Based on the Three Beautiful Things project by Clare Law, I try to write about three pleasant things from my day.

3BT – garden/not tea/healthy/hurt less/A’s tail, new opportunity, hot sauce

1. A day in the garden – tending to seedlings in the morning then in the afternoon, weeding the paved bits and tidying up the pots on the balcony and office level. It’s a good day for it – nice but not too hot.

1b. I separate out the seedlings’ roots by soaking them in a bowl of water. (The bowl is one of my first attempts at sgraffito – nice little bowls but the glaze inside didn’t work out, so they’ve been relegated to the garden.) The seedling soil makes a lighter mud than compost and turns the water a particular beige — twice I mistake it for a cup of tea.

1c. The fruit bushes all look healthier than I remember them in previous years: lots of new growth and bright green leaves. Their compatriot trees are full of blossom and in fine leaf too. I don’t know if it’s just another year of growth or a quirk of the spring weather but either way, it looks like we’ll have a good crop this year.

1d. I get nettle stings in my bum crack (thanks to my baggy shorts and lack of belt). The beautiful thing is that they hurt less than the ones on my hands.

1e. A-cat from next door pads the top of the fence while John tickles her head. She has a magnificent tail.

2. Our neighbour (for the next fortnight) R tells me about the opportunity he’s been offered and seems to talk himself into it as we chat. It sounds great – perfect for him at this stage in his new career – and I’m jealous of his opportunity to be part of something bigger, to help make something that’ll last.

3. A couple of drops of hot sauce liven up the leftover enchiladas.

3BT – potato cakes, birch/capsize/swim swim swim, together

1. Potato cakes with a little butter and a lot of pepper, with a nice sharp cheese.

2. The perfect – but petite – silver birch in the car park.

2b. Since I could feel the aftermath of the first week’s capsizes on my sinuses for a couple of days afterwards, I’m a bit apprehensive about practising them this week. My new nose clip does its job though and I feel far more comfortable as I slither out from underneath the boat.

2c. I say “swim swim swim” rather than do it.

3. We throw together a quick dinner – working together to stir and chop veg – and it’s delicious.

3BT – rapped lunch, meow, petrichor/socks

1. A going-stale baguette inspires both our lunch plans and a rap to explain said plans to John. It rhymes “to say” with “today”, and “salami” with “tummy”. It is *Q*U*A*L*I*T*Y*. (It was this “good”, though this is just a tribute: “Q, to the U, to the A, L I T, Y my rhymes are ace, they are quality”.)

2. Kaufman comes into the office and meows a quiet hello. As it’s the first time I’ve seen him today, I tell him that wasn’t good enough and on cue, he meows again, louder.

3. The smell of the rain floats in through the window.

3b. Packing away our winter socks.

3BT – whipped up/washing/distractions from reading, cooking, dude.

1. Our garden is usually very sheltered, particularly near the house, but today the breeze whips around me as I hang out the washing in the sun. Above the chemical scent of the washing powder, I catch more natural aromas – the garlic from the woods, light perfumes from early flowers and the smell of the sunshine – warm skin, warm stone.

1b. Baskets full of warm dry washing.

1c. It’s too hot to read in the sun for too long – when I transfer to the shady step, Blacksy the chicken hops down to investigate my drink. Strange sits nearby in the half shade of the heuchera leaves and Tilda minkles past us all on her way into the woods.

2. I’m busy at the sink so the chicken turns golden brown before I can stir it. The smell – chicken, garlic and cumin – makes me drool.

3. I am rarely succinct but I do like a well placed, standalone “dude.” when the situation calls for it.

3BT – plot/uncover/weather/growth, two songs, negative swap

1. The sun – and the pending plot inspection – has brought everyone down to the allotments. This means I do nearly as much talking as weeding but I still get a lot of the latter done. I must pull up about a hundred dandelions (a good portion of which I bring home for the chickens).

1b. To uncover things I’d forgotten planting (the onions at the top of Plot 12) and to free the strawberries from the clutter of bittercress and grass – the plants had looked rather pathetic over the winter but now they’re green and strong.

1c. I have to work in the shade – it’s too hot in the sun. I think how much has changed in a week: last weekend, we were in long johns, woolly hats and gloves at Kielder but today I’m baking in just a vest top.

1d. When I close the greenhouse for the evening, the lettuce seedlings stand out to me – they must have grown more than a centimetre, nearly an inch, over the day.

2. The sunny day has brought people down to the pub as well. John sings two songs: he’s nervous and flubs a few lines but I’m probably the only one who notices.

3. Under the guidance of my new style guru (my friend K’s six year old son), I paint my nails on one foot in a rich orange and the other in turquoise blue. I take a photo to show him and discover that a negative filter perfectly swaps the colours.

3BT – mario maker, swapped around/walk/found before/whoosh, farce/confident kitty

1. I remember how well designed Mario Maker is as a game: how it drip feeds new tiles and modes, the pleasant sounds evoking the item, and the level demolition using a rocket launcher.

2. The cats are in the coop and the chickens are in the garden.

2b. We go for a walk around the woods – a walk John and I haven’t done for a month or so. In that time, trees have fallen, mud has dried and the wild garlic has carpeted the beck’s banks.

2c. Just as everyone is getting tired, we find the geocache. No one else can remember finding it before but I hunt through the papers until I spot our names – a list, ending with “and Lily the dog” visited this spot in March 2013.

2d. The constant whoosh of cars along the Ring Road.

3. Our Saturday nights often involve a fair amount of computer related farce but this one is a classic: too small USB keys, incompatibilities, write permission errors, too slow wireless, too short wires, and finally the discovery that the wire we’re using wasn’t spare after all. We laugh.

3b. N-cat has really grown in confidence since we last saw him. He’s no longer the fraidy cat skulking down the corridor and instead sits at our feet and accepts tickles with joy. I prophesise that next time we visit, he’ll be sleeping on O’s face.