Sunday, 30 September 2012


Daniel calls it nesting: these wonderfully slow Sundays that fill the house with flour dust and the smell of warm bread. I have a loaf baking in the oven and a pastry case chilling in the fridge, and no real inclination to step outside.

The turning of the leaves - which I can see happening day-by-day on the ancient tree behind our house - turns me into somewhat of a homebody, and I could quite happily spend an entire weekend experimenting with new recipes, admiring my home from the comfort of the sofa or the study chair, and listening to Gardener's Question Time on Radio 4. Something about being at home on a weekend is endlessly appealing to me, and as exciting as some of my friends' adventures are - weekends in Wales, days at the seaside, autumnal picnics - there is nothing I look forward to more than just being here, with him.

Somehow it's Sunday evening already and I'm looking forward to a bubble bath, lentil soup and a slice of homemade treacle tart. I love these darkening evenings, with shards of rain on the windowpanes and trees in a constant flurry of wind. Tomorrow I'll get out there into the elements and take in what the world has to offer me, but today I'm wholeheartedly here.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Wee While

Almost six months since I last posted here at Jumbleberry Orchard. Part of me wanted a break, part of me just let a break happen. I had things to write about and I've missed the writing, but I filled the gap with personal projects that would have otherwise been left unfinished. Or more unfinished than they are now, anyway.

So where have I been?

I've been working. Hard. Juggling five jobs, and loving it (most of the time). I've been teaching, which comes so much more naturally than I expected, and I'm watching in wonder as my tutees develop their skills and knowledge from my own skills and knowledge. Wondrous. I've been working freelance, which is still romantic and torturous six months in. Having just completed a job and sent it back to a client I feel the buds of my own name starting to unfold - could I really be growing a little business of my own from my upstairs study? I've been working face-on with customers in a busy running shop; laughing and advising to my heart's content all day long. I will miss this freedom, the luxury of bobbing along with a few things in hand, newness and change every day of the week.

I've been to Paris with Daniel. We drank champagne while waiting for the train at St Pancras on the morning of my 25th birthday - chaotic bliss. Paris was hot, and we soaked up the city under a film suncream and the shade of sunhats. We indulged in the museums - no rushing, no worrying - and spent luxury hours together with amazing food and wine. I saw paintings by Rembrandt, a personal favourite, and left a note for de Beauvoir and Sartre on their headstone.

I've done some running, a little too much and then not much at all. I got a PB in the York 10k, smashing my previous time by 8 minutes. Then I took two weeks off and didn't miss it one bit. We spent some time in the Lake District with my parents where I got muddy in a fell race, climbed a few mountains and played crazy golf. It's always fun to go away with my Mum and Dad, and to catch up with them as people for a change. This weekend left me feeling fresh and rosy, and excited for more of the same in the coming year.

I've been planning a wedding, which will take place on 21st September next year. I've tried on the most beautiful dresses and felt, for a brief moment, the way Kate Middleton looked last year. Amazing. I'm enjoying playing with the detail, thinking about flowers and favours and all the tiniest parts of the day. The biggest part is ready to go: I can't wait to walk down the aisle and tell Daniel what he means to me in front of everyone I care about. Thinking of that moment makes my heart pop.

I've been decorating, and getting ready for autumn in our lovely home. We spent two weekends preparing my study for some serious thinking. It is dark green and plush, stacked to the ceiling with books. Daniel has crafted a blackboard for me to use for brainstorming. We put the radio on and painted into Friday and Saturday night.

On Friday things as I know them end, ready for the next chapter. I'm taking a week off from lessons and other work, and getting down to some study, oiling up my brain for what is to come. I can't wait. The last six months have been an unusual luxury, but I'm ready for the next phase to begin now.