Life, the universe and everything

Collage Hello friends! To paraphrase one of my favourite Robert Lowell poems*, I’m back, after three months away.

So, why the long pause?

Well, I am tempted to give the usual excuses. You know, I was heavily pregnant, I had a baby, life was a bit more tiring with three kids, Christmas came along etc etc. All perfectly true, to a certain extent. But, of course, if you really want to do something, you manage to find the time to do it, no matter what else is going on.

And, I think the real reason for the extended absence, was that last year I rather got sucked into an amateur pro bloggers vortex, if you know what I mean.

I don’t have any desires to make any money from this blog. (A brief foray into paid links, of which eagle eyed readers might have spotted two in the past two years, convinced me that it was a pretty tiring way to make money. For me at least.) But I did want my blog to rank alongside professional blogs. To be just as worth reading as those by bloggers who do use it as a way of making a living. So I was often reading lots of other blogs and seeing all the other articles out there similar to mine and, of course, almost every article ever has already been written, so I wondered what was the point of adding mine to the mix. I started to feel like yet another person photographing the wreath on their front door for Instagram at Christmas time…

I got a serious case of blogging fatigue. And Instagram fatigue as well, for that matter. It all just started to seem a little bit… …pointless.

So what’s changed? Why am I back again?

Last week, we went to buy fireplaces for our new house. We were wandering round the shop, which is full of antique and reproduction fireplaces . And we wanted one that was exactly the same as the one in our old house. We’d assumed we’d easily spot it out on the display, but there wasn’t a similar one out. Then I remembered that I’d photographed out mantelpiece for this blog a few times in 2015 and that there was likely a photograph of the whole fireplace in there somewhere. Lo and behold, there was! (This one.)

I was delighted to have the photo to show the shop manager, but also, more importantly, for posterity of the house that we renovated and no longer lived in. Of the display on the mantelpiece that marked that point in time in our lives. And which I would have never ever photographed were it not for the blog.

So I remembered that crucial thing that had been missing for me last year: this blog is, primarily, for me.

To record moments in our lives, things I’ve made, recipes I love. A place I can look back to find the details that get forgotten over time.

And if anyone else wants to read it too. Well, really, that’s just a bonus!

So, this year I will, I hope, be back for a bit more of the same. If you’re reading along, hello! Thank you! And I hope I won’t disappear for so long again.

And for now, a very brief catch up.

I had the baby! Woo-hoo. She was 10 days late, which I hadn’t anticipated, and arrived in the middle of November. She is very adorable and – though life is inevitably a little more stressful with three children rather than two – she makes our little family better in every way.

The boys are besotted with her and love to do nothing better than plant never-ending kisses on her cheeks and tell her how much they love her. When she smiles at them, they are delighted. Then they go off and beat the crap out of each other, ha ha.

When she was ten days old, she got bronchiolitis and was in the paediatric ICU for ten days, unable to breathe on her own with a collapsed lung. It was a terrifying time and brought back a lot of memories from when my first son died. It also made me think a lot about grief and children and life and expectations and, really, all sorts of things. I have been mulling over a blog post about some of that for a while, which may or may not come later. But, the most important thing, she made a full recovery and, apart from a weak chest for a few years, should be perfectly fine.

I handed in my very final garden design assignments last week. I really loved doing the course, but boy was it a lot of work. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how it is possible to make any money being a garden designer, unless you’re totally at the top of your game. Though I was pleased with what I managed to produce, I’m not convinced that it’s a career for me. I think I love learning about and working with all the plants a lot more than I enjoy wondering how you would construct a retaining wall. So the latest plan… …take another course! Ha ha, I do hope my Mum isn’t reading this as she would despair of my incessant course-taking. But there is a diploma 3 level horticulture course that is just crying out to me that I could take later in the year. And then I’ve found a really rather awesome looking masters in plant diversity. Does any of this earn money, erm, no, and therein lies the rub. We shall see.

What else? The hubby is still on shared parental leave, which is great. Our new house is still undergoing building work and will be for the next three months minimum, which is really not great. And, other than that, life continues as before.

Thank you to all loyal readers who’ve made it to the end of this page! High five for your persistence. And apologies that this is illustrated only with photos from Instagram. I haven’t got my big camera out at all in the past few months.

So, what have I missed with all of you? Hope life has been good…

* Home after three months away which you can read here if you’re so inclined.

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