Hello! Did you have a nice Easter weekend? I hope you feel rested after the bank holiday. Ours has been quiet - we've mostly stayed at or near home - but it's been lovely for that. John had to work two out of the four days but that's not bad, we still got to do some nice things together. As is usual for the UK, the bank holiday weather has been...unpredictable. On Friday morning we went for a walk to a favourite place and sat in the warm, still air, watching the sun sparkle and glitter on the water. There wasn't a breath of wind and we even took our coats off. It was just gorgeous. Saturday and Sunday were cold and showery. Then, last night, I think I was woken every hour by Storm Katie. The south-west aspect of our bedroom window takes the full brunt of any bad weather and it's so noisy - between the rain blowing against the glass and the creaking of the window, it's not exactly conducive to a good night's sleep. We have one fence panel down (it needed replacing anyway, perhaps this will push it up the to-do list?) but got off lightly compared to the damage sustained by others along the South Coast.
I've been relishing this time at home, sorting, cleaning and washing; I've emptied cupboards and wardrobes, filled four bin liners with old clothes, toys and books for the charity shop, washed all the woolen jumpers...oh, it feels so good. I've been wanting to do this for ages and it was at the top of my Easter to do list. I do love a good clear out, it makes me feel lighter, physically and mentally. I remember, just before we left Leeds, going through the garage, the loft, everywhere, and getting rid of anything that wasn't necessary, and how satisfying it felt to think that everything we owned were either things that we loved or needed, and that I knew exactly where it all was. Well, it's been one year to the day since we moved into this house and I'm slightly appalled at what I've managed to shove into the back of cupboards in that time. Boxes that haven't been opened, clothes that haven't been worn in a year...I was a woman on a mission this weekend. Nothing was going to stand in the way of me and a perfectly folded jumper.
When I haven't been decluttering I've been making and cooking and pottering around, just doing all the other things that make me feel content. At Angus's request I made Barry the Badger a striped jumper. It came out pretty well for a pattern I made up as I went along, and I think he looks quite dapper in it. The kids and I made chocolate cornflake Easter nests and picked flowers from the garden. John and I cooked blueberry ricotta pancakes for breakfast on Easter Sunday. They were nice, but not as nice as they should have been for the effort involved. Any pancake recipe that requires me to separate eggs and whisk the whites before folding them into the batter and which uses about four bowls, better be pretty bloody amazing frankly, and these were just Quite Nice. But something we did make which used about 12 eggs (I'm not even joking), every pan and bowl in the kitchen and took all afternoon to make was this spectacular lemon tart. This was our contribution to the "bring a pudding" at my mum's on Easter Sunday. It's so, so delicious, like the best kind of lemon curd you ever tasted encased in a sweet, lemony, crispy pastry case. It's worth every ounce of effort, which is just as well because it is a lot of effort.
I'm trying to make the most of the kitchen because, next week, builders arrive and we will not have a functioning kitchen for about a month. Possibly longer, although I can't really bear to think about that. The wall between the kitchen and dining room will be removed, changes made to the current door and window, and new cupboards and worktop fitted. It's going to be amazing, eventually, but in the mean time our kitchen will consist of a kettle, toaster and microwave in the garage. Possible a camping stove too if we feel like pushing the boat out. Any tips on how to survive a kitchen-refit will be gratefully received (but not takeaways please, my waist and wallet can't cope with endless pizza deliveries!)