Friday 14 July 2017

School's out ... and it's officially summer ...

It's been a long time coming, but, finally, Emi's got his summer hols. Not having to get up at the crack of dawn this morning was blissful. And today is quite possibly the best day of the year: this first day of the summer holidays, when we can wind down from all the day-to-day stuff that usually has us rushing around trying to keep up, and savour the several weeks that lie ahead of not having to do very much at all. Call me lazy, but from where I'm sitting right now, that's a sweet, sweet prospect.

My black hollyhock -  summer on a stem ...

We have a new addition to our circle this week. She's called Alexa. We've come a little late to the Alexa party, but she's a really useful girl to have around. She's the Amazon Alexa Echo AI device, who came to live with us courtesy of a half price discount on Prime Day < When did that become a thing? 🤔 >.

Emi seems to have fallen in love with her. He keeps asking her random questions, and then does a little happy dance when she tells him the answer. She's so cool, he croons for the hundred and fiftieth time in an hour. I feel uncomfortable. Part of me groans inwardly at all the questions, as though I'm worried that he's going to exhaust her patience. It's just not polite to ask SO many questions. Then I remember: Duh! She's not real. 

So very grateful for my giant blue agapanthus ...
He's asked her countless personal questions. No, she doesn't know Siri, nor does she have a boyfriend <phew!>. She's told him that her favourite colour is sea foam, which she explains is blue-green with tones of grey. She believes that everything is better with chocolate (which is pretty spot-on in my view). She is concerned that <heart-throb> Benedict Cumberbatch is capable of melting her circuits, and she knows enough about computer games to win the approbation of an 11 year-old who can think of no cooler way of whiling away an afternoon. If anyone else asks her a question without saying please or thank you he reprimands them for their manners.

Her speaker system is really good: much better than that on my mobile phone. As a result I've listened to another couple of talking books, read to me over her audio system. I started the week with Nigel Warburton's A Little History of Philosophy, which was a fun jaunt through Western Philosophy starting with the big 3: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and then blasting all the way through until the present day with Peter Singer, and his views on speciesism, and effective altruism.

I'm not a very philosophical person. I've got no appetite to wade through hundreds of pages of Hegel or Spinoza (for instance) but it is interesting how the big questions that people ask themselves have changed so much over the centuries, and I've been happily entertained by the little snapshots that Warburton serves up of each step along the way. I've never studied the subject, and, if I'm really honest, most of the little that I know about it comes from Jostein Gaarder's wonderful book, Sophie's World, which I devoured when it hit the bookshops about 20 years ago.

When I got through all the philosophy I moved on to the totally charming novel, The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. It was un-put-downable: a really, really good read listen. It's a bit of a feel-good summer beach book, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's populated by a host of characters that you very quickly come to care deeply about. I particularly enjoyed Sunshine, a young woman with Down's syndrome, whose voice was really authentic. She was a great mirror to the other characters, showing the reality of their predicaments as the action played out.

I've been busy with that striped cardigan that I'm still struggling to finish. I've managed to get the sleeve pattern right, and I'm half a sleeve and a button band away from finishing - yeah!

I'm also playing with a blue-eyed bumble bee. Here's where I've got to with him:

He's inspired by all the wonderful bees buzzing around in my garden at the moment.

Maybe, if the wind's blowing in the right direction, I'll get around to adding a hollyhock for him to sit on. I'm totally in love with a splendid black hollyhock that's growing outside my back door. I'm blown away by the drama of those big black flowers against the green foliage. My sister-in-law in Barcelona asked me if it really was a flower.

My favourite black hollyhock
Between my black flowers and my blue-eyed bumble bees someone is probably calling the men in white coats as I type ...

So, before they catch up with me, I'll wish you a wonderful weekend!

Bonny x


  1. Enjoy these first days of the summer holidays. It is always lovely to have a break from everyday routine and just unwind. Marie x

  2. Glad you are getting to relax for a while....your black hollyhocks match my irises that are almost black...and one of these days will post a photo I took of a place that had some. But I was not lucky enough to be able to take close-ups of them.

  3. Well I have not had the pleasure of using Alexa but she does sound like fun. - Glad you are able to relax, I love summer break too for that reason. - Wow I don't think I've ever seen a Hollyhock in that dark color before, it's awesome.