It has been very summery here in Glasgow. As much as I love living in Scotland, the weather is not my favourite aspect of this country. I sometimes wonder why anyone ever settled here before there were stone buildings and central heating. I understand why when the weather is like it has been for the past week or so. It is warm but not unpleasantly hot, there is a light breeze but it is not blowing a hoolie and the days are long, getting longer still. It gives me enormous pleasure to compare sunrise and sunset times with other places in Europe where I have lived, or visited. It was back in late March when our days started being longer than those in Bern, Switzerland. At the time of writing this post, our sunrise is 58 minutes earlier whilst sunset is 30 minutes later. I love hanging the laundry out when it is still light at 10:30 pm. It totally makes up for the dreich, damp, dark winters. I am storing up sunshine, colours and warmth for the winter months. I feel almost bouncy with energy although bounce I can't because of a suspected stress fracture in my left foot, which is really really painful*.
Anyway, I have been busy making vitamin D, and pottering around the garden. I am not a gardener, you all know that, but I have been making progress with my plan to fill every corner of front and back gardens with hardy perennial flowers and shrubs and fruit trees. It is a long term project, two steps forward, one step back but it is starting to look really good. Of course in a few years time my sunniest patch will be in the shade of the despicable sycamore tree that is growing right on my fence in our neighbours garden, about 5 metres away from my back door. It has grown by two metres at least during the last year to about 6 metres. The final height of a sycamore is up 30 metres, with a crown width of up to 20 metres. It self seeded and my neighbours haven't got a clue what monster they are unleashing on our gardens, although we have tried to explain that it might be easier to deal with it when it is still a manageable size. I love trees (we have fruit trees) but we choose ours carefully, grafted on dwarf or medium rootstock to suit a reasonable sized garden of a semidetached house. I love sycamores - in the woods and in large parks. To my chagrin, there is nothing much I can do other than hope for common sense or possibly a deadly sycamore plague that ravages through the neighbourhood. They have also just added two huge bamboo plants to the mix and we all know how bamboo spreads.... I guess I can harvest bamboo shoots in the future and sell them on the farmers market, and maybe re-home e a few orphan pandas.
Enough bitching. The garden is beautiful just now and I spend a good amount of time enjoying it. Long may it last. We've got two more days off and the forecast is good.
James won the sprint race at sports day this week in his year group. I am so glad I went along and watched him win. He was so so happy, it was a joy to watch him jump with excitement. James stand our rarely with shining achievements and it is always a pleasure to discover something that he is better at than anyone else, especially his little brother (who tried to get in on the action by claiming second in long jump). James is dating a nice girl from his class. I don't really think he knows what dating is but I am happy he gets some special attention. It is quite sweet really and completely innocent. Lets call her Eleanor, shall we? It is of course not her real name. James being the only 10 year old in the entire of West of Scotland who hasn't got a phone, Eleanor calls me to ask if he is free to come out and play. James is always free to play when Eleanor calls. She is quite a lot more mature and also more on the ball than my little boy and is firmly in charge. I imagine world changing conversations and plans for the future. The reality is probably a monkey bar contest.
Meanwhile Alistair tags along, and sometimes Eleanors little sister, too. There has been a real crowd of children playing outside lately, all in James' school year. They have a "tree house" that a joiner dad helped build and there is the playground and the football pitch. I am delighted about the wild summer play as I am a firm believer in spending time outside with your friends, not under the watchful eye of a parent. I am a self confessed free range parent but I am not reckless of course. Our neighbourhood is not big and there is very little traffic. James and Alistair take turns to come back home once an hour to check in and all the other kids have phones so all is good. There is safety in numbers, too. I have so much time to potter around when the weather is good! I have finished James' quilt, have started stitching my hexagons together and have made several t-shirts. Between the two of us, Richard and I have also spring cleaned the kitchen, cleaned some upholstery and sorted through the gigantic bookshelf in the spare room to make space for more books. It feels great to have a big chore less on the list.
I booked James and Alistair in to a kayaking session on the canal this morning. It is in walking distance (we drove to spare me agony), perfect to entertain little boys on a long weekend. We would normally be camping during the second May Bank holiday but Annie returns from Italy tomorrow and we didn't go. The boys loved it on the water, played some silly kayaking games and tired themselves out properly. I am grateful for all those people that are happy to take my children on adventures. I guess the guy who runs the Adventure group is really a big kid himself and takes his job as a great excuse to fully immerse himself in the outdoor fun.
I am quite looking forward to having my girl back but it was also nice having a few days off arguing. I texted her to find out if she was having a good time. Her reply was a succinct "yeah". I have to curb my curiosity until she gets back. I washed her sheets, sneakily. I might be in trouble for stepping into her private space but I couldn't help it. For some reason, she likes her sheets well worn. I like my sheets changed weekly but apparently that's a bit weird.
I could go on and on but I better go and find James and Alistair and get the showered and into bed. They'll sleep well. Then I'll pour myself a glass of white wine and spend the evening knitting. Thanks for stopping by. Have a lovely weekend, long or short, wherever you are. xx