Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A bit of fluff.

Our neighbours have a tree in their garden which at this time of year produces clouds of fluffy seeds which collect in great drifts in undisturbed corners of the garden and greenhouse, and indeed in the house if the weather is good enough to have the back door open. This year it has been more than usually productive. The greenhouse, in particular, looks like it's been filled with cotton wool and I have spent a lot more time than I'd have liked chasing fluff round the living-room with the hoover.

2011-04-27 11.20.32

Add to this the remarkable number of dandelions that the warm weather has brought out and it's difficult to go anywhere at the moment without coming back covered in fluff.

2011-04-27 11.08.59

It also takes an inordinately long time to get anywhere if you have a dedicated dandelion-clock aficionado in tow!

2011-04-27 11.09.52

Having a smashing time.

This year Greek Easter was the same day as it was here, and unusually the temperature was five degrees higher than it was in Athens (as my dad gleefully told all our Greek relations who called to wish us happy Easter). So we had a lovely family Easter in my mum and dad's big new garden, with delicious food including lamb souvlakia and tzoureki* cooked by my mum and my youngest brother.

2011-04-22 15.26.46

2011-04-24 14.11.53

We also introduced P to the traditional hard-boiled egg-cracking contest, a practice he took to with great enthusiasm.**

2011-04-24 17.24.26

* A sort of Easter bread/cake. My brother also made a marathopita ('fennel pie'), which was delicious but caused P much consternation since he was convinced there was grass in his bread!
**Strictly speaking the eggs should all be red, but the packet of dye I had included 5 colours and it seems churlish not to use them all.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Last Sunday was [probably*] my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. Since they both enjoy making things, and since they have recently moved to a new house with a large, but currently fairly featureless garden, my siblings and I hit on the idea of buying them a weekend away in Derbyshire learning to make willow garden sculpture. It was a great success, not least because the weather was gorgeous, and they came back with the car packed to the gunnels with creations and with more willow for future projects. P in particular is very impressed with their handiwork.

2011-04-13 11.05.11

* I asked my dad which year they got married and he replied confidently "1972, because it was two years before you were born, and that was November 17th 1974". I pointed out that I have always been under the impression that I was born on November 18th 1973, and my birth certificate appears to agree with me, so we finally decided it must have been 1971 that they married, making it their ruby anniversary this year.

In the nick of time.

This is R. He arrived in the middle of January, in the middle of the night, two weeks earlier than expected and caught us all on the hop rather, especially since my parents weren't due to arrive to be on hand for the birth until the following day. However, thanks to the lovely Katie of Oxford Kitchen Yarns, who not only happened to be awake at 3am to be in receipt of frantic text messages, but also agreed to remain awake and to take delivery of a sleepy and slightly startled P while C and I were at the hospital, everything went swimmingly.


2011-04-10 17.33.12

Katie also gave us this beautiful tractor/tow-truck vest for R which I have been waiting impatiently to put him in. As it has short sleeves and it seems that makers of baby clothes in this country consider it unseemly for a <3month-old baby boy to wear anything other than pastel blue, light brown, or white (preferably emblazoned with vomit-inducingly cutsie critters/slogans), I immediately set about knitting him a navy cardigan to go with it. The pattern is the Lazy Daisy Baby Jacket, which is a pleasingly straightforward knit, and thinking it would be the work of a moment I started on the newborn size. Unfortunately R had other ideas: two months later it's finally finished. Luckily R is quite a dinky little chap and it should fit for at least another two weeks!

* At least two member of R's close family have remarked (somewhat unfairly in my view) that in this photo R looks like Hitler without the moustache. Personally I thought it was quite a nice one and one of the few in which his hair actually looks vaguely presentable, since usually it stands straight up on the top of his head giving him rather the aspect of a startled radish.