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The no-challenge challenge: 5 things 10.4.2017

1. Having one of those times when I am positively itching to do some proper introspecting but there’s no time for it. Nothing actually major or deeply sillysophical (despite recent events). More planning and considering and such. I’m feeling very quiet right now, but, well, I still have two small children. And life has actually been, and will continue to be, anything but quiet. There hasn’t been a moment’s pause all year and it’s still all go. Nothing actually bad (again, despite recent events); it’s just A Lot. It gets so that even scheduled holidays feel like A Lot. But I’m determined to stay as quiet as I possibly can. (If I seem to be avoiding social activity, remember it’s not you, it’s me.)

Only three days of school this week, then the extra-long Easter break starts. We’ll be heading to Italy for a Great Big Famdamily Holiday (with my dad and my sister plus family),* which will no doubt be lovely. And interesting timing, given that we’re all processing those recent events. (I realise this blog is in danger of becoming very boring but I don’t actually plan to keep writing about my mother, I promise. Not even in subtext.) It won’t be quiet. But I’ll see what I can manage.

2. Not sure if it’s the current mood or just me, but I seem to need quiet and stillness – like, being still myself, not just having stillness around me – to actually do my creative work. After a false start or two, I’ve realised I’m only getting somewhere when I stop pushing. A week in Cape Town with absolutely no design projects on the needles left me with a very clear idea of what I’m doing with my next thing. Winterbeere worked much the same way, as did Purzelbaum: most of the work was done in the back of my mind as I beavered away on other stuff, without any actual knitting taking place. It’s not much like my old design-on-the-needles technique, and yet, it is: both methods rely on the complete absence of pressure, on space to figure things out organically. Not the most professional system (certainly not the most efficient), but if it’s how it is right now, I think there’s stuff to be learned here too.  

3. Meanwhile I am utterly devoted to my diary and my to-do lists. It gives me that illusion of structure that I crave, and besides, it works. I’ve been super productive for the past few days because I have a schedule that tells me sternly what vital deep cleaning tasks are to be done quarterly. It’s very exciting. 

4. Spring is in full force now, apple blossom and zingy new leaves everywhere. My heart belongs to autumn, largely because spring is always tinged with fear of the stifling heat to come – and plus, hayfever – but really, both of the changing seasons are amazing. I love how dry twiggy bushes everywhere are covered in those little green buds that seem to be the visible manifestation of tightly coiled growth energy, calling to mind Dylan Thomas’s “force that through the green fuse drives the flower”. Which is an astonishing line. Only in spring could a stem be compared to a fuse, but at this time, it’s perfect. 

Ok then, spring. I forgive you for the stingy eyes.

5. Remember how keen I was on February’s Yarn Love Challenge? Remember how I, somewhat half-heartedly, started another photo challenge last month? Remember how I dropped out even before taking a sudden unscheduled trip? Yeah, I didn’t flag that up so much, but it really wasn’t working for me. The Yarn Love Challenge continues, however, and I do like these prompts. But given the points above, I think I’m going to continue treating them as suggestions rather than requirements. I will not be pushing myself to post every day (even though I’m very glad I did it in Feb, and even though I think I could have done a lot with some of the prompts I already missed). I guess I’ll be doing a Yarn Love Casual Contribution, as it were.      

Nos 13, 14 & 15 of #52recipes: over the past few weeks I’ve made a lazy smoked salmon and leek tart without a recipe, but I’m counting it, because it’s a New Thing. And it was incredible. And then I made an only slightly less lazy salmon and spinach pie because my daddy said so (and it was good). And then I made Jerusalem artichoke and almond rösti and served them with smoked salmon and horseradish mousse. Armin and I loved them, the kids really really didn’t. And no, I don’t know why it’s all salmon all the time suddenly. It just happened.

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* Invaluable Afrikaans construction: “Barbara hulle”, meaning “Barbara and that crowd”, ungrammatically but usefully expressed in Safrican English as “Barbara and them”. I do miss this.

One thought on “The no-challenge challenge: 5 things 10.4.2017

  1. Quiet time is good. Perhaps we can actually schedule some, you me and B, sometime during that Great Big Famdamily Holiday.

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