The rain continues. The morning is spent with much-loved grandparents, playing card games at the table together and drinking mugs of tea.
After lunch, I grab my coat, pull up my hood and wander through the little potager garden, finding stillness in the water droplets balanced on petals and leaves.
My daughter is always ready for the outdoors, in any weather, and today she tries out an umbrella for the very first time. She does not quite understand it. She shows me that when she holds it up, she can no longer feel the lovely rain on her nose, surely I have got it wrong? She places it in the stream, with a toy inside. See? It is surely a boat.
Our small cornus plant is sprouting leaves from the tips of its scarlet woody stems … spring is on the way.
As her brothers play on their scooters, my daughter points at the veg plot, and when I open the gate she squeals and runs to grab her tools from the corner. A few weeds are shooting up in the raised beds and we remove them together. My daughter replants them tenderly. She takes some convincing that they really need to be composted. I notice that one is a stray parsley seed that has germinated early, so I let her keep that one in a pot.
The rain is really heavy now. Her hands are freezing cold and she still sobs when I tell her we have to go back inside.
Indoor gardening it is. A happy hour spent filling up plant pots ready for seeds.
As the rain thunderously streams down the windows behind her she is content, learning to use a brush to sweep up spilt soil.
My eldest sons and I have already arranged all of our leftover seeds into the months in which they can be planted. February has a few offerings for us to choose from.
My second son, who loves to draw, creates beautiful labels for our selection. He then carefully plants the seeds, wishing them good luck as he covers them up.
Then the planters are all lined up on the windowsill, safe from the chill of wintry weather.
In the evening, I spend time baking with my third son. He has autism and has recently discovered a love of cookery. Last week his nana brought over a box of chocolates and we are making flapjacks with these sugary treats hidden inside. As we cover the chocolates with a layer of oat and sugar mix, he is convinced I am being sneaky and keeps saying sssssshhhhhh! which makes me smile.
The younger children are tired tonight. Falling air pressure always seems to make their limbs go heavy and their eyes blink sleepily as dusk falls. They tuck in earlier than usual. Time to put the kettle on and write in the quietness. I may have a warm flapjack with my cup of tea.
Update: Here’s my recipe, if you want to try the above treats: English Cherry Flapjacks