Life Lately


Our little corner of the world, in June, is timelessly, heartachingly lovely.

In the evenings, I sit with both children trying to sleep, listening to birdsong through the open windows as the light begins to fade.

The profusion of wildflowers and weeds festoons everything: the steps by the barn, the yard, the garden, the hedgerows and woods. Forget-me-nots, daisies, buttercups, red campion, dandelions, violets: a delightful muddle of blues, yellows, pinks and whites. Wild strawberries surprise us in every nook and crevice and corner. Mint, too, with its fresh, summery scent.

Hay is being made and the fields are idyllic and fragrant, with the grass being turned and baled and ferried about on trailers.

In the woods, the light filters through the green leaves. It’s cool in there and the curling ferns, the verdant canopy and the sound of birdsong lend it a jungle-like quality.

There is rain too, the kind that amplifies the life and brightness of everything. The rivers and streams and sea glimmer invitingly.

Hares can be spotted in the newly mown fields and swallows dive and soar and sing above them. The red and yellow goldfinches dart about across the lanes.

Driving along in all the green, feeling sand and sea on our feet (come rain or shine), and eating in the garden, time and headlines retreat a little. The simple things are able to take prominence for a while.

It has been half term here, and that has meant an exhausting two weeks of trying to give two youngsters a happy time. This has not been without its challenges! I’m reminded that often, we see the smiling photographs of families during holiday times and it all looks ever so idyllic. Ours do, too, and the moments they capture are every bit as precious as they look, but what isn’t shown is the sheer effort and exhaustion and sacrifice and, sometimes, blood, sweat and tears that have gone into making that moment happen. That said, I am so glad we’ve had this time together.

Spontaneity is not something that our children find easy, but there is something about the wildness around us at this time of year – the oxeye daisies, the buttercups, the mint – that make us believe it possible to try. We have had a spontaneous couple of days away (in a familiar place near home, but different, nonetheless). We had a BBQ in the drizzle watching the sheep, squealed and splashed in a hot tub, and the children ran barefoot across the grass in the early evening. There were, of course, moments of meltdown and anxiety and stress muddled in with it all, but these we considered worth bearing for the refreshment of a change of scene and pace. Much like the nettles that mingle with forget-me-nots and red campion at the edge of our garden, the “stings” were gladly accepted along with the colour and vibrancy of everything else.

As always, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. The latest was “Petite Anglaise” by blogger Katherine Sanderson. I was fascinated to read, not only about her life in Paris, but also about her experience of blogging. I could so identify with her experiences of the catharsis of writing. Other elements of her story, I found harder to relate to, if I’m honest, though I admired the way she laid bare her complicated emotions, flaws, needs and desires.

I’ve also been spending a bit of time working on my business working with fostered and adopted children (and some other families too!): Feel Good Education. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into this over the next few months. Do follow the Feel Good blog if you’re interested in this part of my work!

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