait and hope for better weather. We have bluebells in our garden..not only blue, but white and pale pink too. Bluebells always remind me of the colour of my bridesmaids’ dresses when we got married.

I hope wherever you are and whatever the weather, your kettle is boiling, your teapot is full, and you have spring flowers to cheer you.

Love

Mimi

Xxx