Summer days. Sunshine, picnics, long country walks, running through fields of corn, laughing, with puppy dogs gambolling at our feet. So it didn't quite go like that this year. It was more along the lines of endless hours of Monopoly, awkward car trips with a plastered leg laid uncomfortably along the back seat, showers and slugs, too many library books and a peaky guinea pig. But I loved it all the same and I'll be sad when it's over, as I always am.
A few snapshots from this week. A quick trip to the park. A treat from the farmer's market. The boys are loving plums at the moment, and I wanted them to have some proper ones, locally grown Victorias. They were delicious. I have high hopes for my little tree at the allotment. And I'm wondering if I can squeeze in another one somewhere...
Gooseberry and raspberry crumble. The autumn fruiting raspberries are doing well this year, and they always feel like a bit of a luxury in August and September.
Card houses. For a while it got quite competitive. And ever so slightly obsessive.
And the grief when someone knocked someone else's down had to be seen to be believed. You have no idea the yelling and arguments that they caused. The biggest boy built this one up to sixteen storeys.
The littlest boy walked past a bit too fast causing a slight breeze. The whole lot fell down. Everyone was sent to bed. I had to have a sit down.
We found this chap in the garden. Not slug, but a lovely silken caterpillar, an elephant hawk moth. Huge and really fast moving with really grippy feet. We only picked him up to put him somewhere safe, and we were very gentle and very closely supervised.
I've yet to see the actual moth, it must be enormous. I do hope he visits when he gets his wings. I managed to get a very distant shot of this red admiral butterfly. I'm rubbish at taking butterfly photos, they must see me coming because I never seem to be able to get close.
Despite the feeling that I haven't made best use of the allotment this year, there are still things to pick (including nine cucumbers). The little people came to help for a brief hour.
I let them loose with the fruit saw, and between them they cut down the artichokes for me. How they love to wield sharp implements, it's honestly one of their best things.
This afternoon we all went to the country park and spent a while looking at this wonderful view. This is just a sliver of it, you can see miles and miles of the river from here.
I love seeing the fields turn different colours as the seasons roll around. The farmers are busy at the moment, we quite often see them working on Saturdays and Sundays, until quite late. It scares me when I hear that they are being forced out of business. I can't imagine what the land would look like without them. This is surely England, ancient churches nestling in tree-filled churchyards, pretty farms set amongst rolling fields, mixed hedgerows full of the diversity of our wonderful wildlife. I read some John Betjeman poems while I was there. I feel the same as he did about our beautiful country.
Alpacas. Pretty no? And they know it. It'll be time to knit them into something useful soon.
On the homefront there are plans for warm things. Some quilt fabric, bought with a voucher from a friend. I'm liking this one. I have to be careful not to put too much pink in it though, you know, what with living in a house full of boys. It will be for my bed though, so I might be able to sneak in a bit.
So all in all things are ticking along nicely here, despite the summer not being John Lewis advert perfect. Hey, it's life isn't it, bitty, messy, unplanned. I'm winging it and hoping for the best. All I can do.