Friday, September 10, 2010

Upcycled Stained Glass

My sister Stephanie's degree is in Glass and Ceramics. She did stained glass making, glass blowing, throwing pots on a wheel, all that sort of stuff. The other week she and I went to a reclamation yard and bought £25 worth of old leaded windows. Then we chopped them up and reassembled them into panes for my front door.
My front door used to be pretty ugly. It was varnished (unevenly) with a horrible reddish-brown varnish. It had ten long narrow panes of unattractive patterned glass, and unpleasant knobs, handles and latches. It didn't bother me that much, but it certainly didn't make me smile every time I entered or left the house.
Now it is painted a handsome steely blue. It has smart new brass door furniture (not in the picture) and it has beautiful and unique upcycled leaded glass in the top and bottom (only the top panes are pictured). Needless to say, it makes me smile every time I walk through it, or even walk past it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Skein of Geese

This morning as I was returning home from the school run I had to stop in a queue of traffic only a couple of hundred yards from my door. I only caught the occasional glimpse of the reason for the delay, but I could clearly hear the sound of a farmer herding his cows across the road.

I didn't mind waiting. It was a beautiful blue-sky morning promising a fine early autumn day. The hedgerows were heavy with deep red hawthorn berries and I began to contemplate which route to take with the dog today on our daily walk.

As I was waiting, a skein of geese honked noisily overhead.

I love living here.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Get To...

I read an article in a magazine by a woman who felt stressed by her life. She was overwhelmed by all the things she had to do. So she shifted the way she described these things by changing "I've got to..." to "I get to...." It struck me as a great idea.

Today I got to have a coffee with a friend first thing in the morning. We looked at some photos she had taken on a recent family trip to the safari park, and we made a plan to go to the gym together starting in September.

Then I got to take the dog for a walk among the rolling English farmland. Millions of people dream of living in the countryside. I get to live the dream.

After that I got to begin tidying the house ready for my dad's arrival tonight. It's fun to anticipate a much-loved guest, and to show my love and respect for him by making an effort to spruce the house up.

Later I get to go to the end-of-year assembly at the kids' school. There is a great community there and I count most of the other parents and the teachers as my friends. We will all get together to celebrate the children's achievements over the last year, to say goodbye to the Year 6's who will go to high school in September, and also to say goodbye to the headmistress who is retiring.

After that I get to finish the house cleaning and make everything just-so. And I will get to make dinner for my family, who have never had less than three meals a day in their lives, unlike the majority of the world.

In the evening I will get to rest in a clean and tidy house, with my well-fed children tucked up safely in their beds. I will snuggle on the couch with my husband and watch some DVDs until it is time to go to bed, keeping one ear open for dad's arrival at around 2am.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Peace in the Garden

I can't do everything, but if I do the important things first, take one step at a time, and accept the help of my family, I can find peace.
I am sitting in the garden right now with an ice cold smoothies made partly from my own strawberries, the first of which ripened today. The house is clean and tidy. The lawn is mowed and the plants watered and fed, as are the fish and the chickens. The washing is hanging on the line. All my essays are marked.
The garden looks great - the beans have climbed to the top of their bamboo pyramid and are starting to climb up the wisteria. The tomatoes are growing big and strong and starting to make flowers. The spuds are growing strongly, despite the dog's penchant for digging them up and eating them. I've been harvesting salad leaves for a while now, but am still awaiting the first radish harvest. The herbs are looking great, especially the mint. The rhubarb is doing well as are the courgettes. The garden is also full of flowers, and bees, and butterflies (I am not a fan of butterflies. Oh they look pretty and are harmless enough, but the caterpillars are buggers).
Peace? Yes, I'd say so.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice, Bean Sprouts readers! Tomorrow is the longest day and the shortest night of the year (in the northern hemisphere where I live anyway. In the southern hemisphere it is midwinter, the shortest day and longest night). At this time of the year light dominates over darkness, day dominates over night, warmth dominates over cold, life dominates over death.

Here in Britain we are finally having a nice summer after several long years of cold, dark, wet summers and it feels glorious! I am spending every minute I can out of doors shedding as many clothes as I dare and letting the sun warm my skin. I must admit I have got sunburned more than once already this season, which is not very wise.

Enjoy the special day, readers, and enjoy the summer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010