Monday, 4 May 2020

The Home Front

Good morning from the Rhondda valley!  May has arrived, and with it there's usually a sense of celebration.  It's a big month for birthdays among my family and friends.  Generally the temperature has slightly improved by this point, the flowers are out in full force, and the festivals, vintage fairs, car boot sales and antiques shows are beginning.  It's obviously a little more subdued than usual this year, less of a fanfare and more of a squeak.  This week I've been mainly feeling tired to be honest, the night feeds are taking their toll!  I think I've visibly aged.  I took the opportunity therefore on 1st May, to wash my face in the early morning dew, a tradition passed on to me by my mother.  If you've not heard of this custom, the dew is said to have 'magical' properties, and will keep you looking youthful.  Chris was out there like a shot once I told him.

Most of this week has been a bit dark and moody, with me forlornly staring out of the windows at the rainy garden rather than being out in it.  The goldfinches seemed happy enough in the rain.  Still, I did manage a few quick jobs like staking the peonies, and weeding between the cracks on our paths.

Above: spot the goldfinch 

Exorchorda 'The Bride', present from my Dad, grown from a cutting from a mature plant in his own garden.

Peonies are out!

I've been embracing loungewear on these indoor rainy days, and have made good use of some trousers that I made last year.  I amended the pyjama bottom pattern from 'Love at First Stitch' by Tilly and the Buttons to create a higher waist, and added an elastic panel to the back waistband instead of having a drawstring (I prefer a neat front waistband).  The fabric is vintage Viyella, a very fine wool paisley.  It's called something like 'Shrivastana', but I can't find the photo I took of the name.  I had to cut out the pattern very carefully to avoid some ancient tiny moth nibbles, but I took a chance on the fabric as it was only £1 from a charity shop.  Money well spent!

The big event of the past week was Chris's birthday.  The sun even came out.  We took the opportunity for an hour's walk in the forest on top of the hill behind our house.  Chris had Otis in the baby carrier, as the terrain is too rough for a pram.  It was beautiful, and easy to keep our distance from the few dog walkers we encountered.  We also witnessed a buzzard launch itself from the forest right above our heads, and watched in disbelief as two crows chased it in aerial combat!

Above: this landslide happened in the torrential rains earlier this year.  You can't see from this photo, but there are actually houses in the bottom of the valley - fortunately far enough away to have escaped.

That afternoon back at home, Chris did a Facebook Live session.  It was lovely to catch up with some friends and family who tuned in to watch.  They were mainly there to see the baby though I suspect.  He was very patient, he sat and listened to Chris for nearly a whole hour.  I think he's getting used to the banjo!  Once the baby was asleep that evening, we managed to have dinner, and we brought out the cheesecake I'd made.  It was a New York baked cheesecake, and big enough to feed about 20 people.  Chris loved it, so I was relieved.  We then ended the evening with a few rounds of Connect 4 (I lost) and a game of Boggle (I won), while Chris sampled some of the whiskies he'd had.  Alas, I had to go to bed at 9pm to get a little sleep before the baby woke up next.  Not the most rock 'n roll birthday Chris has ever had, but he said that he had a really lovely day.

It's a bit overcast today but dry again, so I am desperate to get into the garden.  Being indoors really does impact my mood.  The baby is asleep right now, so it will be a challenge to see how much can I get done before he wakes up.  As for the rest of the week, it will be my birthday on Friday, so another low key celebration will be in order.  More rhubarb cake perhaps!

Hope you are all keeping your spirits up.


  1. Happy Birthday to you both! How sweet is that Happy First Birthday to my Daddy card? I've just realised that they shifted the May Day Bank Holiday to Friday for VE Day so an extra special one for you.
    The weather's been a bit miserable, hasn't it? Look at that mist rolling off the hills. I'm hoping it cheers up a bit this week, it doesn't half dampen my enthusiasm for staying motivated when the skies are grey.
    Your garden is looking lovely, those trousers are gorgeous, love the Indian-inspired print. I should have bathed in the dew on may 1st, my skin is awful at the moment!
    The baked cheesecake looks lovely, I'm not a fan of sweet stuff but I have tried one of those before and loved it.
    Stay safe and fabulous, all of you in Rhonnda! xxx

  2. The morning dew must have helped, as I do not see any signs of aging! In fact, I think motherhood really suits you, although I can imagine the broken nights aren't the most fun aspect! The rain has certainly put a damper on things here too. It's easier to keep a sunny outlook on those gorgeous Spring days we've been having. That peony is gorgeous! As is that Viyella fabric! I'm quite envious of your hill with a forest on top. How wonderful it must be to live near such natural beauty. I miss Wales! Happy birthday to Chris, and to you of course. Your first one with the baby! xxx

  3. It's so nice you two can get out and wander a bit. The cheesecake looks wonderful and Happy Birthday to Chris!


  4. Happy birthday, Chris!

    You certainly don't look like you're ageing. And those trousers are excellent - it would be nice if we all leave lockdown with such elegant loungewear! That paisley fabric is lush. Pete actually complimented my beach pyjamas the other day, which surprised me.

  5. That cheesecake looks amazing and it was a different way to celebrate with a hike, with family :)


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