Spring is in the air. And whilst the last few days have admittedly reverted back to being unkindly grey and murky, March brought with it (initially) some much welcome rays of sunshine …..meteorologically speaking as well as botanically as several sunny daffs pushed their way up from under the canopy of our apple and pear. O has been on the watch for yellow flowers for some time as they signify the potential arrival of his new sibling….but now the birth is imminent he appears less bothered by flowers and babies and infinitely more excited about rumours of ‘Geaster’ and the chocolate eggs its bunny might bring. Indeed Grandad, arriving this weekend in preparation for dramatic scenarios of waters breaking either in the night or whilst S is a fair commute away, came armed with the biggest egg O had even seen…..which, I might add, is steadily decreasing in size day by day.
Meanwhile, with work finished and battles with wardrobes won, I’m now in ‘waiting’ mode….which isn’t a state of mind I do very well. Far from twiddling my thumbs however, focus is turning, albeit like a weighty tanker rather than an agile speedboat, to other projects around the house. Of course in my ‘tanker-like’ form I’m unable to physically undertake many of these projects …but my middle finger works well enough so much online shopping is being conducted and subsequently the postman is becoming rather a familiar face around here. First to arrive were a pair of posters…one for the bathroom (bearing the dual function of S’s morning dressing room), which rather amused me featuring as it does a ‘señor elegante’. Though whilst S does brush up rather handsomely I’m not sure he’s ever emerged looking quite so camply dapper…..but perhaps that’s nothing a personal shopper couldn’t sort out? (she chuckles to herself…..again)
The second poster was this….purchased to baby-up this poor little mite’s temporary space on the landing (though it will have a bedroom to call its own one day…either with Owen or better still in a revamped loft ….. but I only whispered that…..) Next to arrive were the hastily purchased Ribba Ikea frames in which to display said posters. A minor disaster, (they turned out to be double the size I’d anticipated so only the baby’s fitted it’s allocated space) a second purchase of a correctly measured Habitat version was required. All I need now is for the Señor himself to arrive brandishing a drill and a rawl plug…..
But the postman didn’t stop there. A duo of recycled glass bottles destined for the lounge mantlepiece then arrived accompanied by the piece-de-resistance….. a long-coveted knitted yellow pouffee, acquired from the very unlikely Tesco Direct.
“What is that?” asked S on his return home one evening.
“A footstool for the armchair.” I said matter-of-a-factly. “I thought we could do with it.”
“Oh definitely.” came the sarcasm-infused reply. “Why not get another five or six?”
S may think it unnecessary but it’s been employed successfully by my father in law, paper in hand, of an evening this week. Our otherwise pitiful hosting skills have meant that he’s been forced to hang his clothes on a collapsed bed frame currently having a pitstop in the spare room on its journey up to the loft, the perfectly ample wardrobe designed for the job being so full of our own tat. (An enviable collection of coats of varying weights, three green factory lights which two years on still have not received a verdict as to whether they will be hung in the kitchen alongside their lonely mate and boxes upon boxes of old photographs waiting for me to find the time required to turn them into the kind of digital album to which I’m addicted – Blurb being my software of choice if any of you share that particular kind of obsession.) So a new footstool, in that unwelcoming context, feels the least we can do for our guests. At least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
Certainly some feet-up rest was well deserved by my father in law yesterday after having cleared our front hard standing of weeds, old leaves, a persistent holly bush, moss and, erm, a christmas tree. It was, despite standing looking forlorn and bauble-less, removed from our house considerably later than tradition would dictate. Each night after PJ’s had been donned S would catch sight of its miserable, browning silouhette and curse but it wasn’t until February was breathing it’s frosty breath down our necks that the planning required to remove it before one got settled in for the night successfully took place. By then we had missed the good will of the bin men who have pointedly ignored it on their weekly rounds and it has rested in its shrivelled state against the side of our house ever since. With the tree gone and slabs swept, my father in law then helped me refresh my tattered window boxes with punchy purple violas and all looks a tad more welcoming to those who might venture this way in coming months.
But his enviably vibrant energy didn’t stop there. Out the back he went to tackle the shed which really, although sturdier than its late predecessor, contains more or less the same junk in a similar state of vomit-inducing disarray. Coming in for a well earned cuppa he declared triumphantly that he had “succeeded in finding the shed floor.” That, I am 100% sure, will make S’s day when he next ventures to it on the hunt for an elusive tool. Certainly it will inspire me to come over all green-fingered when the bundle of seeds I over-enthusiastically ordered arrive and demand to be sewn in preparation for a summers worth of produce from our patch.
Punctuating all of this he also planted two rows of summer onions, pinched out the blossoming broad beans to prevent black fly, raked over the lawn, fed my new cherry and plum tree with a layer of compost and prepped my patio pots in advance of my leisurely planting of pansies, thus ensuring the job was done considerably more professionally than it would have been without his help. By that I refer to the quality John Innes compost, carefully crumbled into a bucket before use and mixed with food pellets which will offer my pretty new blousy flowers the best possible chance of multiple blooming. Left to my own devices my approach would have more likely involved a spadeful of stony and weed infested garden soil, a suspicion that the sorry state of my window boxes confirmed.
So now the garden can be confidently classed as spring-ready. Pansies are mixing happily with the daffs whilst crispy tulip leaves and elegant irises are steadily pushing their way up through the soil in readiness for a display of further colour. Bags of manure sit ready to be sprinkled onto the veg beds when the onions and cabbages vacate to make way for this year’s toms, squashes and beans and the resilient płants I bought last autumn under the tutorage of my green-fingered friend show signs, in the form of tiny buds, that they might readily spring to life as the weather warms.
Meanwhile inside the house we are also spring-ready. Tiny things are ironed and hanging in the wardrobe in readiness for baby…..with blue clothes dutifully separated in response to my mother in laws pleas that I don’t put this baby, should it be a little girl, in second-hand blue. A brand new pushchair sits downstairs….. though I must admit we have yet to conduct the necessary training as to its operation. The cot is made with freshly washed sheets, a pretty second hand Moses basket has been made up with waffled yellow blankets in preparation for many-a-nap, the hospital bag is packed and sitting by the door and a little monkey has been bought by a bigger one as a present for his ‘bruvver’. (Yes, O is still adamant that’s what he wants.)
But still there is no baby.
The wait continues.