Time off

I hope you had a lovely Easter. It took me by surprise – usually there’s a bit of a lead up but this year the children broke up from school and the next day was Good Friday. Luckily the weekend was a low-key affair; just the five of us at home with no pressure to do anything special. There was some gardening, quite a bit of baking and walking, and a lot of loafing about eating and watching tv (catching up on The Night Manager which is absolutely brilliant so far, haven’t finished it yet, no spoilers please!).

My eldest son’s GCSEs are looming (they start in May), so he is spending some time each day revising. It’s taken some ‘discussion’ and sitting down together to draw up a big calendar (plotting the Actual Exams; “Yes, they really are happening”) to get to this state of affairs. No amount of us giving him the benefit of our wisdom in these matters has helped. He’s had to come round to the decision that revision is probably A Good Thing all by himself. Frankly, I’m finding the whole thing rather exhausting already.

It’s not been all work and no play, though. The highlight of the Easter break so far has been a trip to see The Making of Harry Potter exhibition for our daughter’s belated birthday treat. It was completely fascinating to see behind the scenes and the incredible detail of all the props and scenery. What blew me away was that every painting, every tapestry and wall-hanging that you see in Hogwarts was created specially for the films. There was a huge team of artists, graphic designers, model-makers, make-up artists and costumiers. Every item of the wizarding world – the money, the newspapers, the packaging – was specially designed and made. You also get to see the mind-blowing, intricate animatronics of the magical creatures. My daughter loved it all. Apart from the enormous model of Aragog the giant spider; she’s not so fond of spiders. Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, I highly recommend it.

Back to the real world, in the garden we’ve made a start on a couple of the lower levels to the front of the house. We’ve been mulling over what to do with this part of the garden since we moved here. We’re still not entirely sure but we’ve decided to clear it all first. There’s nothing here that we love or even particularly like, so everything is going – all the mature, bramble-infested specimen plants are for the chop. A drastic decision but it will make the the whole area easier to rejig and fill with plants that we do love. The chain saw has been in action, a pick-axe has been wielded and we’ve had a bonfire. My mother-in-law (a force of nature when it comes to Getting Stuff Done) has come to help and thus huge progress is being made. More on this and pictures next time… Have a lovely weekend.