Monday, 28 May 2012

Summer in Suburbia


We are home after a beautiful long weekend spent at my parent's house to celebrate my Dad's sixtieth birthday. 

It is the house I grew up in and is full of the sights, sounds, smells and memories of my childhood, especially in the summer. I am always reminded of the evocative title of one of Joni Mitchell's albums, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, when the weather is this warm. It brings to mind the house in summer with the windows all wide open, curtains flapping in the breeze, the distant sound of a lawn mower and bees buzzing, with the smell of cut grass. 

We spent nearly all weekend in the garden (and it is a very nice garden indeed).


Toe nails were painted and very cold beer was drunk.


I relaxed my usually very strict nail varnish policy and painted Bella's toe nails to match mine. (Such a little thing made her so happy, I did wonder why I don't let her have painted toe nails more often.)


My favourite image of the much enjoyed paddling pool, taken first thing in the morning when the light was soft and the air was still. I love the way the toys are abandoned after a busy day's play.


The bluest of blue skies.


Knitting in the sunshine.


Party preparations. Glasses and plates and chairs were hired.



Twenty metres of bunting were quickly made by stapling oilcloth triangles to ribbon, then hung around the garden.


John made beef chilli for forty (there he is, proudly wearing one of my Mum's aprons!). John's chilli is amazing and I will post the recipe soon. Mum and my sisters made quiches, four types of salad, six different desserts and a birthday cake.


The view from my old bedroom window as the sun was setting, over the neighbour's rooftops.



Then candles were lit and there was eating and drinking and chatting with dear family friends, people my sisters and I have known all our lives. 


There were also mosquitoes (the size of my bites!!! I have six of them!) and small children who didn't settle until nine every night due to light evenings, the heat and the excitement that comes from sharing a room.

We are still enjoying this glorious hot weather but I fear it will go tomorrow. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. What did you do? 

28 comments:

  1. what a perfect weekend, a happy belated birthday to your dad :o)
    wow chilli for 40!!!!
    love jooles x

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    1. I know, it was practically half a cow. And lots of left overs too so we came home with four types of dessert (but no milk in the fridge!)

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  2. Sounds perfect ( not the bites ). Hr lookd very fetching with the pinny :)

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    1. I'll tell him you said that! I can still hear him muttering about the Cath Kidston apron - I think I'll have to buy him one all of his own for father's day!

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  3. Brillian photographs, Gillian - they show a sunny weekend to perfection. Looks like you had a great time.
    Thanks for your kind comments x :)

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  4. What a lovely weekend you had! My daughter loves when I paint her toe nails to match mine....so fun!! The blue sky photo is breathtaking! And what a fun party! The menu sounds delicious and I love the photo of your mom's kitchen as it opens out to the garden...beautiful! The bunting is perfect, too! Such a fun weekend with great memories! We are off to the lake to visit my in-law's for the holiday. I'm looking forward to it! Have a great day!

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    1. Yes, so many good memories. :-) Enjoy your trip to the lake.

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  5. What a wonderful weekend - so lovely to spend time catching up with family and friends.
    I had a very poorly back this weekend and Steve painted my toenails for me!!! Before he started I had to promise that this would be a one off!
    Oh Gillian we had rain today - I hope the sun is still shining in Leeds xx

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry your back is bad, how rubbish. But to have your toenails painted, that's brilliant! Still sunny here but i think Normal British Summer will resume tomorrow :-(

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  6. That looks like such a chilled out weekend and the sky...how blue?!

    I have a strict policy of nail painting for the holidays only - some schools can be a little stuffy - but hey it's the holidays next week and all our toes will be painted the same colour.....I just hope the weather lasts.

    Nina xxx

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    1. I like your holiday only nail painting policy. It's not the school that's stuffy, it's me! I just don't want her to grow up too soon, she's only five and she has her whole life to paint her nails! But I think i've already lost the argument...five year old girls wear you down! :-)

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  7. Sounds just perfect. You can't beat a bit of nostalgic suburbia, particularly in the sunshine!!
    Ellie
    x

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    1. I think I secretly want to move back to the 'burbs, and recreate my childhood by the seaside!

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  8. What a wonderful weekend! You had me at painted toenails and cold beer! I have the same rules over here, girls managed to wear me down as 2 parties in one weekend was surely special enough for nail polish, when it was on I wondered why am so anti-it on them?? I think it's the growing up I have a problem with ;)

    Hope your Dad had a wonderful weekend too. x

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    1. I know, i have been questioning myself on why exactly i don't like it, but I'm fighting a losing battle and will concede to toe nails only (for now) and must be cheerful pastel or primary colours, nothing too dark or "grown up", a brilliant tip my friend Rachel gave me to get round the nail varnish dilemma!

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  9. That looks like a magical weekend. Especially love the paddling pool shot.

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    1. Thank you, I think that is my favourite too.

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  10. What a lovely summery weekend! Happy Birthday to your Dad! Cooking chilli for 40 is no mean feat - well done to your husband! How wonderful to be able to have such a lovely party at your childhood home - wherever one's childhood home is, there's always something uniquely special about going back especially for a celebration. Hope we get to keep the sun a bit longer as well!

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    1. You're right, those childhood memories around celebrations are special. It took the arrival of my children for Christmas to feel like Christmas in my own house, rather than my parent's!

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  11. I've hopped on over here from Mike's Gal's blog . . . and I'm so glad I did. What a lovely poetic post with lots of great photo's.

    Off for a looksie at your other posts now . . .

    Hugs, Sarn xxx

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    1. Hi Sandra, nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by and your kind comments.

      Gillian

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  12. lovely photos, love the flowers against the blue sky. chilli for forty... wow, that is a whole other level of cooking!

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    1. Thanks Charmaine - i took about fifty photos of that tree and had to do some strict editing and stop myself from uploading all of them!

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  13. Oh, what a lovely sounding weekend! Hope your dad had a good birthday... Such gorgeous photos - my favourite is the one of the paddling pool and toys. I can only imagine how much fun the kids must have had! x

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    1. They had a blast - sunshine and grand parent attention to the max, plus lots of ice lollies and treats. Don't think they wanted to come home.

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  14. Lovely photos of a brilliant weekend. Was so good to see you all xxx
    I beat you on the insect bites. I had 13 over both legs . 13 I tell you! By Monday they had all turned in to huge red swollen lumps. The only relief came from an ice pack being applied to each one. They are still itching today. Having said all that, the meal outside in the bunting-filled garden was delicious.

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    1. Good to see you too, lovely sister! 13 insect bites...that's not good! Curse those mosquitoes. We should've burned some of those cintronella candles. Next time... xx

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