We have been having some gorgeous spring weather over the past few days. There has been the odd shower too but I have still been very much cheered up by the sunshine.
I am spending a lot of time in the studio at the moment but I gave myself some time off over the weekend and on Saturday afternoon – despite the fact that I could see that rain would be moving in before too long – I couldn’t resist throwing a book and sketchbook into my satchel and heading out into the ponies’ field. I spread my blanket under a tree and spent a very happy hour reading and sketching. It was lovely.
Naturally I had been right about the rain and it did eventually turn up. Not that it drove me straight in. I could cope with the light rain but a downpour was just too much and I scurried back inside.
I have been seeing a great many posts about the death of Beverly Cleary last week which have made me want to revisit her Ramona Quimby books. I got the audiobooks of these from the library so often that I can still hear the narrator’s voice in my head. I would have loved to get hold of the audiobooks now but sadly they don’t seem to be available in the UK. I do however have two of the books on my shelf and I raced through those on Sunday.
It is amazing how the memory works. Some of the scenes in these two are so vivid – I especially remember Beezus drawing a horse with wings (although I think this scene is actually in Beezus and Ramona) but a lot of these books felt as if I was reading them for the first time (I definitely wasn’t!). I had a lovely, nostalgic wallow in them and would love to get my hands on more.
All in all, it was a pretty wonderful weekend.
I have never been able to decide which I prefer – sitting outside with my book in the summer or curling up with it by the fire in the winter. At the moment I can just about get away with doing both – it has been very warm today and lovely to sit outside but the evenings have been cool enough for a fire still.
Even though the evening fires may end soon I have the comfort of knowing that I am helping to build up our store of logs for next winter’s fires. Since I am obviously not at work at the moment I am spending my time helping my parents out with the work on our fields (which are at home so we can carry on without breaking any social isolation rules).
Specifically we have been doing a lot of work on the hedges – brambles have been pulled out and a few trees which had got out of hand have been felled. The log store – which had been getting rather empty – is starting to fill up once more. Of course, these logs won’t be burnable for a year or so but it is good to know that they will be there and ready when we want them.
My sister recently bought herself a hammock seat and having sat in it decided it was exactly what I needed. She is very kind so now I have one too!
We had great fun getting it up – all the branches seem to go straight up in the air!
It is the most wonderful place to sit and read and I have spent a couple of entire days curled up in it with a book and a cup of tea. I’ve even eaten my lunch and had a nap in it (I would highly recommend it for naps)!
Even the ponies like it!
I have also needed some blankets – it might be sunny at the moment but it is not really all that warm yet and sitting still you do get a bit chilly. It is totally worth it though.
It is amazing how much reading you can get through when you have no distractions. Over one weekend I spent two afternoons hanging and reading and I got through two children’s books (Malamander by Thomas Taylor and We Won an Island by Charlotte Lo) and a good sized chunk of Martin Chuzzlewit. It was bliss.
We have been having some simply glorious weather for the past few days. We have had some cold days too of course – it is only April after all – but definitely a good proportion of the time has been sunny.
Days like this make me want to escape outside as much as possible and whilst I was at Halsway Manor last week I took full advantage of the free time on offer to explore the grounds and neighbouring countryside. I found the loveliest disused tennis court complete with the most amazing view and a tumbledown pavillion. There was even a beautiful set of steps just right for sitting and reading.
I also went some way up the hill beind the house. My seat of choice up there was a tree in the hedgeline. I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of wanting to climb trees! I didn’t manage to get a picture of myself up the tree but I can show you the view which was magnificent.
It was the most wonderful place to while away a few hours.
Spring is springing!
We have had a glorious few days of the most beautiful sunshine and it has been marvellous. Things always look so much better when the sun shines.
For me, one of the best things is being able to read outside again. There is nothing quite like it and it makes me so happy that I’ve been able to do so this week.
I had to wrap up warm and my fingers went numb but it was still wonderful.
Of course, as I write this there is an absolute deluge of hail outside and I am curled up by the fire. That is lovely too!
This last week I have realised that my reading habits are changing with the season. I spent the last few months doing as much of this as possible.
I especially love sitting by the sea but reading outside anywhere is something which gives me a huge amount of joy.
It has suddenly got much colder though and although I am still reading outside when I can – I hope to do so tomorrow as it is meant to be sunny – I am also tending to spend much more time curled up inside with a blanket and a book. Cats are optional.
I love autumn and this has to be one of the best bits!
The actual books I read are changing too – I have read many lighter books over the summer but I am now definitely craving some more serious books. I am currently in the middle (almost exactly!) of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which I have been meaning to read for simply ages. After that I have three classics already lined up – Frankenstein, Sylvia’s Lovers and Framley Parsonage. At least, that is my plan at the moment. I will almost certainly feel a desperate need to read something different in between!
“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”
Jeannette Walls – The Glass Castle
I absolutely agree with the sentiment in this quote. Even though we have artificial light there is nothing quite like a summer evening spent outside with a book.
I generally read a lot of classics but I do like to intersperse them with lighter reads, especially in the summer. One August a few years ago I exclusively read Enid Blyton and it was wonderful.
Recently I have had a bit of a run of cosy crime books. I started with Agatha Christie’s The Man in the Brown Suit which I first read on an archaeology field trip when I was at college. There was a copy lying around the youth hostel which I naturally picked up and I loved it. I have always remembered it as one of my favourite of Christie’s books.
I was not disappointed on re-reading it either – I still loved it and just wish there were more books featuring Anne Beddingfeld.
What are you reading at the moment? Do you have any recommendations for good summer reads? I would love to hear them!