About

Name:VintagePretty
Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Sunday 5 March 2017

A Sunday morning walk along the beach

Have you noticed that we’re now exiting the deepest, darkest bits of winter? Like a plant deprived of the sun, I am desperately craning myself to find some its rays again. So when the weather gets above 10C and the wind is not blowing a gale and the sun is shining? I make like a cat and luxuriate, nay revel, in its appearance. Hoo-boy, Sun, you have been away far too long!

All of the above necessary conditions were met the other day and so I set off with Mr VP and Baby VP, the Archers omnibus on in the car (to my absolute flummoxing, I’ve discovered that Mr VP is not only a closet fan of the Archers but if I miss an episode it turns out I can rely on his almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the goings on in Ambridge to set me straight! *insert wide-eyed surprise-face here*).

And so we walked. Away from others, though as it was pretty early (for a Sunday), there weren’t many takers for a brisk walk. Just myself, my girl and Mr VP. Blue skies, white clouds, oystercatchers, a huge stretch of golden sand to explore and beachcomb on and the deep blue North Sea.

On the way back we saw a couple of unfamiliar birds flitting back and forth in the hedgerow. It turns out that they were stonechats. A new one on us!

Sunday 22 January 2017

January dark

January is always an odd kind of month. Grey and dreary yet simultaneously promising a new, fresh start. This year has been no different. Days of frosty-white mornings; fern-patterned car windows and slippery pavements and days like today; grey and mizzly with not even the tiniest ray of sun to be seen. The short hours of light making everything feel a little less productive as the world beats a hasty to retreat back into darkness. That being said, January this year is flying by – I cannot believe we’re almost at the end. Almost one-twelfth of the way through this new year of ours.

I’d like to say that I’ve been Very Productive in this hibernation-state I’ve been in recently, but while I have managed to do a good deal of housework (and, even better, house de-cluttering!), my priorities and interests seem to be focused on feeding/entertaining our newest member of the VP family. I mean… who’d rather tidy and clean than play with Duplo?! Exactly. Who’d rather load the dishwasher than make cheesy spinach, carrot and sweetcorn pancakes for lunch!?

As a result my camera doesn’t get used much at all these days, though I know I must dig it out and get going again because I miss cataloguing the smaller, more mundane bits of everyday life (like aforementioned cheesy spinach pancakes, which are not only a supremely easy way to feed a hungry mum a toddler but which also include lots of yummy vegetables! Win!).

So that’s where we’re up to so far in January. I’ll try to dig out my camera to take some photos of my newly-created bullet journal (an addendum to my Filofax, which is also something I have shamefully not blogged about – sorry, I’ll hopefully do a dual-post!) and also some food we’ve been eating recently. I hope everyone’s January is going well :)

Monday 2 January 2017

The Deep of Winter

The deep of winter is pulling me inside, making me want to spend my days in the comfort of central heating and cups of tea (though seldom drunk hot!). We were all floored at the beginning of December by a really nasty bug, which for poor Baby VP (now very much ToddlerVP!) became croup. A single dose of steroids later and she was back on the road to health but I know it made me feel rough and it was scary to see her unwell.

December is gone, as is 2016, in such a blur. We were still wrapping gifts at 11pm on Christmas Eve, as Baby VP slept upstairs. Christmas was lovely, though done at a different pace. There was the opening of gifts; the rapid breakfast-out-of-the-way to do so I could get the kitchen cleared for Operation Turkey. It was lovely, for the most part calm and following our new cadence as a family. Mum came over and played with Baby VP, I cooked, Mr VP hovered between helping and playing as needed. We ate Christmas lunch very early indeed and I was so glad that we had a dishwasher to do the job that was usually relegated to whoever didn’t cook lunch (usually Mr VP!).

I’ve written about it before, but I really do love this in-between time. A time when things sort of close down and go a bit quiet. We have a huge to-do list; an A4 page of things we really need to get done before Mr VP goes back to work. Unfortunately as the end of Mr VP’s holiday time off approaches is here, we are still staring-down a big check-list of things we haven’t done. But that is life! 2017 is here and is so bright and sparkly and full of promise and of things we must do, want to do and will do. Some things we won’t manage, of course, but isn’t it about the adventure rather than the destination? Most important of all is remembering to spend time together, enjoying every moment together as a family. I don’t usually do resolutions as such, but this year my goals are to write in my paper diary more, blog a bit more often and spend every moment being present in the moment. Hopefully three things that are doable! As for the list of to-dos… they can wait a little longer.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Music: A few new finds

A few new songs I’ve found in the last couple of months:

Thursday 24 November 2016

Music: James Reynolds

If you’ve watched a BBC nature documentary recently (with perhaps the exception of the Attenborough documentaries), you’ll probably have heard some of James Reynolds’ work in the background.  It is how I first found him, after asking Mr VP to use an app to work out what the song was that was playing as some mayflies danced just above the surface of a river.  He is a young but gifted piano composer whose pieces are often used by the BBC (and probably others). You’ll enjoy it if you have a penchant for minor keys, twinkly piano pieces or film scores (or all three, like me!).

My favourite pieces are Butterfly (the one used with the mayflies); Silent Sleep; and Life In Slow Motion.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Autumn, wearing her finest colours

I think you can tell from the photos above and below, we found autumn in all of her splendour.  Despite the temperature – 3ºC; it was Baltic as they say around these parts – we wrapped BabyVP (and ourselves) up well in many, many layers and ventured out for a walk. Most of the trees are bare, but not the beeches.

We walked and took photos here and there of leaves on the floor, chattering all the time to BabyVP about the birds flitting around us; from blackbirds and blue tits to the robins that suddenly appear in such large numbers around now. We came around a corner and were struck silent by this one, lone beech tree.

It was photographic perfection; all black-line branches and yellow-orange-brown leaves. So different to the pines, oaks, horse chestnuts and yews around it. Not that the oaks and chestnuts don’t have beautiful leaves – they do – but unlike all of the beech’s deciduous neighbours whose leaves were long gone, this tree was still clothed in the most wonderful golden coat.

I wonder what BabyVP made of all of this; she must have wondered what on earth her mother was getting so excited about.  I hope to pass this pure adoration of nature on to her; and I see it in the way she points out birds and trees.

I have had a reason to go out with camera in hand. This last week I have been taking part in an online photography course that was free. It’s only 4 weeks, only takes 3 hours a week of taking part in ‘webinars’. I have really enjoyed reconnecting with my camera and its myriad of functions.

We all had a good time, cold hands and rosy cheeks and all.

This week’s lesson was on aperture priority. This is all stuff I knew already but I am learning tips as we go, too. Aperture priority is what gives you amazing bokeh as well as certain lenses (usually the older analogue ones); it controls focus in the same way that scrunching your eyes up allows you to focus a bit better on certain things.

Photography courses aside, when the sun was shining and the birds were singing and BabyVP was cuddled up in her many layers, it really was the perfect day to be outside.  The sun, when it did shine, was almost warm enough to make you forget the icy chill. Almost.

Gosh we were glad to get back into the warmth of the cafe and have a bite to eat. Then home, with a very sleepy BabyVP in the back of the car, who nodded off to sleep shortly after we set off. Those colours though! Those colours…

Tuesday 15 November 2016

An acorn in the yard (and other moments)

The jays that otherwise-invisibly inhabit the woods behind the house have been more active in the last few weeks. I sometimes see a magpie-shaped bird flying out of the trees, with a pinky, buff-coloured chest and know it is not a magpie or a wood pigeon but one of their majestic blue-flecked cousins. Often heard but seldom seen, except now. Coming out of the house the other day, with a well-coated toddler in one arm and a changing bag in the other, I looked down to see an acorn. Quite odd, given that most of the trees around us are ash or Scot’s pine.  I knew who’d left this precious little arboreal offering. It reminded me of reading that jays are responsible for planting more oak trees than squirrels.  A couple of days later, I saw one flying right over our house.  I knew a jay had dropped it, just for us.

Another day I was driving in the tail-end of the afternoon and already it was starting to get dark; to soon, too early.  I was driving to run some errands, baby and husband esconced in the warmth of the house, playing on the floor. I drove a while and noticed that in the valley nearby, the fog was starting to form. It was as yet confined, the sides of the hill keeping it contained. Thick, grey wisps moving slowly, hanging low in the air.

A little further in my errands, I came around a corner and the view was lovely; very wintry, very familiar, very hygge (a new word in our collective lexicon for something I’ve been trying to do for as long as I can remember). A row of old Victorian terrace houses in silhouette, with chimneys peeping out, some of them smoking, the ladders of smoke climbing heavenward. Behind them the sky, almost dark, held the remnants of the day’s sun; lemon-yellow with a teeny bit of blue, edged with grey clouds. The church in the distance with its castellated tower watched regally from its promontory, back-lit by the same lemon sky.

A different day, this time grey and wet, with the first really cold chill on the breeze. Driving down into a little valley with a river at the bottom – it sounds like we live somewhere hilly, but we don’t, just a few river valleys – we pass under a canopy of trees. High enough so that the branches just skirt tall double-decker buses and thick enough so that it’s quite dark at the bottom. As it was windy, the trees were blowing and it looked for all the world like we were driving into a snowstorm, except these were yellow and brown ash leaves fluttering down before us. I called to Baby VP in the back of the car and told her to look at the leaves falling. I watched BabyVP in the mirror looking around her with a smile, before going back to the song we were singing.

I found a new classical piece, or rather, new to me thanks to ClassicFM. The piece is Kol Nidrei by Max Bruch. The ending, the last two minutes, is something quite magical.

Today we went for a walk around our local town. After a coffee with granny and sorting a few necessities, we all headed off for a walk in the park. Most of the trees are now bare, the leaves thick and yellow-green, red and brown at our feet. Soon to become soggy and slippery. We stopped by the swings so that Baby VP could get her fill of laughter and we could revel for a moment in her joy. A robin came to sit on a nearby hedge, watching us intently. He flitted from branch to branch, eager to see if we would drop something or reveal a tasty grub in the leaflitter. As we moved around the park, he followed too; his bright red chest and quiet, subdued tweets mingling with the human giggles and goosanders and ducks nearby.  A cormorant swooped through the trees above. I’m always surprised to see a cormorant so close to trees and town, but he has become a bit of a regular face. No rough seas or isolated lakes for him! Sensible bird.

It never fails to surprise me that so quickly the nights can get so long and the days so short. You’d think that by now, in my 31st year, I would have learnt the seasonal changes, but each year I am stumped at how quickly November becomes dark, December darker, and January icy-cold and grey and dark. And equally, how February starts to bring the first hints at the longer days to come. How quickly it all comes and goes; how quickly now, with a baby, life is flying and time is not an endless stretch any more, but sand that slips away before I can catch it. Breathe and appreciate every single moment.

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