Monday 29 March 2021


With the arrival of spring it now feels as if can finally begin to look forward with quiet optimism. More than ever, my thoughts have turned to long, sunny days spent outdoors, the importance of which hasn't been lost on any of us these last twelve months. Even better if these times are to be shared with loved ones again. I can't wait.

It's so uplifting to see signs of life everywhere. The hedgerows are beginning to bud, lambs are in the fields and in the woods the scent of wild garlic now fills the air. With some beautiful, sunny weather heading our way, we will definitely be going back to gather some later in the week. The taste of wild garlic pesto stirred through some freshly cooked pasta makes the perfect meal to me. Simple but delicious.

Last week, however, the woods were filled with daffodils. On any previous walks there I had noticed some green shoots among the trees but they hid themselves well and it wasn't until they had flowered that I realised just how many there were. They were throughout the woodland and looked just like a carpet of gold.

Since I last posted, I feel as though much of my time has been spent going backwards and forwards to work. This hasn't really been the case, of course, although I am relieved that my hours will be reduced slightly when I return after the spring break. This will be a positive shift for me and allow for some breathing space. A little more time to focus on home and family life, restore some consistency which has been lacking recently and enable some much needed balance.

And speaking of balance, I intend to spend the next two weeks relaxing, walking and making the most of (what I hope will be) some good weather. 

J. X

Sunday 14 March 2021

'Bother That Cat!'


For those of you who are not familiar with the popular children's book, 'Mog the Forgetful Cat,' my post title is a frequently used exclamation of the family's frustrations towards some of Mog's typical cat behaviour.
Even though my Mog did not take her name from this particular book, I have found myself uttering this phrase (and much worse 😁) quite often recently.

Don't get me wrong, Mog is a great cat. The best. I really shouldn't complain. She doesn't climb curtains, damage furniture or jump on the kitchen surfaces. She is incredibly easy going, inexpensive to feed and although she doesn't exactly enjoy the process, she will take her worming tablet every couple of months with very little persuasion required on my part.
She doesn't scratch or bite, is quite used to having her sleep interrupted for a quick cuddle and has an adorable habit of wanting to be very close by while Lily enjoys her bath.

BUT. And it is a big but. For some reason she feels the need to wake me each morning at around 5.30a.m. 

She's been doing this, on and off, for some time now but it is definitely becoming a more regular thing and I don't understand why. Sometimes she will stand next to the bed and miaow! Sometimes she nudges me with the top of her head, or I feel her cold nose against mine and sometimes I even wake to see her just staring right at me! I read online for ideas as to why she does this but the suggestions were that she needs to go out - she has a cat flap, she is hungry - there is always food in her bowl, or that she simply wants company - as soon as I get up she wanders off elsewhere, often straight back upstairs to sleep on the spare bed. So, I am still none the wiser.

One morning this week, however, she woke me at 4.30a.m.!!! 

Now, it's a good job I am a morning person and I do enjoy being able to drink my first coffee of the day in peace and quiet, but still, this was a little too early even for me. Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to why this happens, perhaps this will sort itself out when the clocks go forward in a couple of weeks time, or perhaps I am just destined to be up early every day.

'Bother that cat!' I say. 'Oh, but she's nice!' replies Lily.

J. X

Monday 8 March 2021

Back into Routine

The house has been unusually quiet. The dining table is no longer hidden beneath books and learning resources, and I was able to enjoy some time all to myself before heading out to work this morning. I'm sure it will take some time to adjust to our new routine but I am relieved to be edging closer to some semblance of normality. Despite Lily's initial reluctance to return to school this morning she was very happy to see her friends again and it is so lovely to see the playground full of children.

I woke early, thanks in part to my 'Mog' alarm clock and also in anticipation of the day ahead. Downstairs, I was greeted by the sweet smell of hyacinths. The bulbs I bought last week have flowered and although they can be a little overpowering I  love how the fresh scent fills the whole house. 

Outside the day has been dark and wet. It's been quite a contrast to the bright sunny days we've enjoyed this last week but it has made the return to school seem slightly easier. I'm pretty sure a warm spring-like day would have resulted in a much greater protest, not from Lily, but from me!

During the week, having finally exhausted our immediate local walks, we went to explore an area, still close by, but which I haven't visited in many years. At the end of a lane and up a steep hill lies an old reservoir, which isn't all that widely known about, even by locals. There is a track which leads right around the water's edge but we were able to extended our walk to include a fell on the far side of the reservoir, which affords views of the hills to the north and east, and also out towards the sea.

The reservoir is surrounded by trees and gorse bushes but the track, still very muddy in parts, was easy to follow and had clearly seen more footfall in more recent years. After passing through a small area of woodland we were soon out on the open fell, able to enjoy the views from the summit before retracing our steps back down towards the water once more.

I am definitely going to miss our afternoon walks now that Lily has returned to school. Somehow any feeling of being overwhelmed by home learning would seemingly fade with every step we took and helped to restore a sense of calm. I have begun to plan for when we are able to travel farther afield again but I'm determined not to overlook the wonderful walks we have close by.

Work has begun in the garden. The paving has been cleaned, and what a difference it has made. It looks so bright now! The bird feeder has been scrubbed, I've weeded the beds and some top soil has been added in anticipation of sowing seeds in the coming weeks. The large planter which I usually use to grow tomatoes has been emptied, ready to be washed and re-painted once the weather improves. It's already a huge improvement and I'm really looking forward to spending lots of time out there again this year.  

J. X