the soft furnishing explosion

Last weekend involved cleaning and sorting and arranging. And rearranging. Then, after a little while, arranging all over again.

We moved into the new-to-us caravan without too much bother. A few car loads of crockery, bedding and beach things, and we were pretty much sorted. The orange was largely hidden, while many curtains and pelmets were dumped. I kept finding grub when I thought all was clean, but it was probably no worse than the house is.

It appears that moving is a remarkably sociable activity. Men appeared with tool boxes and/or dogs to share the excitement of moving a swirly washing line or fitting a satellite dish. Temporarily, we provided a man shed.

That wasn’t going to last- I had throws and cushions to sort. IKEA may not have many cheap cream throws left. Girls made up all the beds and organised blankets like they’d done all this before. Then they played twister on the new rug.

caravan seats, cushions, throws, IKEA

We have more space, warmth and neutral fittings. We have fewer passers by.

We have views. All the views. When I manage to take pictures that do the scenery justice, I’ll share them. Imagine hills, fields, forest, sea and four counties. We’re in the middle of nowhere, but on a clear day we can see to everywhere.

I live in the city, but I’m not of the city. I need the space to breathe, play board games, and watch a small dog deal with joy of forest-y animal-y smells.

moving on up

We are moving up in the world.

By about 100 yards.

We’ve been very happy with our crumbly caravan in the middle of nowhere, but the time has come for a younger model. After months of pondering and negotiating and doing sums, we move this weekend.

view, Donegal, hills

We’re staying on the same caravan site (hills, fields, wind and glimpses of sea) but have acquired a new-to-us van in a quiet spot beside the forest. We’ll not hear the 3am basketball games any more.

The new green caravan is about half the age of the crumbly one and feels frankly luxurious to us. Not just bedrooms and plumbing, but 3 bedrooms and a separate shower room and WC.  The kitchen has more storage and space than the one at home- not that we’ll be wildly creative- but ooh, the novelty.

As before, the built in caravan fabrics are horrible (orange) and will be disguised by any amount of cream throws. It may take some time to deal with the curtains, but we’ll have years. A trip to IKEA this week gathered extension leads, those throws and some lamps. I’m sure I’ll need to go back, but Spurs fan is hoping that can be delayed until April. Yeah.

A weekend of excitement looms. A space to be defined and adorned. A whole new representation of us.

If we can survive the cleaning, the packing, the unpacking, and the shuttling between tin cans.


We took a trip to the seaside. The west. In February. You’d be correct in assuming we were well wrapped up.

The caravan was intact, if a little mouldy round the edges. One nearby was not so lucky. Winter storms had taken its roof. Had that happened us, I’d be distressed about the curtains and very important decorations, Spurs Fan would be annoyed about the satellite dish, and the girls would take the opportunity to encourage us to upgrade. They’ll slum it for another while.

We hadn’t made the journey in months, so we noticed the roadworks that were finally finished, the house that got sold, the trimmed hedges and the fresh paint. We cheered for our own identifiers- the bike shop, the donut & wine shop, little heather hill. It feels like home.

Not for the first time, we crossed the island under a cloud. The only dry spot between the east coast city and the Atlantic ocean was the beach. Havoc wreaked by the winter was there also, dunes and paths washed away, debris and rubbish washed high.

The girls were still teaching me about taking photographs on my phone- panoramas, filters, video and other oddities.

Then the beach worked its magic and they ran off to be children, exploring, discovering and laughing.

What joy.




interminable half term update

With teacher training days attached on either end-different schools, different days, of course- the half term break in our house is lasting almost a fortnight. (Feel for Spurs Fan who just got two days, despite working much harder at school than either of his children.)

We’ve had two days of dancing competitions, lots of transfer test practise, Hallowe’en pumpkins and dressing up, a trip into town to queue up outside the fancy dress shop, building with sugar cubes at the museum, fast food, a cold, cold, cold trip to the caravan, a lot of sleeping, and some filming.

Not a bit wonder I’m tired.

Oh, sorry, bloggy buddies, do you want more? Detail? Information? Pictures?

Girl1 & pumpkin

Girl 2 & pumpkin

this IS dressing up for Hallowe'en
this IS dressing up for Hallowe’en

sugar cubes Ulster Museum

sugar cubes Ulster Museum

collaborative art

Enough of the sweetness, speccy. Filming?

Some months ago I gave a talk at an event run by RCGP. There were doctors and palliative care workers, people living with illness, researchers and volunteers. My talky bit was partly personal- about Herself and how we coped with her illness, partly wider issues of living with rare disease. Done and dusted. Everything I have to say said. Job done.

Until an email arrived a few weeks ago… Would I be prepared to talk on film about some of the issues? There’d be other talking heads. I’d only have to make two or three points. Big mouth strikes again. That pesky mother of mine, finally succeeding in pushing me out of my comfort zone. She’s laughing in the ether, happy that I remembered to put the make up on and iron the frock.

By Friday morning I was practically hyperventilating. Who will get to see this? Why did I say yes? Is it too late to opt out? Eeek.

not intimidating at all

not missing out

bright lights

I burbled on. The film maker wanted several ‘takes’ of my answers. If only I could remember what I’d just said…

I’ll let you know when it’s on YouTube. Jake may make a sneaky appearance, so we’re bound to go viral.