Sunday, 24 September 2017

More Hooch

My brother told me the other day that my house looked like it was turning into a hooch factory.  So many kilner bottles of fruit are now infusing in alcohol.  I bottled the last of the sloes from France  the other day and tasted a small sample of last year's crab apple whiskey.  The fruit is supposed to steep for five years so my first batch isn't theoretically drinkable until 2021!  But I wanted to check it was a goer before I made another lot.

I have to say it's already delicious.  It's not at all like the cheap whiskey that I made it from at all but very complex. Unfortunately the crab apples in the local park were past their best when I returned from holiday.  But I've made enquiries and should be receiving a stash from someone's garden shortly so that I can create the 2017 vintage.

This is my latest effort.  I popped into town yesterday to buy fruit to top Louis' weekend pancakes and there was treasure in the local greengrocer.  Yay!  So I've created a jar of rhubarb gin from an online recipe. So easy peasy.  I just shook together a kilo of chopped fruit, a couple of bottles of gin and about 250g sugar. 

And there's much less need for patience here.  The recipe suggests that it'll be ready in four weeks.  My quiz night friends will be especially excited to try it.    At the result of a tip off I've went 'scrumping' too yesterday!  I'll reveal more and show off my latest batch of alcoholic delight after I've been to Aldi to pick up some cheap vodka!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Never Too Late

Apologies:  I haven't been responding to my comments of late.  Sudden unexpected life change is eating up time that I didn't even know I could eke out from somewhere.  I was busy anyway.  Normal service will be resumed when I've sorted out new ways of being.  I still can't show and tell as it involves others who don't want their story shared.  I take comfort from something that I read along the lines of  you will never be given more to cope with than what you can bear.

But I've resisted stopping my daily blogging.  At this point in life it forms part of my essence.  So today let's give you some colour for there must be others out there who, like me, thrive on it.    Here's a couple of pieces of work by aborginal artist Loongkoonan who started to paint in her mid nineties.  At the age of about 105, her actual birthdate is a bit uncertain, she had a retrospective of her work in Washington DC.  That brought her to wider attention.  Inspiring stuff that shows that maybe it's never too late to start something new.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Lessons From Little Green Men

I'm still recovering after my little trot around Bristol last Sunday.  It's funny how my exhaustion has not just been physical but has affected my ability to think.  So I'll be kind to myself  today and draft an easy post.  So here's a little lesson for living that I've meant to share for a while and had on the back burner.    

Thursday, 21 September 2017

My Own Personal Teacher

In the days when anxiety ruled my life my ability to converse with the locals when I was in France suffered.  I used to excessively angst over what I was going to say and beat myself up uf I'd used the wrong word, didn't have the vocabulary in the first place or realised after the event that I'd got my sentence structure entirely wrong.  Now in spite of having studied French to undergraduate standard with the Open University my language skills are still pretty appalling.  I don't get enough practice you see.  But these days that doesn't stop me conversing with the locals in a combination of pigeon French.  It goes down a treat and leads to some interesting interactions.

During this summer's holiday I had many conversations about what I was up to when picking sloes on the French coast path.    With the French being such avid foragers I almost expect to find that word might have spread by next year and they'll be no gin enhancing berries left when I visit my favourite spots.  And I had a really interesting conversation with a bloke in a shop in Dinan.  I was buying a leather wristband from him, almost identical to one that Sugar Plumb had gifted me.  Sadly, it had fallen off my wrist unnoticed.  The chap made one especially for me that was the right fit. It took about ten minutes.  There was time for one of those stilted chats.

It turned out he was a yoga teacher from Paris who was looking after the shop for his brother who'd gone off to visit his spiritual teacher in India.   We got around to sharing our experiences of meditation practice in Franglais!  The man expressed the view that it was hard to do the personal work that I was doing without a guru.  After all, both he and his brother had their own..

It got me thinking.  Now I'd quite fancy a little trip off somewhere to find my own  spiritual master.  But to be frank I haven't got the time.  Work gets in the way and there's the small matter of parenting.  I'd be a bit flaky if I decided to up sticks and leave Louis to find myself!   But it's occurred to me that  I have loads of teachers.  I can learn  from everyone I interact from.  Sometimes I'll be inspired but on other occasions the opposite is true.  Others teach me by their example how not to act as well.  And maybe it's the case that we have the most to learn from the people who've behaved appalling towards us?    So I'll stick with this for the time being.  I won't be kneeling at the feet of  a beardy man dressed in a sheet any time soon!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Day In Selfies

I said that I'd show before and after pictures of my dental work last week.  Frankly last Tuesday I didn't have the balls to take a selfie.  Being vain I was devastated.  A few of my colleagues said that they wouldn't have had the courage to have come into work.   They've been sweeties but have also taken the piss a bit. Not only was this cosmetically horrible it hurt to breath, eat and drink.

My solution was wearing my 'snore guard' for the majority of the day.  Still odd looking but not quite as scary as the ragged gap.  I had to take it out before eating and drinking.  A dental device full of chewed food and coffee was even more unsightly than lost teeth!  I also had a monumental lisp with or without it.

Ha!  Back to normal.  New crowns were fitted yesterday afternoon and so I took a celebratory picture just before popping of to the land of Nod.  I'm thinking of eating a celebratory apple today.  It'll be the first time I've dared to do it in months!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Borrowed From Banksy

I am still  well wiped out, waking today at an almost unprecendented six thirty something.  Everything aches and more weirdly I'm having trouble thinking.   Fatigue was setting in before the run. There's been so much going on in the background.  Time to take it as easy as possible even though I've still got a full time job to do.  I haven't got much planned over the coming weeks and that's a jolly good thing. 

So, in order not to tax the brain cells too much this morning,  I'll keep this post brief.  I came across this Banksy piece online the other day.  It pleased me greatly.  As did the caption that accompanied it.

'Help each other grow instead of destroying each other.'

Monday, 18 September 2017


One of the 'Four Agreements', a code that I try to live by is 'Always Do Your best'.  The book quantifies this by saying that our best will change from moment to moment.  If I am perky it will be different to the times when I'm feeling off colour.  This realisation will save me from self judgment, self abuse and regret.  And so it does.

I finished yesterday's Bristol Great Run but it was a struggle.  The first eight miles were a breeze but then it became tricky.  No, it wasn't the shoes or the knee that had the cruciate repair.  That's not given me any trouble since I followed my rehab plan to the letter. I got pain in my sides that wouldn't go away.  I put it down to the guard I'm wearing to make me more comfortable until the gaping great hole in the front of my mouth is repaired.  My breathing is shallower with it.  I had a choice of running and taking a chance that I would collapse through lack of air or walking the remainder of the route and knowing that I would finish, albeit behind the people dressed as chickens.

So that's what I did.  For behind the wacky exterior lurks a whole lot of common sense.  I wanted to run another day and didn't want to let down my sister or all the lovely people who sponsored me.  My tally was about £785 last time I looked.  I was passed by a T-Rex, a couple of girls completing the circuit as a three legged race and and some very impressive power walking old ladies.  I crossed the finish line way over my target time in a shade over three hours thirty.  Bless the compere.  He said that I was still looking glamorous at the end.  I liked that.

Here's a family photo taken before the race of my mum, dad and Louis who cheered me on.  I'd really love to show off my medal and the race T-shirt, a beautiful design that Louis' already nicked.  Ladies who wear pretty dresses on a daily basis have no need for such garments.  But they're in other parts of the house and I still haven't much energy left for moving.  Yes, I'm extremely pooped but proud.