After dinner, Adrian wanted to go out cycling, to some place where he could just cycle and cycle and not worry about roads or pedestrians or anything else. I’m not one to say no when a child wants to go outside. So we cycled to Spånga sports field, where there is a bandy field in the winter and just a wide field of asphalt in the summer. Perfect for cycling.

The shadow border that I planted two years ago, in September 2015. Most of it is coming along decently, and the whole thing is quite nice to look at. It would probably be doing better and looking lusher if it had gotten more water… but we were away during the driest period. The plants in the bottom end are all looking especially puny. I hope they will catch up next year. If they die because of one dry summer then I don’t want them here anyway. And all the Lamiums are all still looking near death, just like last summer. Perhaps this is not the right place for them.

That secret project that Ingrid was working on was indeed a birthday present for me. It was a kitchen tray.

During summer we like to eat outside on the deck, which means we’re often carrying things back and forth between the deck and the kitchen. The trays we have for this job are the usual slippery plastic things. Definitely better than nothing, but not ideal.

This new one is a dream to use. It’s solid and robust, with square feet and tough rope handles and an edge all around. The surface is just rough enough so the plates don’t slide around, and the edge adds extra security. The handles are thick and stiff enough that I can really load the tray full with heavy bowls of food and stacks of plates, and still have full control when carrying it all. I like the feel of it so much that I use it even when I only have a few things to carry, just because I can. It’s perfect.

We went shopping at Bromma Blocks – a scout knife for Ingrid, and part 3 in the Warriors series of books.

There’s this rubber hill outside the mall there, and it’s just the right size for a bit of climbing before the drive home. Even for Ingrid, apparently.

I’m forty years old.

Much of me feels just like I did when I was 25. Other parts feel better.

I sometimes think about ageing. I see my mother age and realize that my own old age is no longer distant enough to be invisible and unreal. I’ve noticed wrinkles appearing around my eyes, and my hair is gray. But I’m comfortable in my body. It’s healthy and strong, still. I am probably stronger than I’ve been for years.

I am frustrated with my job, which is now all stress and no joy. But that reached such a peak in June that clarity struck like lightning and dissolved all doubts. It’s time for me to leave that job and move on.

I am somewhat tired of being a mom. Perhaps I’ve let mothering dominate my life too much for too long. Or maybe not – maybe now is just the right time to pull back a bit. There is room for me to be more selfish again, to think about what’s good for me and what makes me happy.

I’m forty years old today. Happy birthday me!

Birthdays are intrinsically not particularly interesting. But they are a good excuse for cake. Ingrid and I picked cherries and baked a cherry and ricotta cake for my birthday.

We have a nifty little cherry de-stoning tool which makes the job incredibly easy, but it’s still very, very messy. Cherry juice splatters all over everything nearby. So we try and do this job outdoors if possible.

Ingrid chopping mushrooms for making stuffed bell peppers. It’s one of Adrian’s favourite dishes, and one of the very few that Ingrid can confidently make without any recipe, so she chooses it quite often when it’s her turn to cook dinner.

The other ingredients in the stuffing are rice, finely diced mozzarella, tomato paste and crème fraîche.

Hiking around Lizard Point today, Britain’s most southerly point.

Today was the first truly sunny day we’ve had all week, and after a week of clouds and rain we were quite unprepared for this. We didn’t even think to pack swimming clothes for the kids, and only realized our mistake when we got to Kynance Cove and saw all the bathers there. (Plus, last time we were here 15 years ago it was April, so in my mind I never connected the beaches here with bathing.) Adrian splashed around in his underwear, but Ingrid was rather disappointed.

We haven’t had much luck with lunch spots during our walks here, but today’s was beautiful. (The first one was in a thistly corner of a weedy meadow; the second one was similar but with added rain.) Today we found a sunny little nook among the rocks overlooking another beach. Quite close to the path in reality, but with the exposure it felt like we were on top of the world.

I’ve really been enjoying English sandwiches we’ve had for lunch (cheese ploughman’s! egg and tomato!) and the luscious yogurts with flavours one can only dream of in Sweden (gooseberry! rhubarb!).

The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

We were last here fifteen years ago, in 2002. The gardens and especially the jungle are even lusher and wilder now. There’s a new rope bridge that wasn’t there before. The Mud Maid still lies sleeping in the forest.

I only got crappy photos of the gardens themselves, but here’s one from the children’s activities in the Lost Summer meadow: building tents. There were piles of material all ready for building: poles of various lengths, tarps, crocodile clips, rope, etc. Even colourful pieces of fabric for decorating, and small blackboards for making “welcome” signs. That’s what Ingrid and Adrian are doing.

After yesterday’s sightseeing, we went for a walk today, at Bodmin moor. The Cheesewring draws the biggest crowds, but I found the other, similar pile of rocks next to the Cheesewring more pleasing to the eye. But I guess it’s less exciting since it looks somewhat less ready to topple.

Even more interesting than any of the rock formations were the dozens of old, abandoned mining buildings dotted around the landscape. All still standing and looking strong (albeit roofless), over a hundred years after they were abandoned. I wish I could have seen each and every one of them up close.

Today also turned out rainy. Not so much that it really bothered us, except during lunch and snack breaks. Sandwiches get soggy when it rains on them. And once we got down from the moor, “wet” also meant “muddy”. Very muddy. Ideally we’d all have had rubber boots for this walk, but there’s a limit to how much you can pack for a one-week trip… So we came home with thoroughly sodden feet.