Blustery walks, not much gardening and a birthday

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I’ve not posted an awful lot recently (apart from joining in with In a Vase on Monday) – a mild case of blogger’s block, if you like. Life has been trundling along pleasantly: the mock exams are over (results so far are encouraging), my mum is making steady progress following her op and we’re in the groove of a routine. Well, we were, before my middle child broke a foot playing rugby on Sunday (during his second match for a local team), so I temporarily have an hour’s round trip to drive him to school to add to my day. Negotiating all the steps at the train station in a scrum of school children wouldn’t be ideal and I’m a softie. Hey ho.

Today the sun is (was) shining and Storm Barney – the rather inappropriately cuddly name given to the latest storm to batter the UK – has calmed down a little. It’s still very breezy indeed but it is possible to walk along the clifftops without worrying about a gale force wind pushing you flat on your face.

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It is tricky to hold the phone steady to get a horizontal horizon in the wind.
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Can you see Cassie staring into the hedge (mid-bottom-left of photo)? Our wouldn’t-say-boo-to-a-goose dog caught a rabbit here last week. Ever since, when we walk down this lane, she’s made a bee-line to the same spot and stared intently to check for more rabbits. Thankfully there haven’t been any.

I’ve been rather slack on the gardening front recently. We did manage to clear the strawberry bed of rooted runners and weeds last weekend, though. There are now over 30 baby strawberry plants tucked in here and there to settle in over the winter. A few of the parent plants were actually flowering and one was even sporting a large white strawberry. Weird. There’s still quite a bit of clearing and cutting back to do outside before winter properly sets in. Amazingly (to me), I’m STILL picking raspberries, freezing some, making small batches of jam and scoffing the rest. At this rate, they could be fruiting into December. Is that normal?

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Me and my boy, winter 1999.

My first-born is now a broad-shouldered, 6ft man-child – opinionated, argumentative, handsome, kind, infuriatingly contrary, loving, hilariously funny and very, very nearly 16. It’s his birthday tomorrow. We’ll be having a fairly low-key, family celebration as he doesn’t want a big fuss. When I say low-key, I mean no big house-party. He knows not to even ask. I can quite clearly remember 16th birthday parties from my youth and he’s been to friends’ parties and seen what happens and doesn’t want the responsibility of anything like that happening here! There will still be plenty of cake (chocolate, of course), candles and presents. We will be making a fuss of him, that’s for sure. I can see his eyes rolling now…

My youngest is also very excited because, once this birthday is over she can start talking about Christmas!