Thursday, 21 August 2014

End of August Views x

It may well be the end of August but the messy end of Hurricane Bertha that blew all over us last week just took the last vestiges of summer and tore them into rain storms! This tree is one of two or three along our school route that show Autumn first. Showing clearly today!
I say 'our school route' so easily, but actually it's only Jo's school route now. Matt won't be crossing the road with Mervyn, the fabulous patrol man, but carrying on down the main road, cutting through the university and down the little lane into Big School. So as we watch the conkers on our new-to-us chestnut tree grow and get ready to fall, this Fall will be a big one for one strawberry in particular.

Go, Matt!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Simms and Young Desk

This is the Simms and Young desk. My brother's first real job was with Simms and Young, a company at the heart of Belfast business. During his time there, cutting his teeth as an Elf in Safety, office furniture came and went. Just before the Managing Director's desk went my brother stepped in to save a small piece of Belfast's industrial heritage from landfill, and it served my mother well as a potting table, right up until my parents moved to their fabulous apartment a few months ago.
Since then the poor thing has languished in garages. The kind C stored it for us while we moved, and it has spent the past week in our garage, undergoing four evenings of what Prince Charming has been too happily describing as his affair with Annie Sloan! There were hours of sanding on the first day. Those of you expert in the current art of chalk painting will know that this was not necessary, but years of business had left the desk top patchy and uneven.
The string and the paintbrush are ours, but the ink stain in one of the drawers must have a story all its own from some office leak. I suppose business leaks now refer to quite different things!

I like the stamp inside that tells us that this desk is an Abbess 563,
and PC likes the quality of the woodwork. I like the lock. The key has gone the way of stamps and quality!
And so to Annie Sloan. Two nights of brushing two coats of her on, and one night of applying a nice, soft wax.

Followed by one night of sanding her off, and finishing with a final coat of wax. And here she is, a delight to sit at and no small motivation to get the bookshelves sorted! A happy conclusion to Prince Charming's affair...

Friday, 15 August 2014

Views, from a bigger picture

I thought that if I took Jane's Views from inside the room, I could bore you with the inside of the Meadowplace. This is the sun room. All of life ends up here. A bit like the kitchen back in Strawberry Land, except that at least now the stacks of untended crockery are hidden from view! Your eye will be caught either by the climbing wall or the bunting. This probably reveals as much about your psyche as do those facebook surveys that tell you which city you would be most at home in, what colour you would be and what sort of a job you could do. I should really be a social activist in Portland wearing blue. Of course your eye might just be caught by the mess. Try to spot the new wool instead!

Voici la cuisine, remarkably devoid of untended crockery. You should see it right now. Door right leads back into sun room; door left leads into what I'd like to call the scullery because I don't like the term utility room. But we do in fact call it the utility room. We utilise it for the washing and drying of clothes, but not really very often for the ironing thereof. Plus ca change...

I did mean to take other views, but my camera decided to have a little strike,coming round in time to show you a very wonderful present that arrived here today. Many astounded thanks to Scarlet from The Finished Article. Embroidered fraises on crisp linen. A joy! The kindness of strangers is such a beautiful aspect to blogging, I think. I would not recognise so many of you if our paths crossed on some street somewhere. We could be drinking coffee table by table! Yet here we are, checking in, catching up, smiling at the other's adventures of the day. Scarlet, you made me smile today!
So if you do find yourself at a table in a coffee shop on a street somewhere, beside a family with two boys who may or may not be sitting comfortably, if the mum is clearly grumpy and looks something like this, do say hello! (And leave quickly... )

ps I know. I keep forgetting to ring the kitchen cupboard people. Manana.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Dealing with Iraq

Prince Charming is preaching tomorrow morning. I know. He's a busy boy. He is looking at Daniel, and at believers in the face of the fiery furnace. We've been gathering email addresses all day in an attempt to do something in the face of Iraq's furnace. There's a great article here.
I would like to think I could stand firm in my beliefs faced with danger to myself. But if someone came for the boys? PC's going with slips of email addresses for those who would like them, rather than impossible rhetorical questions.
Tonight I made Brownies from my latest Annabel Karmel book. There's a woman who has my culinary level. They are particularly fine with the caramel sauce. The boys loved them. I loved them too, and the Brownies.

Friday, 8 August 2014


This is home at dusk! Boys' supper bowls still on table, DVD noise from next door. We have been reconnecting with Prince Charming who has just now fallen into bed- he arrived home this afternoon having been transatlantic to Big HQ for a three-hour meeting. His feet were in North America for twenty-four hours. He was away from home for forty-eight!

What interests me in all the disruption of back-to-back travel and also in the high cost to the company of such a short trip, is that it was clearly worth it to the project involved to have people in a room, face-to-face, reading each others' expressions, able to be fully understood and to fully understand.

Which seems ironic in this super-modern context of instant and diverse communication. I am about to log in to an on-line group to which I belong, and which I very much love. But often I dearly, dearly wish that I could be in the same real room, on the same real continent, with these women.

I wonder is blogging slightly different though. Is the marriage of words and picture a very tangible window through which we allow like-minded folk to look in on us? I don't mean the "lifestyle" blogs with huge followings and managed perspectives. I mean us. Those of us who have bumped into each other on the corner of someone else's street and said, call round!

I've been away from Blogland for ages, and am trying to reconnect. I have decided that I don't have anything particularly worthy to share with the group, but I am so deeply reassured on returning to find our years turning on their solid landmarks and seasons that I am going to pitch right back in with unending attempts to knit socks and a long list of vain sewing projects.

Though actually, it's all about boys here! So if you do call round, look out for the water balloons....

Time stands still

 Hello! Sending you all lots of love from Northern Ireland, where nothing much changes just as everything changes, as usual. Time has stood ...