3BT – first spring, slick, the answer

1. (I sort-of mentioned this on Clare’s blog the other week but I’ve not mentioned it here yet so…) Where we lived in Leeds, it was green — the lawns of the park, the trees of the woods leading down to the canal — but north facing houses & gardens meant no flowers, no colour, permanent shade. Here, as I walk along the road, there are cheerful spring flowers, vibrant bedding plants, delicate tree blossoms and surprising wild blooms. The cottages with their cottage gardens, hanging baskets against stained black stone. A single red tulip. Next door’s garden spilling out through their front gates. It feels like the first spring in nearly a decade.

2. The pink meat falls heavily to kiss its own reflection in the glossy marinade.

3. It seems so obvious after we try it – why hide awkwardly in the corner when we can float in the middle of the room?

3BT – t-shirt weather, beg you hear our play, pink again

1. For the second day in a row, we head out for a walk unencumbered by jackets or jumpers. The dog is in the beck more than out. The stretch of pasty skin between my trainers & my (long) shorts is spattered with mud by the time we return home.

2. They look at each other, giggling and showing off the details of their newly-finished costumes. Suddenly, after months of rehearsals, it all seems rather real.

3. I return home to find he still looks green – I always thought that was an exaggeration but he’s actually green-tinged. The boiled eggs and soldiers finally turn him pink again.

3BT – view, perfectly dressed, funderwear

1. At the top of the first rise, we’re surprised by the view – hills and houses in the sunshine.

2. She might only be walking the dog but she’s wearing a beautiful sundress and her lipstick matches her shoes.

3. Consumed by childish glee, he comes down to the kitchen in his underwear to show off that his red-stripy pants match his socks.

Four beautiful things from the weekend


1. We walk further into West Wood that we’ve done before and come across high cliffs of rock with dangling ivy floating in the breeze; a dead tree snapped in half; a precarious overhang.

2. The garage at the end of the road (which, strangely, sells some of the best samosas I’ve ever eaten) has installed a slushie machine – two flavours: raspberry and strawberry. I text John to tell him and he replies: “we’ll look back on this as our diabetic summer.”


3. We sit on the balcony in the sun, waiting. I don’t hear the doorbell but the dog does and we all race to welcome John home.

4. There isn’t quite enough room but I join them on the sofa anyway and watch the film from underneath his arm.

3BT – happy hug, fungal find, pleasing polish

1. Carla purrs loudly: an early morning hug on the bed and in the sun. She doesn’t even care that the dog is on the other side of the bed: hugs, bed, sun – it’s all good.

2. I can’t remember what drew my attention first – the vivid orange of the rotting wood or the sight of a giant fungus growing on the dead stump – but I call Lily to go cross country (downhill between the two main paths) so we can check it out. The orange wood easily pulls away in chunks and is spongy to the touch. The giant fungus is hard – last year’s growth. Then out of the corner of my eye, I spot something more interesting – a twig dangling down, caught on two small branches, covered with coral-crested fungus. From a distance, it looks as tactile and solid as actual coral but it’s more delicate than that – each branch is flat, 2-D like it’s papercraft art.

3. The plasterers have gone but their dust remains throughout the house. It’s so thick and pervasive that I sometimes forget it’s there: assuming the whole world is just matte and dulled. Then I polish the shelves, the soon-to-be-fitted alcove units, and the grey turns into glossy conker brown. Colour and shine will return.

3BT – fighting it, warmth, perfect combination

1. Since she came to live with us a week ago, Lily has fought a constant battle against sleep during the day – she’s exhausted but there is a slim possibility that something exciting might happen (and everything we do is exciting at this stage) so she wants to keep watching us just in case. Slowly though, her eyes give in and the muscles around her eyes twitch as they relax. It reminds me of the time I watched my lovely boy Carbon fall fast asleep.

2. I think about lighting the stove to recreate the loveliness that was last Sunday afternoon but instead, we head out inside. After a morning of sunshine, the metal of the balcony is warm underfoot. I eat my lunch while the cats and dog sunbathe around me.

3. The cheese – a mature but creamy cheddar – is perfect on the jacket potato. The Tommy flakes* in the tuna are a hit too.

* A selection of spices supplied in a ready-to-use grinder by our friend Tom. The plan is that from his base selection, we’ll involve our own mix then pass some back to him, and so on – the spice mix evolving as our tastes change over time. Our current Tommy flakes mix is garlicky and salty, but with a spicy kick too.