Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Easter Holidays

so, nearly a fortnight since my last post - had you given up on me?

We're still here;

or, without the music;

The Disney Winnie the Pooh cartoons came out when the children were young - they were on the tv non-stop. Can't say I liked them much

So, what kind of nothing have we been doing?

The 'lawn' is covered in tiny violets - also dandelions which Himself declared war upon; years ago we bought a special dandelion-dealer-wither-sort-of-thing and it still works. The front 'lawn' has bare patches of not-dandelions-any-more interspersed among the moss. (A whole new crop appeared a day or so later - this seems to support the warnings against using anti-bacterial products which kill most of the bacteria leaving room for even more bacteria to colonise the cleared space). 

The camellia appears to be loving its new place n the garden and was covered in flowers until;

the weather forecast became ominous, and I even wrapped up my strawberries and vegetables in bubble wrap as a protection against sub-zero temperatures 

This weird little bird is supposed to predict the weather, and all those fern-like crystalline growths in the solution indicate snow...

We have had snow, and hail, and more snow this week. Everything in the garden seems to have survived. I watched it from inside, much warmer, with a proper cup of tea out of a proper teapot with a proper tea cosy on a proper tray with a proper traycloth. 

In one of the sunny but freezing cold spells we managed a 'hello there' when some of the family swung by after visiting my father for a picnic lunch, all well wrapped up in blankets and no need to chill the prosecco. 

And in another sunny but freezing cold spell we managed a birthday presents and Easter Eggs exchange with the offspring down at the seaside. It was cold enough that turning round and going straight back home again seemed like a good idea, but, fortified by a slice of chocolate cake, we managed a short walk towards the sea and along the front in the sunshine, and then what seemed like a never-ending trek back the way we came after the sun had gone behind clouds and the wind fiercely in our faces.

This morning I had the pleasure of sitting out in the garden with a friend having tea (on a proper tray with a proper cloth, but using mugs as we were in the garden). In the sun, and out of the wind, it was perfect; I didn't even need to wrap up (mainly because I was already wearing a thermal vest, winter shirt and thick guernsey jumper!). She has carried away another two bags of music teaching resources - I am sorry to see some of them go... 

'You sound like you are missing the class teaching,' she said - well, yes, and no. I'm not sure I am up to singing 'John Kanakanaka over and over, three lessons a day, with the children facing their partners in two concentric circles and doing dosy-dos moving to their right twice in each verse; vastly entertaining for the teachers to watch the chaos, and I'm sure there was an educational element to the activity...   

I'm sorting out the piano lessons for when term starts - I have never had so many relatively advanced students at the same time and now have to actually Learn a stack of music ready for Monday. Starting with the slow movement of Beethoven's Pathetique sonata, Bach Prelude and Fugues, a Mozart sonata or two... my days of 'blagging' my way through the pieces are over. 


Thursday, 1 April 2021

Thursday 1st April - No more fooling this year

 It is 12.30 pm so no more April fooling - 

 - where did all those days disappear to since the last time I posted on this blog?

Some of them disappeared in a kind of sleep-walk - there were a couple of 'zero-energy' days when neither of us could summon up the 'oomph' to get more than the absolute minimum done. The weather was cold and bleah, the days were samey and grey... all I felt like doing was eating chocolate and buying stuff on the internet. The cat felt the same way.

There was nearly a catastrophe when we hadn't realized that Leo had managed to climb inside her duvet and we were going to sort it out and get rid of the strange lump that had appeared in it.

 Luckily I had just enough strength of mind left to keep both chocolate eating and internet buying within bounds. Although I now have a great list of stuff due to be delivered over the next few days.

The veg plot is well underway now. I would like there to have been more signs of life, but so far I have two sticks of rhubarb and a fine display of tiny salad leaf seedlings. A few peas have emerged, and I am hoping the sun will encourage some more to appear. No sign of spinach, radish, brussel sprouts, spring onions or carrots yet.

Yesterday it was warm enough to sit in the garden and paint;

The cat is drawn using a method I call 'emergent drawing'. I just keep drawing and drawing until a cat emerges from the lines. I stole the description from a method of teaching writing which was popular back in the 1990s, or maybe earlier, called 'emergent writing'; I was a bit sceptical but it seems to work. The child (pre-school, or reception, or early years) starts by just 'pretending' to write - doing wiggly lines to make shopping lists or stories - and over time and with appropriate teaching and encouragement these first 'writings' become letters and words and sentences. Well, that describes my drawing method exactly.

The sunflower seeds are all ding well. But very floppy. I plan to stake them all using the bamboo skewers I discovered when I reorganised the cutlery drawers using these rather clever thingies.

We just have to chant 'little on the left' as we open the drawer to know which size is where. There is a tiny symbol printed on the edge by the handles to show whether there will be a knife, fork or spoon on the other end. (you don't need to tell me that 'large on the left' would work as well; I have put the little knives on the left and That is That!)

There is a grey cutlery organiser buried on the left hand side of the kitchen drawer, holding the small implements like pastry brushes (we have two?) small blue sharp knives (we have three?) apple corer, lemon zester and so forth. The big green thingy is a splendid contrivance for coring and slicing an apple all in one go.  

It is a great pleasure to be able to open the kitchen drawer without a struggle, find an implement without impaling oneself and then close the drawer again, all without a single expletive.


Sunday, 21 March 2021

Sunday 22nd March - Rehearsing clocks changing

We woke up early, around 5am, and were sufficiently awake that 5.30 felt like breakfast time... which meant that 10am was long past elevenses (toast and jam). Toast meant we could hold off lunch until 12, just, and then a little tea time-ish moment at about 3 and supper at 6.

I'd quite like to stay awake to watch a PD James murder mystery this evening... don't know if I will manage.

Next week the clocks go forward. I don't know if we were rehearsing for next week or for next Autumn; that's too much like hard work to sort out without paper and pencil and various charts. Who cares, anyway? Apart from the cats who don't understand why mealtimes change. McCavity was perfectly happy to have breakfast early today, and Leo confused as to why, when she went upstairs, I wasn't there (because I was getting breakfast downstairs...)

Next week I'm getting a new clock for keeping track of lesson start and finish times. The little alarm clock that sits neatly on the music rack of the piano gave up the ghost last week resulting, in several over-running lessons. New batteries had no effect, and on close inspection (He took it to bits) it seems that the plastic gears have given up. I expect it will arrive just in time for me to set the time and then change it again. 

I've been sorting out what I could call 'the vegetable garden'; actually an array of  patio tubs set out on the old shed base. 'Sorting out the veg garden' became much easier once Himself came and joined me; I stood around directing where the tubs should be and he shifted them around. I only changed my mind once or twice, honest. There was a short-lived difference of opinion as to how many holes should be drilled into the two largest tubs; my priority was drainage, and his priority was ensuring the base didn't split. We compromised. I've sown seeds in some of the tubs, others still need weeding or topping up. 

You may recognise the round tubs from their previous function; they used to be the drums from my junk samba kit!

I've been testing one of my notebooks to assess its suitability for use as a garden journal

It is a bit of a compromise but seems to behave reasonably for fountain pen, pigments pen and watercolour, as long as the paper doesn't get too wet, so I have ordered one. It will have to run from March to March... I can persuade myself that this is OK as Spring starts at the beginning of March.