And again I find that it has been far too long and I have too much to tell you.
So let me start here, with these photos. They were taken on Crosby Beach right on the edge of Liverpool.
Installed on the beach at various points, above and below the tide, are over 100 figures looking out to sea. It’s by sculptor Anthony Gormley and entitled Another Place.
(No prizes for what Albie is pointing at!)
On the day that we were there it was nearly 30 degrees and the beach was busy. The figures seemed to be looking out to the horizon. Their chins high – determined. I would love to come back and see all these figures standing here on a stormy day too, with the beach desolate and the waves big. I bet on a day like that the figures seem very small – very alone indeed.
It really is fantastic sculpture.
I took this photo of my jandals on Crosby Beach because in my minds eye I saw them there and thought it looked like home. Pang.
Hit me on a good day and I am resolutely excited by the opportunities and connections we have with the UK – by the novel sights and sounds, by the very newness of it all for us. On other days, though, and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you, on other days (like this day at the beach), I can *just about* hear New Zealand calling me back home.
I feel slightly foolish even admitting homesickness as I am not 12 and it isn’t Summer Camp. But there you have it. My feet feel like they are a very, very, very long way away from where they should be.
I have to say though, my fretting for home, is not constant and has naught to do with where we are. Lancashire is pulling out all the stops and seducing us back in good and proper – the place and the people could not have been more welcoming. Family and friends, blue skies, green trees, slow moving rivers, and many, many, many stone walls.
I am a little obsessed with the stone walls of Lancashire. If you saw what is on my camera, you’d assume I am some weird Stone Wall twitcher. I just can’t help myself.
Marcus saw me taking a photo of this wall and was incredulous, “Really? Another wall?”
But I am like, “Marcus, look at it. Have you really looked at it. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A BETTER LOOKING WALL?!”
There are just beautiful walls everywhere and I am their BIGGEST FAN.
We’ve been taking occasional summer evening swims in the River Ribble. The river acts as the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire and it’s not too far from us. The spot we’ve been swimming at is called Brungerly Bridge. Brungerley. Such a fun word to say.
Marcus is renewing connections with old and dearly treasured friends who are here. This is Sam, one of Marcus’ bestest chums with Oscar the dog at the river. Albert carries Sam’s name as a middle name. It is things like this that make me realise how important it is that we are here.
Albie continues to sprout before my eyes into a very adventurous, very social and very wonderful young boy.
This is Albie super stoked that he has found a seashell. “Mum! Look! It’s a seashell!”
I’d not the heart to tell him we live many miles inland and it was actually a plastic spoon head.
This is Albie feeding ducks with his Great Aunty Barbara and Grandma as the Oswaldtwistle Mills. (Oswaldtwistle is also a very fun word to say). This is why we are here. My heart fills seeing Albie with his Grandma. They are the firmest of friends.It is a very special thing.
The summer has been so much more summery than I ever expected. I was warned and warned of the Lancashire drizzly, grey sky. But up unto a few days ago, it has been really warm and entirely pleasant. We’ve been having picnic dinners in the nettled field across the way from our place.
I continue to take photos of Fred’s cheeks. Those cheeks! Oh my. Just about as delicious as he is.
We’ve been exploring our surroundings and stumble across all number of information boards. Modest boards that quietly tell of a history that makes my mind boggle and my head spin.
And, quaintness is everywhere!
Yes, those are fresh milk bottles on the doorstep. And that is marmalade for sale outside ‘an old lady’s house on an embroidered tablecloth (possibly sorted by citrus type). Yes it is!
I did not know this stuff existed outside of Milly Molly Mandy! Truly I did not. And it really is rather pleasing.
In response to such an environment, or perhaps because I am seriously lacking in friends over here – I have taken to baking desert pies. Well, actually it is just the one so far, but I think it is the start of something rather special too.
Hello, Blueberry Banoffee Pie.
Hmmm, what else is there to tell you?
We went to Cloudspotting, a music festival. I was pretty chuffed that Freddy got his first festival band at four and a half months – a promising start son! Albie wore a crown again. We camped n our new-to-us-tent. I say tent, but it is more like a pavilion. We are single handedly taking ‘large family tent’ to a whole new level.
It rained and rained and rained some more. Playing “How long can you balance the cup on your head?” became a legitimate way to spend time.
We had a few beers and caught up with a few friends, but saw an embarrassingly small amount of music when the clouds happened to part. Dancing in the rain is just not fun with two kids in tow you see. We admitted defeat and packed our soggy tent up early. Retreated to a welcomely warm pub .
Hmmm, what else is there to tell you?
(This post is fast turning into one of those long rambling answer phone messages I am sometimes want to leave.)
We went to see some incredible street theatre in Liverpool to help mark the centenary of World War One. Giant puppets operated by great crews of puppeteers, Amazing. Truly amazing.
Oh yes! And Albie has started drawing people.
This is Marcus.
And this is me.
And that is probably about where I should stop. But just to wrap up, here is some Fred. When in doubt – there is always Fred.
Fred. Fred on a Bed.