There really could be only one word for this week – “space”. Although, for the record, “gloves” came pretty close, as I’m knitting my second pair of the week.
But space wins. The children have been on half term break this week. Of course it rained. For the first half, at any rate. By the time they had exhausted their usual non-screen pastimes such as drawing, reading and torturing each other, they started perfecting their “at a loose end” look. So I reeled off a list of ideas, until one of them sprang on my suggestion of jigsaw puzzles.
Now, I imagined they’d go for a quick 100 piece jigsaw. One that could be done in one sitting, allowing them even more time to work on the “I’ve nothing to do and why is it still raining?” look. No. I was wrong. 1000 pieces. Then another child joined in, bringing out a 500 piece puzzle. Before I knew it, I lost my kitchen table under a sea of little bits of coloured cardboard that could not be touched by anyone else and had a tendency to jump over the table edges, as if on a mission to experience the wild and break free from the herd.
The 500 piece jigsaw took two days, but was quickly replaced by another 1000 piece jigsaw. The table was now covered with 2000 pieces. How they are not muddling up puzzles, I do not know. I cannot vacuum in case I permanently lose pieces and this jigsaw situation never ends.
We’ve been eating our meals on our laps. Three or four days. I’ve lost count. If only I had extended the table before they began. I’ve started to help. In a desperate attempt to eat at the table tonight. (Also because I cannot resist a puzzle)
There is a small part of the table not taken over by puzzle pieces. It is covered in text books instead. I kept this week clear on purpose. Eldest is on countdown for her GCSE exams and I wanted to give her space to revise. Started slow, but she is beginning to find a rhythm. She has a dedicated table upstairs, but prefers to be downstairs in the midst of it all.
I love having them home. I really do. I know there will be a time when half terms will mean nothing to me. I wonder if I will look back fondly at the days when the pantry and fridge doors seemed to be opened every five minutes? The cry of “what can I eat?” filled the air. I swear they time growth spurts for the holidays. Meal dishes are almost licked clean, much to the Pups disappointment.
Also, this holiday, fuel for hours of revising is required, I am told.
I have healthy treats and a full fruit bowl for them, but a freezer full of easy to cook nutritious snacks is crucial too. The two eldest are old enough now to pop snacks in the Aga without
bothering needing me.
My freezer is full. Half of it is fruit from the summer still. An easy way to win more space was to bake an apple pie. A healthy snack, as well as space for quick meals. I win!
That is my week. Space was at a premium. It has to be my #wotw.
There is something about putting the first seeds of the year into their own pot of earth that seems to proclaim that the new growing season has finally begun. Trumpet fanfare, please. In my head, I look at these pots and can see a plant bearing beautiful red fruit, ready to be picked and eaten. I can smell the warm fragrance.
The sun came out for the first time this half term, so we headed up to the potting shed. And then back again. A wee bit too cold still. Not to be defeated, I set up a temporary seed area in the house. Little pots of dirt, labelled and covered. A promise of homegrown food. I cannot wait.
I had help. I finished knitting her fingerless gloves last night, so I think she was that little bit more willing to brave the colder temperature. The second glove took me only one evening to knit, which could be a record for me.
In any case, she helped. I love getting the children involved in gardening. Seems like a life skill they should have before they leave home. I see my legacy as an inability, on their part as adults, to start spring without a row of seed pots, sitting on a windowsill. Watching for the first signs of green breaking through the surface. Maybe comparing notes via email. Whose tomatoes appeared first? Produced the most? Wonderful meals shared together, in the future.
I can but hope.
In the meantime, I’ll encourage them to help. To learn how. To dream.
I’m not sure if they will ever take over the fingerless glove knitting. Maybe I need to knit a trunk full of gloves just in case, so they always have some available. You know. After I’m gone. Images of them visiting the trunk of gloves in an attic, to select a new pair each year, would tickle me pink.
So back to the present. Here’s to a good growing season this year, and glorious homegrown food again. Yum.
Joining in with Deb’s #keepingitreal linky. First one today. Whoo Hoo! Come and join in.
It’s been very tempting to head back down my burrow again, this week. Cold weather. Demands on my time. Too long a to-do list. To counteract the urge, I’ve given myself time to be creative and be outside. It’s worked.
Over the weekend, I made my Cleo dress (for non-dressmakers, such as my husband, yes, some dress patterns have names. It’s not me being quirky – this time).
While I sewed, jobs around the house were put on hold. Meals were simple affairs such as pizzas, with extra toppings, thrown in the oven. I was able to start and finish the project in next to no time. Within 24 hours. A satisfying feeling.
Next up, I knitted a pair of gloves from the left over purple yarn. When I started, these were meant to be for me. Not for long. Once my youngest tried on the first finished glove, that was it. He wore it for the rest of the day. They were referred to as his gloves before I knew it and he paid keen interest to when the other one would be finished. So finished I did. A surprisingly big hit with him, as he actually wears them to school.
I’ll have to make some more for me.
Creating something that goes straight into daily use is good for my soul. My new Cleo dress has been worn a few times. Sometimes when I make something, it takes a while for me to feel comfortable wearing it. Not with the Cleo. I could live in it from the start.
It was also fun to use my creativity to set up a themed American diner evening this week. In the short time I had to set it up, I had fun and I know the children enjoyed it too. A good reminder for me that it doesn’t take much to turn the ordinary into something memorable.
Not that I’ve been the only creative one. The children’s music practise is much easier on the ears now a days. I’m grateful for them sticking to it for all these years. Honestly, listening to them play recognizable pieces as they work towards their grades is a real pleasure.
For all you parents out there, listening to plink, plank, plonks and screech, screech at the early stages of musical instrument learning – hold on in there. There is a glorious light at the end of the tunnel, that is worth waiting for.
Getting outside has also helped me fight the urge to burrow.
Wednesday we woke to a thin layer of snow. Not enough to cover the garden. More as a lacey offering. We’ve escaped the snow this winter, compared to the rest of the country, so this made a pleasant change. After dropping youngest off at school, I took my camera out into the garden.
As I wandered around the winter neglected garden, I became aware of something small fluttering in the trees beside me. Took me a few minutes before I could make out a tiny goldcrest, scutterling around and around the closely packed branches of our holly tree. It had a totally different perspective of the tree to me. It saw corridors where it could fly and hop. I saw a tree. I couldn’t help watching its progress. Giving me a fresh perspective.
This week has been restorative. In simple ways. It would have been easy to disappear back into my winter burrow again, but I’ve had a few wonderful moments to restore my soul that make me glad I didn’t.
Joining in with #wotw with the word “Restore”. What word sums up your week?