Five on Friday


ONE  Our lovely hound needs a decent walk every day. My children promised us faithfully (of course they did) that they would walk a dog if we got one but they rarely do. My husband walks/runs with her when he’s home but he’s often away. So it’s mostly down to me and, to be honest, I don’t mind at all. I usually love walking her. It gets me out into our beautiful surroundings for fresh air, exercise, inspiration and thinking time, and I often walk with friends so it’s doubly good. I go out in all weathers, even if it’s a howling gale and the sort of driving rain that stings your face. This week I have donned full waterproof gear and waded through vast puddles, pushed forwards into the scarily strong winds, avoided going near to the cliff edge and been very pleased indeed to get home. So has the dog.

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TWO  Although it’s not been especially cold so far this winter, I took advantage of the January sales and ordered a 13.5-tog winter duvet. It arrived yesterday and it’s SO COSY. It’s like sleeping under a massive, soft pillow. It’s now even harder to get out of bed in the mornings.

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THREE  I am fully conversant with nutrition and healthy eating. I have edited cookery books extolling the virtues of quinoa and kale, buckwheat and beetroot. Despite all this knowledge I still sometimes go through a whole day without eating any fresh fruit or veg (tut tut). I endeavour to get as much as possible into the children but I can be quite lax when it comes to me. This morning, in an effort to eat more healthily, I made myself a big bowl of porridge topped with with a banana, flaked almonds and sunflower seeds. I did then drizzle maple syrup over the top but, hey, it’s a start. I make my porridge the traditional Scottish way – with water and a pinch of salt – which horrifies my husband. He makes his the namby pamby way with milk.

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FOUR  My daughter’s recent biology homework was to make a labelled model of a cell. It turns out she knew she had to do this before the Christmas holidays but somehow we ended up doing it at 9pm last night. She/we stuck two kitchen sponges together, held them in place with a cardboard ‘cell wall’, drew on the components and made labels with cardboard and cocktail sticks. Hey presto, a definitely home-made, simple plant cell which was Good Enough for today’s deadline. Unfortunately, it’s still on the kitchen table…
We had a frantic text exchange and I sent her a photo to show her teacher. She’s a serial leaver-behind-of-important-things and I refuse to trek into school any more.


FIVE  I couldn’t drive it over to school, even if I was so inclined, because I went to visit a friend this morning. The last time I saw this friend she was in full building-work chaos, coping with a temporary kitchen in her front room, making non-stop mugs of tea for the builders and keeping three children out of their way. But it was all totally worth it – just look at that beautiful polished concrete floor and the way the sunlight streams through the windows. While I was there, the sun moved round and bathed the sofa in warm rays and it was very tempting to curl up in the sunshine and have a little sleep.

This is the first time I’ve joined in with Amy and her Five on Friday posts. It’s nice to link with other bloggers and a neat way to present my series of random thoughts to you today. Have a great weekend.


Hints of gladness


I’ve been composing several blog posts as I’ve walked the dog this week. This is generally when I have my best thoughts but sometimes there is too much whizzing around my head to distil into something coherent and worth sharing. It’s been a random sort of week and so I’m borrowing an idea of Annie’s and I offer you this random list:

  1. Blogging – I love writing my blog and taking photographs to use in it. It’s a hugely satisfying creative process and wonderful to have a record of the garden (mostly so we can cheer ourselves up and see what progress we’ve made) and some of what goes on in my life. The icing on the cake is that people read it and leave comments. Making connections with others has been the most surprisingly lovely part of this process. And it’s been a revelation to find some wonderful blogs out there. I don’t want to be cheesy but it really has enriched my life and broadened my mind. Occasionally I’ll come across a blog that is too slick, too calculated and not for me but mostly they are a joy. One that I particularly love is Alice’s (I pinched this post’s title from her’s).
  2. School –My eldest has had a week of mock-GCSEs, which are a practise run for the real thing next May. I’d say he’s done moderate revising; he’d probably disagree. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in all-out, working-yourself-silly revision. It certainly isn’t the end of the world if he doesn’t do himself justice this time – it will give him a good idea of how much work he needs to put in before the exams that count. Even then, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he didn’t achieve top marks. I did rather badly at school (I like to think I was a late developer!) and so I’m thrilled that my children seem to be taking after their father.
  3. Hospital – My mum had one of her hips replaced on Tuesday and she came home last night. How amazing is that?! We were all rather anxious beforehand and now we are all very relieved. It is such a privilege to live in a country that provides such high-quality health care to its citizens. The busy hospital staff were fantastic and they looked after her very well but she is delighted to be home. Home is the best place to recover.
  4. Fat – Did you know that fat is back? I knew that olive oil was good for me but lard, dripping and butter? Yep. Apparently so. Proper science has proved it. Avoid sunflower oil and corn oil if you can. This BBC Radio 4 Food Programme will tell you more. Oh, and keep your oils in a dark cupboard. Heat and sunlight change their composition and release bad karma, or something…
  5. Adverts – It’s the time of year when Christmas tv adverts are ‘released’. Since when did this become an event? These ads have become mini-art forms. Having said that, I did watch the John Lewis one this morning and it brought a lump to my throat. It is quite beautiful – child notices lonely man in the moon and tries to get in touch – do watch it. It’s no bad thing for a major retailer to have a conscience and raise awareness for a charity campaign and it certainly made me wonder whether there is anyone near me who feels such loneliness. Human contact is so essential to our wellbeing. That and a good cup of tea.

On that note, I’m off to put the kettle on. Have a lovely weekend.