Late summer


Lovely, languid summer.
There is a vague suggestion of Autumn in the early mornings now and the garden dearly needs some rain. Mum and Dad return to Australia on Wednesday after having been here for almost three months. It’s been such a good, long visit – a lot of which Dad has been taking his amateur carpentry skills to the max – building us all sorts of stuff out in the garden. An extension to our woodshed ready for wood for the long winter, a swing, a sandbox for Lily, and his pièce de résistance – a treehouse.

Not all that long ago Dad built a treehouse in his backyard in Melbourne – you might remember it. It was a beauty. Shortly after Dad finished it, we told my parents that we had decided to move to Canada. Both the girls suggested that he shouldn’t worry, he’d just have to come and build us one in our new garden. And just over a year later, that’s what he’s done. What a legend my dad is.

Today we finished sanding off the splintery bits and hung a quick makeshift tent between the trees and the treehouse was ready for action. Dad’s plan is that he will return next year and build a little house up on the platform with sliding windows, shingled walls and a clear plastic roof. It’s going to be weather-proof enough to become a tiny little guest room. Our lucky guests will be able to lie  snuggled up inside, looking up at the stars above through the boughs of the fir trees. Sounds nice, really.

For those who are keen to make a treehouse – dad suggests that the The Treehouse Bookby Peter Nelson helped him a lot for ideas, inspiration and some technical tips. It sits almost permanently on our coffee table, when it isn’t beside someone’s bed. It’s a lovely book for dreaming.

Eating: Apple-Blackberry Pie – the recipe says this is “advanced”. It’s not really. It’s a bit fiddly and takes quite a lot of time to construct and to cook, but it’s worth the effort for a seriously impressive pie.

Drinking: Coffee. Just one cup a day, but with *cream*. Oh Canada, you have brought me many good things, but putting cream in my coffee is my latest delight. Does anyone do this in Australia? I never noticed if they did.

Watching: The Young Visiters– a 2003 adaptation of the delightful book written in 1890 by 9 year old Daisy Ashford. Perhaps it’s because I had the book growing up, or perhaps it’s because I have an almost-9 year old, but I found this so charming. Starring Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy, the film is just how a 9 year old would write, art direct and produce a film if they had unlimited funds and imagination.

Counting down: The days until school goes back. Bitter-sweetness! This year Lily starts school and is ready and raring to go.