Little Rituals

first morning coffee
Monday's coffee in Rob Ryan enamel mug

I recently read a lovely post on my Bloglovin' feed called Little Rituals by Gillian from Tales From A Happy Home.  Gillian's post was about the small daily rituals which, after moving home, are the things that make your new house your home.  And it set me to thinking; I LOVE our new house and in the short 9 months that we have been living here it has become the home of my dreams, for the rest of my life, absolute heaven.  I don't mean to gush, but it has.

And Gillian is right, it is the day to day rituals, things that you only do in your own house that make it your home.   So, here is a very ordinary day, Monday to be exact, but one that brought me much pleasure.

mrsfoxs chickens

Little Louis seems to always get up first, and too early.  He comes into our bedroom and wiggles around in our bed, making snoozing impossible, but, I have a new trick up my PJ sleeve.  I send him off to let the chickens out of their house.

Little Una Fox has a barking dog alarm clock which goes off just after 7am, over, and over, and over again.  Mr Fox gets up for work, and brings me a cup of tea in bed before he goes - Isn't he grand!  I don't feel alive until I've had my tea, washed my face and applied my Fushi Oils.  They are an indulgence that I decided I deserve now that I am in my 40's.

Fushi oils
But my day begins proper, much like Gillian's by the sound of it, after I drop the Little Foxes at school - now only a 90 second walk rather than a 30 minute drive away. On my return I have my best coffee of the day.   Fresh ground, made in an espresso pot bought before the Little Foxes were born.  The cup I use is very important.  It is usually one of a choice of 3, but each cup has a slightly different meaning for me.  The one I went for on Monday means - "a day in the garden".

Even though the school run is now such a brief excursion I still get greeted by our two dogs, Bea and Beau, like I've been gone for days.  Sometimes this ends in disaster, as I trip over them extracting a yelp from the victim and a non too savoury word from me.  On other occasions disaster eludes us and we have a bit of a love in, the dogs and I.  Tails wagging, neck scratching, jockeying for position and general over-excited chaos on a small furry canine scale.

Then we do our tour of the garden.  When Mr Fox is home he and I walk the garden, but otherwise the dogs like to accompany me.  We check the chickens,...

and this is why we check the chickens; evidence of a fox having taken a rabbit in our garden last night

I gaze at my apple trees for a bit, and dream of my orchard.  Planting the three apple trees was all quite a palaver, so to see the blossom on them now is wonderfully reassuring.

We also take in the veg patch and green house where I've sown seeds that I'm hoping have germinated.  Little green seedlings are a cause for celebration.  Hopeful watering of all other seed trays and plants in pots elsewhere in the garden brings my garden tour to a close.

I sit at the computer for a bit once inside.  I'm still not sure where my favourite spot for sitting at the computer is in this house.  I've been moving it around.  But I quite like the table in the back room at the moment.

I check emails and Facebook; friends are so scattered these days, all over the world from the US and Canada to Australia and Bangkok.  Do a bit of writing, upload some photos.  Then remember that I am supposed to be doing the shopping online not getting distracted.

I do agree that a home is not a home until you've broken in the kitchen.  And most of my toil in the garden is all about edible crops.  At Ash Cottage the kitchen wasn't in too bad a state when we moved in.  But shortly after our move, one by one, everything functional broke down, including the cooker. So, we bought a reconditioned Aga, built on site it was great to watch it grow in my kitchen, and as we are talking rituals, it has become something of an idol to be worshiped.  I do a fair but of cookery exchanging (my marmalade for her pesto, sloe gin for elderflower cordial, that kind of thing) with my friend Jennie and last weekend she leant me her ice cream maker.  I've made a batch of blackberry ice cream and with the spare egg whites a batch of meringues.

Where one woman's rituals is another woman's chore, in Tales From A Happy Home, Gillian writes eloquently, and supplies beautiful pictures, of her house-work; bedding changed and beautifully made up beds, washing on the line.  With the greatest respect to this lady I'm not going to do that.  I go by the adage that no woman on her death bed would say; "I wish I had spent more time doing the house work".  My house work is done as quickly as possible, the bare minimum, "a bit of dirt never hurt" as my granny would say, in her spotless house(!).  It's a quick, kitchen - post breakfast detritus cleared, bathrooms - given a quick swipe (yes, swipe not wipe), beds made, kids clothes picked up off the floor and stuck in the washing machine, then get back out in the garden.

Today, I wanted to get the second bed of potatoes into the ground.  Which involves moving huge piles of soil from an old compost heap onto the veg beds on the other side of the garden.

Can you spot the potato?
This quiet, simple, sometimes strenuous, repetitive to the point of meditative activity is why I love gardening.  Sharing a chat with my elderly neighbours over the garden fence, exchanging tomatoes for runner bean plants.  A quick snack for lunch, and a couple of drink and chicken watching stops mean that I am little more than started on the potato beds when it is time to pick the Little Foxes up from school.  Gardening eats time.

On a Monday the children have no after school clubs, so they come straight back home and go say "Hi!" to their chickens.  As it was such a beautiful day they persuaded me to turn the sprinkler on for them to play in after tea.

I had to stop my toil to watch them screaming and jumping into the cold water, a beautiful end to the day.  Straight into the shower for those two, PJs, hot milk and a madeleine while they wait for daddy to come home.  Mr Fox usually puts the children to bed while I do our dinner.  That is his most important ritual and sometimes I join him to listen to the bedtime story.

As Gillian asked; outside my open bedroom window I can hear birdsong and cars.

And I can hear the creaks and groans of my house bending and stretching her old bones.  I talk to my house, she is a she. I like to think our inhabiting her is something that she is a willing participant in after some years of neglect.  That we are gently restoring a lady in her middle years (I don't like to call her old!) to something of her former glory.  Each day we live in her, no matter how ordinary or normal, is nourishing her as much as she shelters and protects us.

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  1. What a lovely home and life you have - so blessed - and I agree with you about less housework! #MBPW

  2. How lovely! Thank you for sharing your rituals. I like the idea of your house bending and stretching, and of you talking to her. I don't do that much housework at all, I promise! And you certainly spend more time in the garden than I do, and what a nice garden it is. x


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