Monday, 24 February 2014

In the air



It's been a busy weekend: visiting, cleaning, a trip to a museum with Joe, baking...

On Saturday I drove across to Lancashire to see my mum in hospital. I've mentioned before that it's a stressful time; things are constantly changing and we seem to receive contradictory news every other day. But I set out alone and there really is something uplifting about spring being in the air. I felt so much more relaxed without Joe in the car - less vulnerable to other traffic - and the sun was shining. The stereo was on, the fields were green, the sky was blue and the grasses growing along the verges were bleached white.

It's always comforting returning to the family home, even though it felt a bit odd and empty without her there. The next door neighbour was having a burn-up in his garden and the smell of woodsmoke was wafting around. There were snowdrops and crocus in the rockery. The air was mild. Spring.

My stepdad's coping well, bless him. The house was immaculately tidy and he's prepared the front room ready for Mum's return: cleared a space for a bed and little table, moved the furniture around. Her cyclamen are blooming merrily in bright pinks and crimson along the windowsill.


I took her a little package of nice things to eat and read, including The Snow Child which I enjoyed - but more about that next week.

I've started a new book: To Kill a Mockingbird. We didn't read it at school but I have to say, I'm devouring it. I'm a big fan of fiction written from a child's perspective, I love 20th century social history and have a soft spot for anything set in the Deep South so I suppose it was always going to be a winner. 

At the end of our bed we have an old trunk and a pile of antiquey poetry books. In amongst them was Jane Austen's Emma. I think I initially bought it because of the lovely cover (in a spring-like acid green) but have never read it or, indeed, any Jane Austen. So maybe that can be a future read too.


Outdoors the muscari are starting to flower. I'll bring them in and they can live on the kitchen windowsill. I did that a few weeks ago but I think they preferred the cold so back out they went.



And the rhubarb's brightening up a rather weed-ridden old container. There's more in a raised bed at the end of the garden. How beautiful is that bright pink?

In other news, I've baked a batch of walnut and raisin muffins for breakfast each morning this week. A daily helping of cake is no bad thing (they were made with sunflower oil and buttermilk so perhaps are a little bit healthier than if I'd used actual butter).

And we're eating lots of pulses and zingy flavours. On tonight's menu is spiced Chinese chicken and an Asian salad with mint, chilli, coriander, lime and nam pla. Should get those taste buds tingling!

Today's been another sunny one. Joe went to see his grandparents this morning and on the way there we saw squirrels and daffodils and buds bursting. He's due home shortly, but I've had the windows open for a couple of hours and layered up while the fresh air blows through the house. 

Finally, at the end of a long post: thank you so much for all your comments and support recently. It really does help enormously. I hope spring is on it's way to you too.

12 comments:

  1. Spring is definitely on the way! I have never read ' To kill a mockingbird' but devoured all the Jane Austen novels years ago and loved them. Best wishes to your mum.

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    1. Thanks! I took that Jamie Oliver book out of the library this morning, by the way - looking forward to some frugal meals:)

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  2. I'm thinking positive thoughts for your mother. I love To Kill a Mockingbird and Emma too, both are wonderful books. I'm glad to know you're doing well. Have a wonderful week, Sarah.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. And the same to you.

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  3. Oh, what a beautiful copy of Emma! Do do do read some J-A, she's a good un. Hope your Mum is doing well. Sounds like your step-dad is getting it all sorted! What a gorgeous colour that rhubarb is too - and even better in some sunshine! I've been eyeing up some breakfast muffins too - it sounds like a v good way to start the day. There looked to be a nice recipe in the guardian cook section the other day I think. Looking forward to hearing what you thought of The Snow Child x

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    1. I'll have to think up a review-type thing for the link-up! The Jane Austen book's from 1947... I actually opened it for the first time yesterday for a nosy and the pages are tissue-thin!
      Hopefully my mum will come home tonight so she'll get her home comforts back again.
      And the muffin recipe was from one of the BBC websites I think... they get a bit stale as the week goes on but that's nothing a bit of butter can't fix! Baking on a Sunday means breakfast's sorted and there's no messing around before trying to feed He Who Must Be Obeyed;)

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  4. Hello! I only read 'To Kill A Mockingbird' as an adult (we have a copy with a flyleaf incsribed Andrew Wills 4P so I think you can guess who did do it at school! I also loved it. Jane Austen though...not so much.

    I have everything crossed for your mum, I'm thinking of you both a lot.

    And this blog is the highlight of my day when I am surprised by a new post to read with my coffee at my desk :)
    Take care
    T xx

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    1. Hello! Thanks for the comment - it came through on my phone this morning and cheered me up no end! My mum should be home late tonight if the umpteen different people arranging the delivery of a bed can actually get around to communicating with one another...

      I'm really enjoying the book. And I too have old school books with pencilled notes on the margins (and stupid things my friends and me wrote to one another). When we get another cat it may well be named Atticus Finch. Or Catticus. Might be a while off though - Joe likes tail pulling at the moment.

      Have a good week x

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  5. Oh, To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favourite books (and films). My dad bought me a box set of Austen novels (not such pretty covers as in the picture in your post) for Christmas all those years ago when I was expecting my girlie. I thoroughly enjoyed devouring them one after the other and hope you do get round to dipping into your copy of Emma. Beans and lentils are featuring rather a lot on the menu here (though they always do) and I've been seeking out some vegan muffin (banana and peanut butter may be a goer) ) and cake recipes (seems Vegan Feb is turning into Vegan March). Wishing your mum a smooth return home. Just being out of a hospital environment is sure to lift her spirits.

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    1. I'd love to see To Kill a Mockingbird on the screen... will have to keep an eye out for that one.
      Well done on the vegan approach - it's something I'd love to try but I just cannot resist the draw of certain foods. I hope you're feeling well from it; I've heard great things.
      My mum is now home and beyond happy to be there. Fresh air, good food and peace and quiet are very underrated until you have to go without them!
      S :)

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  6. It sounds like you both have engineered a beautiful homecoming for your mum ... she will be thrilled to be home no doubt ... wishing you all well ... Bee xx

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    1. Thanks, Bee! I know my mum reads the blog and the comments too - the good wishes are most welcome xx

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