[ribbons by Laura Foster Nicholson]
Real life is claiming me. Real people, real conversations, real books, real colour, real making, real dirty, muddy hands. It's not that what I do here isn't really meaningful to me, it's just that there are phases when I can't drag or force myself to the computer to blog. And if I can't do it with gusto and willingness, it doesn't work. (For me, anyway; I see there is yet another 'why can't people be honest and show us the whole of their lives instead of just the nice, pretty bits' conversation taking place amongst bloggers, but I'm afraid I made my mind up long ago, and am sticking to my original decision that this is a tidy, colourful, and generally positive corner of my world).
Instead of writing about doing, I've been doing.
:: I am on a greenhouse mission and now have trays and pots of cosmos, marigolds, nasturtiums ready to plant in the spots we've cleared in the garden. I have grown sweet peas, morning glory, black-eyed Susan, and cup and saucer plants (cobaea scandens) which are all healthily rampant and climbing madly indoors and out. There are dahlias in pots for planting out today, now that it's warmed up, and there are lilies inside to avoid the disgusting lily beetle. The greenhouse smells very greenhousey due to the unmistakable, pungent aroma of the many tomato plants, and there are chillis, basil, and lots of geraniums to add more smells and colour. It also has a radio, plenty of watering cans to trip over, and sense of calm. It's already pretty much as I imagined it would be: rather messy and earthy, not at all fancy, and getting fuller by the day.
:: I'm writing a second quilting book which will be published next year. I like writing quilt books enormously; it's wonderful to be able to immerse myself in fabric, textures, colour and to sort, and cut, and play, and sew, and to call it work. It also keeps me away from the computer.
:: I have family around all day, every day, which is quite unusual after years of being alone at home during the school terms. Phoebe is on study leave (you wouldn't believe how long this is) and is more than half way through her GCSEs. She claims I distract her, but I have to say she's a welcome distraction for me when she bounces into my study and virtually demands to be distracted from the Cold War, coastal erosion, and Spanish verbs. Alice works in batches of very long days and then has odd times off, often weekdays. And Tom is due home from university for a long summer holiday after a very good first year (it all turned out well there); although he'll be working, he'll be here a good deal. So the house is full, and I'm enjoying the company. It won't be long before it's very quiet again.
:: I'm reading books. James M Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity are both brilliantly dark and twisted), F Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby which I felt I should re-read ahead of the coming Gatsby mania - I admire it but I can't say it's the best American novel of the C20 etc as I fail to connect with the characters), Margery Allingham (Mystery Mile because it's set on Mersea Island which I plan to visit). And the very entertaining and informative Underground, Overground by Andrew Martin which has made me want to visit quite a few Tube stations. Sad, but true. Now I'm onto Barnaby Rudge and wondering once again why it's so underrated.
:: Then there's radio to do (BBC Radio Berkshire), wine tastings, friends to see, swim and walk with, meals to eat and rubbish TV to watch as a family, and lazy moments in the garden. Real, full, interactive, noisy life which I love.