Sunlight & animals, Purple parasols, Eternal nerdy teenager

1. I have lunch – leftover kedgeree – on the balcony. The cats and dog sit together in the soft sunlight.

2. Always on the look out for mushrooms, we find Amethyst Deceivers (Laccaria amethystea) – an amazingly deep, rich purple in the brown leaf litter.

3. As usual, I come home from drama and tell John stories from class. After one story:

Him “it’s just like being back at school”
Me (gushing) “except the cool kids like me!”

A year ago today – six beautiful things from our house move

It’s a year today since we moved into our new home. I only started 3BTing a couple of months after the move so only have just a few tweets to mark the day — I think a few hindsight 3BTs are in order ;)

1. It’s strange to see our things, the items that decorate our lives, out of context, packed Tetris-style onto the van.

2. John drives us and the cats over ahead of the van. They’ve been kept out of the way in the bedroom all day over there and here, they’re shut away in the bathroom. Taking in cushions and duvets that smell like us, I join them and after a moment’s hesitations, they’re out of the carry boxes and exploring as a group: in the bath, on the window sills and peering in the mirror expecting to see out then turning around to realise it’s a reflection of the same room.

3. I leave the cats to help empty the van and provide desperately required cups of tea. Two of the movers stand, cups in hands, looking out of the living room window, gazing out at the tree line and down into the woods. “Nice, innit?” I hear one of them say to the other. (I’ve seen that exact scene – same stances, same stares – repeated several times over the last year, the position of the window just seems to demand it.)

4. I return to the bathroom and two of the cats are gone! Gone! They’d been fine in this strange room in this strange house while I’d been there but when I’d left them, they’d got frightened. Boron is alone, curled up on the duvet and I search for the others, acutely aware of the open doors and windows downstairs. I find Carbon back in his usually much-loathed carry box but his sister is still missing. I scrabble around looking for her, calling her name. Then I notice that the towels hanging over the radiator look plumper than usual. I touch the rounding and a shiny black nose appears out of the far end.

5. Once the movers are gone and the house is secure, we let the cats creep out of the bathroom. We herd them into the bedroom – they sniff around and jump on the dresser. Then someone, Boron I think it was, leads the charge downstairs and into the dining room. Blasé now, they head straight to the living room door – they want to see more, more!

6. We unpack some key boxes – the kitchen stuff, our clothes – then after weeks of long days, we allow ourselves to relax. The cats join us on the sofa – as I’d predicted “home” for them is the sofa and us – then at bedtime, they follow us up the stairs to our mattress on the floor. In the morning, we’ll all wake up dazzled by the morning sun upon us and I’ll tell the cats “sun! in your bed! how ace is that?”. It’s really pretty ace.

Dirt boobs, quick glances, looking up

1. I spend most for the day grinding old paint from the metal railing and floor of our balcony. (We figure we’ll do it properly once and it shouldn’t need treating again while we’re here.) I’m covered in dust by lunchtime and for some reason, the dirt has particularly stuck in two circles over my boobs. We laugh when we notice.

2. They look to me for reassurance and I laugh and smile at the right times, like an inverse Simon Cowell.

3. Waiting at the bus stop, my mum tells me about the sunset in Southport – strangely orange over the sea. I tell her in Bingley, the sky is still blue but the clouds to the west make the hills look taller than they are. I’m sat opposite the old Bradford & Bingley building – which the giant vinyl banners tell me is now for sale or to let – and notice the neglected trellises on the upper balconies.

3BT – funny, big & ugly; music to smile to; Boron’s blinks

1. I run upstairs to get my phone and see cracks of daylight around his wardrobe doors. It jars me for a second before I remember: there is a window – a floor-to-ceiling window – at the back of the fitted wardrobes. I laugh out loud. This house is so funny, it’s perfect for us.

2. Music that’s made me smile today:
a) the Divine Comedy’s new album ‘Bang Goes the Knighthood’. The whole album (aside from ‘When A Man Cries’) is great perky-pop but it’s ‘At the Indie Disco‘ which leaves me grinning like an idiot: it’s my 1997 down to a tee. It’s like Neil Hannon stole my diary and wrote a fun tune from it.
b) I’m trying to find something for us to listen to while I’m gaming and John’s programming. “This is music to choose music to,” I explain when Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’s ‘Up Cherry Street‘ starts playing. It’s impossible to keep still when that’s playing. Moronic head dancing a-go-go.
c) The music I pick is the first ‘69 Love Songs‘ album by the Magnetic Fields. I’ve listened to it so many times that the great lyrics wash past me while I’m Theme Hospital-ing but I smile as John laughs, hearing phrases for the first time.

3. Boron is dozing on the armchair – the fireside chair that’s been moved into the corner for the summer. When I look over at him, he half-opens his eyes and blinks slowly at me.

3BT – embarrassing, nearly there, alchemy

1. We stop at the park on the way home – the park that looks like a stereotypical village green, next to a church, with a cricket pitch in the middle – and run around with Lily. Despite her initial excitement, she tires quickly and we sit down next to her. She immediately gets up, walks to the other side of the path and sits down again. We laugh, imagining her saying “Ugh! Muuum! Daaad! Don’t sit near me and embarrass me in front of the other springers!”.

2. Rain stops play in the garden so we retreat inside. We unpack some books – some of the last boxes to be unpacked since the move. With each box we empty, we free up a little more space, feel a little more settled.

3. The magical transformation when the flour and butter are completely rubbed together. The light powder and sticky solid become almost grainy.

3BT – wake up routine, office at last, fun warm-up

1. Get up. Wee. Feed cats. Get dressed. Take dog for a walk. Feed dog. Have shower. Get dressed again. Sit with John as he wakes up. Have breakfast.

2. We’re working in our office at last. After months of stagnation, the room has been transformed in the last few weeks and is now beautifully bright and airy. The wide desks seem too big to start with but are quickly filled with paper. At the end of my working day, I put my laptop away and retreat upstairs, able to leave work behind for the first time in four years.

3. They make me laugh so hard and for so long that my lips stick on my gums when my smile finally falls.