Not by the hair on my piggy pig pig

Do you remember an Enid Blyton book about a farm family? A set of happy, hardy children had their spoiled rich cousins come and live with them after something unspeakably awkward, like a divorce. One of the coiffed kids was called Melisande, and she had manicured fingernails and perfect hair and whined like a baby … Continue reading Not by the hair on my piggy pig pig

Autumn love #2: it must be leaf

When I was eighteen I used to run a Saturday morning activity once a month, for eight- to eleven-year-olds. What a dream assignment that was: all poster paint and pipe cleaners, and peeling PVA glue off the back of your hand and pretending it's skin. One October I waltzed home from a lecture, stuffing flame-coloured … Continue reading Autumn love #2: it must be leaf

Autumn love: a project for the crunchy-leaf enthusiast

I want to do better with autumn this year. Last year was a catastrophe: pregnancy sickness, rain, dark, and a footloose one-year-old with walls to climb. Do you ever have days where you're absolutely ready to not be yourself? I was ready for three months, last winter. I was sick of the sight of me. … Continue reading Autumn love: a project for the crunchy-leaf enthusiast

There is a world outside, and it’s got toy cars

I would like to report something momentous: yesterday we all left the house together for an outing, all at once. We only traipsed up and down the stairs to load the car twelve more times than usual. We went to Beale Park, which turned out to be a wonderful destination for crazy-hot weather, a tank … Continue reading There is a world outside, and it’s got toy cars

The afternoon Mr Bingley did not invite us for tea

There are two reasons for visiting Basildon Park. One is that it's the house they used as Netherfield in Pride and Prejudice (the film version), and I'll take any excuse to prance around the grounds on an imaginary horse, shouting OH MR GINGER BINGLEY I ADORE YOU. Don't even tell me you wouldn't do this, … Continue reading The afternoon Mr Bingley did not invite us for tea