The manor house that sanity forgot

I think we are probably the National Trust's biggest fans. I have never in my life turned down the chance to ooh and ahh at some fancy tapestries. It doesn't matter who lived there; I get a little vicarious thrill when I climb their staircases and imagine their footfalls on the carpet, however long ago. … Continue reading The manor house that sanity forgot

On learning to love the mud

Boys love mud. I've had to learn to love it, too. Last Sunday we went for a walk around Lardon Chase and The Holies, just outside Streatley, and even on a sunny day we slipped and slid. We left the pushchairs behind, put Teds in the back carrier and Henry in wellies. You notice a … Continue reading On learning to love the mud

Once, there was a boy

One day I was in the Tate Modern (always a good beginning). I've forgotten why, but there didn't have to be a reason: we were still in that carefree part with no children, but also quite a way into the part where I wanted them. We wandered into the gift shop downstairs, and found racks … Continue reading Once, there was a boy

A temple a day

Oh, we lived life on the edge today. The VERY EDGE. My beloved, best-ever sister offered to watch the boys for the afternoon so Tim and I could do something nice. We were so overwhelmed by the possibilities that we took most of the morning to decide what to do. I never descend those stairs … Continue reading A temple a day

Just down the tracks

I do not know where my [relatively] [sort of] ordered life has gone. Today we decided to look for it in Pangbourne. This was a good idea for all sorts of reasons, for example, 1) I've driven through Pangbourne on my way to and from work hundreds of times, admiring all the pretty cafes and … Continue reading Just down the tracks

Yo ho ho and a cup of herbal tea

There are things in my life that make me feel terribly English. See, exhibit A: love for scones and jam; exhibit B: inability to sing 'Jerusalem' without bellowing; exhibit C: crippling awkwardness in social situations. Spending the day on a narrowboat chugging down an Oxford canal has to be in the top five. We did … Continue reading Yo ho ho and a cup of herbal tea

The Hay festival just made my heart explode

Today I died and went to heaven. It looked exactly like the Hay Festival. I know, imagine. No pearly gates at all. In all seriousness, my loves, the Hay Festival is amazing. I walked in and squealed with such intensity my whole head vibrated. I have wanted to go for years. This year we got … Continue reading The Hay festival just made my heart explode

The original Henricus Rex

...Or H-Rizzle, as he was known on the madrigal circuit. Oh, you know he was. Tudor nerds unite. And let's do it at Hever Castle, because it's brilliant. It's the ancestral home of Anne Boleyn, and I was certain it'd be the sort of place that would call forth the Jiggy Dance of Historical Joy I keep locked … Continue reading The original Henricus Rex