Well, I made it through my first week in paid work for eight years and found that actually I rather enjoyed myself, although yesterday I was absolutely exhausted and thought that Friday had never been more welcome. The people are supportive and friendly, I think the work will be a nice balance between variety and routine which will suit me down to the ground, and the children are brilliant. But I came home each day mentally wiped out with the effort of trying to remember everything; people's names, where things go, processes, tips, messages... My poor brain!
Things that have occurred to me this week. Working Monday to Friday is going to be tougher than I thought. Certainly not impossible, but I need to be more organised because the cliche is true, sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day. The two hours I have to myself between the school run and starting work might as well be twenty minutes for all I seem to achieve, especially if I want to go for a run or shopping first. I think our weekends will be sweeter and a lot more precious. I resented spending this morning in the supermarket and I don't want to waste any of that relaxed family time.
Those garden photos above? I have to come clean, they are all in my sister, Katy's, garden. It's the most beautiful garden you can imagine; long and thin, with a winding path that leads you to a pond, fruit trees, a vegetable garden, before you reach a sheltered patio area at the end. In spring it was full of blossom and bluebells, in early summer it's bursting with foxgloves, aquilegia and roses. I can't wait to see what high summer will bring. That's where we spent last Sunday afternoon, the kids and I, eating barbecued food, watching the kids play in the paddling pool and generally whiling away the afternoon in the sun. When I feel a little too jealous, I remind myself that they only moved into this house in March and it was their good fortune to inherit that garden, and now they must maintain it. We have what might politely be called a blank canvas. Yesterday my sister dropped around a posy of flowers she'd cut from her garden. "You're always going on about how gorgeous our garden is", she said, "So I thought you might like these." It tickles me how they look in that vase, like a lady wearing a jaunty hat to a wedding.
We've all been eating strawberries by bucket load here. I can't find a local Pick Your Own but the supermarket ones have been delicious. Funny how when they're in season they actually taste of strawberry, not water. And I've been working on my Midsummer Sprigs sampler this week, a little every day. I make myself sit down in the evening and even if I only complete one centimetre square of stitches, I can feel the calm descend on me as the stitching works it's magic. I've fallen back in love with counted cross stitch. Working on this black fabric in electric light can be tricky, but I've found that if I sit next to a good lamp and pull it right down so that I'm working in the glow of light, that it's actually quite ok on the eyes. I bought some peonies from the supermarket. I love them but they're quite expensive so they are a rare treat. These were taking ages to open up so I followed a tip I read about online - immerse the heads in a bowl of warm water for a couple of minutes, then gently shake off the water and put them back in their vase. It worked and they are slowly unfolding now.
Isn't that postcard in the last photo just brilliant? My friend Debora sent it from Germany, knowing I'd love it. I think it might have to go in a frame.
Thank you for all your kind words about my dressing table, and your thoughts and comments about chalk paint. I'm not sworn off it yet, and I'd like to try a stronger colour on a smaller piece of furniture. I have two tired IKEA bedside tables which I'd like to experiment on. That's a project for the six week summer holidays.