Sunday, 29 May 2011

toddling off (and then back again)

I'd love to tell you this is where I've been all week, lounging in a field in the sunshine, drinking tea and taking photos of my own reflection in the camping kettle.

Sadly not, although I was there for a short while yesterday evening, and it was ever so good. Lots more of it required I say.

Not this weekend, however. The rest of our 'weekend' away mostly looked like this:

... which kind of explains why we're home less than 36 hours after we set off.

We're also warm and dry, and not stuck on a bank holiday camping site with (what feels like) 500 raucous children and drunk people.

Still, a cheery time was had while it lasted, boiling up the tea on the picnic stove, and eating breakfast from a mug having forgotten to take the bowls.

We did try a little cycle ride, but, er, well, it was a tad windy (that's my stop-taking-photos-of-me-now-please face - I don't always look like that).

It was a very pretty reservoir we were meant to be cycling round, but since it's not that far from home, I reckon we can save it for another day.

Unsurprisingly, the sun came out on the way home, so we stopped for a picnic in Matlock Bath, which, despite being right in the middle of the country, and nowhere near the seaside, has a proper seasidey feel to it, with amusement arcades, chip shops, and 24 (yes, we did count) large plastic ice cream cones.

It's a haven for motorcyclists, and we escaped to the other side of the river to have lunch.

Now we're home, I'm feeling a little bit daft for having abandoned a weekend away half way through - that's really not the kind of behaviour I expect from myself! But I'm warm, dry, about to get in a nice hot bath and eat a tasty risotto, and nobody is going to be throwing footballs at us, or playing bad pop music late into the night, so I'm really feeling rather justified. Ah, bank holiday camping, I'd forgotten all about it....

Might even get out in the garden with the spare day I've acquired tomorrow!

Friday, 20 May 2011

a nice cup of tea

Come with me to the other side of town, we're off to have a nice cup of tea in a fabulous little cafe.

Perhaps you'd like to sit outside in a stripy deckchair and watch the world go by?

Or snuggle up on the rocking chair inside with a book, and have a bit of lemon and rosemary cake?

Which is exactly what I did, in fact. Although it was a close run thing between that and the Guinness cake, I can tell you.

Anyway, there we sat, drawing hedgehogs, and watching people popping in and out. Lovely Sunday morning fun.

(I don't think they recognised me as the same person who, when in the upstairs room at a little tiny gig once, put the heel of their stiletto through the floorboards, and made a BIG LOUD NOISE in the middle of the beautifully quiet music. At least, I hope they didn't, and they were awfully nice to me anyway if they did. Just goes to show why I don't wear stilettos very often.)

It's a good job this cafe's not any closer to my house because I'd be in there all the time, and would be both extremely poor, and extremely full of cake.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

what I don't do

Ooh, just look at those scrummy redcurrants, all waiting to ripen!

My mum's been visiting this weekend, and we've spent almost all of the weekend in the garden. It was starting to feel a little overwhelming, but a weekend's work has sorted that out, and it feels half manageable again now, although there's still plenty to do.

Stupidly, I didn't take many 'before' photos, and now it's gone all gloomy so my 'after' photos all look like 'before' photos anyway...

In fact, I debated whether to share these at all, they're so uninspiring! And I do like to be inspired when I look back over my little blog.

But then I got to thinking that the reason I started blogging in the first place was to share photos of my garden as it changed over the seasons, and if I was only going to share pretty photos, then I wasn't going to share many photos at all, because my garden mostly *isn't* pretty...

And then I got to thinking about something I've been thinking about a lot lately, about how I witter on here and elsewhere about what I've been up to, and post photos of cakes I've made, and things I've knitted, and that, along with how I'm pretty good at spouting off with life changing advice for other people, sometimes gives people the impression that I'm up to something exciting all the time.

It all came to a head when I read this the other day - goodness knows how I ended up over there, but I did, and I read lots of people's lists about things they *don't* do.

So, for the record, here's some of the things that I *don't* do (and this is by no means an exhaustive list):

* I don't iron.
* I don't change the bed every day. Or even every week.
* I don't have a very clean and tidy house. There's one room I can barely get through the door of.
* I don't always remember people's birthdays
* Sometimes, even when I do remember, I don't get round to doing anything about it for ages (oh dear, this is the worst one!)
* I don't watch much tv
* I don't clean the car, ever
* I don't replace things when they break
* I don't go abroad for holidays. Not a big decision, I just generally don't
* I don't keep on top of the garden as much as I should

I'd best stop there before I start making myself feel bad!

I'm writing this list, not to beat myself with, and not because I think I give the impression that I have such a fabulous life, but as a reminder that sometimes we have more choice about how we spend our time than we might think we do.

Looking at my list gives myself permission to remember that I have choices about how I spend some of my time. If I'm tempted to feel bad because my house isn't as tidy as someone else's, or my vegetables are still all crowded in little tiny pots on the windowsill when they should be in the garden, I can remember that I threw the duster to the wind, left the seedlings to fend for themselves, and went for a bike ride instead.

So, if someone brings up even the (completely laughable) possibility of me washing the car, I will always think 'what else could I do with this time?'

Invariably, I think of something else I'd rather be doing.

Which is why my car is rather grubby, and I bake quite a lot of cakes.


Anyway, as if you needed yet more evidence of how I'm not the perfect gardner, take a look (peeking through hands over your eyes if you like, which is what I'm doing) at this...

Bleurgh! Concrete and rubble, and a whole load more work left to do! Pah!

Still, one day soon I'll be sitting on top of all that, drinking tea and eating more of those cakes, and all this will be a distant memory.

Let's hope it's *very* soon...

Monday, 9 May 2011

has it really been that long??

Has it really been that long since I was last here?

I blame the weather.

Or work.

Or perhaps just idleness. (Yep, that'll be it).

Anyway, I'm back now, and there I am grinning stupidly at my PhD certificate which arrived in the post (appropriately dated April Fool's Day...), which is now hanging proudly in the kitchen.

So, in amongst lots of other slightly-less-interesting things, I've been off having an adventure this weekend. I've been up in North Yorkshire, hanging around with a lovely bunch of people, and learning a few traditional Scandinavian tunes for no useful reason at all.

That poor old flute of mine has hardly been used for 15 years, and then had 8 hours of heavy usage in 2 days! I think it might need another 15 years resting now.

As well as being my first foray into Scandinavian music, it was also my first time sleeping in our new van, which is technically a car, and which is far smaller than our old cheery van.

As you can see, I wasn't altogether without comforts, and I was so cosy I very nearly missed breakfast.

More Adventures Coming Up...

Ooh, and speaking of adventures, we spent a happy morning on the other side of town noseying at a lovely little cafe our neighbours have opened up. How very lovely of them!

Somehow I seem to have failed to get a picture of the cafe itself (oops!) as I spent rather too much time outside ogling the old scooters that had turned up in style to celebrate the opening of the cafe.

What fun!
How many times now have we considered acquiring a terribly impractical, noisy and expensive scooter to toddle off on picnics with?

Oh, so many...