Wednesday 28th Feb 2018

-9, rising to about -6 today. Felt considerably colder with the overnight windchill. Snow on the ground, sunshine, the occasional snowflake. Absofreakinlutely BEAUTIFUL.

Definitely feeling a bit wistful today. If only all days could be as relaxed and companionable as this. After sorting out the fire this morning and tramping out in the snow to empty out the ash scuttle, making sure everyone was fed and watered, putting the dishwasher on that somehow I forgot to do last night, the day settled into a contented and easy rhythm. We’ve had a giant nest made of duvets and cushions and blankets covering half the floor most of the morning, nobody’s hurt anybody else, they’ve all eaten, I even risked a shower while Erika was awake because they were all getting on so well, no frozen pipes (who knew that doing the washing up last thing at night could be so useful?!), and in the afternoon there was playdough at the table for the kids while I made bread dough in the kitchen.

No appointments, no demands, no rushing or panicking, no crises.

And one of the cats actually came and said hello to me!!! They don’t appear to have regular pathways across the yard… They have discovered the not-so-freezy perches we’ve created for them in the porch, and were in there when I burst in to get to the door to take a picture of their tracks in the snow. Smudgey scarpered but I think Tiger was a bit caught in the headlights and hesitated a little while before jumping down when I moved as well. But it came back to sniff my hand when I bobbed down to say hello – that’s MASSIVE progress for either of these two.

And the charcoal sticks, given it was my first attempt, were an amazing success – I know there are lots of areas I can improve on in the production of them, but they are such a great start and they WORK!! I’m still really happy that my tin survived its first day in the furnace, and the harness I lashed together looks like it’s held well enough for me to use again!

I think the charcoal sticks are what you could describe as “rough and ready” but they WORK! They are very very different to the solid smooth uniform sticks I remember using at college, they are very definitely and obviously twigs rather than finely cut pieces of timber, and my process needs a lot of tweaking but they work! They’re tactile, and real, and I need to find somewhere a bit warmer to really have a play with them.

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