#atinylife blossomwatch

If I have to do the weekly shop (which is Mr HB’s job, on the basis that ‘I spend too much’), I like to go first thing – I didn’t during lockdown, of course, as the early hours were a time for vulnerable folk to shop. Driving out the village at 6:20am always feels a little exciting – so much of my life is house and child-bound and yes, I might be awake early, but getting out of the house is another story.

It’s still our first year at the new house, so my spirits rose as I passed a tree in full blossom on the side of the A7. The Japanese have it right with hanami, a tree full of flower is something to take time over, celebrate.

Yesterday was Blossom Watch day. Grateful to be on trend, for a change.  

#atinylife good day

The sun came out and

we were allowed to have people over in the garden and

they could be from another local authority area and

I made gluten free vegan brownies and

the kids played with nerf guns and

I hate toy guns and

I didn’t care and

I made tea and

Mr HB made coffee and

we bitched about stuff and

we did the crossword together and

we laughed and

we looked at the tadpoles and

the tadpoles are getting bigger and

they are moving around more too and

kids all played really well together and

later on we went down to the river and

it is really beautiful here and

today it is cloudy again and

I feel tired but it’s the good sort of tired and

I am so lucky to have had such a lovely day.

#atinylife muddle-through

Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow…

My sister Becky quoted this line (on Zoom, of course. Where else do we talk these days?) as ‘very Christmas 2020.’

Some of us muddled-through before this year: I myself started muddling-through around 2004.

The festive season can become rigid: we always go to this house, we always eat this meal with these people, we watch this film, listen to this music. I’m so sorry if your set pieces are not possible this year.

Maybe we can use this time to think about our Christmas days. Perhaps we’ll go back to our set pieces next year, joyfully. Perhaps we’ll make new traditions that serve us better.

Meanwhile, as an official muddle-representative, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all new muddlers, est. 2020.

tinylife will be back on 17 January.

#atinylife wordsmatter

Words matter.

Bit of an obvious start for a writer, I know.

And sure, Biden isn’t a UK president elect, Nor is Harris our future vice-president. So why did I watch both of their acceptance speeches and cry?

I found the transcripts online – these aren’t off-the-cuff remarks, these are crafted works of oral history. And I thought if there is a word in these speeches, it’s there because it is deliberate, chosen. But I’m scrolling through and there was a word Biden used, over and over, that isn’t in the draft.

Folks.

Yeah, maybe it’s just how Biden talks. But it is one of the best ways to describe a group of people, because it doesn’t leave anyone out.

Words matter. The words you choose, matter.

They tell people who you include, and who you are happy to leave out.

#atinylife Zoom review

Disclaimer 1: I’m not a keyworker, so this may grate if you are.

Disclaimer 2: I love my huge crazy family.

 

This Easter none of the family met irl. Like many people, we took to Zoom to play games (well, actually, mostly to play Werewolves of Millers Hollow), so there was at least a chance of the cousins joining us.

The benefits of meeting this way!

The mute function. With my lot, the host’s ability to mute everyone except one person is ground-breaking.

zoom

Seeing everyone for an hour or so, instead of a weekend in one house. There is a running joke in our family that the first five minutes of any family visit are the best.

Getting to chat to the tweens/teenagers. Usually they are off with their cousins, and quite right too.

I miss the hugs, but my kids don’t!

 

 

#atinylife iso pods

If you are a keyworker – well, thank you, for a start. Also, this blog might grate a little. Feel free to scroll by!

I have loved and listened to podcasts for many years now, but I thought given that some folk might be at a loose end at the moment, I would write with some recommendations.

First up: Caught. This is a mini series about juvenile delinquency and privilege. It was made in the USA but the take-homes are universal.

Podcasts

A bit less heavy is: So I got to thinking. Juno Dawson (swoon) and Dylan B Jones are going through every Sex and the City episode in order and answering Carrie’s question.

 

Dead pan comedy: Heavyweight  features Jonathan Goldstein mostly being funny but also acting as an ‘interlocutor’ for people with communication issues.

If you listen/enjoy, please let me know!

#atinylife Open Viewings

Yet again I have confirmed my status as a bit of an oddball.

This time it’s the over our house, which you will know is currently on the market unless you have been hiding under a rock or muted me online until today.

We’re supposed to hate house viewings, right? All that tidying so that complete strangers can come and examine our property and ask awkward questions about the neighbours. open viewing

Well, I love them. The house has never looked so good. We have a total system (and a list, of course!) for the tidying. And I adore taking folk over the house – I’d forgotten I can be charming, or at least friendly – showing them all the great things we put into it to make it home.

It feels like saying, over and over, ‘this is our house. Isn’t it lovely?’

#atinylife privilege

As a woman with mental health issues, and the parent of an enby kid, I’m often aware of other people’s male-cis-het-ableist privilege.

Today, however, I have the most privilege I’ve ever felt in my life.

  • I am in an air bnb (financially secure enough for this, and multiple trips to Tesco for cashews and vegan chocolate)
  • for two nights (not in a nine-five with four weeks of holiday a year)
  • my children being looked after by their dad (co-parenting: surely the ultimate privilege?)
  • writing (able to pursue this un-lucrative work for many years now)
  • listening to music and podcasts (having decided I can afford Spotify: currently on free trial)
  • and reading (only one was free from the library).

This is heaven.privilege

This. An accident of birth, and race,  cisgendered heterosexual marriage, and secure family that led me to this point.

#atinylife Autumn Song

Autumn SongAutumn: I wake before the sun rises.

Warm myself on a cup of tea,

the feeling of my hands across the keyboard,

the central heating’s clicks and taps.

The sun’s light pierces clouds ruffled

on the horizon,

reminding me it’s still here

even at this turn of the year.

Rising into the sky, all blue and white

and blue and white

and falling leaves. Rain comes on

from nowhere, and I shut the window tight,

watch the leaves, pushed off

by the wind to fall with the raindrops,

to end up slicked, shining on the concrete.

By teatime, the sun is gone again.

Pink clouds wrestle with the oranges,

the yellows, the browns of the trees.

Red berries are picked out

in the evening light. Drops rest on the branches,

 

the rooks fly over like factory workers, heading for home.

 

#atinylife busy again

Oh it must be Spring. I’m busy!

I like to be busy, but not as much as the average … person? Person in the UK? Person of my generation? ‘Busy’ doesn’t take long to develop into ‘stressed,’ and ‘stressed’ has developed into psychosis – only twice, and a long time ago now, but… I don’t have the option to push myself like other people.

Busy Bee

What has been particularly wonderful about this year, as opposed to other Springs, when I was busy with the kids, or busy with work, or busy writing things no one was interested in, is that this year I’m busy with paid, creative work. Sometimes. Other paid work has to fit around the writing, not the other way round.

Meanwhile, the children have to fit around creativity AND paid work, and are no doubt feeling very hard done by!