Thursday 22 February 2018

Catching Up

Sadly, the snow melted away, and now that I have finally caught up on the chores following last weeks half term break, I am giving myself some time to sit down and catch my breath. It has been such a good feeling to give the house a thorough clean, throw open the widows and let the fresh air in. For the first time this year I have had washing out on the line. Oh, the scent of freshly laundered, line dried washing! A simple pleasure but such a gratifying one and it's always a sign of the changing seasons for me, the promise of warmer days to come.

We had a good week off. The perfect balance of entertainment and relaxation and it was a welcome break from the school routine, but it passed ever so quickly. We enjoyed time at the soft play centre, some short walks and we went swimming. It is such a long time since we've been swimming together, I'd forgotten just how much Lily enjoys it, so I felt really bad. I must make more of an effort to take her from now on.

My Lily's favourite part of the week, however, was the time we spent at Inflatanation in Manchester - a massive indoor inflatable with slides and ball pools. I would thoroughly recommend to anyone as a combination of exercise and/or stress relief (that's if you discount trying to chase after and keep up with an over excited four year old on what is basically a big bouncy castle!). A huge amount of fun and I'm sure we'll be going back soon.

We are now back in our usual weekly routine and I'm happy, once more, to have a bit of structure to my day. Even more so now that I have started working again, albeit only part-time.
The days are becoming brighter, sunnier and more Spring- like, although the temperatures are still bitterly cold and Wintry. The surrounding fields are dotted with lambs and the bulbs in the garden are poking through. All around the lanes the daffodils are just waiting to flower. We are on the cusp of Spring but, if the recent forecasts are anything to go by, we are in for one final blast of Winter later this week.

Yesterday I had the sweetest afternoon, helping out  during a class visit to one of the local village farms to see the new born calves and lambs. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the children all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I'm not entirely sure the sheep were very impressed with twenty six small people parading into their barn but the lambs were delightful - those little fuzzy faces! The calves were VERY friendly, much to the children's amusement. I hope they all washed their hands well!

In other news, I have finally given in to the fact that my phone was on it's last legs and treated myself to a new one before the inevitable happened. The camera is of better quality and I don't have to turn it upside down because of a speck on the lens, so I'm hoping this will lend itself to some clearer photographs once I've got used to it.
Wrap up warm folks!
J. X

Friday 9 February 2018

Let it Snow!

On Tuesday morning I was awake early. I haven't been sleeping well this week so at 5.30am I crept downstairs, being careful not to disturb anyone. I remembered the overnight weather forecast had been for snow, so I excitedly peered through the blinds in anticipation of at least seeing a light covering of the white stuff over the garden, only to be bitterly disappointed - nothing, not one flake! Complaining and grumbling to myself (a bit like a small child) about it not being fair, I tip-toed into the kitchen to make coffee. Not quite resigned to having a snow free day I kept checking through the window - still nothing. Thinking back now, I'm surprised I wasn't stamping my feet in indignation, that's how let down I felt.
I finished my drink and set about my usual morning routine, when I happened to glance towards the outside light, and there they were, a few very light flakes, but yes, it was definitely snowing! I tried to contain my excitement as I have been here so many times before, a few promising flakes which come to nothing. It wasn't settling on the path, only on the grass, so as the  forecast had been for light snow maybe this was all we could expect, and I was at least grateful the roads were OK for the morning school run.
It wasn't long before Lily was awake and we busied ourselves with breakfast, making up lunch and school preparations, although once Lily realised it was snowing her nose was firmly pushed up against the window. It was still dark outside so it was difficult to see what the weather had in store for the day. At times it looked as though the snow had stopped, only for it to then start falling even thicker and faster than before.
It was definitely a hat, scarf and gloves morning, and in the light of day, as we set off for school the heavy grey sky gave a clear indication that the snow would be falling for a good while longer. The children were buzzing with excitement and with the promise of going out to play immediately after morning assembly, it promised to be a fun day for them.

Determined not to miss out myself, as soon as I returned home I put on my waterproof trousers and boots and set off for a walk. The housework would wait, not knowing how long it would be sticking around for I was instead going to indulge my love of snow. The roads and lanes were quiet - the snowfall muffling any sound and there was very little in the way of traffic, except for some quad bikes delivering hay to the sheep and the creaking of the snow beneath my boots. The snow was still falling and I had to keep shaking it from my hat and jacket. There is something quite magical about a snow covered landscape and while I took some photographs on the narrow lane, the world suddenly became silent and still.

If there is one thing I love more than wintry tree silhouettes against the sky, then it's wintry trees with snow covered branches. So pretty!

At around midday the snowfall dwindled, then eventually stopped, and the heavy grey sky gave way to a brighter afternoon. The following day the sun came out once  again and the magical landscape gently melted away. It was possibly the last snowfall we will see this Winter, which makes me a little sad, but the seasons are moving on and I am beginning to look ahead towards some warmer Spring days.  
J. X


Friday 2 February 2018

A Good Start

January, you have been kind.
In contrast to the beginning of the previous few years (which, quite truthfully, have been pretty rotten for me) this last month has been really quite lovely. Never usually a fan of cold, dark days anyway, I had also begun to dread the start of each year by dwelling on past events.
This time, as I've mentioned previously, I was determined it would be different and I am happy to say it has been.

In January I often feel dictated to by the weather, and yes, there have been some miserable, wet and windy days, but the sunny ones have been glorious. Even when it has been raining, when I would usually have dismissed the idea of going outside, I have put on my waterproofs and made an effort. I may have needed a bit of arm twisting now and again but have been thankful for it, returning home feeling all the better for a good walk and some fresh air. I am being mindful to eat well  and fit in more time to exercise and I am beginning to really notice a difference in how I feel. Going to bed early and reading my book, fresh flowers on the mantel, taking a bit of time for myself (still working on not feeling guilty about this one) and not quite putting myself first (Lily might have something to say about that one!) but somewhere 'up there' at least,  are all helping me to maintain a positive state of mind.

The lighter mornings and evenings, and seeing the signs of Spring all around are a gentle reminder that the dark days are starting to lessen, although, for once,  I'm in no hurry to see the back of them, instead I am still enjoying the cosy evenings at home. All in good time.

Last week we bunked off school! Not really, but it felt a little bit naughty. Poor Lily had been  unwell the previous day so rather than send her to spend the day in a stuffy classroom with the strong possibility of having to collect her early, I thought it would be better spent getting some fresh air followed by a proper rest. It was a beautiful day. Sunny and cold, but we wrapped up well and traipsed through the fields to the woods which we were delighted to find full of snowdrops. It felt a little indulgent, but I also felt a lot better myself, having had a restless night with little sleep. An unscheduled day of togetherness was also a treat.

On Sunday we went for a walk down by the sea. Something we've not done for a while. It was a dull, overcast day and everything just looked grey. The wind was bracing and, of course, I had left my gloves at home, so my hands were icy cold. But then not much beats the pleasure of returning home to a toasty warm house and a mug of steaming hot tea, and as the weather looks like it's going to be staying cold for a while longer I'm happy to keep making the most of it.
A good start to the year. Long may it last.
J. X