|A small number of birds in the garden :o)|
|Whose feet are these? Nearest I can get is a polecate. Thoughts?|
|Poppy vanishing into a badger's hole. Her new favourite thing to do. Naughty.|
|Scone Birthday Cake|
|a Murmuration of Starlings|
|60,000 starlings over Romsey|
|New bat box in the twisted willow ready for spring Pips|
|Daphne out and smelling divine.|
I need a weekend to recover from the weekend.
1. Get up early, go to parkrun*
2. Chat to some friends about the Stubby 10k which lots of people are doing tomorrow and muse about potential finishing times, then go home, shower, breakfast, tidy up.
3. Decide unexpectedly at midday to go to Reading for the cross country league race that afternoon.
4. Make hasty sandwiches, shove them in a pot, grab an apple and drive an hour and a half to Prospect Park. Fall asleep in the car on the way there.
5. Arrive by the skin of our teeth with minutes to go before the race starts.
6. Enjoy watching friend Peat trying to greet a team mate with a hug while the team mate remains utterly rigid with his arms by his sides. Peat persists for a few painful seconds more.
7. Cheer M, Peat, Mick and a couple of hundred others round the 6 mile course with Bex while getting progressively more and more frozen, despite being muffled inside a thermal coat, hat, gloves, scarf and breaking out the star jumps.
8. Reacquaint myself with some surprise and a little bit of envy at just how enormously powerful Becky's lungs are when it comes to shouting at runners.
9. Briefly consider getting pom poms for next time to mitigate my lack of bellow-ability and to generally wave about and encourage the runners with.
10. Yell myself hoarse in the closing seconds of the race encouraging M to stay ahead of the runner behind, who, despite all our combined efforts, catches him on the line. Bex and I groan loudly.
11. Know M will be very cross about this despite a) coming in the top 100 in a very competitive field and b) the guy being about twenty years younger than him.
12. Get back in car for the 1.5 hours' drive home. Fall asleep in the car.
13. Arrive home, give dogs brief cuddle and explain we're going out again. They don't look at all impressed. Go upstairs to sort out my hair which, after being scrunched under a hat all day is sticking out in weird ways. Give up and plait it into pigtails so it will at least wave all in the same direction later. Pull all my clothes out of the wardrobe and cover the bed in them. Choose a dress and heels, which immediately feels all wrong. Worry about the effects standing for several hours in heels without my special inserts in will have on my recovering knee (!). Briefly wonder if I can get away with wearing trainers but decide probably not. Realise how much life has changed in the last five years, priorities etc. Get M to make call to sis in law to find out what she's wearing. Overhear his side of the conversation with his brother which makes me laugh: I've no idea why she needs to know. No, I don't understand it either. What are you wearing then? As a result, change into skirt and comfy (flat) boots. Feel better. Reflect that I must be getting old as the appeal of heels has entirely left me.
14. Cover entire house in sticky notes in an attempt to remind L to let dogs out for a pee at 7pm then again at 10pm.
15. Try to ignore the way Poppy's hopefully wagging tail fades sadly away as she realises we're off again, and Ted's accusatory look of utter abandonment as we again leave the house.
16. Drive up to London to Henry's 50th birthday party. Fall asleep in car.
17. Arrive at 7pm and wake up with a start, find a place to park (eventually) and only just remember to pull the plaited pigtails out of my hair before Henry, dressed all in black and looking very London Elegant Chic opens the front door.
18. Discover it isn't a sit down meal with a handful of others but a live band in the conservatory where 70 people are due to party out the night.
19. Have half an hours' catch up with Henry and Lucy and my bro and sis in law before everyone descends.
20. Notice all the women are in sparkly party dresses and heels.
21. The noise level immediately reaches a crescendo, except it doesn't go down again, and I wonder if my ears will survive the night without bleeding.
22. Shout for a while to a man from Chicago about Trump and American politics and the possibility of Oprah Winfrey running for President. Also about Miriam Margoyles' American road trip and the south side of Chicago, which he confirms he's never visited. Talk about skiing and importing expensive wines.
23. Shout to another man who, once he discovers M is a runner too, doesn't want to talk to me anymore, but spends the next half hour telling M all about his competitive running times, while apparently entirely failing to notice my husband's glazed expression.
24. Despite my intention not to, drink three glasses of prosecco in quite quick succession.
25. Eat my second plate of curry in as many days while listening to another man busily assuring me that my son will be at home with an enormous number of teenage friends right now drinking, smoking and generally trashing the house. He doesn't seem interested in my assurances that L has been looking forward to having the house to himself so much over the past week that filling it with other people would be the last thing on his mind. Ah, he said, knowingly, that's what he's told you. I reflect that this is a sad assessment of what it is to be a teenager and try my best to smile politely while thinking what a *!@$.
26. Have a shouty conversation with a lady dressed head to toe in couture complimented by impeccable makeup and perfect hair, with whom, despite heroic attempts on my part, I can find no common ground at all. I amuse myself for a while after she's gone off to find more sartorially suitable company by imagining her describing our encounter to her friends later: I mean, she was wearing a SKIRT and FLAT BOOTS! And her hair had clearly been in plaited PIG TAILS! I giggle to myself about this for quite a while.
27. I am tired of yelling to people I don't know.
28. Head thumping, I try to make subtle but noticeable can we go home yet? signs to my husband (harder than it sounds) before realising it is only 9pm.
29. Escape to the hall where the noise only makes me wince instead of cry, and find a pint glass which I refill (with water) and drain three times in an attempt to neutralise the prosecco.
30. Reflect that my tolerance for loud has disappeared completely somewhere between the ages of 34-44 and that my preference for socialising is now a nice meal somewhere quiet where you can talk and no one worries about what they're wearing.
31. Reflect too that, the advantage of socialising with runners on a weekend is that many of them have races on a Sunday so there is no imperative to stay up beyond 11!
32. Manage to last until 11pm when thankfully M is also keen to get home. It has been lovely to see Henry and Lucy, despite my inability to cope with noise and party frocks.
33. Fall asleep in the car on the way home.
1. Despite getting only 6 hours sleep and having gone to bed with a thumping headache, we get up early and drive to Stockbridge for a race. Meet up with the running club and have a giggle generally about life, running, weather, back aches etc.
2. Buy soup and bread and cheese, a chocolate cake and two Toblerones (special offer) in the village shop while M is out racing round the course with Neil, who comes second to M's third.
3. Hold onto a blonde labradoodle called scraggles while her mum goes off to find her son. She is very sweet and friendly and we have a nice cuddle (the dog, not the woman) and I reflect that T and P will be scandalised when I get home and they sniff another dog on me.
4. Tell two small boys NOT to throw great jagged lumps of rock into the river where the trout are swaying in the current, in the absence of any obvious parental presence.
5. Cheer M in, go home, bake 20 scones, dress them with clotted cream and strawberry jam and stick a candle in twelve of them, then wrap my mother's bd presents (in fabric with ribbon, not a bit of plastic in sight. We are giving her a bird feeder from the grandchildren, some fabric and a cross stitch set from us and some locally made goats milk soap with chamomile and lemongrass that smells lovely), quickly wash my hair and am downstairs in time to welcome M's cousin and my ma in law who've just flown back in from Ireland where they've been visiting elderly relatives, and who are coming to lunch.
6. Over lunch try to persuade M's cousin to do some races with us this year. Follow up with an email about the Cheltenham and Cheddar Gorge Challenges which look fab.
7. They go, I have a quick wander round the garden to admire the Hellebores and the Daphne which are coming into flower, and then my family arrive, with my bro in law ferrying the parents who've accidentally got pissed at lunch.
8. We have a good giggle about this and promise not to let them forget it. The grandchildren in particular find it hysterical and the grandparents look suitably red-faced.
9. Sit down for presents, which are unwrapped and admired, chat, blow out the candles on the scone cake, brew up some tea and eat and drink while discussing the problem of plastic waste and what to do about it.
10. 5pm everyone goes home, I fall asleep on the sofa watching Ian Mckellen in Holmes, which is a shame because the bit I saw was good.
11. Wake up in time to watch Vera, have some bread, cheese, an apple and a cup of tea, and make L's lunch for Monday. Check the results from Stubby and am pleased to see my friend Neil did really well.
12. Promise the dogs that tomorrow I will be at home and take them for a long walk round the fields.
13. Fall asleep more or less as soon as my head hits the pillow and only wake at 1am briefly to talk M down from some intense sleep-walking drama that had got him out of bed because he was running the Zimbabwe election. My dreams are never that exciting.
*parkrun was great, in case you were wondering. Did it in a steady 27 mins and thoroughly enjoyed it. Only a very small sprint finish at the end to overtake the four people in front of me. (Don't tell John).
Hope you all had a good weekend?