The Son, who is nothing if not consistent, gets up every single morning for an unvarying routine of cereal and a copy of Asterix or TinTin. For the past month, he has added to his early repertoire the question, “Why is it so dark?”
There is no mistake: we are in the bleak midwinter.
Today was exceptionally dark, due to the clouds that covered what little rays of sun were peeping over our eastern field. But it’s not all gloomy.
The hedgerows are valiantly holding onto the last colour of the season. The tips of this past year’s hazel shoots are spangled with golden leaves which glow in the morning mist. In the late afternoon, before the sun dips below the horizon, these wavy gold-tipped branches – swaying above the denuded ash, blackthorn, may, and rowan – are beautiful, and unexpected.
The five of us recently spent 9 days in Rome. Highlights included gelato (as many as four times a day, some days); poking around the Forum trying to find artefacts; the energy of our neighbourhood, Monti, where on the first night we were bemused by the presence of a klezmer band marching up and down the street playing Hava Negelia, and the buzz continued from there; the Colosseum, both in the day and at night, when – as The Son wrote in his journal – “It is a marvel, lit up like a golden monument”; and the constant and abundant supply of good food and wine. The Author also had the opportunity to meet a couple of fellow writers, which is not an easy thing to do when you work from home and have a solitary craft. And I managed to cook for a morning at a restaurant in Eataly.
Leaving one kitchen in one country to go work in another kitchen in another country might not be everyone’s idea of a holiday, but that’s just the kind of gal I am. Anyway, it wasn’t intentional. Continue reading →
Lately it seems that the kids have a pact to make sure that one or the other or all three is in a strop and possibly screaming. I chalk it up to hormones burgeoning and school work taking its toll, but that knowledge doesn’t change the misery. Despite their clamouring to be alone, and firm declarations of loathing for the others, the three of them seem to purposely seek each other out with the sole intention of torturing themselves, and in the process, their parents. The Author and I have tried all sorts of tactics, but the one that works best is –– oh wait, nothing works best. Continue reading →
When I was growing up, in Vermont, one saying that I particularly loved hearing on the weather reports, especially in the summer, was that we were in for “good sleeping weather.” That means cool but not cold, maybe just the perfect temperature for having the window open and a cosy blanket to snuggle in.
That window of opportunity for good sleeping weather is surprisingly small in our little north-eastern state, where the annual temperature range is anywhere from -30C to 35C, and on a daily basis the weather can change from an idyllic sunny day to a blustery, gale-force storm. So Vermonters also have another saying: If you don’t like the weather….wait a minute.
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 →