Saturday, 21 March 2020

a week of firsts











Goodness, time flies. You must be tired of me saying that almost every time I write a blog post.

Just like everyone else we are getting used to a different reality. I don't want to dwell and I am not complaining, we have all we need and the sun is shining. For the first time this year I dried all laundry outside. I do so love climbing (crawling maybe describes it better) in to a bed with freshly laundered and outdoor dried linen that smells of good things to come and spring.

I spent two hours gardening today, listening to a podcast and enjoying the gentle warmth on my skin. It wasn't quite warm enough to bare my arms. There is a lot of work, cutting back dead flowers, raking up foliage and pulling out early weeds to give my perennials a chance to come through. I didn't clean up in the garden in autumn because I like to think that dried foliage and seed heads and all the other assorted garden debris are excellent places for small critters to overwinter. I also like the visual interest this gives during an otherwise rather visually bland time of year. I found several yogurt pots that Jack must have stolen during the winter. He has a habit of climbing up onto our kitchen island and grab things that might contain traces of human delicacies that he is not allowed (the children aren't very good at tidying away food containers... or anything as a matter of fact). That just reminds me, I found three apple cores in Alistair's winter jacket pockets today. But I digress. I always do, I have a wandering mind. I cleaned bird feeders and removed small stones and brickwork from the flowerbeds. I don't know where these come from, maybe they just appear from an alternative universe.

James and Alistair spent some time in the garden but were not interested in helping. They were disappointed not being allowed to go to the pitch for a game of footie with their pals but they have each other, which is good. Until they argue of course, which is often. I need to work on my conflict resolution skills.

I have also been cutting out hearts from fabric scraps. I saw this quilt on Anna Maria Horner's Instagram feed and just knew I had to make one, at very least a baby sized one. She made this with scraps from all her fabric lines. I've collected quite a few of these fabrics over the years. The hearts are appliquéd onto squares of neutral fabrics. I have never done any needle point appliqué but it looks straightforward.

I made some plain soap. I had some shea butter that had a slightly off whiff and I wanted to use it before it went completely rancid. It went astonishingly wrong, my first ever batch of soap that didn't behave. Once I started mixing, the emulsion immediately turned semi solid and a dirty light brown. It took ages to scrape it all off the blender and clean the pot. I don't know what happened. I made perfectly good soap with slightly rancid fats before but maybe I weighed the lye out incorrectly. I guess I'll never know. Undeterred, I tried again the next day, this time with palm kernel oil (ethically sourced) and cheap non-virgin olive oil (from Tesco, less ethically sourced), both found in my fat box (yes, I admit to having a fat stash). My people don't like pretty soaps so I didn't bother with colourants and swirls and whatnot but I did scent it with lily of the valley fragrance, which is just beautiful the most perfect scent for early spring. Soon enough, my neighbours lily of the valley patch will flower and I can't wait to bury my nose in the tiny white flowers.

Both James and Alistair are absolutely delighted they don't have to go to school for a good while (it might not last). They don't know yet what awaits them... none of us do of course. Annie has promoted herself to homeschooling champion and volunteered to work with the boys through their homeschool pack (it is very thin). All three have received iPads for educational use and they have been set up with Teams so they can get schoolwork and keep in touch with school and learning groups. Did you know that schools here remain open for vulnerable children and children whose parents are working in essential services? I am really glad that someone looks out for the most vulnerable. Judging by the new shopping habits of Mr and Mrs British, I wonder if social conscience is a figment of my imagination.

Alistair and his year group spent their last week of school in an outdoor centre in the remote Highlands. He was doing all sorts of exciting things, building rafts, going on blind walks and climb on top of ridiculously tall structures. I am so happy this traditional P7 outdoor adventure week was not cancelled. The memory and an awful lot of confidence gained from experiencing the outdoor, working together with his friends and taking moderate risks will last a lifetime. Well, that's what I believe but maybe this is also a figment of my imagination.

Of course the initial excitement of an extended holiday (ahem) will not last, like all the children that are now socially isolating, they will all miss their friends, they'll miss going out to the park, to running club and to scouts. Annie said today that her youth is being cut short. I hope it won't but I do feel for her, being 16 and sparkling with teenage energy won't make social isolation easy. Richard and I are now both working at home. I said to him that it was useful that we all seem to like one another since we'll be spending a lot of time together. Long may it last (the liking one another, not the social isolation). I am preparing for more than the usual arguments and tears of frustration. We are on the whole a pragmatic bunch, which I hope will serve us well.

I hope you are staying safe and you are taking care of yourself and your loved ones. Please come and visit, my plan is to just be myself and share whatever pops into my mind and I hope you'll enjoy what my wandering mind produces.

P.S. I have a feeling that I shared most of those photos previously... please forgive me this act of laziness.

18 comments:

  1. Similar thoughts here in this topsy turvy world. Thankful for family close at hand. I feel for Annie and hope it’s not too long before she’s enjoying teenage pursuits. Thank goodness for blogging do friends at times like these. B x

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  2. That is a lovely quilt you are going to make. I am reworking an old quilt that I made for my daughter years ago and now I have taken it apart and will replace worn fabric and hand quilt it back together (I hope!)... perfect project for my self-isolation! That's the idea anyway - actually doing it is another thing! I love your posts and always look forward to what you have to say and the pictures you have to share. Thanks so much!

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  3. Oh that anti-boomer person has hit you too. So much time on his tiny hands, and we know they are tiny just like his mentor's, don't we?

    I think you are going the right thing leaving the fall debris in place.

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    1. I deleted that anti-boomer comment how bizzare was that?

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  4. A lovely post Christina and good to read something positive. The next few months are going to be awful for many of us but there are good things too and what will be, will be. Stay safe... and I hope there aren’t too many arguments x

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  5. I have had a good few hours in the garden - too much really - I am a broken woman! We did a full day at the farm yesterday because it is really isolated but a whole day moving wheelbarrows of brick ends, added to my home gardening has made me so stiff. I need to pace myself a bit more especially as my Oestopath is not taking appointments at the moment. Our girls have each other but of course they will bicker but on the whole we have everything we need. We are calling it family fundown! Jo xx

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  6. I love reading about your random thoughts so keep them coming. The quilt looks fun I may have to copy as there are always scraps to be used up and what a n way to do it. x

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  7. I enjoyed reading what you and your family have been doing, Christina, and other bloggers are sharing similar stores. We no longer have a garden or yard to putter around in but we have been getting out for walks downtown. We have more restaurants and breweries than shops, although there are some of those as well. of course all are shuttered now with take-out being offered at some eateries; others have closed indefinitely with no take-out as they were not the type of places that had that service in place before. Hopefully, they will return with life returns to the new "normal." meanwhile we are staying home and puttering around with some long overdue projects. The management office, gym, pool and function room are all closed at the mill apts as well; residents can call in for needed services. We enjoy cooking at home; eating out was not a major activity when we're home, but reserved for road trips, sadly there will be none upcoming. We do miss our happy hour get togethers with neighbors. I have been doing lots of phone visits, emails and blog reading and visiting. Also reading on my Kindle and trying a 7-dat Britbox trial to decide if we want to become annual subscribers. I've also made sure to back up my PC's hard drive and clear out some unneeded paperwork.

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  8. random thoughts are fab. Only 3 of my students at school today..although I'm home waiting on clearance at home via a phone conversation with doctor for asthma(all face to face appointments cancelled). Numbers going up and up and I'm jsut hoping we shut down. We've got all these naughty tourists who are swamming around the country when they should be in self isolation... No community spread AS YET, but it's coming! Keep safe. Just as well I like home and my family too.

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  9. At times like this, it's wonderful to be part of a large family - until they all start bickering! I've been heartened by the news of so many good people helping others, dismayed at the utter selfishness of others and angered by the despicable people conning the vulnerable or profiteering. I just hope that the good can overcome the rest.
    Stay safe.

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  10. I'm doing my best to think of all the positive things that can come out of this enforced isolation, and one of them is finding the time to get back to reading blogs more. At the moment, it feels like a bit like those three days between Christmas and New Year used to feel and I am really hoping that it stays that way! xx

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  11. For some reason they're shutting everything down here but keeping school's open. I can't fathom it so as from tomorrow I'm keeping the kids home. Thank goodness for everything we've gone through with Michael for the last few years as I feel I can deal with home schooling for awhile now. Hubby is 9 hours away at work and we're not sure if he'll be able to get home. Fingers crossed otherwise it's going to be a very long few months! Stay safe and enjoy the time as much as you can. xx Susan

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  12. We are going online from next week. I’ve been busy preparing lessons. I’m a bit stressed but that is normal for me when there’s so much to do in a short time.

    Stay safe, Christina.

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  13. Please do write more like this, it is lovely to come here and forget about everything else in the world. I do hope that you can find a rhythm or routine to being at home all the time. It is such a huge change, it can work but it will take some adjusting and understanding from everyone. That quilt is beautiful I am not surprised you want to make one, look forward to you sharing your progress.

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  14. I dried washing on the line for the first time this year at the weekend too, it's so satisfying!! I know life isn't ideal at the moment, but I feel we've done very well that our orders to stay home have coincided with the best weather we've seen for a very long time! My daily permitted walk is lovely at the moment with warmth and sunshine!

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  15. It's very strange, this same but different world, isn't it? Testing times, indeed. One thing's for sure, I'll be the size of a house when some sort of normality returns. I mean, Fry's Cream chocolate bar for dinner? Stay safe!

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  16. I love all of your photos. Yes, these are challenging times. I feel for your sixteen year old.

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  17. I'm glad to hear you and your husband can work from home and keep your jobs. So many are losing their jobs and income, it's incredibly sad. This is such a sad me with so many losing their lives. Stay safe. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx