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In Inside

Small room, big trouble

To misquote Swifty, I knew it was trouble the moment I walked in to the toilet, and to sort of  quote Pulp,  it had ‘woodchip on the wall.’

After a prolonged hiatus on getting the inside of our house finished I am on a mission to get most of the downstairs completed by Christmas. When I say ‘I am on a mission’ it is actually me doing as much of the work as I can, paying only for the skills I don’t have or need an expert, like the electrics, but otherwise saving the money where we can to get the house fully renovated.  I …

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In Outside

M.I.A

And all of a sudden May is here. The trees are unfurling their fresh foliage, the veg patch needs tending, the bluebells are nearly over and the evenings are long. April felt like it was missing in action. Disappearing before my eyes like the early morning mist. I hope this isn’t an indication of how quickly the rest of the year is going to vanish.

April was a month of surprises. As the first month of spring we are used to expecting the showers, but the glorious sunshine of Easter seduced us into thinking it might even be summer already. Deer bounded in and out …

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In Wellness

Mix a pancake

Stir a pancake, Pop it in a pan. Fry a pancake, toss a pancake, catch it if you can.

When I was little I never understood the ‘Don’t forget the pancake on Jif Lemon Day’ advert. It was extremely clever advertising to establish their product, essentially processed lemon juice, as synonymous with Pancake Day, but I didn’t understand it because we never ever ever had lemon juice (fresh or processed) on our pancakes.

Growing up, pancakes were firmly reserved for Shrove Tuesday (usually after an afternoon spent watching Shrovetide Football in town, but that’s a whole other story). It simply never occurred to me to eat them …

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In Inside

The art of slow decorating

Prising open the encrusted paint lid, I get my wooden stirrer (one tip already covered in dry paint from a previous project) and carefully submerge it, all the way to the bottom of the tin where I can feel a thick layer of sediment. In steady slow circular motions the chalk, china clay, titanium dioxide and pigments come together once more turning through the tones of grey to resemble one of the fifty shades with which I have painted our house. I delicately pour it like double cream onto a pudding into my painters tray and carefully climb the step ladder.

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In Wellness

2019 – full of promise

We have waved goodbye to 2018 and stepped across the threshold into a brand new shiny year. Welcome 2019.  New Year is usually a time for reflection on the past year and looking ahead (as the name January, derived from Janus the two faced God suggests), setting out where we’d like to be at the end of another 365 days. To be honest, I’m still trying to work out what 2019 should and will mean for me. But I know that my starting point is to focus on my comfort zone.

Or more accurately escaping my comfort zone, that sweet sticky trap in which we …

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In Inside

Mistletoe and December skies

He is nothing if not stoic, brooding on his watch tower  like a mottled tawny and brown drowned rat,  tail feathers scraggly forlorn and drooping down, raindrops dripping off the ends. His head turns and he looks straight down at me before swooping off silently over the fields beyond the road side hedgerow. This is how December has greeted us too; swooping and silent.  And somewhat schizophrenically with dismal mornings of endless rain giving way to glorious afternoons of blue skies and long shadows and back to evenings of gales and streams of rain. I yearn for a properly cold spell.

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In Wellness

Why I run

It seems, either intentionally or unintentionally that I have been running for pretty much my whole life (and I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean literally).

In my young teens I ran because we had to (think enforced cross country and athletics). In my late teens and early 20s I ran because I was at uni and felt that I should burn off some of the beer consumption. In my middle to late 20s I ran to counter the effects of sitting at a desk all day and also to keep in shape. It also helped during a difficult period of uncertainty. This was the first …

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In Wellness

A life with letters

When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not a thank you or a birthday/christmas card, but a letter just for its own sake, to write to a friend you haven’t seen for a while for instance? Or to a pen pal, if such a thing still exists?

My friends and I used to write letters over the holidays, at the weekend, in-between classes when we hadn’t seen each other for a few minutes. They were full of pictures and cartoons, our secret code words, …

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In Outside

A seasonal tilt

International Coffee Day, Chocolate Week, Halloween, my mum’s birthday, the extra hour in bed: some of the reasons I love October. But here’s my confession; I don’t like ‘spiced’ things – lattes or biscuits, I can’t stand pumpkins (except carving them), I’m no fan of trick or treating (American import) and I don’t like dark afternoons. I do like getting cosy though and starting the move towards winter hibernation and everything hygge. To the Anglo-Saxons this time of year was known as ‘Winter Fylleth’ because at the full moon winter was supposed to begin.

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In Outside

August August

August, the height of summer, some may think. Or perhaps its depth.Either way this year has been the kind of summer that children store up as memory of all summers. Sunshine and barbecues, icecreams, open windows on hot nights and paddling pools.

In one of those neat word plays, August is named after Emperor Augustus, (after the latin for venerable or consecrated)  and originally had only 30 days. It was thought necessary to add another day in order that Augustus might not be in any respect inferior to Julius. Thus Augustus was exceptionally august in altering August. The only Augustus I can think of is …

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