There have been flashes of a most glorious British summer in the last month or so. (There’s also been flash flooding and freezing evenings when I wanted to light the fire, but hey, whose counting?)
On days like this I feel especially blessed that we live where we do, and that we have all this outdoor space to roam around in.
If the weather is nice we can spend the entire day outside, eating all our meals outdoors – at our big garden table, or in Munchkin’s case – on a little step that has become her favourite perch.
Much like the inside of our house – little rooms, nooks and crannies, hidden spaces – our garden isn’t so much one great expanse of space, but several little suntraps, each one perfect at a certain time of day.
And because we live on a hill, our lawn is sloped, making for perfect rolling down the grass games – but less perfect for finding a flat surface on which to put a table.
But I’m not complaining. For sunny family days in the garden I don’t think it can be beaten.
R waters the plants and tinkers in the vegetable patch, Munchkin follows him in and demands: “Peeeez, Peeez, Peeeeeeez,” – fresh garden peas, still in their pods, picked from their twisty vines.
She eats them raw, pod and after pod, before heading back to the veg patch for ; “Mooooore,” (all our vowel sounds are elongated at the moment).
Sometimes she shares the peeeez with the chickens, sometimes she doesn’t.
Then she gets hold of the hose and wanders around drowning the flowers, filling every receptacle she can find with water, pouring it out, refilling it…and repeat.
Sometimes Daddy helps….
She climbs in her sandpit and hides her farm animals in mounds of sand. She gets thrown in the air, tipped upside down and rolled down the hill. She chases chickens. The chickens chase her.
She eats pots of grapes sitting on the grass with sticky fingers and no clothes on and has her breakfast on a wall, watching the world go by, very slowly, in the village…
And I get to tinker with my plants, planting and replanting, moving pots and trying to learn as I go.
Enjoying all the colours and surprises as unknown plants peel back their green leaves to reveal bursting colours. I pick huge bunches of sweet peas, day after day from all over the garden, marvelling at their heady scent.
In the evening, as the sun sets, we pull up two big chairs at the top of the garden, let the chickens pick about at the grass, and watch as darkness descends over the valley, and the sun slowly dips behind the hill. It feels idyllic. I know we are lucky.