Saturday Solitude

It is rather a blissful thought that nobody in the world knows where I am right now. In a room full of people, I am utterly alone, and nobody knows my name.

It isn’t nearly so dramatic as it sounds; Carl has taken Jessica for a ride on thw train and to retrieve the car he left at work last night in favour of a taxi home after a works drinks and barbecue. This leaves me with nowhere to be, nothing to do…except enjoy a few hours of delicious solitude.

The first thing I did was to go to the wool shop for wool for a pair of bunny rabbit slippers for Jessica. She has a real appreciation for things which are made, which pleases me greatly.

My next plan was to treat myself to a sandwich from Marks and Spencer and take it home…but the particular kind I like best they had sold out of. I decided to pop up to the cafe as they sell them there, and however much they modernise that cafe it remains delightfully old fashioned.

Alas they had sold out there too, so I am settled now with my Barbara Pym novel and a latte, waiting for a toastie instead. The windows here are curious, they always make it look grey and dull outside…although today it is grey and dull, and spitting with rain too. Somehow it makes being in here even more cosy.

It isn’t hard to look around and see several months in the future when the cafe will be filled with exhausted Christmas shoppers, reviving themselves with a cup of tea.

When I leave here, it will be home to a pot of tea, a candle, a bath, and then I shall start the slippers. I haven’t quite finished the hat, but excuse myself by way of this being crochet instead.

Wherever you are, I hope your Saturday is similarly pleasing,

Love Mimi xx

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Autumn In July

The weather is so curious today…very breezy, which I love, I always feel like maybe if I just lifted my legs up I would be buffeted along like an autumn leaf…and who knows where I might blow to. The skies are heavy and grey. From time to time, a fat raindrop falls, but it doesn’t seem to be able to quite bring itself to rain properly. Somehow the washing dried on the line today. 

And so we have come to my pause on the day. I am sitting at the table with Jessica whilst she eats her dinner. She is so lively these days that it s bliss to just sit still with her. We light a candle at dinner time, and she blows out the match. I put pretty postcards or little watercolours I have done in a picture holder to make the table pretty and spark conversation.

This then, is my view just now:
Ceylon tea in my new mustard mug, our candle burning brightly, and today’s postcard in the background.

Jessica is snuffly with a cold so I have Olbas Oil in the burner, and soon it will be time for her to have a lovely warm bubble bath. But for now, I will sip my tea and watch the candle flame flicker.

The Sound of Silence

If you could have been sitting with me this afternoon, you would have heard the sound of blissful silence. Tuesday afternoons are just for me, and they are blissful. I finish work at 1:00 and don’t have to be at nursery to collect Jessica until much later.

I use most of the time for housework and planning, but try and snatch some time for me too.

So there I was, sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea next to me, and all was silent. Until…my ears tuned in to the rhythmic click click clicking of my knitting needles. I have started the decreasing section on Jessica’s gnome hat at last. I had so hoped to have enough wool left for matching mittens, but it suddenly seems to be eating wool at an alarming rate. 

Then the gentle ticking of the new clock that I bought. The plan is to colour sections to show Jessica when it is dinner time, bath time and bedtime. For now it is just quietly ticking out the minutes.

And my breathing. Sometimes I hold my breath without really noticing it. But between the clock and my knitting, I was breathing softly and regularly.

And so although all was not entirely quiet, it was entirely peaceful.

Now there is chicken stew and dumplings bubbling on the stove, ironed shirts hanging ready to be worn, a sink empty of washing up.

I love Tuesday afternoons.

Book Review: Long Live Great Bardfield by Tirzah Garwood

I was drawn towards Tirzah Garwood’s autobiography, Long Live Great Bardfield, because I live near to and have visited it, and also because she was the wife of Eric Ravilious, who is one of my favourite artists.

I thought it would be lovely to have an insight into his life…but as I read a found myself more and more interested in Tirzah in her own right. 

She wrote her autobiography whilst recovering from an operation for the breast cancer which would ultimately kill her, in the hope that one day her grandchildren would read it. For all that, she does not hold back or sanitise the story of her life.

She is so engaging that I found myself on many an evening sitting up to read just one page more before bedtime. I identified with her as a mother of young children, and there is a lovely passage where she describes fashioning paper birds as Christmas greeting a which really resonated with me, as I have made my own Christmas cards for as long as I can remember.

Then there is the insight into Eric and his work, and the social history aspect too. I also loved that it was gloriously long, really allowing you to settle in and soak it all up.

A lovely additional bonus to her writing is the book is illustrated with  some of her line drawings and prints.

As a Perephone book, it is a delight to look at as well as to read, with the soft grey cover and beautiful end papers. 

Rainy Sunday 

Oh the bliss of a rainy Sunday. When nobody has to be at work, or anywhere other than where they are. The freeness if the time, the slowing of the rhythm, the chance to just be. 

The rain has been threatening all morning, and now is falling. I can hear it in the breeze, against the windows, down the drainpipe, the odd drip down the chimney. It is like having my own private orchestra playing a beautiful symphony.

I’ve been up this morning with Jessica while Carl slept, but now he has taken her out to play. Yes, in the rain. I am feeling queasy and unwell, and tired. He has some jobs to do and she need to have a good run round in the fresh air. So out she has gone in willies and puddle suit and umbrella, and the promise of hot chocolate in the bath when she returns.

I would shy away from going out and getting wet, but Carl just goes with it, and Jessica was scampering about with delight at being allowed to go out and jump in as many puddles as she pleases.

I want to work on my knitting, I am two rows away in the hat I am making from starting to work the decreases. After 52 rows of the same stocking stitch I am ready for the variety. I want to read, and to drink tea. But for now I think I will lay in bed and listen to the rain, and thank heavens for beautiful rainy Sundays.

At Midnight…

I love Tuesday evenings. After an early start to the day and work in the morning, I have thenafternoon entirely and utterly to myself. I spend most of the time at home, tidying it up and cleaning, doing all those little domestic tasks which are so much easier without a little helper. Mount Washmore is tackled, and by the time the evening comes I feel tired but happy that my to-do list has been (mostly) ticked off.

When we settle back in the living room for the evening, I feel relaxed as I know that we are set up for a good week. Shirts ironed for Carl, fridge full, washing up done.

I am knitting Jessica a little hat ready for the autumn. It is from the book ‘The Childrens Year’ and is called a gnome hat…it will go on like a bonnet and has a long floppy point coming off of the crown with a pom-pom on the end. I am knitting it in soft red wool with a little sparkle in it. I hope she will wear it when it is finished, and when the cold weather comes. I knitted a few rows on it, drank several cups of tea, and watched an episode of House of Cards. Somewhere along the way, my eyes closed and I fell fast asleep.

Just before midnight, Carl woke me up…but not to tell me to go to bed as you would expect…but to come into the garden. There was something I needed to see. I was a bit hesitant as it was fairly dark out…and midnight…but I followed him out. 

For a moment I could see nothing. Then my eyes acclimatised to the dark, and I could see a little…but not what I had been brought out to see. Then Carl gently turned me around by my shoulders so that I was facing our little house, and said ‘look’.

I couldn’t see anything apart from our house…until…sheet lightning flashed and lit up the sky. There must have been thunder as you cannot have one without the other, but it could not be heard, and there was not a drop of rain. A moment and then the lightning again. And again…and again.

From the scent of the air you could tell rain was coming, and the darkness seemed soft somehow. We stood together for several minutes watching the lightning. I have never seen anything like that before, lightning without rain and any audible thunder. It was so beautiful.

Jessica woke at 3 and as I settled her into bed between us, snuggled in the warm and dark, the lightning flashed again. This time I could hear the thunder and the rain.

It is moments like these in this little house that I love. Wondering how many other women before me have laid beneath this roof, watching the lightning flash and feeling cosy within.

This morning there is a pot of tea and boiled eggs for breakfast. The kitchen door is open and the cool rain scented air is drifting in. A lovely way to start a Wednesday.

Taking Away and Adding

I have been working really hard to declutter our little home. Suddenly I just felt awash. Out have gone toys which were outgrown, magazines, books, clothes…so many, many things.

There is always more to do, but suddenly you can see the blank canvas of our home again. And it isn’t just home, it is our lives too.

I opted out of signing up to lots of (or indeed any) toddler classes long ago. But now we are trying to make our days even more simple and rhythmic. Saying no to too much busyness, and just enjoying being rather than always doing.

This morning we went to the big soft play center with our toddler group friends, but Jessica just wasn’t in the mood for it. Back at home it was lovely to peg up the washing on the line while she played in the garden, to sit on the sofa with her reading book after book, to let her stand on a chair in the kitchen and cook her dinner. To talk about the clouds.

Since clearing the clutter in our home and in our day, life feels sweeter. Jessica plays with her toys better and more now they are fewer and more easily accessible. 

It isn’t just taking away now though, it is the adding too. The candle we light at meal times. The lavender oil I rub into her feet and wrists at bedtime. The little songs we sing.

There are still more things I want to take away and more things I want to add, but it suddenly feels that after a long time percolating these thoughts, they are suddenly taking shape around me and weaving their way into the fabric of our lives.