Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Why I love Notebooks

I own an inordinately large number of notebooks. While some people have cupboards full of shoes and others have toy trains or souvenir dolls, I have notebooks. Most of them are covered in scribbles, drawings, poems, lists, stories, addresses, names, books to read, places to go and things to see. They are something of great beauty to me and I never throw one away.

When I pick one up it is my very own time machine transporting me back to the time when it was The One. Battered and bruised, carried with me everywhere, slung in the bottom of beat up totes and hauled out in caf├ęs and on trains, at the park watching my kids or over dinner with friends. The pink sequined number I wrote in French in the year I was studying psychology. Or the little muji Kraft books I had when the children were small and space and time a luxury. A Little Book of Sunshine, a gift from a friend that is growing, crammed full of words that refuse to be silenced. They are all special and I keep them all. Even the cheapo supermarket panic buy, grabbed when I forgot to pack one or ran out of space. Even the ones I used for morning pages when I tried that idea out. 

The other day I pulled out one of my current 'friends'- yes I have more than one notebook on the go these days. It was totally blank and a friend asked me if I always write on blank pages. Yes oh yes oh yes when I can. I love the scratch of the pen across the unwritten empty page. I love to fill that space. I love the way suddenly something appears out of nothing and sometimes, not always, but sometimes, that something is good, worth reading again, worth keeping. 

Oh and when there are no more blank pages? Then I write all over every inch of everything, filling the pages until they are black, scribbling on the curling corners of paper napkins and till receipts, even metro tickets and playing cards. 

Image result for muji notebook with tie

Here's a photo of my current favourite, from muji - they really do have great notebooks. And in case you're wondering, yes I do give my kids a lot of notebooks too. They have these ones and the larger model for painting in - the paper is nice and thick. There are zap books for doodling in the car and homemade concoctions with weird and wonderful paper for creating in and of course many many beautiful notebooks that just grabbed my fancy. And yes, we keep them all. They are a record of our lives lived on the blank pages of our days.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Tipping the Balance

Check out my poem over on Hour of Writes about life and death. Yeah only the light issues! It's the featured entry from tinyfeetandbluebirds. Lots of other great stuff to read there too. Maybe you'll feel inspired to have a go too, here's this weeks prompt:

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Baby Blackbirds

So we had a family of great tits that nested in the bird box Noah built. They've gone now, flown the nest already and we miss the sound of their constant cheeping and the lively coming and goings of their parents. It was all over so quickly. 

It's not all endings though, we've also been happy to watch some beginnings. We have blackbirds in the garden and a few days ago one of their chicks took his first steps and shook out his flight feathers just outside our door. We all felt very privileged to see and hear this, daddy blackbirds are very, very noisy caretakers! The downside was keeping the cat indoors most of the day to give this little family a chance to find a more suitable, as in safer, place for this to be going on. 

Still, what a great homeschooling natural science opportunity! We discovered that baby blackbirds spend their first few days as fledglings on the ground. We were surprised by that because it seems such a dangerous operation. In fact its because their main food sources are earthworms and caterpillars which are found close to the ground. They keep a low profile in any cover they can find. We think our little visitor had got a bit confused and left the safety of the nearby bushes then got a bit disorientated as to how to get back. His dad kept calling to him non-stop probably to guide him back to safety and several hours later when we checked again he was gone. 

Incidentally if you do come across a baby blackbird bear this information in mind before you decide he's been abandoned. We originally worried about our little visitor before reading up about blackbirds and becoming aware that the noisy blackbird in the nearby tree was no doubt dad. Here's some pictures I got of the little ball of fluff and the very protective papa.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Going on in the Garden

As you can see, we have a new hammock up and it's the kids new favourite place. But when we're not swinging in the sun, planting seeds and plants or mowing the lawn, we're building. We had some tree work done a few weeks ago which means we have a lot of branches lying around all over the place. And aside from future firewood which needs cutting up and storing, this is also perfect fodder for shelter building. Our first attempt? A teepee.

The children and I spent the whole afternoon finding straight enough branches to make a support frame and then trimming up foliage to cover it. It was such a fun project. I love seeing the children work like this with passion and enthusiasm, tireless until the job is done. Really all I did was put the idea out there, help find the right sticks and make one suggestion about using the foliage from our Monterey Pine. And they ran with it. I love that. It's survived a whole day of rain and they were so proud to show it off to their grandparents. All in all an afternoon very well spent.

Elsewhere, those are butternut squashes beginning to poke their heads above the ground which is so exciting and we also have rocket, salad, pak choi, raddish, cucumber, cornichon, courgettes, carrots and tomatoes beginning to grow. It is very exciting to see life coming from something so small.