On Holiday…

by Lucy

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Hanging out in the woodshed on a sunny/rainy day

We’re on holiday! Its my first week of annual leave since Christmas and I have been very excited about it, as February/March is by far my busiest time at work and the speed at which the days can flash past is quite frightening. I love the Spring and want to savour it properly.

Having a holiday means something slightly different since Brian shifted from paid work to house-husband, and so now I try to do more cooking, fire-lighting, cleaning and gardening than I normally would, so that overall we are both doing less than usual and both feel like we are on holiday.

But of course the main thing about being on holiday is leisure and time together….lovely hours of pottering, reading, listening to music, watching films, chatting, stretching, walking and of course eating! Brian’s son gets to chill out and do his favourite things and we can relax into each day at our own pace.

For this holiday I decided to buy a bottle of wine. We saw a feature on TV recently which said the flavour of red wine is improved if you get air into it e.g. whizzing it in a blender. So, we tried this:

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Wine blending experiment

And it did make a difference. After a taste test we agreed that the aerated wine was more smooth and blackcurranty. Sometimes we share a glass between us as Brian only has a few sips and on Saturday we made one glass last the entire length of The Voice (even saving a tiny bit for the results show). The picture on the bottle has also inspired Brian to think about doing a mural on our living room wall. So, good value!

Practical activities don’t stop when we are on holiday. Having two of us at home is a good chance to tackle bigger jobs safely. This weekend we felled the remaining long limb of the willow tree, to turn it into a pollard, which we can cut back on a rotation every few years and use the regrowth for kindling. A renewable resource in our own back garden, and totally free.

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The final willow limb is pollarded

Now there is only really one big tree job to deal with (reducing our Christmas tree’s height), and then we will have entered a new era of having a low maintenance garden. Brian has been doing a staggering amount of work in recent weeks dealing with trees, compost, concrete, drainage and ground levelling.

Something else new in our lives soon might be me joining a choir. I recently went on a free singing workshop as a first step toward my goal of getting over shyness about singing by the time I’m 35. It helped me understand my voice better, and now I am trying to sing along with people who have the same range as me which includes Fiona Apple, Tracey Thorn, Alison Moyet, KT Tunstall, Beach House, Tears for Fears, James and, as I’ve discovered this week, Morrissey! Knowing I can hit all the notes properly helps me sing louder and be more relaxed. No one has said yet that they have had enough of hearing my singalong  of ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ coming from the bathroom, so I will continue…and soon I hope I can sing around the rest of the house too.

I have about a month to go to meet my goal, and the next term of the local choir starts in 2 weeks time, so…I think I will have to give it a go. If I like it, the cost of going can be offset by buying much cheaper toiletries. I recently discovered a new budget range based on natural ingredients which will save us loads.

How to get to the choir is an issue that’s been on my mind. As always, I want to give up driving because of my previous panic attacks but I also don’t want to ‘give up’ on anything, so I may try driving there if there is somewhere easy to park. Perhaps combining driving with singing, which releases relaxing and happy hormones, is the perfect combination of activities!

A week off in the Spring is always a special time and with plants, insects and bird activity increasing every day there are surprises and wonderful sights. I’ve now seen my first butterfly of the year, there are birds carrying lots of nesting material, and we have had an unexpected new colour of wallflower open up.

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A new colour of wallflower for our garden

This has got to be the best time of year – whatever time you can take to enjoy it, happy Spring!

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