Oh to picnic!

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 | home, weekend | No Comments

Sat on a Gatwick Express train, gently swaying through the countryside, all around is green but looking decidedly murky. Today has been muggy, particularly so. There have been glimpses of sunshine in Shoreditch, but mostly it has been threatening a downpour that so far hasn’t come. It is June but this year this gloomy weather does not surprise me.

It does, however, make me long for a picnic. A good, old fashioned, picnic. I yearn for a thick tartan blanket, with slight hints of cat hair. There will be a trestle table that someone has used for wallpapering, with a clean, white tablecloth to cover it. Someone will have brought folding chairs, canvas ones that you sit in momentarily and then fear you may never get out of. There will be cushions, old ones that “don’t matter if they get grass stains”. They will get grass stains. At one side there will be a large umbrella, for shade, that looks like it might blow away in the slightest breeze – someone will try to anchor it.

Ice will be melting around cold bottles of beer and sparkling wine (we may have even splashed out on Real Champagne). There will be sandwiches of all varieties, to suit both carnivores and vegetarians. Smoked mackerel pate, sausage rolls, Camemberthamroastchickensaladscotcheggs…  We’ll be tearing at french sticks, smearing them in slightly warm butter and dropping crumbs everywhere. The seagulls will approve.

And this glorious picnic, this glorious day of lounging on grass and flicking off insects, will descend into the beautifulness that is being half-cut on a summer’s day. There will be giggles, and short barking shouts of amusement. Someone will fall over, they’ll have grass stains too. Fingers sticky with strawberry juice will reach for sparkling water in an effort to keep hydration levels up, this will be a half-hearted attempt and a quick guzzle will soon polish off  what’s left. Pimms will be called for. And we will smile, and tell stories, and moan and complain about the usual little things that make us irritable. We’ll get slight sunburn, but none of us will think to shelter under the umbrella. It will be a splendid day and we will be happy.

So June, please do buck up. You see, I’ve got the plan all sorted.

Packing up and moving on

Friday, August 1st, 2008 | home | No Comments

Instead of spending my Friday night in the pub, I’m knee deep in bags and boxes, packing up the most important things in my flat.  A year and nine months on and I’m moving out, leaving the fantastic wallpaper behind and settling in a couple of hundred yards down the road with Tom.

I’ve spent the last two hours sorting through my wardrobes and realising how many clothes I have that I simply never wear.  Of course, this would be the perfect opportunity to throw things out, and I have made a bit of a dent but I’m hanging on to what is a terrifingly large amount of jeans and jumpers because, quite frankly, you can never have enough of them.

Next up is the kitchen, I’m quite determind to hang on to a large amount of kitchen implements too.  You may be starting to suspect that I’m finding it quite difficult to let go of “my stuff”, and you could be right.  I however, have a perfectly good reason for this.  My stuff is just plain better!  Well, I might get away with that for some things anyway.

Despite the hoards of boxes and the prospect of deciding over which iron irons best, which kettle boils fastest and which toaster you can fit more bread into, I’m really looking forward to moving.  I will miss my little flat.  Unlike my last house, I’m the only person who’s lived her.  And it’s all mine, my first mortgage.  I was somewhat apprehensive at first, a mortgage means that you’re old, finally grown up.  In all honesty though it’s been no different to paying rent.  Well, except I suspect a landlord wouldn’t let me get away with chinese dragon wallpaper.  I shall be keeping hold of it though and renting it out for the foreseeable future and so can still call it “my little flat”.

Once I’ve got the kitchen packed, I’m going sit back and spend the rest of the evening bathing in the nostalgia, spending what could well be my last night here.  I shall settle down with a cold one, lie back on the sofa and trawl through the memories, before stepping on to the next adventure.

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Friday, March 2nd, 2007 | home | 2 Comments

With a couple of early nights under my belt and finally having the wallpaper up in the sitting room (thanks Mum!), I am finishing the week in a much better mood than I started. I find myself curled up on the sofa, yet again watching rain splash against the windows, but with the whole weekend ahead of me. The lovely Donovan & Sam, just back from Australia, will be visiting this evening along with upstairs neighbours Lyndsey & Owen. Then tomorrow is Ikea followed by Amy and Em’s party whilst Sunday I intend to spend nestled somewhere quiet with a book and my boy.

Top most on my mind this afternoon though, is the news that the entire back of the building needs to be re-rendered as the current rendering has blown. This is hardly surprising; the maintenance so far seems to have consisted only of patching up cracks rather than dealing with the problem properly. It’s not an entirely unexpected development, but one that leaves me clutching at my wallet and wondering just how much it will cost. Perhaps replacing the kitchen will need to be put on hold for a while. But this work does need to be done, if the builder who looked at the building today is anything to go by, it hasn’t been for the past forty years! It’ll save time and money in the long term, but means that I won’t be decorating the bedroom just yet. There is damp coming in through the wall and I want to wait until any work is done before I start on that room.

So as I look up at my new wallpaper, and marvel as its lovely iridescence, I’m fully aware of just how much I will appreciate having one room done. It may be a long while yet before I can do anymore.

home and dry

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 | home | No Comments

Today is a day when it’s good to be home and dry. I can hear the rain lashing against the windows, watch the drops run down, glistening in the streetlight and all the while hear the gentle tick of the radiators warming up. Zack, who is a bear of much sense, is nestled on a cushion next to me, occasionally opening his eyes to give me a look before stretching out a paw and letting his chin fall back into place.

I have found myself thinking more often of living in the countryside over the past few weeks. This evening is one I can imagine being perfectly spent in front of an open fire, watching the flames crackle and snap whilst knowing full well that the downpours continue on the other side of the walls. The church bells I can hear ringing from St Peters I imagine are from a village church, nestled between yew hedges with a graveyard full of stones bearing barely legible epitaphs.

It is fortunate that I have nothing planned for the evening but to cook lasagne and curl up on the middle of my sofa, cushions and blankets and bears at the ready with an Agatha Christie or P D James and nothing to interrupt but Mr Zack’s slow purr. I have prescribed this night of self-indulgence to help ease the melancholy that has slipped over me for the past week or so. I shall refuse to let the grey clouds past the windows, instead basking in the soft light and tempting smells of browning mince and garlic.


Friday, December 22nd, 2006 | christmas, home | No Comments

I’ve wrapped all the presents, I’ve put up the tree, I’ve put the tree up again once the cats had knocked it down, I’ve cleared the dust and cleared more dust from the plasterers and I’ve finished work until next year.

Tomorrow I’m going to pick up the joint of wild boar ready for marianading. I will
do this for approx 48 hours with red wine, ginger, chilli, bay leaves, garlic and onion and will also use this mix as a baste whilst I slow roast it on Monday. I’m then going to make the Biscuit Tortoni for the dessert, a frozen mixture of sherry, cream and biscuit that was my favourite for a number of years. I’m really looking forward to cooking again, having not had time to make anything resembling a proper meal for weeks now. The days of catching up on our working day over the oven have been few and far between and I’ve really missed the joy I get from concocting something heavenly.

I’m so looking forward to relaxing for the next week and a half. Christmas Day will be lovely and relaxed, and after that we’re off to Mum & Dad’s for Boxing Day. Lyndsey and I are off to the ballet on Wednesday evening and that is all I have planned until New Years Eve. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that I don’t need to do anything for days on end.


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