Again, I've had plans to write (and photograph) a post which isn't just a quick look back at our week. And yet we're back here again: another Midweek Miscellany. I'm determined to keep this blog ticking over until the workload lessens, when I can return properly and do it justice. But until then it's all about trying to do too many things with too few hours in the day. I'm making good progress on the drawings front but there's still much to do.
So, the week that was. Do you like my lovely collection of Observer guides? The nature ones are particularly useful as I have a small library of reference books for my artwork. I usually work from studying real specimens, but sometimes draw from memory. And now and again I forget the shape of a leaf or the exact form of a shell...
These little books were mine for the bargain price of three for £1. More about that later.
We've been out walking. A lot. On sunny evenings when the wind's been blowing through the fields, sending ripples through the long grass and wildflowers. Yes - Joe is wearing his sleepsuit and wellies. If you can't do that when you're two, when can you? And yes, he did have a change of clothing before going to bed that night. No creepy crawlies under the covers.
We've also been out walking on grey, wet days. Being outdoors is so much better than being in. We just employ that Scandinavian idea that there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. So sleepsuits have been swapped for puddlesuits and we head for the woods where everything's sodden and the water's rushing over the rocks and rain falls onto the canopy of leaves above us.
We've made friends with ginger tomcats. We've held tiny frogs on our outstretched palms. We've examined pinecones and sycamore keys and eaten wild raspberries.
At the weekend we had a visit to the animal sanctuary on the edge of the village. Joe loved it - donkeys, tractors, rabbits. And a friendly goat called Wallace.
They'd also built a new little bookshop. Previously there'd been a very dusty collection of yellowing paperbacks in one of the barns, next to a shabby old piano. Now there's a wooden building which is quite heavenly. It's all bare pine and unfinished ply inside, cosy and filled floor to ceiling with books of all kinds. 50p each or £1 for three. I added to my little nature library and Joe got a 'new' Thomas the Tank Engine book. I'll be going back again very soon.
In other news: we're counting down the days until we get the keys to the new house. The kitchen's ordered. The builder is at the ready. I'm trying not to think about what he'll find under all that lath and old plaster.
Eats-wise we've been having it pretty good. Roast chicken thighs with lemon and oregano. Griddled polenta with tomato sauce. Courgette and feta fritters (Nigel). Meatballs. Salmon wrapped in streaky bacon. Chickpeas spiced with harissa. And there'll be a soup to use the leftovers on Friday. I finally got around to using last year's blackberries from the freezer, stirring them into my breakfast porridge.
I realise I didn't tell you the result from my healthy eating plan. I lost 10lbs and am still sugar-free. Yes, I eat fruit (a lot) and no, I'm not a slave to ingredients labels. But I do exercise some common sense. No gluten (that's another post - and yes, it's for health reasons); no refined carbohydrates; no night-time snacking. If I want an occasional treat I have one. But it doesn't feel like self-denial any longer.
Finally: thank you again for keep visiting. I will respond to emails as soon as I can. I'm reading other blogs whenever I get the chance. Family circumstances (with my brother) have become quite difficult of late and I'm trying to juggle full-time parenting with work deadlines but it will slacken off. Soon. Please let it be soon...
Wishing you a happy midweek and some more season-appropriate weather!