Week-end: land and sea

Two people looking out over the sea at twilight. One is waving and the other has hand outstretched as if to hold a brightly illuminated ship that's passing by.

The good

I’ve had a week off work, and have spent more or less equal parts of it getting things done and taking naps. I had tea with a friend I haven’t seen since before Covid (and met her daughter, who’s getting on for three, for the first time). Went to Brighton to pick up a banner from fabric conservationists, and got to hear about the other things they’d worked on – far more interesting than mine.

The mixed

I’ve spent an awful lot of time on trains this week. This has been good for writing, not to mention getting home, collecting things from Brighton, and seeing a friend, but my lower back is not impressed at all. I have come to a new appreciation of the fact that the seats on Thameslink trains are made of ironing boards, while the Cross Country ones are elderly armchairs that have been sat in by generations of dogs.

The difficult and perplexing

A mild but intensely irritating cold.

What’s working

Summer pyjamas. Reminding myself that not all possible scenarios can happen to one person at one time.

Experimenting with

The idea that this stretch of time (maybe beginning with the pregnancy, maybe beginning back before the pandemic) is new and different from what came before, and I therefore can’t expect everything to work the same way as it previously did. Rather late in the day, but there we go.


Not much, though I got through half of the latest London Review of Books on the train. Ah, and this Church Times piece: Autism: adventures beyond the neurotypical.


I finished and submitted a poem! I shall now do my best to forget about it, but I am pleased, because it’s been a very long time. Also another five hundred words or so on Don’t Quit The Day Job.


The Giro d’Italia, though truthfully I’ve mostly been falling asleep in front of it. (This is testament more to my physical condition than to the quality of the racing, as I’ve been falling asleep in exciting and boring stages alike.) Also videos explaining the various different stages of labour. (There was a balloon. My mother approves.)

Looking at

Garden centres. At the first one we went to today there were an awful lot of slogans (on signs and plaques and doormats and all sorts of things) saying things like Don’t come in if you don’t have gin and Love is a state of temporary insanity curable by marriage. One rather came away with the impression that the typical garden centre shoppers were alcoholics in desperately unhappy relationships, and this was an expected, even desirable state of affairs. Are the normals OK?


Not much, though I did come up with the genius idea of dropping frozen gyoza dumplings into packet chicken noodle soup for an ideal sniffle day lunch.


Tesco have introduced cherry bakewell cookies, which are very tasty if somewhat oversweet.


Catan, with my mother and youngest brother, with a pause to wave at the ferry containing my eldest brother and his family as it passed the south coast of the Isle of Wight.

In the garden

Everything is extremely green. The copper beeches have put out new leaves. The apple blossom is almost over, and there are small fruits happening on the pears and the plums too. Lemon balm has self-seeded all over the place. This afternoon I pulled up a load of violets and put in some new herbs – tarragon, chervil, lemon verbena, lavender, thyme.


Being married to someone I like. Having a family I like.


Herbs, as mentioned above. A little metal garden table with two chairs. Books: Wings On My Feet (Sonja Henie); Born to Dance (Margot Fonteyn); Hymns and the Faith (Erik Routley); The Morville Year (Katherine Swift).

Also brought many things back from the Isle of Wight. The family christening gown. The toy octopus I gave my father a decade or so ago. Various baby clothes originally made for various babies by various people. A maternity dress originally made by my mother for herself. Another ancestor portrait. A repro HMV record catalogue (this is for Research).


We are still considering a larger garden table. (The little one will do very nicely for evening drinks under the pergola, but we want something to put on the lawn and eat dinner off.)

Line of the week

Not something I’ve read this week, but this line from The Painted Garden (Noel Streatfeild) has been going through my head:

Days on land are like beads threaded on a string, big beads, little beads, gay beads for Christmas and birthdays; but days on a ship cannot go on the same string. They are different somehow and feel as if they need a special thread all to themselves.

Saturday snippet

This is from Don’t Quit the Day Job. I am getting to the point.

Nevertheless, unscrupulous institutions – and plenty that think of themselves as scrupulous, too – are entirely to take advantage of their employees’ sense of vocation, to take in general, to take, take, take, until there’s nothing left to give.

This coming week

I reach the end of the dashing around. There’s a trip to Essex tomorrow; then I go back to work, with a couple of days in the office; there’s the last of the antenatal classes, and an appointment with the midwife.

Anything you’d like to share from this week? Any hopes for next week? Share them here!

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