Attending the Clausura (closing service) for Ely Cursillo #37. While the church wasn’t packed, people-wise, it was absolutely suffused with joy. It is such a privilege to lead this… movement? group? Community.
And now, winding up and winding down. After a very hectic month, this has been a nice peaceful week. I’m slowing down physically, but this feels appropriate rather than frustrating. Things are taking longer, and that’s fine. Walking thirty-five minutes to a routine ten minute appointment is an opportunity to be out in the sunshine; work tasks are taking as long as they take and the next time they happen it won’t be me doing them. But on the other hand, things that have been hanging over me for ages and which I thought were going to take ages have been tidying themselves up with remarkably little effort. We made a list of things to do this long weekend and got ninety per cent of it done on Friday.
And my concentration seems to be improving. It’s just taking a little effort now to settle down to an activity without trying to do three other things at the same time and check my phone every five minutes.
The weather is gorgeous, but I am getting so hot.
The difficult and perplexing
I stubbed my toe on a chair at work. It bled a little at the time, but I thought nothing of it. Now I find that I have split the nail a long way down and half of it is flapping around, or would be if I hadn’t stuck a plaster over it. I have acquired some gauze and micropore tape, with which I hope I will be able to rig up something that will allow it to breathe and heal without catching on things. We’ll see.
Immersion in water – whether by putting my feet in a plastic box full of cold water to cool them down, or by putting my entire self into a swimming pool.
I finished Seven Ages of Paris. Depressing (and, I can’t resist saying, not enough about the buses; though I don’t think that I had known that they parked them at fifty metre intervals down the Champs-Élysées to frustrate a German aerial troop landing: much good that did anybody) and, I feel, not entirely unbiased. But also entertaining and informative, and All Gall now makes much more sense to me. (I often feel that any study of mid-twentieth century history is a process of gradually getting more and more of Flanders and Swann’s references.)
And this piece on Soul Survivor (it’s mostly not about the recent revelations of horrible stuff, which does not feel like something that I have any standing to talk about), which made me feel very much as if I’d dodged a bullet. I never went to Soul Survivor, though two of my brothers did. I can see exactly how, in my late teens, I’d have been vulnerable to getting peer pressured into having a significant pseudo faith experience. Even at the advanced age of 37 I found I had a lot of Doing Faith Wrong monsters on the loose this week.
Sewed a button back on.
Still the Giro d’Italia. My goodness, that time trial! I think, that if there had to be a dropped chain in there somewhere, this was the most satisfying way for it to work out. But all the same, argh.
Today is Licence to Queer’s Donate Another Day. I have places to be this morning (specifically, church, and not Our Lady of Smolensk) so I got ahead by watching GoldenEye last night. It’s my favourite of the Brosnan Bonds (and Brosnan is my Bond): such fun, and Natalya is great. Anyway, everyone else kicked off at ten today, and Tomorrow Never Dies starts at one, so join in if you like Bond, and chuck a tenner at Unicef.
Yesterday I gutted and scaled and filleted a fish (a sea bream, to be precise) for the first time. I failed to get some of the flesh along the top side, but I think I’d do better with a proper filleting knife. Maybe I’ll get one. Made stock from the head and bones: risotto tomorrow.
Then I put a slice of prosciutto on top, sprinkled it with breadcrumbs, parsley, and parmesan cheese, and cooked it alongside roast courgette, pepper and onion (recipe from The Hairy Dieters). It was extremely tasty.
See above. Also (for I am not on a diet, hairy or otherwise) yellow-stickered Waitrose cream buns. I am getting massively hungry at the moment.
Swimming. Pilates (this happens every week, but usually on a Tuesday, so I’ve forgotten about it by the time I get to this post. This week’s session was yesterday).
Three small deer (one fawn, and presumably two parents) on the path behind our house. Muntjacs, maybe? I’m not very good at deer.
A train in GWR livery at Cambridge station – rather a long way from home, one would have said.
In the garden
I weeded one raised bed and put in three tomato plants. The other one didn’t need so much in the way of weeding; I put runner beans in it. And I found space for five cosmos plants around the garden.
The first rose is blooming. I think this bush is my favourite, aside from its habit of trying to revert to the rootstock; it has a lovely, faintly lemonish, scent.
Time. Focus. Other people’s gardens.
I finally gave in and ordered three frocks from Joanie. One of them looks more like a tablecloth than I’d anticipated; one will do very nicely for the autumn; and one is fabulous and I’m wearing it now. (I don’t think I mind looking like a tablecloth, but the dress in question doesn’t fit. Yet. I think I’m just getting to the end of the phase where taking my usual size and ensuring it has a very full skirt is working. Still, only another month or so to go…)
From plant stalls outside people’s houses: two chilli pepper plants (one cayenne, one Hungarian something or other); three tomato plants (one Garnet, one Roma, one I’ve forgotten); and a honeysuckle.
Well, a filleting knife, now.
Line of the week
From Rosemary Hill’s piece Consulting the Furniture in the last London Review of Books. (It is about time I went back to Kettle’s Yard. Maybe in a couple of weeks when I am on maternity leave…
Kettle’s Yard’s particular kind of austere elegance suits Cambridge and its Puritan, parliamentary history. It could never have happened in Oxford.
This coming week
Bank holiday. A committee meeting. Some family coming to see us. And, I hope, I’ll get the study sorted.
Anything you’d like to share from this week? Any hopes for next week? Share them here!