I come home for Easter.
Foxley is famed for its bluebells, so B and I take a walk through the forest. My head is full of John Clare, ready for the upcoming exam, and the trees remind me of his 'beautiful sublime'. Cathedral arches and stained-glass light.
'The arching groves of ancient limes
That into roofs like churches climbs,
Grain intertwisting into grain'
I visit Kim, and the day is beautiful. We consider taking the tandem out for a spin, but instead walk along the narrow lanes and across the yellow fields to the next village, and then the next. I haven't seen her in so long, and it was like old times - when I used to leave my bike at her's because we'd cycle everywhere during the summer.
We visit the deer farm, where the does watch us curiously, and spot two lambs in somebody's garden, sleeping next to the daffodils. We stop for lunch and talk and talk, and eventually head back to her's in time to miss the rain shower.
One night I check my emails and find one from the National Trust, advertising free entry the next day. On a whim, Lucy, B and I drive to Felbrigg Hall near the coast even though it's cold and blustery. The trees are still fairly bare; it's more interesting to look down than up.
As we wander through the woodland I spot a young doe nestled on a bank. We stop to watch her for a little while, but when I point her out to a family passing by their little girl scares her away. We follow the fawn until she scuttles under some barbed wire and hops away through the undergrowth.
The daffodils are only just beginning to fade. I take portraits of my sister.
I travel back to Canterbury: it's time to load Read International's textbooks onto a shipping container. I spend four day solid in storage, sorting, boxing and cataloguing books. Our blue pallets arrive from the ship, and we pack the boxes ready for loading in London. I leave messages for the team in Finchley, who will see them onto the container next week. It's odd to think that the next time I'll see these boxes will be at the port in Dar es Salaam.
'Love from Kent
Please deliver to Tanzania!'
'These boxes were lovingly shrink-wrapped by Emily and Sam x'
'If undelivered please return to Tanzanian Schools! Love, Uni of Kent x'
'These adventurous boxes have travelled from Tonbridge to Canterbury to London. Next year they would like to go to Tanzania! x'
Home again. A month until my exam. First, though, I've been commissioned by a fashion student to shoot her final project. Susie and I met in Swaziland when I was there last year, and it was wonderful to catch-up. She's been working on an eco-friendly line called ECo-ME during her last year at university, and it was a pleasure to shoot for her. The full collection can be seen here, and there's a behind-the-scenes post from the day here.
The full collection
Revision begins in the library, under skylights. Jonny does strange things with numbers while I read De Quincey and think about constructing the East. We stop for coffee and talk about Africa, but it still feels very far away.
My exam draws nearer. I spend some days in Mum's school because I work best there, without distractions. The weather is beautiful but there are few moments for photographs. I spend afternoons when the children are gone and Mum is in meetings walking deserted corridors and thinking about the life of another girl who does the same.
Revision procrastination. Veins of forget-me-not, forget-me-not, forget-me-not.