Rope swing rediscovered

Sunshine makes all the difference for a lovely weekend, doesn’t it?  For the last couple of Saturdays we’ve had amazing leisurely and luxurious brunches which I’ve enjoyed immensely, and a wonderful flying visit to London for time with some of my best girls, but this weekend brought frisbee, pimms, a barbecue and sunlit walks in woodland….and a swing!

pointing your toes doesn’t actually make you go faster

We saw kids playing with a tyre swing and I was a tiny bit jealous, and then we found this rope swing I had to try it out.  Nearly 29 and not even slightly grown up yet.  And I’m not alone, the broken one had a go too…

going for the action shot, I may have missed a few essentials like face and toes

It was overlooking a really gorgeous pond which used to belong to the abbots so that they could have fish for their supper.

lily and the beech

It’s full of lilies and midges and surrounded by beech trees in acid green spring growth. LTN kept trying to tell me that it’s nearly summer, but as far as the trees are concerned I think it’s still spring.  There were some seriously gorgeous trees.

sunburst and green

We meandered happily through trees and meadows, exploring old camps, admiring bluebells and unfurling ferns, and generally being silly.  Just before we got back to the car we found an old orchard filled with fuzzy faced sheep and well managed mossy trees glowing in the last of the sun.

ordered rows of the orchard, whispering to the sheep

It was a good day.


First official ice cream of the year

On the day of the first official ice cream (1/4/2012) we were visiting Clevedon, walking by the sea and admiring the pier.  It was chilly but bright enough to be warm in the sunshine and the water was very calm.

As we headed back towards the car we argued over the rival merits of two potential ice cream vendors.  LTN pointed out that scoops of clotted creamy fruity goodness ought to win over a 99 any day of the week.  And besides, he said, he doesn’t really like flakes (!!?!?!?!).   My contention was that for a first official ice cream, the only proper purchase is from an ice cream van.  So, after some discussion we made like grown ups and got one of each and, though it pains me to admit it,  his was quite scrumptious.  Still, mine was more official and more quintessentially an outside ice cream, which is what the first ice cream of the year is all about, so I think that overall I win.  That’s alright then.


Spiraling out of control

It’s been all quiet on the blog front lately.  I have photos piling up unsorted, zoo visits unchronicled, and thoughts unfocused.  That’s the thing you see, there has to be the right sort of focus or it all just gets a little bit out of control.

love the mad man with hearts in his eyes

Recently I’ve been trying to focus on the jobhunting thing.  Calling it just ‘the thing’ could be misleading.  At the very least it should have capitals to give a sense of scale and significance, and maybe italics too: The Thing looms over my days like the rain clouds that have been all too prevalent in the last week, and the sad fact is, I’m rubbish at it.  Give me a job and I’ll do a darn fine job of it, but ask me to find a new one and I’ll probably struggle.

The trouble is, I’m letting it get me down.  I’m letting it stop me phoning my friends, because I don’t have a cheerful answer to ‘how’s the job hunt going’, and I’m letting it make me grumpier than I ought to be with LTN (which, for the record, is not at all).

So, a resolution has been passed.  I shall snatch back my usual optimism, I shall enjoy my wonderful cheering squad, and I shall dance naked in the rain.  But when it comes to resolutions you’ve got to be realistic, so I’ll be aiming for 2 out of 3 of those and calling it a job well done.

Watch this space for the pictures I’ve been hoarding and stories of milkshake, rainbows and seedlings on my windowsill.  It’s onwards and upwards from here on in.

Stop riding that penguin, we’re leaving

We went to the zoo again today – after two highly random days of driving, garden sunshine, Big Grizzly catch up time and CV grottage – and had much fun taking far too many pictures of animals that we didn’t take pictures of the other day. Chief among these were the penguins, seals and meerkats.   Penguins are much beloved by LTN for their comedy stylings, so darlin’, this one’s for you.

- from DENY Designs by Nathan Ripperger

Courtesy of who have a whole lovely post in this vein, click on the penguin to see more.

And before I go, I must just say, Bristol Zoo is getting serious points for babies at the moment. Two month old meerkats are so sweet it’s crazy tempting to grab one and put it in your pocket to take home.  Not so easy with a wee gorilla.  On the other hand, those li’l kats move like greased lightning and apparently have pointy small teeth so it’s probably for the best that they stay with their family.

no, my choc’late brownies are the best, actually

I don’t know why all the other bakers in the world claim that their brownies are the “world’s best” when they quite clearly aren’t.  I’m not usually the boastful sort but there’s one area of baking in which I feel it’s quite legitimate for me to say that I am, truly, quite brilliant.  I make damn good brownies, fact.  Birthday brownies were a regular feature for a while, when I was being rubbish at producing actual presents, and I never once saw a recipient look disappointed.  A whole bake of brownies just for them?  Win.  These days I’m still rubbish at producing presents but sadly getting worse at producing birthday brownies on time either.  Fail.

What can I say?  Life is just too complicated at the moment….

Anyway, this weekend I baked the first batch since Christmas, despite the passing of birthdays of thee very lovely people, who totally deserved brownies. That makes me a bad sister, bad daughter, bad friend.  These brownies are for the boys in the flat, because we’re going back to Brizzle and I want them to be glad that they’re returning to a state of  four person housesharing after a cosy month and a bit of just two of them. Boys like brownies.  I hope.

I also made a tasty good key lime pie and some meringues (key lime pie only uses yolks, those whites had to go somewhere!) but that is incidental*

So now I just need to pack for LTN and myself, rewrite my CV so that I can get a brilliant new job the instant we get back (the less said about my procrastination in not having done that before now, the better), and cook a happy anniversary meal for LTN’s parents in, oh, the next two hours……

… a doddle….

or, I could think happy thoughts about the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in Bristol which I will get LTN to before it closes at the end of the week.  That sounds much better.  Yeah….

*LTN would like me to add that I couldn’t have done it without his valuable help, licking the bowl.

no, I haven’t built a snowman

Last week I opened the curtains of my hotel room in France and thought ‘oh look, it’s sno -ohhhhh’.  My usual feelings of wonder and delight about the white stuff were brought crashing down by the realisation that it might just get in the way of my long awaited flight back home with LTN. Could little planes fly in thick falling snow?  Was Grenoble as good at clearing it’s runways and roads as it did oughta be?  I had no idea.  Luckily LTN knows planes and followed up his ‘don’t look out of the window, it might just spoil your day’ text with a more reassuring ‘don’t worry, it’ll all be on instruments, they’ll be fine’.  Which they were and we got home in some style thanks to lady pilot Jane.  LTN was even allowed to sit up and look out of the windows and watch the dials do the their things, which satisfied his pilot heart a little bit, although he was grumpy that he didn’t get to borrow a headset and listen to all the chat.

And so, we’re back in the UK and most grateful for it, though we can’t speak highly enough of the hospital and staff in Grenoble – and maybe miss our strange little ‘family’ there just un petit peu.  We’re now camping out at his parents’ as their house is more suitable for his current mobility levels than our Brizzle home, so on Saturday I did a run down there with double Dads (mine and his) to pick up cars and all the other nonsense we need for achieving a semblance of normality.

It started to snow on the way back up in my roaring and rattly little workhorse of a car and then dumped a whole lot more during the evening.  Gorgeous, beautiful, fun to play in, but it’s effectively trapped LTN in the house since we don’t want him falling from his great height and opening the beautifully healing zip in his back or owt like that.  Somehow it just doesn’t seem so appealing to play in the snow with him sitting at home.

And all this means that I’m trying to remember just how much I usually love England in the snow……….this helps:

taking the P out of plans

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that I just shouldn’t try to plan. It doesn’t suit me, and it usually goes wrong.  And there’s just so much that you can’t plan for – so what’s the point of agonising for months over something and then having to start all over again when things change?  Why not just say One – Two – Three and take a running jump, see where you land and start walking….

Why the introspection?  After deciding to come home to England to be with my lovely LTN we went on a fantastic French holiday to do le ski and le snowboard.  The weather was fantastic, the company epic, the going good – and then the mountain tripped us up and hit us hard.  Or rather it hit LTN hard and so my poor boy has been in hospital for the last week and a half, laid mostly on his back while they found time for him to have bits of metal put in it to mend the broken vertebrae.  It’s going to be ok, he’s walking again now and is being a total hero through all the pain and waiting and wondering what’s going to happen – but it has rather thrown our ‘plans’ into a loop the loop.  So, we’ll just be waiting and seeing and working it out as we go along. 

In the meantime, there are beautiful songs like this one, a long time pleasure