Love List : April
sparkle of possibility | infra-ordinary | midnight hours
‘April showers bring May flowers’ chirps the sign outside the florist — but I don’t want any more April showers — I want April magic. Last year, unexpectedly I found some. Searching for a last-minute place to stay as a family, serendipity took a hand and I discovered an Edwardian boathouse for rent, on the Suffolk coast not far from where I grew up. I hadn’t been back there for years — long enough to have forgotten how it felt to breathe beneath mesmerising, expansive East Anglian skies.
The Boathouse was all our seaside dreams come true. It stood at the end of a familiar coastal path —I had unknowingly passed close by many times, first as a teenager and much later as a new mother. Nestled in the corner of a boatyard at the top of the Deben estuary, its many windows looked out onto water, mud flats and so much sky. Early each morning, my youngest set off adventuring with my Dad: watching the fishermen set out, collecting shells, searching for hagstones to ward off witches. Meanwhile, I swam, as the high tide edged up the beach. The low sun dripped a trail of gold across the water’s surface and gently touched my cold shoulders.
My Dad befriended the harbourmaster, who told us on the last morning that the boathouse was owned by the family of Helen Oxenbury, whose children’s books we have always loved. This was a place that inspired We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a picture book I read to my children so many times, I can still recite it by heart.
Time seemed different on those boathouse days: softer, and forgiving. Clouds drifted slowly, boats clinked gently, water lapped against the shingle. I felt peaceful —more so than I had for years —grateful to be with those I loved, in a place which had been waiting at the edges of my memory. A part of me floats there still.
Here’s what I’ve been reading & loving this month:
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