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

3BT – attic room/paintings, cluckers/clacking, excitement of winning/goofy/loud

1. Clearing the floorspace makes the whole room look much tidier. If I turn my back to the huge amount of crap piled up (albeit quite neatly) under the sloping roof, the room looks rather respectable for once. The bedding is also freshly clean, with just a hint of lavender and rosewood.

1b. Yesterday the paint smelled like school; today, dry, covering A2 sheets and in a stack, it looks like school as well. Considering I didn’t like art at school, this still manages to conjure up a vague happiness – possibly because it evokes memories from before art was art, when it was just drawing, painting and having fun.

2. Everyone wants to see – but not get too close to – the chickens.

2b. The clack of Lego.

3. He picks up the controls very quickly and is soon jumping up and down as he beats John round after round (and John isn’t really going easy on him at all).

3b. I dance a goofy Louisa-dance while they watch me through the night vision lens.

3c. After we’ve read through the book twice (once looking at the pictures in the book, once looking at them in his mind), I read my history magazine while waiting for him to go to sleep. The pages crunch and scrape loudly when I turn them so I force myself to read slowly so I don’t need to turn them so often.

3BT – poster paint/blocks, #catatpollingstation, cake

1. The poster paint smells like school, the too bright colours swirl together before blending.

1b. I paint some boxes to look like Minecraft blocks: something about the 3d makes them look ace.

2. I’m just saying how sad it is that Lily can’t take part in #dogsatpollingstations this year when we round the corner and see a huge fat black cat. My squealing doesn’t scare it away and we enjoy a good stroke. On the way out from voting, someone else is enjoying her but we crouch down as well and she parades herself for tickles and photos.

3. A slice of my favourite chocolate truffle cake, with the lovely crumbly base.

3BT – canoeing (well, kayaking), the lost age, noodlami

1. I survive our first canoeing session. We practise a capsize *just* before I accidentally capsize my boat. I don’t lose my glasses.

2. R is passing just as we arrive home and comes in for a chat. We further explore the culture and history of the papier mache age.

3. Noodles and salami.

3BT – refreshed, sunny cuddle/eventually, doughy

1. I sleep heavily and solidly. I wake up feeling refreshed.

2. Still in “absent humans” mode, I don’t see either Strange or Tilda all morning. Mid-afternoon, I spot Strange heading up towards the balcony and go into the garden to see her. We have a cuddle in the sunshine until I’m covered in white and ginger fur.

2b. After three short years, Strange has decided that she likes Paul. She sits on his knee and show him her belly.

3. Some of the chapattis are uneven with fat doughy edges. Yum.

3BT – goodbye, beautiful/wait/pasty?/halfway there, lovely evening

1. The dogs and cats all come to the door to say goodbye.

2. The Borders, Northumberland through Kielder Forest & beyond, County Durham then Yorkshire — it’s all very beautiful and, after Durham, looks its best in the bright sunshine.

2b. All the people in canoes & kayaks on the river, waiting for the start of a race. We watch with interest.

2c. The dog wants the pasty but the dog is not allowed the pasty. The dog forgets this and a second later asks for the pasty again.

2d. Google maps told us that Durham was exactly the halfway point on our journey – 1hr 44 minutes from our B&B, and 1hr 44 minutes from our home. When we get back into the car after our tea & wee break, we see it’s exactly 1hr 44 minutes since we arrived at the car park.

3. A lovely evening: showers in our own shower & a transit into pyjamas, a light supper which we make together, cats to cuddle, popcorn to eat and a new episode of Game of Thrones to watch cuddled up together on the sofa. Marvellous.

3BT – yolks, Jedburgh, pub/crows/Fatlips

1. The chickens are pottering about just a few metres away from where we’re having our breakfast so it’s no surprise that the yolks are a rich orange.

2. We’d hoped to have a lazy day but our hosts are going out so we have to go out too. We head into Jedburgh: last year, it was sleeting while we were there and we found it unimpressive (aside from a good charity shop yarn score), but this time, in better weather, we go inside the ruined abbey. It’s interesting to hear how the building was used in its heyday – how it grew and shrunk over time, and how the local lords and common people kept using it after it had begun to decay.

2b. We start our audio commentaries like we’re synchronizing watches for a military invasion.

2c. We follow around a sweet cocker spaniel.

2d. The Castle Jail is not quite as interesting – we’re lagging and distracted – but every now and then, we catch ourselves and imagine what it must have been in those cells for months or years at a time. (It’s the placing of a simple bed – that shrinks the floor size – and a cold breeze through the window that makes it feel real to us.)

2e. Bonc the dog repeatedly visits our table in the pub to accept strokes and ask to share our crisps.

3. The pub we choose for dinner is not fine dining like it was a year ago – just standard pub fare – but it’s, you know, fine all the same. There is a strong dash of five spice on the ribs and the burger is peppery, topped with a strong cheese.

3b. A ridiculous amount of crows flies towards a tree that is already laden down with a heavy murder.

3c. We take the prettier route home and are intrigued by (the wonderfully named) Fatlips Castle high on the hillside above the road.