Bitter Lemon Marmalade and a Sweet New Beginning

There has been a rollercoaster of emotions this last week or so! But the title for tonight’s diary entry is what I will be writing about.

Wow – it’s warm here in the U.K. and indeed this is shared all over Europe. In these coming days we have a unified weather front with our European neighbours, though you might be aware that we are leaving the political unity that was once Europe! As you know I make it my place not to comment on politics. Anyhow, on this specific day, we have a new prime minister. NO COMMENT!

Here in ‘The Shires’ my day began as most do, with breakfast for our not so famous five. All on school holiday now until they set off for ‘Big School’ in early September. Okay, entertained by our highly regarded and trusted nanny this morning, I found the time to oven roast lemons, scrape the pith and chop the peel, then boil on a moderate heat with extra lemon juice and sugar until the result was a firm set ‘Bitter Lemon Marmalade’. So sour on the taste buds (And with that much sugar), yet it was captivatingly exciting to the pallet. Sweet treats with a sour taste – one has to consider that the world we live in has room for everything, every taste, smell and indeed emotion! Okay my confectioning almost aside – we ate croissants with Dadda’s blue cherry berry jam and 2 squares of bitter dark chocolate. Well, they’re on holiday and frosted flakes just seemed a bit mundane this morning.

Now onto the ‘sweet new beginning’ element of my words for tonight! My thoughts are a reference to an earlier blog, simple entitled ‘The Power of Words’! No pressure then… And no pictures.

For this last week, the mated pair of thrushes that had abandoned their nest last month had been busy! Maybe 3 weeks ago, they had returned and started to spruce up the nest hidden within the ivy and grapevine on our ‘green wall’. Seemingly no expense spared on the interior decor front – they both worked hard to reinforce the structure and wings were heard a flapping, in order to create an internal space that would accommodate a new brood. There was some silence for a while and then this week the chirp, chirp, chirps of tiny chicks could be heard once again. I am so filled with happiness that these committed feathered neighbours are once more blessed with the chance of being a family. I felt in awe as this mornings early cup of coffee, sitting on our terrace was blessed with a small storm of flying ants. It’s hot isn’t it? You know every summer at a certain time – the flying ants come out, seemingly out of nowhere to dance the day away, always on a hot day like today. Now, one of the thrushes came close – it felt a little unreal as this feathered couple are usually quite aloof, not that akin to coming too close to us humans. But one of the thrushes came within a metre of me several times and. sounded a strange vocal note, very unlike any bird sound that I have ever heard. It flitted around and around, collecting beak fulls of these little insects again and again, up to the nest, then back. The chicks chirps erupting feverishly on every single journey. The experience was mesmerising – I felt the undemanding gift of nature and it’s true relationship with family. We are all born with ‘need’ aren’t we? But nurture along side nature can turn that need into something so much more constructive. And that is selfless want, I remember the time when John and I decided to become a family! I think we managed our expectations and experience well, through a certain amount of grief and adversity prevailed. Pride is what we feel for our children and to our previous achievements in becoming the family that we are today.

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A Gay Dad reflecting on life in the Shires of England with my not so famous five and two rapscallion Dalmatian hounds

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