I am documenting the year with monthly photographs of my kitchen table. Capturing the jumble that accumulates here, at the heart of the kitchen, is also a way to record some of the domestic stories of our family life.
The July table has rather a holiday feel to it. School has finally broken up for the summer, and my thoughts are filled with plans for seashore and sunshine. The notebook, sweetly bought for me by D from a little shop on the harbourside in Mousehole, is by Mini Moderns. I love its design (there are even seagulls on the back), so redolent of days at the coast, and it serves as a sweet reminder of our Cornish trip and my little pilgrimage to the lighthouse. I saw Keith and Mark, the duo behind Mini Moderns, speak at Blogtacular, and they came across as talented, inspiring and funny too. The pencil, with its appropriate, ‘I need a holiday’ slogan, came from the same conference, in one of the goodie bags.
Most of my scribblings at the moment are lists: things to do, bake or pack. It feels as if we have waited a long time for today to come, but the holidays are finally here. Once again, we have written our annual summer list on a long sheet of paper and affixed it to the back of the kitchen door. ‘Visit Giffords Circus‘ was one of the first additions requested by the boys. A trip to the circus is now an annual family tradition and, given my fondness for Bridgewater pottery, a souvenir mug is an inevitability. Giffords boasts a fabulous collection of Bridgewater (circus owner, Nell Gifford, is Emma Bridgewater’s sister), with the giant teapot a particular favourite. This was last year’s mug and it’s perfect for a large morning cuppa (if you are particularly eagle-eyed then you may have noticed that my 2012 Giffords mug appeared on the table back in January!)
This little teapot was purchased in preparation for last week’s camping trip (we are in the process of upgrading our camping crockery from cheapie plastic to hardwearing enamelware). It is so lovely in form, and perfect in size, that it seemed a shame to relegate it to the camping box. I’m taking care of it in the kitchen until our camping trip to Dorset next week, after which I suspect that it may well find its way out of the camping box and onto the shelf once again.
The sea urchin skeleton was found in Oxwich Bay on our trip to the Gower last week. Its the only beach on which I have ever seen them, and they are plentiful there. Finding a perfect one is a challenge, however, and bringing it safely across the sand dunes and all the way home is particularly tricky. Last year’s sea urchin didn’t make it beyond the beach, which is why I am glad that I photographed it for posterity. This year, I was determined to bring one all the way home, and thanks to some careful wrapping and delicate handling, managed just that. Having pored over one at our holiday cottage in Cornwall, I have ordered myself a second hand copy of the Sea and Seashore Guide, in the hope that it will help me to identify the urchin, and other future beach finds. Our next camping trip will be to Dorset’s Jurassic coast, so we are hopeful of tracking down some fossils. Last time, we found a couple of partial ammonites, but the hunt is on for a more perfect specimin.
Finally, the hydrangea. It’s a pink lace cap, from the prolific bush in our front garden. Is it just me, or are they flowering earlier this year? I have to confess that, until a few years ago, I thought of them as rather old fashioned flowers, but my sister-in-law had them on the tables at their wedding in Brittany, and they couldn’t have looked lovelier, after which I revised my opinion. When we moved into this house I was rather delighted to find a large hydrangea bush. My green-fingered Dad has several, and manages to successfully nurture purple blooms, of which I have requested a cutting for next year. This particular stem now sits in a vase on the sitting room mantel, having featured in my latest experiments with polaroids.
Blue, white, cream and pink: the July table.
The kitchen story so far: