What a difference a week makes. From scorching, cloudless days to almost autumnal weather: blowy, wet and cold. Dark, brooding skies above. The garden has taken on a tired appearance as everything is pummelled flat by the relentless rain and winds.
It's strange writing about seasonality when things seem so... unseasonal. This is the last day of June and it feels almost autumnal. Mist on the hills, cars driving along with their headlights switched on. The house is constantly enveloped in gloom and shadow.
I think we've finally got it right with the lighting downstairs. Not that I use artificial light in photographs, so you'll have to use your imagination. But we have a few strings of fairy lights, an old standard lamp and three smaller lamps dotted around. I don't 'do' overhead lighting if I can help it.
And lately, the lamps have been seeing a lot of use. Like I said: strangely autumnal.
I've even been wearing jumpers and woolly socks. The workroom gets very chilly so any chance I get to work from the sofa (or dining room table) I take. So, lots of writing (by hand, in a notebook) and some printmaking too.
There are still pleasures to be had despite the weather. We've been shelling peas (Joe loves doing this) and eating apricots.
I'm currently following the Autoimmune Protocol, having been diagnosed as having autoimmune thyroiditis. I'd much rather address the cause than the symptoms so eating foods which don't send my immune system into overdrive makes sense. It's pretty restrictive but so far I've lost 10lbs and feel much better already.
The idea is to remove all foods which can cause a reaction then after a month or so reintroduce things gradually. It's led to my trying new things, particularly flours, and experimenting with different flavours. Next on my to-bake list are these ginger biscuits. They look easy and I'm craving something sweet.
I ran a few little errands yesterday and called into two shops: the greengrocer and the little health store. I do love the grocer; even more so as there's a gargantuan supermarket a few hundred yards away, and I think it's really important to support small independent businesses. There's something wonderful about a real greengrocery: the seemingly random mix of fruit, vegetables and flowers. Other things too, like preserves and nuts and cheese. The fact that very little is shrink-wrapped or pre-packed in extra-large quantities. And the smell. Of fresh produce nestled in boxes or wrapped in colourful tissue paper.
I bought some nice things for lunch and from the health store, probiotics and a box of apple and cinnamon tea. It's my favourite and was a little treat.
We've been pressing flowers and grasses. There's currently a heavy wooden board in the kitchen weighted down with big jars of flour. Underneath is a stack of layered newspaper and wildflowers. I'm looking forward to having a new selection of stems for printmaking.
We dug out a little flower press too, so Joe now has his very own. He enjoyed spinning the wingnuts to tighten it and is very excited about seeing his pressed leaves.
I'm also drying a bunch of alliums which Jay bought me a week or two back. The heads are huge and I'm partial to dried flowers (hydrangeas being another favourite) so they're currently hanging up alongside the baskets and pans by the back door.
We planted some honesty and teasels last summer, and this year they've really taken off. So come autumn time we'll have vases filled with them.
I did go out for a walk today, and picked a little bunch of hypericum stems. The red berries are pretty and they're now in a jam jar on the dining table. Again, perhaps a little it autumnal for late June but they were growing along the footpath and they do fruit at this time of the year.
Other indoor pursuits and pleasures I'm enjoying right now include:
- Flicking through Breathe magazine and looking forward to picking up the next issue
- Doing jigsaws with Joe before bed
- Relishing a darker bedroom in the early mornings, having finally lined the curtains
- Taking baths with lavender oil and epsom salts
- Using herbs from the garden in my cooking
- Discovering beautiful Instagram feeds
So tomorrow I'll be turning another page on my calendar and welcoming July. Three more weeks of term and then it'll really be summer: Joe home for six weeks, adventures to be had. Until then I'll be enjoying the calm and being as productive as I possibly can... those three weeks will be gone in the blink of an eye.