Thursday, 3 September 2015

The scent of a fresh notebook






The littlest boy's desk.  He gave me back his two pen pots and is going to keep his pencils like this from now on.  You will note that they are all freshly sharpened.  Name tags are on, new shoes are out of the boxes, the borlotti beans are in and the scent of fresh notebooks is in the air.  Oh how I love a new notebook.

The row of pencils got nudged earlier into an untidy mess.  The littlest boy was quite cross and blamed me.  Me!  Who of all people understands the joy of a neatly arranged line of things.  Order has been restored, although I am still suspect number 1.  It's so unfair.

The biggest boy is now at the big school.  So far so good I think.  The food is delish, although I fear the lunch queue may be ghastly once the whole school is there at once.  Apparently he's not learnt anything yet, but any day now.

The littles also went back today.  I straightened things up, dusted, hoovered, you know how it is.  I plumped things up and they stayed straight and plump all day.  Then the mud and the noise and the crumbs returned and life was good again.

I've been limping a little this week after turning my ankle all the way over playing football at the park on Bank Holiday Monday.  We were supposed to be watching a cricket match, but you know, bank holiday + cricket = rain, so we did the park thing instead.  The other half said helpful things like, "Up!  Get up!" and "Run it off!".  I stayed down in the damp and the mud for a bit making faces and grunting.  A&E on Tuesday, apparently I shall survive.  I have exercises to do that include writing the alphabet in the air with my toe.  All uppercase.  The children keep standing on my foot.  I didn't realise how often they do that until now.

If you will excuse me I'm off to play with my notebooks.  Wishing you all an excellent September.  CJ xx

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Let's not bother with the allotment...


















I don't have any photos of the August allotment, owing to dodgy weather and a lack of visits for anything other than a quick harvest of beans and things.  So I have city pictures instead from a little trot round we forced the children into having.

The bronze figure is John Cabot, who came to Bristol over 500 years ago, back when it was the second largest seaport in England.  He set sail across the Atlantic in 1497 on a ship called the Matthew and reached land in North America, maybe in Newfoundland, or Labrador, Canada or maybe Maine.  You can see a picture of the replica Matthew here.  It lives in Bristol docks now, and you can have a look round and even a little trip on it.  It's really not very big, and Cabot took just 18 men with him.  I can't imagine what it must have felt like to just set sail into the big unknown like that.

As usual the summer holidays have flown by.  I have a ridiculous amount to fit into the last few days.  Not least a hundred name tapes waiting to be sewn on.  But what's really occupying my thoughts at the moment is calligraphy.  I've always wanted to try it, and I'm wondering if I can fit such a thing into my life.  I can't of course.  But I can't stop thinking about it.  The eldest bought a little calligraphy set on holiday, maybe I shall sneak his pen out and have a bit of a go when he's not looking.

On the subject of hobbies, do any of you understand the whole concept of fishing?  The middle boy is desperate to have a go.  He's devoured book after book about it and knows all about lines and floats and gudgeons and rudd.  I thought he would be bringing home fish for tea, so I made some comment about having to gut and clean them.  But apparently once you've caught them you just put them back.  As a vegetarian I'm all for this of course, but it does beg the question why bother.  Fishing is huge in this country, so I'm obviously missing something here.  If you have any enlightenment to share, I'd love to hear.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Colour Collaborative: August: Dress


Although I'm not a great shopper for clothes, or in any way a clothes horse, people's choices in what they wear always fascinates me.  Some people dress almost in a uniform, wearing the same as their peers.  Some people like to be different.  Some people aren't too bothered what they wear.

I've been through periods in my life when I've dressed almost entirely in black.  I'm not sure why it was.  Maybe to disappear, maybe because it was easy.  When I worked at a law firm almost everyone wore black or navy or grey.  The annual general meeting was a vast expanse of dark gloomy colours, with just a sprinkling of colourful characters.

It took me a while after leaving to discover clothes in other colours.  I stuck to black for a while, for everything, even a purse or an umbrella.  If they didn't have it in black, I didn't buy it.  But after a while it occurred to me that there were other colours.  I had a brief affair with pink.  It seemed the most opposite colour to black.  Light, frivolous, girly.  I still have one or two pink t-shirts in my wardrobe.

But as time went on I gravitated more towards cool blues and greens, and the natural colours of oatmeal and honey.  Except for the odd bit of pink, there are no hot bright shades, no orange or red or yellow.  But the cool soft colours of the natural world are there in abundance.  I'll never be a peacock, but maybe a pale brown moth or a blue sky.  It's how I am I think.


Tell me, is your wardrobe full of one colour, or are you brave enough to try it all?

To visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below: 

                   Annie at Annie Cholewa                                  Gillian at Tales from a Happy House

                   Sandra at Cherry Heart                                  Jennifer at Thistlebear

                   Sarah at Mitenska

What is The Colour Collaborative?

All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Moody skies and a little change















Photos from a summer weekend.  The model birds are made from Lego.  Thousands and thousands of blocks, some of them took 120 hours to make.  They're at the local wildfowl and wetland place, where the biggest boy likes to drag us so that he can do a spot of birdwatching.  I took the littles out in a canoe.  They were so looking forward to going in a coracle (a little circular Welsh boat) but you had to be 18 for that.  Apparently they're the devil to manoeuvre, what with being round and everything.  So we took a canoe instead.  We're quite a good team now, turning corners and everything.  We were hardly in the wild brambly bits at the edges at all.  Well, just sometimes.

In between the outings, and while the rain fell, I moved the middle boy into his own bedroom.  He's been looking forward to it for ages.  I was dragging my feet a little though I think.  I liked that he shared with his older brother.  They had good chats after lights out.  They have a strong friendship.  It seems a little sad that they will be apart a bit more now.  Of course, while I was mooning around being sentimental, looking back at sweet memories and sighing deeply, they were both thrilled to have rooms of their own.  I put up some blinds in the top room, hauled his bed up there and arranged his books a bit.  It's rained almost constantly since, and it's so cosy listening to it tapping on the windows.  The views are nice, cows in the distance in one direction and the river in the other.  I've spent quite a long time looking out of the windows, both his and the one in the other partly vacated room.  Like I said, mooning around.  I shall be pulling myself together any day now.

There was a rainbow tonight.  With any luck the rain will stop tomorrow.  There's not much of the summer holidays left, it's that time when I feel I need to make the most of the days.  Although there's a dentist's appointment tomorrow which isn't exactly what I mean.  Afterwards we'll do something fun, maybe with ice-cream too.  Wishing you all an excellent week.  CJ xx

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Shaun in the city











I wasn't sure whether the children would want to do the Shaun the Sheep trail around Bristol this year, but as the summer wore on they decided they did want to go and see at least some of them, so on Tuesday we went for a wander round the city centre.

Bristol is currently the European Green Capital, and the green (coloured) Shaun designed by Nick Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun paid tribute to that.  The whale is also designed as a plea to people to choose re-usable bottles rather than disposable ones for drinks.  The waves are made from thousands of discarded water bottles from the local marathon.  It was shocking to see them all laid out like that.  The whale himself is constructed from willow.  He really was most impressive.

It's good to see environmental concerns being highlighted, and people trying to make progress in the right direction.  It reminded me of my time living a couple of miles from the centre, when I used to hurtle down Park Street on my bike to go to work.  It was a long hard slog home, but boy did I fly along in the morning when it was all downhill.  I'm happy to be a long way away from the hustle and bustle now though.

The boys' favourite part of the day was probably at the end when we went to Brandon Hill and there was room to run around on the grass and time to play in the park.  And of course, it was good to leave the city behind at the end of the day and come home.  Bristol was a lovely place to live, but I've adjusted to a smaller place now.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Cheery suggestions, cheery flowers and Shaun the Sheep











Thank you all so very much for your wonderful comments on my last post.  They really cheered me up no end, I've read them all through three times now and I love them.  Lots of nodding and understanding.  Some good suggestions - a run, sunflowers, yarn, fabric - and sympathetic tales of slumping involving wine, peanut butter cup ice-cream (I'd like to know more about that one), white chocolate star cake decorations and more wine.  It was good to know that I'm not alone.

I tackled the allotment.  The children were surprisingly helpful, in return for a shiny pound coin each.  So perhaps not so surprising then.  The younger two did some excellent weeding, I was honestly surprised.  And I went back one evening before the rain to get out the worst of the seeding weeds.  I went from thinking about giving it up, to being happy about it all again.  If I do ever decide to give it up, you will talk me out of it won't you.  I know I'd miss it, weeds and all.

I took a few photos of some of the hanging baskets on the high street on my way home.  Our little town enters Britain in Bloom every year, and the people involved work really hard on it.  There's a lovely big patch of pollinator friendly flowers this year as well, I must go and take a picture before they fade.  It was so good to see that kind of planting rather than more municipal park-style flower beds.  I thought the hanging basket in the top picture was a triumph.  No idea how they get it to be that good, but I was most impressed.

We went to Bristol Museum on Friday, to avoid the rain, which in the end didn't really arrive as threatened.  We all got to look at our favourite things though and I sighed (like I usually do) over the massive hoard of Roman coins found in our town by a man digging a pond in his garden.  Imagine if it was me.

This year Bristol has a big trail of Shaun the Sheeps, decorated by various artists and celebrities.  I'm not sure if we'll do some of the trail or not, but we've seen a handful of them in our travels.

For the next few weekends I shall enjoy not having anything at all on the calendar.  Cricket has finished, football matches haven't started yet, we are free!  I have no idea what we'll do, but it's such a treat not to have to rush off anywhere.  Wishing you some blissful freedom too.  CJ xx