Tag Archives: owls


Something has to be done with the leaves stacking up around here…

 This satisfying hour of sticking used up a few…

 I’m loving Ida’s intense concentration here – there was a certain amount of bossing from Zeph about correct leaf positioning and the markings of particular owls but he eventually accepted leaf medium restrictions.

 It really required very little effort on my part and wasn’t that messy… miraculous! I’m on this side of the table getting on with some sticking of my own in my feeble efforts to build up a bit of craft fair stock. It’s only looking at these pictures that I notice how out of hand the tottering piles of “stuff” on the piano is getting.

We have a lot of “stuff” here you know. Now including a happy array of owl leaf colleges.

 Just what I needed…

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.


Tonight Ida tried to eat a sausage with her feet. It may sound like the everyday peculiarities of a toddler but it made me laugh out loud with pleasure as I knew immediately what she was trying to do.

We went here this morning with some very lovely friends (hello!) We forged ahead despite the grey sky and the faintest feeling of entering a place meant only for local people. We were early – I think it’s a lot busier at weekends.

It’s an established  charity that has recently opened to the public and has lots of plans for the future. We spent a happy hour or so wandering around the mown paths in its meadowland habitat areas – looking at all the wildflowers, butterflies and birds. The girls gleefully running ahead and choosing the paths winding around. We saw an eagle owl flying outside, dear lord those birds are big, and a barn owl flying and leaping, displaying its remarkable hearing and silent ghostly wings in a barnish theatre space.

I don’t mean to review it – although overall I’d give it a really good one. Ida was lit up with pleasure about the owls. She’s always loved them in principle – we have a variety of cuddly and carved ones. She is very fond of stories about them, Owl Babies, the Meg and Mog books. Her face as Gizmo the barn owl swooped over our head on to the upheld fist of the woman talking to us was nearly as beautiful as the silent sweep of the creamy wings themselves. Her squeal of visceral joy as he demonstrated the deadly pounce of his feet. Her absolute attention as she sat clutching her feathers (found, found! not plucked) during the talk was just magical. I didn’t notice her paying attention during the description of Gizmo using his feet like knives and forks but clearly she was.

It was really quite impressive that she could lift the sausage up in her toes. It made her father laugh out loud and Zeph fell off his chair. Of course with audience reaction like that I fear it’ll be on tomorrows menu as well.

It was a really great day. We went to the park after school as well with more friends and a smorgasboard picnicish snack. Ida slept the second her head hit the pillow – no musical beds tonight. She was pink and angelic when I just checked on her, clutching her patchwork owl and her crow feather.

It’s easy to count my blessings tonight. I feel very enriched. By teasels, purple scabious, proper coffee from a flask, good friends, a scatter of tiny birds from the thistles looking like seed heads in the wind themselves, the dignity of owls, a daughter who can eat with her feet and push teenagers off her preferred park equipment and a son prepared to read “Owl Babies” twenty times in a row to his sister.