Tag Archives: bunkbed summer

Patchwork curtains

Huzzah – curtains. These are deeply satisfying for several reasons – the first being it’s been a while since I managed to make something more than tea or a bit of a mess. Another is that they’re all from my scrapbag so genuinely pieced together from bits and bobs to make a new glorious whole. Finally, Zeph loves them, as does Ida – they love to draw them in the day and look at them glowing like a cross between stained glass and boiled sweets.  

 It doesn’t matter that it’s all a bit wonky and that I used different bits of cotton to back them…  Look I freely display my sloppiness… 

A lovely friend who makes “proper” patchwork hisses at the centres of my pinwheels that do not meet and the lack of colour plans or balance. It’s not what she calls patchwork. It makes me giggle because I see what she means but also it’s the very definition of patchwork in that I took some patches and made them work…

I’ve got two big bits of foam that I salvaged from the old bed and I’m making covers for them in the same way to make floor cushions. Bunkbed summer seems to have worked out okay. Ida’s not actually sleeping in her bed yet but is very pleased at the prospect and Zeph is busy rearranging his treasures on the new shelves and spaces.

All my fingers and my relationship with Steve survived the construction process which, frankly, is a miracle worth celebrating. Resting on my loins slightly I try to avoid looking at the mouldy cupboards that need crow bar-ing out in the kitchen…

Lots of BT’s at the moment – having Zeph home after a week away – although he’s yearning a little for country living. Right now I’m drinking a tall glass of pink grapefruit juice over ice. I have lots of ice. It’s very hot and ice is free. I keep making more in my two old battered trays and fill up old margarine tubs with clinking blocks ready to lavishly chill my drinks. Getting home after the long sweaty bus journey to fetch Zeph from his art workshop this week we all rush to the bathroom for baths and showers. Ida splashes for a long time in a deep cold bath while I sit on the floor in the breeze from the open window and read a book. We can hear Zeph singing in his bedroom, checking on him I find him lying on his back with his legs up against the wall reading a book. I have one of those sudden rush memories of my childhood, like a jolt in the arm. We have bread and cheese for tea with the reddest, ripest tomatoes ever, they smell of  green vines and summer.

Owl Family

Well I’ll start with a heartfelt Gah.  Gah!  It’s been a while since I last posted. The sunniest week of the summer so far and I sent Zeph to  a rainy Cambridge and trapped myself in the house with a toddler building furniture, de-moulding, painting, and making curtains. With tonsilitis and only one functioning hand.

Joy, joy and more joy I assure you. My sister came for a few hours and helped me clear the room. A mercy mission if there ever was one – adrift as I was upon a sea of mysterious Lego pieces, broken plastic trash, dusty unidentifiable junk modelling, happy meal toys, bottle tops and empty crisp packets. Under his bed he had a hoarded supply of Bonjella and two tubes of my old mascara. Should I be worried?

Also Steve came through on the construction side of things. Not his natural strength so I am overwhelmingly thankful. Moving everything around means that some of the animals painted on the walls are covered up and other bare patches of woodchip revealed. To please Ida and make her lower bunk as exciting as the top one I promised her some animals of her own. Predictably she asked for an owl and as I got the paint out she upped the ante by asking for a family of owls. She’s at the stage where she translates what we see into her family. So there has to be a Daddy ant, a Mummy ant, a Zephie ant and an Ida ant… Ditto la Owls.

So late at night, occasionally doubled over with a hacking cough, in a humid twilight I did some painting. I worry, often – as parents do, that the kids miss out on stuff. We barely scrape by at the moment and I say, more than I would like, ” Sorry we can’t afford that sweetie”

On calm reflection I think this is okay. I grew up in a home with very little spare cash but a great deal of affection and attention. I have no regrets about that aspect of my childhood. I want the kids to share my values. I would love not to have to worry about money constantly and I daydream at night about being able to afford without worry the piano lessons, car trips, adventuring experiences Z yearns for without always having to choose and juggle. 

The one thing I remember about being little is the magical way my mum could conjure up beauty and wonder out of nothing. Sleeping in the garden, star watching, building a Lego world in the bath and then flooding it, painting our walls, digging fortifications in the mud, dressing up, turning our own bunkbeds into  a pirate galleon. This is what I promise myself to never stint the kids on. I’m rich in this stuff and I want to spend it lavishly. I can’t afford the beautiful transfers I saw online but I can paint my own. Wonkily. She’s two and half, does she care about it being slapdash?

No – she loves it. LOVES it I tell you. I dread her teenage self despising me but right now, I can spin fairy tales out of nothing and she makes me feel miraculous.

I’m off now to hang the patchwork curtains I finished last night. I’ll be back with pictures and I promise it won’t be a another week away. Looking back over the last few posts they’ve been very kid-centric. That’s just how I feel at the moment. I remember being obsessed with Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson one childhood summer. Alice and I would range over the house gathering everything important onto my top bunk then staying, washed up there for the rest of the day. We’d have two minutes to run hysterically around filling our arms with what we wanted to rescue then we’d hurl ourselves and our bounty onto the bunk. I feel a little like that this summer. Spending half an hour holding her asleep on my lap tracing the arch of her eyebrow. Reading exhaustively the workbooks he’s bought home from school full of his stories and ideas. Trying to memorize them both.

Sports Day

It is Zeph’s sports day today and incredibly grey and gloomy. He was slightly devastated and spent breakfast bemoaning the fact it rained on EVERY one of his sports days. I just nodded along and tried to hide the fact I was keeping everything crossed for rain.

I loathed sports day when I had to take part and always felt it was totally unfair that they didn’t have an equivalent day for anything I was actually good at – like reading or drawing. It’s all very well comforting children by saying you can’t be good at everything but why never give the less athletic a chance to shine?

Zeph seems unbothered by all this. True his infants sports day was basically six teams all taking turns at various obstacle races. Everyone gets a medal at the end. There are no races as such. Equally there’s no defined beginning or end or indeed, purpose. Watching it is painful, sustained boredom. I dread it nearly as much as the ones I was forced to take part in. Hideous.

Yet I still go – determined as I am to be a ‘good’ parent and a supportive one. This year, the first in junior school, threatens to have actual races – I’m curious to see how Zeph takes to it. I had to resist the temptation of a gin-in-a-tin at the supermarket this morning and frankly, it was only the imagined judgement of other parents that dissuaded me.

Ida and I have done a lot of painting recently. There are a million larger tasks I’d like to get my teeth into but I lack the motivation and, more crucially, a gripping hand. Both are quite dodgy at the moment but my left reminds me of a play mobile hook. So we pass the time making jars of water murky and filling scrap paper with owls having tea and cats waltzing under the moon.

I have ordered a bunk bed and various flat pack ikea items. The bed is due to arrive tomorrow. All for project bunk bed summer, there’s no getting out of it now…Soon I will be trying to use a screwdriver, getting red and sweaty while cursing loudly and comprehensively. Until then we’re happily daubing.

 BT’s today include, picking mint from the garden to add to the steamed new potatoes for lunch, a new tube of red paint, Ida feeding the cat titbits from her chicken sandwich, said cat racing back into the house away from the seagull lurching around at the end of the garden, Ida bringing me the hairbrush and a band and asking, very nicely, for a “tail”

Summer windfalls

These pictures are from last week, when the sun actually shone. Unlike this weekend although the rain didn’t spoil the barbecue to celebrate my cousins confirmation. My family aren’t put off by a little rain I tell you. Although Z did leave his trainers outside where they got completely soaked. Which through a serious of drying mishaps including a tumbledryer spin ended up with my resourceful uncle Tony re-attaching the soles with a hot glue gun. Great tip and I’ll be attempting to fix Z’s school shoes later in an attempt to get them to limp through to the end of term…

I love this inspired alternative use of the basket;

but what I love most is I can remember collecting up the fairy apples from my G’mas lawn in the summer and lining them up on the old brick wall or attempting to sell them to my family. As we sat on the bench watching her squatting and carefully examining each tiny windfall my heart felt very full.

I don’t know why I feel surprised though. Surely it’s one of the joys of parenting your child, reigniting memories? Of course it all depends on the memories. These are pretty good.

Today Zeph and I measured the bedroom exhaustively for the big bunk bed event. My child has expensive tastes and I’ve had to placate him with customisation promises instead. I foresee many flat pack hours ahead… New stuff is really exciting. I’ve planned in a LOT of new storage and he has made extravagant promises about keeping everything tidy. Again my heartstrings tug as I still make these internal promises every time I actually manage to clean the house or sort out a corner.

I think I’m still waiting to grow up and get organised.