Between houses, between seasons, between different stages in life...
Apologies in advance for the many, many photos in this post. I'm currently juggling things and seem to have fallen into this pattern of posting maybe once a week and bombarding you with tons of pictures all in one go.
It's not long now until Joe turns 3. A few weeks, in fact. Which means he'll be spending three mornings a week in preschool and I'll be able to work from home during that time. In one way it'll be a relief to get on with things uninterrupted but in another way it's the end of an era. I fully intend to make the most of our time together until then and, once September comes, to enjoy our non-preschool time too.
The seasons are changing. You can feel it. And yet...
I went for a walk on Wednesday morning. Joe was at nursery and the weather was glorious. Not something we've had much of this summer. The sky was blue, the sun was out and it was wonderfully warm. So I took myself for an amble through the fields and woods, along the river and back in a loop. It only took 45 minutes or so but it was blissful.
On such a temperate day it really does feel like the height of summer. Insects buzzing, butterflies flitting about, birds singing. There are still lots of wild flowers around - mostly yellows and blues. Scabious and knapweed and vetch.
But amongst them, the haws are turning red and so are the blackberries. Hazels are ripening. Roses have become hips.
In the woods, there were plenty of webs spun between the umbellifers. They caught the sun. One of the signs of autumn, for me, is the appearance of spiders - particularly in the house. Apparently they're considered a sign of good luck.
I've become even more interested in wild flowers recently. That's probably down to my having studied them closely as part of my drawing and painting. But that process has also meant I refer to lots of books and the names and habits of these flowers fascinate me. I passed one particular field I've always admired at this time of year with its haze of blue. On closer inspection I realised the flowers are wild scabious. It's covered in them. And a week or two ago I didn't even know scabious grew wild.
Of course, the weather's cooled down since then and we've had chillier days with plenty of rain. The jumpers are back on. My salvaged Welsh blanket is across the foot of the bed.
I've noticed other signs of a seasonal shift too. At the market this morning, there were damsons and English blackberries. After we bought our fruit and vegetables we headed over to Yorkshire to our favourite garden centre. All was rich oranges and reds and pinks: rudbeckia, crocosmia, echinacea. They looked stunning with the (fleeting) sun illuminating them. And the spring bulbs are all on display too.
I came home with a punnet of greengages and some rhubarb. Crumble will be made.
Of course, we're between houses too. The electrician's in at the moment doing an unexpected and rather expensive rewire. The budget's been adjusted accordingly. It'll be a bathroom on a shoestring. Fortunately the stuff that goes in the house - furniture and objects - are the sort of things I prefer to buy second hand anyway. Finding them and bringing them home is all part of the fun.
Which leads me on to more lucky finds: another six Observer guides picked up at the charity shop for a very good price (pictured above with some new silk-covered flex for the lights - it's all about the little details, right?) If I can just get my paws on a Wild Flowers one I'll be happy. Oh, and perhaps the Geology one too...
I'm between stages in the A-Z art project as well. All the drawing work is now complete. Next: watercolours. Then getting them printed, framed and delivered to the shop where they'll be displayed and (hopefully) sold. I cannot tell you how relieved I am to have reached this point. And yes - I have been playing with wax rubbings (you can see them behind the books). Joe likes doing it too, I promise...
At the new house: a cat. With a collar which says 'I am deaf'. He/she enjoys sneaking in through open windows and getting comfy on people's beds, apparently. There are also signs of a previous feline inhabitant. And yet more objects surfacing from cupboards and goodness knows where.
The garden's been taken back to its bare bones. We've kept the birch tree (but it needs a good lopping). The twisted hazel's had a trim and looks lovely. And something called 'Sambucus Nigra' - thank you Google - is staying too. The rest: chopped down, pulled up and burnt or taken to the tip.
Suddenly our (very) little plot looks bigger. We're planning to have raised beds for fruit and vegetables. The shady border will provide a home for our hostas and fern, and we'll find other shade-lovers too. And a couple of dwarf fruit trees will be planted somewhere.
Thank you for reading yet another mammoth post. And thank you for your lovely comments (and tips). They're much appreciated. Hope you're having a lovely weekend...