Saturday 29 February 2020

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

Yesterday, my friend asked me how my week had been and I replied, honestly, that it had been rather ordinary. Good ordinary. I didn't go into all the boring detail but the rain poured, work and school happened, rooms got cleaned and tidied, the rain poured some more, cakes were baked, laundry was washed, ironed and put away, and I did the weekly shop. Some weeks are like this and I am grateful for them. Life isn't all about amazing days out and notable accomplishments, and it's weeks like this that give me the time to catch up with those little jobs and mundane tasks which allow for the more memorable ones.

The weather has had a huge part to play in this ordinary week. All around us is so wet and muddy, and even though I wish I was spending more of my time outdoors it really isn't very nice out there.  Wellies are definitely my footwear of choice at the moment. Even my faithful walking boots would struggle to cope with the washed out pathways and ankle deep mud. It may be that we are seeing hints of spring, although it is quite clear we are still in the grip of winter here and the biting cold winds along with the constant rain mean any time I've spent out walking has been opportunistic and fleeting.

At the weekend there was such a moment and a short walk through the woods beckoned. It's close to home, reasonably sheltered and one of my favourite places when I want a quick countryside fix. The winds had quietened and it seemed eerily still, compared to the previous night's stormy weather. The earth, which has been sleeping for so long, showing signs of awakening. Snowdrops, sadly gone now, making way for the daffodils, of which I'm sure there will be an abundance here in the coming weeks. Catkins adorn the hazel trees and, just like a child, I still cant resist touching them as I walk past.

Returning home the skies poured with rain once again. My hands wrapped contentedly around a hot mug of tea, grateful for this snatched moment of fresh air and sunshine on, yet another, rainy day.
J. X

Friday 21 February 2020

A Moment of Calm

Outside there is another storm brewing. The wind is picking up and I can hear the pitter-patter of rain against the windows once again. It's been a miserable week, most of which has been spent holed up indoors and cabin fever has set in. It's dark and gloomy and I'm bracing myself for another weekend filled with worry - it's now clear there is a problem with the roof! All the while feeling guilty that there are many in a far worse situation than I. 
Being stuck indoors I have, at least, been productive with my time. The kitchen has seen every cupboard and drawer cleaned and tidied (even under the sink!) and I have sorted another bag to take to the charity shop next week. I'm having a big push to get on top of things, so that I can get on with decorating the house and then see how I feel about staying here.

During a much welcome break in the weather, we were fortunate to get out for a walk in the woods. Not knowing what to expect, we discovered water was overflowing on to the paths and all around was strewn with twigs and branches. Lily was quite happy as, although I made sure she kept well clear of  the fast running water of the stream, there were plenty of puddles for her to splash in and I might have even joined in once or twice. 😊

As we walked, the sky turned a beautiful shade of blue and the feeling of warm sun on my skin, although fleeting, served to remind me that spring is on the way.

Much as I love the sight of snowdrops and daffodils, the one thing I always delight in at this time of year is the arrival of wild garlic in the woods. The vibrant bright green shoots pushing their way up through the woodland floor is a definite sign of the changing seasons. It's a little too early to pick any just yet but I'm sure I won't be having to wait too much longer.

It felt so good to be out in the fresh air and I truly hope we have seen the worst of the weather this winter and make it through the next storm with minimal damage.
J. X

Thursday 13 February 2020

Weathering the Storm

It's been quite a week. I was just beginning to get over my cold when I was hit by the arrival of another virus, which had me laid up over the weekend. I hadn't felt quite right for much of Friday, but couldn't put my finger on what was the matter, thinking that perhaps I was just over tired. Once again it was short-lived although, unsurprisingly, I've spent much of this week feeling wiped out. I'm definitely ready for the half-term break now. Hopefully it will give me the opportunity to get myself feeling well and recovered once again.

Being unwell is not much fun but the arrival of the storm meant we were not going to be having much of that anyway. The wind howling around the house and the rain battering the windows kept me awake much of the night, which was no bad thing, as I was able to notice water dripping through the ceiling and chimney breast! The last time this happened was around seven years ago when there was another really bad storm and rather than being any structural damage it seems to be caused by the rain blowing up and under the eaves, and one of the chimney cowls. Fortunately, there is not much in the way of damage and the damp has already dried out. I was more concerned about the wiring. I was able to isolate the electricity to the upstairs lights until such time the wiring could be checked, and so for a few days we were dependent on the lamps in the bedrooms, which was fine but what would we do about Lily's bath time?
The answer was obvious really. Around the house I have many candles, which have been gifted to me over the years but don't get lit very often, if at all. For once they could actually be useful. Therefore, this week, Lily has been enjoying bubble baths by candlelight, and they have proven to be so popular she would very much like them to continue! 🕯🕯🕯  Perhaps if they are so enjoyable maybe I should try one for myself.
The weather wreaked havoc for several days, during which time I rested, taught Lily to play dominoes and demonstrated how to make (far too much 😆) popcorn. I was relieved when it finally blew over.  Mog had also been unimpressed and had spent her days sat staring out of the cat flap unhappily, venturing out only when absolutely necessary. The sudden quiet came as a bit of a shock, having grown used to the  roar of the wind and the sound of the rain against the windows, not to mention having the constant worry of any flooding or damage, although, as we are forecast another storm this coming weekend, we may need to batten down the hatches once again.
J. X

Friday 7 February 2020

Under the Weather

I've been in hibernation the last few days. Just before the weekend I came down with a rotten cold and have spent much of this week feeling rather sorry for myself. I've been curled up on the sofa under a blanket, drinking hot lemon and honey, and managed just the bare minimum of housework in order to keep everything ticking over until I felt back to normal again. This morning I think I've finally turned a corner, my eyes have stopped streaming and I have discovered the ability to breathe normally once again 😌
One advantage (if there is one) of being poorly is that I've had Mog snuggled up on the sofa with me. She was the same this time last year when Lily came down with chicken pox, sleeping right by her side. I'd like to think it is genuine concern that something is not quite right, but I'm sure it is more likely down to having a warm human to lie with and a cosy wool blanket. Nevertheless, she has been good company.

The recent turn in the weather has heightened my longing for spring. Bright, dry days and lighter evenings have been a most welcome change from the dark and damp we had throughout  January. I hope this weekend's imminent storm is short-lived and that we can look forward to even more sunshine and blue skies as the month goes on. The snowdrops are out here now and I've been determined to enjoy them while they last. A short walk through the woods and we were greeted by this lovely sight.

Just after Christmas I began making a blanket for a friend's baby, due in March, and I'm happy to say I've finally finished it. It is largely based on this pattern here, although I have made the picot edging less 'spiky' and I used  the Teeny Tiny Stars pattern from Attic 24.

It's not easy to photograph a blanket but I hope you get the idea. I gave it to my friend this week and I'm happy to say she is thrilled with it. In fact, I was really touched when she told me it is already packed in her hospital bag.

J. X