2018 Aspirations

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When I think back on 2017, I remind myself that this is the year that we carved out a new life in a bigger, bolder city than before. A place where our community means more travel time with strangers on trains than with friends in their homes. A city that is not, in truth, a natural fit. That shades out the stars and puts miles between us and the sea. But we have learned how to do life here; how to not just make it work but embrace the opportunity and privilege that, as well as being all those other things, it truly is. It seems unlikely (though who knows) that it is forever, so we want to make the most of it while we can.

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Just two hours away lies Paris

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Well, two hours fifteen minutes but that doesn’t have quite the same pith to it. And what a two hours fifteen minutes it is. I’ve done some long train journeys in my time  – 55 hours between Ulan Ude and Khabarovsk in Russia being my record – and it’s left me with a real taste for this form of travel. The trip on the Eurostar was no exception.  I love the way train travel reinforces a sense of connection between destinations – you see one slip away and another emerge out the window; a contrast with the cloud-covered ascent and descent of flight.

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Toil

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One day’s work would be enough. Enough to transform the garden at our previous house from ramshackle to haven. It was essentially a blank canvas: a square patio edged by an empty bed on two sides. Turn over soil, dig in compost, two hours planting – and it would have arrived. A garden is never finished, but this one would have at least become a coherent entity. Time would only improve it. That ‘Rome’ was built in a day.

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Chemicals in our home // the starting point

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One of my 2016 aspirations was to look at the chemicals in our home. The European Environment Agency recommends prudence when it comes to the chemicals to which we expose ourselves and the environment. The blame cannot be laid on a single chemical; it’s the range of them and how they interact with each other that’s the real problem. The thing that challenged me is: I know very little about the cocktail of chemicals I purchase, apply, spray. It’s time to change that.

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Years in the making

years_in_the_making1When I bought a sewing machine, having never threaded one in my life, I was particularly taken with the idea of making my own quilts. This was probably born out of some romantic notions left over from watching the film ’How to make an American quilt’ as a teenager, along with the fact that I love a good blanket as much as the next person. Despite choosing a sewing machine with quilt-making capabilities, a few years into my sewing ventures I have not yet made one. Continue reading