22 May 2012

when the sun shines... for a second day!

Mr F.B. is finally allowed a (grudging) wash.
The sky is blue.
There's rhubarb crumble for tea.
The seedlings win places in bigger pots.

Stripes in the baby's knitting take a distinctly subtler turn, while reading matter becomes decidedly featherweight.

puerperium in cream and ecru DK, and A Conspiracy of Friends by Alexander McCall Smith

21 May 2012

when the sun shines...

Often Scotland is quite wet and cold. Very often it's extremely wet and cold. Oh, and dark in the winter too. This makes young people frustrated, old people ill, and most everyone in between illogically fond of sunburn and cheap sangria.

But when the sun shines (and it does you know) there is no more beautiful place to live. And not just in a gliding eagle, crystal loch, soaring mountain kind of picture-on-the-shortbread-tin way (though that stuff does happen too).

There's the first poppy of the year, and the last apple blossom, flowering on the eve of the Chelsea Flower Show.
There's broad bean soup with homemade sourdough, and baked ricotta on pancakes. Al fresco.
There's elaborate mud pie making and flapping lines of laundry. Hopefully not in combination.

Domestic Scottish life, you gotta love it. Especially when the sun shines.

(Though if someone could magic me to Chelsea for tomorrow afternoon, I'd be theirs for ever after.)

09 May 2012

on dogs and dragons: same but different

Six years is quite a long time between sprogs. Longer than average I imagine. But I always swore that, if there was ever to be a second (by no means a foregone conclusion, we have no truck with supposed only-child stigma) I would never willingly wrestle a double buggy, and that ideally the first would be old enough to help out with the second. So far, so good. The only problem I'm encountering is that, during the years between dog and dragon, I have forgotten more than I ever knew about this whole lark.

I'd forgotten how much it was possible to eat. I'm out. of. control. On the plus side though, holy cow, look at those great fingernails! Why the hell aren't they breaking off at the cuticle like normal? But uh-oh, I forgot about the supersenses. There's one piece of citrus on the turn in this supermarket and nobody is harassing the spotty yoof stacking mandarins: Yo! Buddy! Yes, it's me, the spherical one commando-crawling across the floor with a bag-for-life tied round my nose; there's a mouldy one in there, TRUST ME, I can smell it from the carpark.

And oversensitive much? Wince. Imagine if you will: one crabbit old bus driver glides past our stop in the stotting rain and tries to make out it's my fault for about ten seconds before noticing the bump and the shivering five-year-old ballerina by my side. His admission of guilt and grudging apology is too half-hearted and too late, and the rest of my day becomes consumed with prolonged hurt overreaction. This one-minute-long minor squabble with a stranger morphs into a dismal puddle of "everybody in the whole world thinks I'm just a fat, brainless idiot".

Truly, these hormones, they send you loopy. Handle your gestating friends with kid gloves I beg you.

But some things are different this time around. I no longer have a full-time, overpaid job that I have to pretend to be engaged with. And I don't feel any desire to buy into any of the bossy, stress-inducing pregnancy manuals this time. Everything is generally a bit more relaxed, a bit less terrifying, and a bit more... normal.

As The Boss would say, "That's a phew, right?"

And this time I know how to knit stuff for the dragon baby, a significant advantage over last time. Because you can't eat and knit at the same time.

And that is a serious phew.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, and the remnant-busting baby sweater

07 May 2012

when 3 + 1 = an awfully big adventure

It's ridiculously satisfying when things just add up. When the loose change in your pocket happens to add up to your bus fare. When the flour in the jar happens to be precisely the weight that you need. When your movie ends exactly as they switch off your in-flight entertainment (even though there's still 40 minutes 'til landing time - gah).

Whenever I make one of these (below), there always seems to be 90-100g of sock yarn left over. Exactly the amount required for a little tiny baby sweater.

amazing Veera Valimaki shawls, two Different Lines and one Stripe Study

I finished the lurid purple and pink shawl last winter and it's sat in my knitting bag ever since, the right recipient never seemed to appear. But on hearing about the birth of a beautiful baby called Rose, daughter to my husband's oldest childhood friend, suddenly everything added up. A little blast of hot colour for both Rose and her fabulous new Mum, to shake up the all-too-familiar avalanche of pastel pink. A perfect puerperium solution for that 100g of leftover Wollmeise.

need to choose some buttons...

My latest Veera shawl (oops no finished picture) was grey and turquoise, and was gifted last month, so while its matching sweater (below) won't become part of a set, the weight of leftover yarn added up to exactly 100g and so another tiny puerperium it will be. And here's the big news: this one (gender dependent) may very well end up staying at home...

Yup, I've donned the dreaded elasticated waistbands and I'm going to have to change my strapline up at the top there in my header (suggestions on a postcard please).

Maybe this helps explain a few things.
  • making a great big bloody mountain out of a molehill re moving in March
    debilitating fatigue + organising an international move between six and 12 weeks = complete loss of perspective.
  • blogposts filled with doubt and nostalgia
    excessive hormones + uprooting of family from beautiful paradise island = severe navel gazing... mercifully something I won't be able to physically achieve for much longer.
  • spending the past month being completely wiped out with vile lurgys
    a whole new raft of unfamiliar British Spring viruses + not being allowed to take decongestants or decent headache pills = chronic self-pity.
  • more than usual inability to tolerate chaos
    container arrival + building work + frequently absent husband + inability to lift anything = a house that looks like it's been ransacked. Sadly the schedule on the building work is already slipping well past its delivery date, so things can only get worse before they get better. I need to learn how to breathe deeply.

I'll try not to grumble too much about it over the next few months. But I warn you that I'll fail. You should know that I'm no glowing picture of abundant blooming womanhood. For me, pregnancy, with its essential indigestion, hip pain and stretchmarks, is something that I'm prepared to bungle through if that's what it takes to get to the rewarding bit. A means to an end, rather like the builders and our kitchen renovation. A kitchen in which I look forward to one day enjoying cold beers, goats' cheese, warm pate, and half-boiled eggs with soy sauce. Not that I'm grudging every mouthful you take...
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