My daughter tells me she learned at school there hasn’t been a May as dry as this in Scotland since before I was born in 1976.
It seems we picked a lucky time for digging a new border in the garden and moving plants around to fill it up. It’s become habit, to go out between writing and running about and be amongst plants growing right before my eyes, echoing the kids growing and changing too. This time of the teenager seems the busiest of family life yet – and possibly the most rewarding.
Want to know how #52and40 began? Come this way.
Our wee extension’s starting soon and early signs say the plants are keen on change this summer too.
We’ve imposed new garden structure by getting rid of the decrepit shed, clearing the Krugeresque brambles and waving cheerio to 9m of mixed hedge which only ever managed to look tortured, despite optimistic pruning.
A winter project which leaked into spring was a new boundary fence. With this came unexpected clarity about divvying up remaining space. Digging awaits.
Clarity’s good in these mad Brexit times (as are friends with doors which make me smile).
Want more #52and40? Click here, ye of great taste.
We saw Collateral Beauty. The film whisked me back ten years to a hell of a week. Mum had been admitted to hospital in Aberdeen with a DVT. My son had his sixth birthday party. I hadn’t organised a thing for Halloween.
The morning after cobbled together trick or treating, Mum called from hospital and gently explained she had terminal cancer.
The world stopped as grief started.
Who I’d been until then died with her and (slowly, painfully) a new gratitude for life was born. Heather 2.0. An unwanted, bittersweet fresh start.
Read more about #52and40 here.
I’m battling to feel Christmassy. The weather’s telling my senses it’s Autumn. The bagels in the cupboard and alarm clock scream that school’s still in. My diary’s saying it’s a few days before my annual crying at the song in The Polar Express which I love but will make the rest of the family roll their eyes in an agony of stretching tolerance.
YET STILL I REMAIN LARGELY SEASONALLY DEAD INSIDE.
Emergency measures are called for;
- Buble’ on Spotify
- Discussions with tiny nephew re Santa
- Deployment of horrific sweater
- Rising wine levels
Read all about #52and40 here.
I’ve never seen a Scottish Autumn and Winter as beautiful, so far, as what 2016’s given.
The beauty in these seasons is going a long, gentle way to keeping breathing through the humanity shitstorm we’ve seen happen around the world this year. It’s easier to believe we’re not all doomed when nature’s on its best behaviour.
As my own shield and sword, I’ve added focus to health and work ethic. These things help my locus of control stay internal so fear doesn’t breed with downtime to create mischief.
Everything else is weather.
More info on #52and40 here.
Internalised misogyny’s kinda like the rat who lived in our back garden. Every now and then it poked its head out of a small hole in the dry stane dyke and scared the living shit out of me (but thrilled the dog).
For soooooooo long I believed the rat was simply a large mouse. Then, faced with faecal evidence to the contrary, I spent some time simply telling myself the rat was a large mouse and willing away memories of the enormo-shits by the bird feed in the shed. Denial can be a really handy part of adjusting to an unpleasant reality, can’t it?
I did not want the rat to be as big a problem as it was – so I simplified it away and mentally minimised it to make it easier to think about. La la la la la la.
Meantime, the rat had babies and I grew unable to continue deluding myself that the big pink semi-ropes intermittently hanging out the wee wall in the garden were anything other than rat tails. Then, the sight of a rat climbing the 7ft clematis trellis turned out to be a moment even Instagram filters & wine couldn’t soften.
We are now minus a shed and a rat colony. We found out the rats were living under the decrepit, old, rotting shed (very low air miles to the bird food) so it was time for the lot to go.
I’ve talked a lot about the rat now and not so much about internalised misogyny, haven’t I? If you’d like to read me talking about internalised misogyny for reals, I’m chuffed as a rat in a slop bucket to say you can do just that on Bella Caledonia this festive season.
The season so far’s been kind in Edinburgh. Underfoot the ground’s mercifully dry and the sun seems brighter for longer than in recent years.
I’ve moved my desk to a window so I can soak up as much light as possible while I work. It’s made such a difference to feel connected with outdoors and in; from clouds, buses and birds on one side of the glass to the simple luxuries of late afternoon radiator warmth and lamp light inside. At last, I’ve found a balance that’s just right for me. Phew.
What’s #52and40 all about, Alfie? The answer’s here.