Wander around any Mediterranean village early on a summer morning and you will see housewives in floral headscarves brushing their steps and paths with a vigour I have never applied to anything.
There is something deliciously ritualistic about this greeting to the sun that I adore. Essential housework acknowledged without frippery or fuss. And while I try for the most part to stick to a routine, it isn’t done with quite the same earnest nod to tradition and necessity as these women seem to apply to their morning tasks. As if a dusty path would be unthinkable. As much a part of their morning as brushing their teeth.
But even here, Summer mornings compel upon us a scrumptious eagerness to get through the dullest of domestic tasks if only so we can allow ourselves to bask in the mid-morning sun, swing from the garden gate or build a castle of enchanting gothic grandeur in the frog shaped sandpit while the kids are at school.
And so my Darlings I hereby present to you a little list of puttery treats only to be considered when your path is spick and span and thus, unlikely to bring shame to your family doorstep.
* Fill a basket with mis-matched china, vintage lemonade bottles and a pretty tablecloth ready for impromptu picnics.
* Spritz areas prone to ant invasion with an equal mix of white vinegar and water. Keep a bottle handy for disinfecting decking and outdoor tables.
* Pop un-precious flowery saucers under little terracotta pots around the garden for a spot of vintage decoration.
* Sew yourself an oilcloth tote, fill it with sun-cream, towels, flannels and kids hats and hang it somewhere sheltered so protection is always on hand.
* Oh I know it isn’t fun (and can hardly be considered a treat!) but spend an hour or two disinfecting all outdoor bins and recycling boxes because there is nothing stinkier than household waste smouldering in the midday sun.
* Junk shop portraits coated in yacht paint look divine leaning against garden walls and providing a back drop to a collection of gloriously decadent plants.
* Cover pulp fiction, chick lit or cheap historical fiction with pvc backing paper in one of the scrumptiously retro patterns you can find on Amazon, and then and only then are you permitted to leave them around the house in delicious little stacks or carry them into the garden where they are at mercy of all manner of spills and sun-cream (Otherwise they must live under your bed and receive their marching orders the second you turn the last page!)
* Make blueberry and raspberry smoothies and freeze them on lolly-ice sticks. Yum.
* Sit in the shade and turn lonesome vintage pillowcases into adorable handsewn little girls dresses or tote bags.
* Mix up a big batch of home-made coleslaw.
* Paint lolly-ice sticks in a pretty palette of pastels, store them in an old tin and use them as plant markers.
* Make some paper pin wheels to decorate the garden and keep the birds away from your precious plants.
* Add ribbon or twine loops to all your hand held garden tools so you can hang them somewhere convenient.
* Mix three drops of peppermint oil into water and decant into a spray bottle for use as a cooling insect repellent in the garden.
* Tack a fringe to your garden parasol. Takes minutes. Looks fabulous.
* Make a habit of hanging quilts and duvets over the washing line to air in the morning.
* Swing a vintage birdcage from the branches of a tree and light a candle in it early evening time.
* Decant witch hazel into a pretty jar and keep close in summer heat. Nothing cools hot skin like it.
* Age or fade fabric by leaving it out in the sun for the summer. Leave it over the line or peg it to the branches of a tree.
And above all else, enjoy. Summer doesn’t last forever does it?
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