Saturday 30 August 2008

Songs of Praise

My throat may be sore but my heart is very happy, last week I finally did it and trotted up to our lovely village church to sing the night away. I've gone and joined the choir! It all began on Open Gardens Day in July when, during a very giddy visit up the bell tower with my friend Helen, we got chatting to the impossibly young organist and I ended up asking if I could come along to choir practice.
As a teenager I sang day in, day out in school choirs, the county youth ensemble and even on the odd occasion at university and I really miss it. I'm really old fashioned - can't bear modern musicals - medieval madrigals, anthems and traditional hymns are my sort of thing. There's something about all those voices together that makes me shiver and my heart sing.
Since moving here and reading and re-reading Susan Hill's fantastic book, I've been itching to get more involved in village life and the choir seemed a good starting point for lots of reasons so I went along - and it was great!
It's a big choir, 18 of us last week which is about a dozen more than the choir at the church in the village where I grew up. I've been made really welcome and already invited along to the Christmas dinner and sing-song and a trip to the theatre. The music is fab, a range of psalms, anthems and some proper old favourites like "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" which is just wonderful to sing. And all in this beautiful, special place, with it's Edward Burne Jones windows and painted ceiling.
Switching off the world and singing this glorious music for an hour on Thursday evenings brings me some much needed peace. Wish me luck for October 5; harvest festival and my first service. I think I'll be at the back!

Monday 25 August 2008

Change in the air

It's been in the air for a few days, small things like the odd golden leaf and the wind blowing warm but harder. Today even the birds noticed; the swifts are long gone and all afternoon the swallows and housemartins swooped around the house then took turns lining up on the wires, waiting for some unseen signal when they'll leave as one.
In the field I can see from the kitchen window, the tractor is back, mowing the last of the grass for winter hay. We drove to one of our favourite villages over the weekend and on the way home I noticed barns full of bales already safely gathered in and the first field of freshly ploughed, warm, brown earth.
Summer, well what bit we had, is on the slide and inside I can feel the excitement and anticipation building. At home the few recipe books, of this very reluctant cook, are out and plans for hearty suppers, warming casseroles and maybe a chutney or two being made. We're drawing the curtains earlier and earlier and my hunt for thermal linings for this house of huge windows has begun.
There's nothing I like more than preparing for winter and I try to do the odd thing every week from late summer onwards. I know huge snowfalls or ice storms are really unlikely to cut us off from the world but I love the feeling of cosying up our burrow and being ready to batten down the hatches just in case.
So imagine how chuffed I was when I spied this beautiful, beautiful eiderdown at the Collector's Market on Saturday, the perfect thing for my sitting room on chilly evenings. It's in such perfect nick I think it might be a newly made one in a vintage pattern, either that or it's been wrapped up in an attic for years. And it was an absolute bargain, I've seen one this beautiful go on ebay for more than £100 - this was mine for £12!
It makes me happy just to see it in our home. An eiderdown for autumn, I can't wait.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Rain, rain go away!

Can you believe this awful weather. Two summers on the trot with week after week of rain. It's got to the stage now where I'm grateful for a bit of drizzle instead of the deluge. At least the garden has been easy work but I can't really remember the last time we spent any proper time in it.
Sorry to moan, we're all in the same boat (and at this rate I'm going to need one to get to work) aren't we? It's been wet, wet, wet since Barney's birthday party two weeks ago and looks pretty much the same for Archie's this Saturday but we know how to have a good time indoors thank goodness.
Thank you for all the wonderful advice from everyone on my party trauma a few weeks ago, B had "a brillo party mummy" and I couldn't have done it without you all.

I can't tell you how so amazingly reassuring it felt to know that I'm not the only retro birthday girl out there who thinks that children can probably still find party games and making things as much fun as a professional disco and hired entertainers.

Ok cleaning the house (why did I bother?), countless shopping tips for glue, feathers, paint, party food etc, hours on ebay sourcing recyclable paper plates and cups, plus very late nights drawing dragons, making bunting and cutting out castles, swords and fleur-de-liys from all colours of card - very nearly turned me into a nervous wreck but one look at his glitter-covered, chocolate-smeared grin made it all worthwhile. Which is why we do it isn't it.
(That's the five minute ray of sunshine we managed!)

The day our biggest little chap arrived changed our world forever and if I can't make a bit of a special effort to make celebrating it fun and special and something he'll remember, well, I'm not sure I could have sat down and really enjoyed that much-needed glass of rose at the end of an exhausting, fun-filled day.
Everyone is different and I suppose each year will be different but our party at home with just a few friends and their lovely parents was such fun for everyone, so here's to many more. Brillo!

Sunday 10 August 2008

Busy, busy, busy

I'm not quite sure if I'm coming or going? I am so far behind visiting my lovely blogging friends, behind with my own and I'm sure I've just met myself coming in the front door. I'm sorry to be so out of touch at the moment with everyone, the school holidays, finishing my job and getting ready to start the new one, plus the big 5th birthday have left time for little else. Sorry not to be around much but come September I promise to be back in the old routine and fully back in the land of blog. Hope everyone is enjoying the summer, well splashing in the puddles at least.
This little pile of oldish and newish books have been keeping me company over the past few weeks. Reminders of books I had when I was girl and learnt so much from; and books new to me, full of wonderful discoveries like where the potato growing regions of Britain are and which breed of goose flies in first in the autumn. Essential stuff.

Last time we were just about to bob off to the local show, so I thought you might like to see some pictures from the most beautiful day of the summer. Mostly of the bovine variety I admit (the camera batteries gave out before we got anywhere else) but there are some beautiful boys and girls here.

Back soon with news of the birthday party and the very best leaving present ever!