Enjoying a sticky treat (dark chocolate and quinoa, so practically a superfood) from the farmers market for an al fresco breakfast.
Cursing the (huge) source of all those leaves covering the garden and thinking maybe we should swap Boo for one of these.
Feeling smug at successfully growing Virginia stock from seed.
Wondering when the night scented stock sown at the same time will put in an appearance.
Realising certain aspects of my role here are now redundant after the boy baked his own birthday cake. Four layers of Madeira-like sponge with white chocolate ganache and waves of Belgian white chocolate curls. Nine eggs and half a dairy of butter. Next year he can buy his own birthday presents.
Continuing to leave the hair straighteners unplugged and resorting to intervention as humid conditions prevail.
Remembering the time my hair was always worn au naturel, and, with a picture of an eighteen year old self in my head, asking the mister if my currently wild locks reminded him of anyone from way back.
An avid reader of newspapers (when I was growing up my parents always had two delivered daily; my mother used to go straight to the horse racing pages), and a keen listener of news broadcasts and watcher of current affairs programmes, I try to be as well informed as I can be. But, with an overload of reporting on tragedy, turmoil, a titanic report and turbulence of one sort and another of late, it's become too much. You think that must surely be it. And then you learn it isn't. Just how many 'Breaking news' alerts can we take in a week? A day?
So, there's been an attempt at distraction here, focusing on all things pink and fluffy (metaphorically speaking), to try and soothe the nerves, to provide some respite from all the happenings.
Although time spent in the Garden of Perpetual Autumn usually dampens the spirit (a mature elaeagnus at the back of the pond has now decided to give up the ghost and is shedding its yellowed leaves by the shovelful, one of the rose bushes has failed to flower at all and a hydrangea has been demolished by I know not what), there are a few bright spots. The potted plants are (mostly) thriving, and there are splashes of colour here and there. I have no idea what the lone blue flower is and don't remember planting it (maybe I'm nurturing a weed) but, whatever it is, it's most welcome.
The Boy continues to hone his skills in the kitchen and the latest bake on the cooling trays was a batch of madeleines (some plain, some dusted with icing sugar, some dipped in a lemon glaze). As usual, I couldn't partake so I made vegan custard creams. And polished off the lot in one sitting on a particularly news heavy day.
There's been the annual open gardens weekend to raise funds for a local hospice. You can't beat a good nose round other people's gardens (though maybe a good nose along their bookshelves would win that particular contest). There was a wide variety of plots to visit, some teeny, some large, some seriously sloping, some with interesting neighbours, some with cake to keep the mister happy, lots to envy. Unfortunately, I took very few pictures, I was so distracted.
There's nothing like getting stuck into a cracking read to escape reality and the current book at bedtime is really hitting the spot. Substantial, at almost 1200 pages, it's written 'in the Dickensian style' (more Dickens than Dickens, as some have commented) with a late Regency setting. It's complex with a raft of characters, historical detail aplenty, twists, turns, adventure, conspiracy and mystery as the varying fortunes of young Johnnie Huffam and his mother are related. Highly recommended.
Then there's the Boo, always full of the joys of Spring and ever willing to distract with a game of ball or chase. But this week, not so much. He had to spend a day with the vet (possibly not his favourite person) and undergo some much needed, erm, cosmetic work. He returned home a tad groggy and feeling very sorry for himself. But, whoah, his gnashers are positively gleaming.
Of course, a picture by email of the always smiling littlest never fails to brighten the day.
My mother had few memories of her cousin, Thomas, who was so much older than her. But I clearly remember the framed photograph of the nephew she loved dearly my grandmother had hanging on the wall above the fireplace in her little terraced house.
Thomas was a remarkable young man. The son of a labourer in the steel works here, he shone at primary school and was awarded a scholarship to attend the local grammar school, the first in the family to to do so (I turned out to be the second), where he proved himself to be an excellent all-rounder, becoming head boy, achieving outstanding exam results and winning an award of £60 to study at Cambridge University.
After staying on at school for an extra year as a pupil-teacher, he went off to Pembroke College, Cambridge where he continued to excel academically and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in natural sciences.
A Captain in the 7th Battalion, the East Yorkshire Regiment, Thomas died at the head of his company, aged 23 years, on 10th July, 1916, near Mametz Wood during the Battle of the Somme.
Remembering also my dad's Uncle Harry, who was killed, similarly aged 23 years, in the same week during the same battle.
These two young men are my connection to the appalling events of July 1916.
To them, and to all the other brave souls who gave so much, my heartfelt thanks.