Thursday, 17 September 2015

Taking the hump

 I know it's not Wednesday anymore- it's very nearly not even Thursday anymore in this Frozen North time zone! We are, however, mostly all advocates of Wednesday Hump Day in this house. 75% of us breathe a great big sigh of relief as we come back down the other side of the week towards the weekend. Not Jo. He has the not beloved violin class on Thursday, so he doesn't breathe his sigh of relief until end of play today!
In a great display of maternal support for my younger sun, I took myself off to our craft group last night, my own sigh of relief well in place. We had a special decoupage session led by one of our members who is a passionate advocate for all things napkin covered. Jo would have loved it: a beautiful brush, a pot of glue and lots of ripping and sticking. And tea. Shame about that old violin practice...
I did include it in my medley of family life. Lots of noise, two superheroes, an airplane for my aeronautical engineer, and berries. Our home on a Wednesday, and any other day of the week. Weekend, here we come!

Monday, 14 September 2015

My grandfather's chairs

 My maternal grandfather was a docker. In those days, in that Belfast, this meant that he worked at Harland and Wolff's. Everybody's grandfather worked at H&W's, maybe even their fathers too, if you believe them. Both my father and my grandfather did really. I'm not sure that they both worked on Titanic, which everybody's male predecessors also did. That's probably an urban myth too.

I'm sure that it is another urban myth that all these men were taciturn, tattoed and emotionally reserved. It just  happens to be really true of my grandfather, though I think the tattoes dated to his Navy days in WWII. It is true that he served on the Murmansk Convoys, and I think it's true that he survived the sinking of one ship in the Indian Ocean. I wish I'd recorded all this properly.
 This was my grandfather's chair. It sat in the living room window of his house, and he sat on it, and Max the dog sat on him, and the three of them weathered into one silent character in the story of my childhood. Sometimes Max would bark. I remember one speech that my grandfather gave. He was strangely at our dining room table, railing at God for having taken his wife so young and leaving him with six children to raise alone. I imagine this is when he left the Merchant Navy and joined Harland's.

His chair came to live with us last week, because my father got himself a recliner.I must take pictures of something in our house that hasn't come from someone else.

 But not yet, because here is the only other remaining chair of my grandfather. I remember when they bought a new dining room table and chairs- made of teak, with black leather seat covers. Very modern, very expensive. The seat came to me when my aunt sold the house. It was my desk chair all through school and university. And it has trundled along through three houses since. The leather ripped long ago but it took a Jo to demand repair.
 New foam, new material- beach boy, my Jo. X really does mark the spot now.
 No longer does he need to slide about on the hooked cushion that my mother made once upon a time. Now he has my grandfather's chair at his desk whence he can go to sea too. I'm hoping that they'll survive many shipwrecks.

Friday, 11 September 2015

One Weekend



It's Friday, Friday, Friday! It took me a ridiculously substantial amount of time after going back to work five days a week to realise that I was working five days a week, and that it was thus acceptable to feel the Friday feeling. First full week back done.

There are wild strawberries up that tree out there. This is not to imply that they have no homework, oh no. But it is not raining, it is not cold and it is not yet (completely) dark and there are two very happy wild strawberries up that tree.
Did you hear David Nicholl on Bookclub this week? He was lovely. He talked about how his title for One Day would have been St Swithin's Day, but that the marketing panel had insisted on One Day. It makes me think tonight of the one weekend we have each week, and of how life moves on slightly each time we put school uniforms into the washing machine, put away the lunch-boxes and breathe.

We're breathing with Brownies tonight. The fabulous Niqi was incredibly clearing out some scales and now they live with us. As does her little black stove, which currently gives gracious home to the tomato plant and will very soon give gracious heat to homework sessions. Cooking Catherine's bread machine lives with us too. We're most accommodating here at the Meadowplace! Hospitality as a sign of the Kingdom- obedient living which Europe seems to be embracing in a much less facetious way than us.  Bon weekend x

Sunday, 6 September 2015

We're going on a Ring hunt

 What an utterly glorious day it was yesterday. Blue, blue skies; too blue for the planned excursion to an indoor trampoline paradise! We parked the car at the banks of Belfast's River Lagan and wound our way up the edge-of-farmland-path towards the Giant's Ring.
 Not to be confused with the Giant's Causeway, though we did have our own personal giant as chief guide and bag carrier.
 Can you see it? Obviously I forgot to take a better picture that wasn't covered with wild strawberries! It's  a Neolithic henge ring with the stone remains of a passage tomb. Much better pictures are here!
 You enter the ring by one of the paths cut through its huge enclosure. It's a place for dog walkers and parents of energy-filled children- there is a vast amount of unrestricted space to race across with high and unrestricted vantage points for the static!
 We picked all the ripe blackberries we could find on the way home. Not quite enough for a whole pot of jam, but Mattman is determined to make some- so we'll push through our own brambles at the back later to see what we can find. It is definitely and quite suddenly Autumn here in the Frozen North.
 And here is my disappearing coffee in Waterstone's late yesterday afternoon. I was very taken with the persevering heart x

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Happy New Year!


I have spent forty-three years of my life in the school year. So 1st September feels much more like my new start than the food-fuelled, wrapping-festooned 1st January ever does. Today the summer blue skies wrapped themselves in a thin layer of crisp chill and welcomed the new term.

Admittedly all three of us have been back in school since last week, but we had our annual leave-taking of the body-boards on Saturday and are ready for Autumn. Our suburb is already swapping green leaves for golden, and it won't be long before thick tights cover my legs at least! Homework certainly hasn't taken long to make itself comfortable at the table once more..

It's been a glorious day, indeed a glorious summer for us home and away, and I wish you all a brave, new start to your own September x