It’s just gone noon on Sunday.
Here in Winwick, it’s 28 degrees which makes it a hot day here (but perhaps not surprising given that I’m convinced we never get much snow here because Winwick is built on an undiscovered volcanic hotspot) and I’m sitting in the garden. I’m organised in such a way that I won’t really have to move much – water bottle, laptop, phone, knitting; everything I think I’m going to need for the next few hours. If I fancy a snooze in the warm air later, I’m going to do that. I’m having a day off.
Oh, you might think that having my laptop and phone nearby isn’t actually having a day off at all, but I know that I’ll hear my phone ring if I leave it in the house and have to get up to get it, or I’ll want to look something up on the internet. I’m from the generation who had to go to the library to look something up, hoping that the library actually had a book on it (in my case, it was a bike ride up a hill so I was always really glad when the library had the book I wanted!), so being able to ask pretty much any question I like from the comfort of my sun lounger is a novelty that I have never taken for granted. I suspect that if I had had a search engine at my disposal as my girls have had, I probably wouldn’t have left my bedroom when I was their age at all!
I’m not very good at deliberately taking time off. I’m pretty good at spontaneously deciding that I’ve had enough for the day and sitting down to knit because that’s what I like to do, but I’m not good – especially at the weekends – at sitting in the garden on a sunny day and enjoying listening to the birds and the rustle of the leaves in the breeze and breathing in the scent of the flowers. We’ve got wood pigeons nesting in the garden and they coo to each other, their wings whistling as they fly between the trees. The blackbirds have already started eating the berries from the Amelanchier lamarkii tree, bending the branches down almost to the ground as they reach for them. There are magpies too, which make a rattling kind of call, and there are sparrows which chirrup happily on the roof. I usually hear them in passing, recognising the noises but not taking a great deal of notice. Today, I am listening to it all.
Earlier this week, I was chatting to my friend Lucy and she was telling me about the idea of a half-year review, listing all the things that you’ve done or achieved during the first six months of the year. I’d probably said something like, “It’s July and I have no idea what I’ve done with the year!” and when she mentioned the idea, I really couldn’t think of anything that might go on the list! But when I sat down and counted up all the blog posts, the Instagram posts, the sock commissions, the Winwick Mum Seasons yarn launch (that was February this year, how could I have forgotten?!), the Yarn Lane TV appearances, moving blog platforms and everything else I’ve been up to – wow, there’s so much more than I would have immediately thought – and that was just for Winwick Mum! I haven’t got round to doing the same list for my other job, or for family things, and perhaps I should – or perhaps not, because then I would see how little time I actually spend just sitting in the sunshine having a day off!
So today is all about recharging my batteries. I rushed around yesterday cutting the grass (don’t ask me why, it was far too hot for that!) but today I am enjoying the feel of it under my bare feet. I am filling up my well-being tanks, putting on my own oxygen mask, making time for self-care, however you want to phrase it. I enjoy being busy but sometimes your batteries just run out and the trick is to catch yourself before they do, because we are never our best selves when that happens.
Pass the sun cream, will you?