And breathe

What I needed, after the excitement and busyness of last week, was a breather. A quiet weekend. A chance to pause and take stock. And, in a funny sort of way, that is exactly what I got.

A chance to set things straight around the place, to plan the meals for the week ahead, to empty the fridge into the soup pot and refill it with fresh veg. To chat with my children, home and away, and share a new project with them each. Somehow, in between the Saturday comings and goings to the market and the ballet studio, the house was cleaned. I read a novel – a whole, 595 page novel – in one weekend: a treat which is unlikely to be soon repeated. Seb baked a seed cake. Ilse, between piano practice and dance lessons and copious amounts of homework, started a snood with the leftovers from Fliss’ Snow Day and presented it to me, last night, complete. I added a few more rows to my Lionberry shawl. John finished sanding the fiddly bits on that ugly old chair I’d brought home, and gave it a coat of wax. It was to go in our bedroom but looks better in my studio, so there it’ll stay for now. Its seat has been recovered deliberately lackadaisically, using one of the fat quarters purchased at the mill, back in August. I want to be able to whip the fabric off again, and use it in a quilt, in a new year’s flurry of making.

Mother and Father joined us for our Sunday roast, and it was one of those glorious affairs which seemed to cook itself, everyone taking care of just one of two parts of the process. Seb peeled a sinkful of spuds, and put them on to boil. Fliss picked the fattest pears from the tree and tossed them in brown sugar and cinnamon, before Ilse topped the fruit with an almond sponge, to make an Exmoor In-and-Out. I cut vegetables from the garden, and left them ready in a pan. And John pulled it all together: roasting the potatoes, making a gravy, carving the rested bird. By the time the girls’ gently fragrant pudding was brought to the table, I felt entirely myself again.

Yes, it was one of those weekends where we pottered about and everything we did was like a deep and calming breath. There is something so pleasing in the familiar, when you are regaining your balance. Make soup – inhale. Cover a chair – exhale. On it goes, through bookish cuddles on the settee and the sound of someone making steady progress up and down their scales. Family life, with all its familiar rhythms, has restored my bumping heart to something steady once again.

This morning, at the start of a brand new day, new week, new month, I got things ready to begin again. While seeing to the hens, I picked a fresh bouquet of cosmos to grace the windowsill in my little studio. I tidied the debris of the last design into the children’s craft cupboard so that my basket is waiting, empty, for the wool I’ve ordered to arrive. The desk is clear. There is a fresh title in my design book, gracing a clean white page, ready to record the calculations of the day. Colours have been chosen, little details settled upon, test knitters primed and waiting. A pot of tea, the radio for company: there is comfort in the familiar. A deep breath, a clean space, and I am ready to begin again.

Madeleine

And you? What did you do this weekend?

6 thoughts on “And breathe”

  1. I had a fabulous birthday weekend which included Friday night at the theatre (Hamilton… a must see… I am still hearing the music in my head as I go about my daily chores) followed by a POST-SHOW dinner. Saturday involved breakfast of pancakes,bacon and maple syrup, sushi in the sunshine in Richmond Park (to the sound of the deer moaning), a shared slice of rainbow cake (of course) on Richmond green and a dose of Strictly in the evening.
    Sunday morning was filled with crafts and baking which resulted in a sumptuous afternoon tea with friends. The house was filled with laughter (and eating). Even my eldest baked the best ginger cookies I’ve eaten (all by herself).

    1. Happy birthday! That sounds like an amazing birthday weekend. (I, too, would have written ‘post-show’ in caps – the legacy of many years of small children!) The combination of going out to do something grown up and then family time doing the things you love sounds perfect. Plus, of course, sharing the results with lots of friends at the end of it all. I’m so pleased that you had a lovely time. Xxx

  2. Your weekend sounds like a perfect combination of cooperation and peaceful accomplishment. An example of getting the balance just right, which subsequently becomes the model for other weekends. I have a few such times in my memory bank too, and I savor them. My weekend had a little of the tone of your’s, but ended with a project being delayed and costing more than anticipated. Such is life!

    1. Thanks, Juliana! It was just what I needed – I feel ready to throw myself into this week. I hope you had a good weekend too. X

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