Bank holiday, bluebells and baking

Since David has been working away from home during the week, weekends have had a slight air of urgency-bordering-on-frantic-rush about them. There is so much to fit in that we’re often frazzled, with little time left over for relaxed conversations, making plans or spending time together (forget ‘quality’ time, just time), so a bank holiday weekend is a treat. We can luxuriate in an extra day – time for a relaxed coffee and chat together, for long family meals, for a dog walk together, and wandering around the garden and pottering. Today is a grey and drizzly day but I don’t care; Saturday and Sunday were gloriously sunny and we spent plenty of time outdoors. Frankly it’s nice to have an excuse not to be in the garden digging out stumps and lugging rocks around, which is what we had planned to do today. I’m glad to have a rest.

There’s an ancient wood near here which is full of bluebells and wood anemones at this time of year. It’s a magical place to visit (even when there are no bluebells) and is a favourite place of ours. We walked the dog there yesterday morning – the sunlight filtered through the branches, birdsong was all around and the smell was divine. Breathing big lungfuls of spring air, scented by spring flowers, surrounded by glorious nature – there is nothing quite like it. Sorry if you’re fed up of seeing photos of bluebells; I’ve seen quite a few on other blogs and on Instagram but I never tire of them.

I also made time to do a little baking in honour of the long weekend; I love to bake but have to be in the mood. I made Nigella’s Victoria Sponge (from How to Eat) but substituted 30g best cocoa powder for 30g of the flour, thus making it into chocolate cake, and added a simple choc fudge icing. It got a big thumbs-up from the boys. The stars for me, though, were the Rhubarb and Lemon Scones I made to use up the few stalks of rhubarb pulled on Saturday (recipe from this blog which sadly seems to have disappeared). I doubled the quantities given and can vouch for their more-ishness.

Thank you so much for your kind comments about my girl’s knee situation – it is getting better and she’s off the crutches; I’m sure she’ll be dancing and trying out her pointe shoes in the next week or so. As for football, she’s determined that she’ll carry on. Family life… Gosh, it has it’s ups and downs, doesn’t it? I’m struggling a bit with how best to deal with my eldest at the moment. His GCSEs start in under three weeks and I keep walking into rooms to find him sprawled out and on his phone, or taking him a mug of tea when I think he’s hard at work only to find he’s gone back to bed. It’s so exasperating! I know I’ve banged on about this before… He is doing some work but he’s taking an enormously relaxed approach to the whole thing. He tells me there’s no use in him revising for pointless exams because the world could end tomorrow (hmm), or he tells me how stupid it is to make 16-year-olds do exams and the government is crazy and the system is bonkers (he could have a point). Sigh. All I want is for him to do himself justice so he’ll have as much choice as possible in the future. I wonder what to do for the best but, for now, I’ve decided to back off. I know things could be a lot worse.

My boy is still inside this crotchety 16-year-old, though. Last week he called me into the kitchen where both cats were in a stand-off. One of them had brought in a very cute mouse, I’m fairly sure it was a field mouse, which was sitting statue-like between them, not moving a whisker. We managed to shoo the cats outside and get the mouse into a box – I think the poor thing was stunned with fright but it wasn’t obviously injured. He carried it carefully down the road to let it loose in the field and came home to report that he’d waited to see that the mouse was ok and watched until it had scurried off into the undergrowth. That is my boy.