It’s been about two weeks now that my family have been in lock-down. We are hardly social at the best of times, so the enforced distancing, in our very rural neck of the woods, has meant very little to us. In fact, considering what is going on around the entire world, our lives here are embarassingly pleasant and trouble-free.
Oh don’t get me wrong, there have been some problems: the shops are out of the gin that The Author and I prefer, and we have resorted to a gin with fewer juniper notes. (I know!) And the lack of school for the kids (now actually all teenagers in various degrees of hormonal angst) means that The Author and I have to force them to go outside in the sunshine, otherwise I think they would moulder away with their phones in their withered hands. Continue reading →
Unlimited time at home has had me making lists of projects to start (and hopefully finish) around the house. I’ve got plans for the utility room, the kitchen, the living room, the twins’ room, the garden… I also have ideas for how all five of us can productively spend our time, and you can imagine how thrilled the other four people in my family were to hear this.
But, as the saying goes, water seeks its own level, and I find we are mostly just pottering about doing what we always did: a little gardening, a little reading, a little binge-watching, some social media, some dog-walking, and – in my case – a whole lot of cooking. I can’t help myself; it’s what I love and what I do given enough time and a set of ingredients.
In this case the ingredients were 500g grams of delicious salad greens from Sarah at the Walled Garden that were reaching their last usable day, some bits of mozzarella that I had squirreled away in the freezer, and basic pantry ingredients that I always have on hand. Continue reading →
January is the no-man’s-land of the year. It has nothing to recommend it, being – at least here in the northern hemisphere – drab, cold and devoid of holidays. It takes forever to
get to February, when we can start to complain about and/or look forward to Valentine’s Day.
The first of January, on the other hand, comes around way too fast, especially if Continue reading →
An assortment of Devon autumnal colour – greatly enhanced by our Japanese maple.
I grew up in Vermont. I am used to cold snowy winters, sticky hot summers, mosquitoes through three seasons, and mud for the rest of the time. I am used to laconic speakers, world-wary (yes, wary) farmers, free-thinkers and honest politicians. I am used to four-wheel drives, and steering out of a skid in the snow. I am used to hills, lakes, and rushing mountain streams. I am used to being independent, surrounded by beauty, and always a little bit chilly. But one thing I will never get used to, Continue reading →
Last week we had some friends visiting, and while we helped them put up their tent, someone snuck into our house and left a huge marrow*. I figured I knew who it was – last year our neighbour Ann brought us three courgettes, with a total combined weight of over 6 kilos. Let that register for a minute: six kilos. That’s over 12 pounds. For just three courgettes.
“We didn’t go into the garden for a few days,” she said, by way of explanation.
I went back out to the tent to report Ann’s gift to everyone, and our newly arrived friends said, Continue reading →
Let me say a few words about The Son, who is 10 years old. He has always surprised us with his wide-ranging, quirky and sophisticated tastes. He is funny and smart, and he looks the part in his lab coat which he asked for when he was six and which he continues to wear to all sorts of places, including the moor for a 4-mile walk.
He can be loving and generous, and he is the one child we can count on to give us pieces of his candy when he has some.
He can read a 300-page book in a day, and he would probably like nothing better than to do that, although he has started to take an interest in improving his physique (push-ups on the patio at 8:30 a.m. is a new development). Continue reading →
I have gone on strike. Or, to put it more accurately, I have quit.
Things had been leading up to this for a while. I was having a conversation with The Son, trying to get him to help out around the house, and when I listed all the things I do, he said – quite gleefully, I might add – “It’s like you’re our servant!”
Then, two weeks ago, the three kids had their half-term break, and The Author – unable to work with three kids milling around all day – had an enforced holiday as well. Me, well I still had work to do, and uncomplainingly (yep) I did it. When I got home from the college, the house was a tip: breakfast dishes and lunch dishes piled up on the table, the floor covered with debris of all kinds (where does it all come from?!), and the laundry in a big pile that had sat there for a week because no one approached it except when they were out of something to wear, despite my daily request to please put the clothes away. Something had to give, and I’m afraid it was my temper.
After ranting for a bit how I’m NOT a servant, and we are all members of the household and we all have to pitch in, I looked at everyone’s glazed eyes and thought, I’m not getting through to them. So I officially quit. Continue reading →