With spring slowly scaring away the winds of winter it feels like the whole world is cheering up. So to cheer up my own home I decided to buy some happy daffodils to sit on my table. Now, when the sun shines in through the window, it’s as if a cloud of sun has moved in and I can’t help but smile.
I love the open fireplace in my living-room, there is just something so relaxing about sitting in front of a blazing fire while enjoying a cup of tea. I love watching the flames dance as warmth and the fragrant smell of turf fills the room.
So on Saturday night the chimney sweep came to make sure it would be safe to light a fire. I was amazed how quick and efficient he was and I was even more amazed how little soot came down and how quickly he had the whole thing tidied up again. He even fastened a carbon monoxide alarm to the wall to keep me safe.
Yesterday evening it was finally time, I made myself a cup of tea, lit a match and ignited a fire. I then spent the evening with my feet up enjoying my first fire of the season, reading, knitting and watching TV.
The only problem was that it was so cozy and lovely that I stayed up well beyond my bedtime hours. Now I hope that the chimney sweep left some of his luck behind and this week will be filled with wonderful surprises.
Today is one of those mornings in Dublin when the sky just seems to be in a bit of a mood and won’t turn on the sun. Clouds hide every patch of possible blue and the light disperses into grey.
It feels like a permanent dusk has descended, time has seemingly dissolved with the light, yet it hasn’t affected my mood as I quite enjoy this feeling of suspended time. And since grey skies mean lit fires the scrumptious smell of burning turf is in the air creating images of cosy homes and happy hearts in my mind.
I know many struggle when the sun goes into hiding but for me it is as if a door between reality and dreams has been left on the latch, as if anything could happen. Halloween is just a few short weeks away and my neighbours have already decorated their homes with spooks, ghouls and witches, adding to the atmosphere of otherworldliness.
So before I head out to meet the day, I think, I will enjoy this grey morning just a little while longer, my mug of tea warming me from within.
There is no denying it, the summer has left and autumn is in full swing, leaves are falling and the flowers on my window sill have been looking more than a little bit miserable of late.
So on Sunday afternoon I decided to spend the afternoon in the autumn sun and do a few spadefuls of gardening and add a bit of autumnal flair. I re-potted, cut back, planted and dug up and a few purple heathers later and my window sills looked so much better, spruced up with spruces.
I dosed everything in water and this morning I gave the new plants another cold sip of H20, the perfect excuse to spend a few minutes out doors when the world is just waking up.
Now, when I look out the window I feel so much better and think I’ll add a few winter pansies in the coming days to liven up my window sills even more. If the weather stays as mild and the sun comes out this afternoon I may even enjoy a cup of tea on my bench surrounded by purple.
The summer seems to be back for a short visit, the temperatures are high (for Ireland) and the sun is shining more than it should at this time of year. It really is an Indian summer, the best time for a visit to Dublin.
And that is exactly what a friend from overseas is going to do as she is coming to stay for a few days. And while I am excited that she is coming it does mean I need to get the house ready for her visit and make sure I can spend some time with her and not be tied to my desk all the time.
She flew in from Canada yesterday and I am sure she’ll still be battling jet-lag when she knocks on my door, so I have made sure the bed is ready for her, clean sheets and throw pillows inviting her to lay down, creating a home far away from home. After all when you’re traveling it’s always nice to have a cosy place to call you own.
But since I need to clear my desk and tidy up a bit before she arrives I better get my butt into gear before I greet my guest from afar. And I’ll make sure we won’t have far to go when it comes to lunch!
We’ve been having the most beautiful weather for the past week and with that my household duties have been more than just neglected – forgotten and ignored would be more apt. But since my mother will be visiting for a few nights and the sun is exposing all that the shadows normally hide I think it is time to whip out the duster and get to it.
The only problem is that I hate dusting – cleaning in general. After all it always feels somewhat pointless, as as soon as you put down the broom dust begins to accumulate again. And then of course there is the added issue of small urban dwellings, with dirt literally just outside your door and fumes in the air it is hard to keep those floors sparkling and shelves polished.
But since I do have a lot of knick-knacks, bric-a-brac or memories stored in items dotted around the place, dusting always turns into somewhat of a marathon. Maybe that is what so many chose to live with ‘clean lines’ and ‘white surfaces’ and avoid the more cluttered up look. However no matter how appealing that may seem when it comes to cleaning I love surrounding myself with bits and pieces of my life and don’t think I’ll ever change that.
And as much as I hate cleaning, I do love a clean and tidy house. So with that in mind I’d better put on my bandana and dust the morning away. With the help of some loud sing-a-long music I’m sure I’ll have dusted away the cobwebs in no time – and who knows, maybe by doing so my mind will be free to allow an uncluttered path for my still absent muse.
The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.
Easter is over and with it all of my decorations have disappeared. Last night, after a friendly drop in and chat, I decided it was time for a change and took down everything Easter, stored them away in a box for next year.
Since my friend had presented me with a bunch of springtime flowers and my mother had made me a gift of a home-sewn table runner I knew exactly what I wanted on my kitchen table. I put the flowers into an old stoneware jug – red with white hearts – that use to stand on a shelf in my mothers red and white kitchen – childhood memories embedded in its sturdy shell.
So this morning, as the sun bathed my home with warm spring light, the tablecloth and flowers made me smile. There was something just so cheerful at how the tulips bobbed their heads at me and how neat the runner sat on my table.
A new day – a new tablecloth … what could go wrong?
Easter always seems to come at the wrong time and this year is no different. While on the one hand I am so looking forwrad to spending a few days off and catching up with my writing, on the other hand Easter always means we only have a few weeks of the semester left.
To me this means piles and piles of corrections and motivating students to get their work done, which can be very tricky as attendance tends to drop when the temperatures begin to rise. And this year it also means I have to hand in my own work for my Masters.
So, while the world around me paints eggs and searches of Easter nests hidden in the garden I rarely even get around to putting up many decorations. But this year I am determined to celebrate Easter with a few chocolate eggs and seasonal flair. I have unearthed the purple Easter tablecloth my Aunt made several decades ago, hung a few hand-painted eggs in my window, bought some potted Narcissuses (or is it Narcissi – possibly both) and I even treated myself to some easterly treats.
Now Easter can come and I won’t feel left out!
After a lovely weekend and some time spent doing as I pleased the cycle in to work yesterday just felt endlessly long. It may have been the fact that every single light turned red, it could have been my extremely heavy saddle bags weighing me down, or the wind blowing against me all the way in. But whatever the reason it was a long cycle in to town.
Maybe that is why I am so delighted to be able to spend the day working from home today – the luxury of sitting at my own desk (no matter how uncomfortable my chair is- I really need a new one) and drinking tea from my own mug is just pure bliss. And while I still need to go in to lecture this evening it still feels a little bit like a holiday.
Of course that doesn’t mean I have nothing to do – my to-do list is a s long as ever – but being able to stay in bed a little longer than normal, being able to stay put for a while and not have one eye focused on the clock all morning makes for the perfect start to my day.
Tomorrow everything is back to normal and my legs will be peddling as fast as they can, but with the Easter break just a few days away I think I’ll manage – no matter how long the cycle in to work may be.
Last night I sat in front of the fire, knitting and watching some TV. I was minding my own business when suddenly a cactus attacked me, it literally jumped me and I bear the scratches to prove it.
Maybe I should explain how I even got myself into the position of being attacked by a cactus as I am not really a cactus fan – I find them quite ugly and I have never really owned one.
Anyway, a good friend of mine bought a house this year and since she is still doing it up and no one, not even a cactus, can live in the house in the moment she has found a bed-in-a-shed at her boyfriend’s house and has asked me to cactus-sit. And I have been – dutifully ignoring it (which is not that easy as it is 180cm tall and very prickly) and watering it from time-to-time. And yes, I have even given it a name – Fred.
So, Fred and I have been living side by side, peacefully enough, and every now and then he will pull my hair or prick me if I come to close. Until yesterday that is – for no reason what so ever, no provocation or to-close-cleaning, Fred decided to topple on top of me. No warning, no ‘timber’, just a silent, slow topple.
Luckily, I was able to ward off the attack with my right arm, and while I am now quite badly scratched – looks like I’ve been in a fight with a very large and angry tom-cat – Fred stayed mostly intact, all he lost was a tiny little ‘branch’ (no idea what they are called in cacti lingo).
Now I am truly looking forward to the day Fred will move out – no hard feelings but I don’t like prickly pranks