3BT – begins with the dog, tree, brickwork, and it ends with a dog story too

1. John is playing with the dog while I’m waking up. The game involves him throwing a sock on the bed and her overly-excitedly bounding over to pick it up. The sock lands on my belly and she lands on my legs with a heavy thump to pick it up. After a few throws elsewhere, the sock lands on my face: she plods up my body, legs straddling my chest, then extracts the sock with the gentlest precision manoeuvre. The hairs on her chin tickle my cheek.

2. A perfectly proportioned tree just coming into leaf.

3. Neat new pointing in between the rough old stones.

4. As I sit on the cold concrete block outside the abandoned building, I regret changing our plan: instead of getting the bus home as usual, I suggested John (and Lily) pick me up on the way home from his mum’s (her grandma’s) house and we can go for a walk in Bingley. I have to wait more than half an hour but it’s worth it in the end: we have the park around the river to ourselves — well, except for some ducks. Lily paddles in the water and we walk around in the fading evening sun, catching up on our afternoons apart.

3BT – hurrah for sales, attention grabber, Gilneas

1. We share the delight of both getting our jackets – the same soft hoodie – for a sale price. (Her way of getting a bargain was very clever, mine was down to dumb luck.)

2. The tiniest dog on a thick, bright red lead.

3. To find something new after all this time and to discover, to great delight, I’m not as bad as I think I’ll be at it.

3BT – not how I thought but better, fairly furry, cheesy grins all around

1. I wasn’t convinced about the colour of the tiles when they were in the box but up on the wall, after hours of fighting with adhesive and tile trim, I love it. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the tiling in a Victorian public toilet – but in a good way.

2. Fur, specifically feline belly fur, feels super soft when my hands are dry and sore.

3. The bone Lily-dog is holding pushes her upper lips in such a way that she appears to have a wide, goofy grin. I laugh and it looks like she’s laughing too. :)

3BT – a threshold, mindless pleasure, deserved cake

1. The moment in decorating when the ends feels not necessarily imminent but at least possible.

2. I find envelope stuffing strangely pleasurable: refining my system until it is as efficient as possible so the task takes on a repetitive, meditative quality.

3. A cream-filled lemon muffin.

3BT – decadence, a lovely lady, stillness & noise

1. Having a bath, like watching a film, during daylight hours always feels remarkably decadent, even when it’s following many hours of decorating.

2. Whenever I’m doing any DIY, I listen to Radio 6: periods of renovation in this house always result in new (to us) music but this time an old favourite pops up too – an live performance and interview with Kathryn Williams as part of her new project The Pond. I fell in love with her album ‘”Little Black Numbers’ while on a super relaxing holiday in Lindisfarne a few years ago and whenever I listen to it, I’m reminded of the wonderful air, light and ambience of the island. Today was the first time I’ve heard her interviewed though and I am delighted to hear she’s warm, funny and down to earth. The Pond’s music is fab too – can’t wait for the album.

3. I stretch out on the bed and watch the light fade from the sky. The silver birch is perfectly still. All around birds call out to each other one last time before dusk.

3BT – newspaper, surprise, provided for

1. I spread out the newspaper on the floor so I can read it while I’m eating my breakfast. Then read it while I’m tickling doggy belly. Then read it while I’m kissing cat head. Boron purrs loudly. (That last statement is true of both then and now.)

2. Just when we’re both getting bored of the decorating, the doorbell rings: surprise visitors in the form of our lovely neighbours who have been in Ghana & Nambia these last six months doing doctoring things. Over tea and more animal tickles, they tell us about farting hippos, mating lions and elephants that hide round corners.

3. To keep remembering we have lasagne from John’s mum for dinner so we don’t have to cook ourselves. I do like to cook but I like not having to cook even more :)