When we returned to Leeds at the weekend one of the first things I did was inspect the garden. After such a warm, dry week, I was expecting to find a dried out husk of a garden, but was pleasantly surprised to find things growing and flowering. At last, after weeks and weeks of rain, our little garden benefited from some sunshine.
At last...at last...my sweet peas have flowered. I've been waiting months for these. I love their bright colours and floppy heads. I was greedy and picked nearly all of them. I reasoned that, since the weather forecast says rain showers all week, I will enjoy these flowers more in the house than in the garden.
...and finally, some blooms!
I couldn't remember what colours I'd planted, so it was a nice surprise to see purple, pink and white flowers blooming.
It was not exactly an abundant crop, so I padded out my posey with lavender and bay. One little bouquet that cost me nothing.
I put them in a blue enamel jug on my bedside table.
I love having flowers in the bedroom, it feels more decadent somehow. Does anyone else keep cookery books on their bedside tables? I love reading recipe books in bed. I keep a pad of post it notes in the bedside table drawer so I can bookmark recipes I like the look of. Is that weird? I'm sure there are worse things to keep in one's bedside table drawers.
Pottering, prettying, nesting, blessing the home - call it what you will, but simple activities like picking some flowers I grew and arranging them in a jug make me inordinately happy. It is things like this that make me feel that I am home again and help banish the holiday blues.
It was hard to come back to Leeds. I have mixed feelings about living here. We moved here after university and, twelve years, one wedding, two houses and two children later, we are still here. The things that attracted us to Leeds (shopping, gigs, clubs, bars...oh yes, A JOB) no longer matter in the same way. Partly it is the fact that we have no family in Yorkshire - all my family live on the South Coast and John's in Durham, in the North East. But also, I do think that I want to raise our children in a less urban, more rural environment. This matters more to me than John, but I know he doesn't want to live here forever either.
We have made such good friends here. We've had too, really - when you have babies and your family live hundreds of miles away, you have to build a support network of people to count on and go to. Friends to celebrate with, hang out with, drink with, moan with. Friends who can babysit. And Bella is very happy and settled in her (fantastic) local school and we would have to think long and hard about moving her. And we love our little house. It is nothing to look at from the outside, just a typical three-bed-semi with a tiny garden, like millions of others in the UK, but inside we have worked so hard to make it ours.
Lots to think about. I am sure this is a dilemma for many people. I have only a handful of friends who live in the same area as their family and their partner's family. We move around now, for love, for our careers, because we want to leave the small town we grew up in and experience new things. So Leeds is bitter-sweet for me, and despite twelve years and lots of wonderful friendships and happy memories, I still struggle to think of it as "home".