Thursday, July 23, 2020

June Reading


With hindsight, my June reading should have been a huge clue, to me anyway, as to how I was feeling. But that’s the thing about being in the middle of a fog, you can’t see your way out, let alone stop to think about  what might be causing it. 

To cut a long, twisting, evolving and not particularly jolly story short, I’m currently signed off work for a couple of weeks with stress and anxiety, and I should have seen the signs. But as I wasn’t paying attention to myself, the cause of the fog, I didn’t realise how bad it was until I woke one morning and discovered that I could no longer find my way out of it. 

I will be fine. All the support systems have kicked in, boyfriend and friends that know are hugely supportive, the rest is helping and the fog is lifting. As I look back to June, I can now see how quickly it gathered, and the triggers behind it. That’s the thing about hindsight: it’s always 20:20. 

The clue in my reading is that I completely lost the ability to focus. I started David Olusoga’s book and Toni Morrison’s but couldn’t manage more than a couple of pages at a time. Not because they are badly written, the very opposite. No, my brain was completely overwhelmed and in retreat. 

So it retreated to Discworld. I gulped down all the copies I had on my shelves but I couldn’t tell you what the nuances of plot were. All I knew was that they were safe and comforting and set in a world that worked a damn sight better than the real one. I wanted to pound the streets with Captain Vimes, be taught how to Borrow by Granny Weatherwax, learn the lyrics to The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered with Nanny Ogg and ride Binky with Death. 

I most emphatically did not want to be in reality. Does anyone right now?

The good news is that the fog is beginning to lift. A few days on the sofa and the arrival of our new addition, Mabel (there will be more about her, have no fear) have helped enormously. It's hard to remain wallowing in self-pity when a small furry head is butting against yours and there are 4 tiny paws to play with.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

My Week in...

Tastes. It was my birthday this week, so I’ve been utterly spoiled for flavours that danced and sang on my tongue. 

My breakfast egg with an umami sprinkling of mixed sesame and seaweed garnish picked up at my local Asian supermarket. 

A seafood linguine full of mussels, clams and crayfish in a sauce so delicious, I wanted to bathe in it. 

Pickled onion Monster Munch. Grabbing dinner on the go as we went to visit friends. 

A salad of strawberries, mango and nectarines at the so-ripe-we’re-nearly-done stage. 

Cherry and almond, raspberry and peanut butter brownies for the family gathering today, to celebrate said birthday. The RPJ ones are perfect: chewy, fudgey, rich. 


Roast chicken with thyme, rosemary, parsley, lemon zest and garlic stuffing. 

The intense berried zing of my favourite wine, Fleuris. Only purchased on special occasions. 

Our first beetroot from the allotment: pink on the outside, yellow in. Obviously the best tasting beetroot that has ever been grown. 



Sunday, July 12, 2020

My Week in ... Sounds

The bells chiming out the hour from the rather handsome church round the corner from our house. I find myself feeling cheated when the number of chimes is less than 7. 

Our formerly indoor cat making his strange cackling meow at the massive pigeons on the fence, as though he knows he should make a noise but can’t decide what it should be. 

Birdsong at the allotment, with a bass line of bees.  

The chatter and clink of cups at the first coffee shop I’ve visited since February. 

My own voice on a recording made for work. Do I sound like that? I had no idea. I certainly sound posher than I really am. 

Bacon sizzling in the pan with onions and mushrooms. 

My chair at the cafĂ©. It was you’llery comfortable. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

All the Small Things #5


The boyfriend and I have somewhat different sleeping patterns. I am the proverbial up-with-the-lark, waking between 5 and 6 in the morning, brain whirring, eager to see what the day holds, sleepy and muddled by 10pm, longing for my bed. 

He’s the opposite, one of those fabled night owls who would sleep till 11 in the morning, revelling in bed while the world cracks on outside, still wide awake at 1 in the morning, listening to the city’s night sounds. 

This could have caused problems but since the creation of my retreat (aka the spare room), it doesn’t. I creep out of bed, make myself tea, greet the cat and come back up into the retreat to read and gently ease myself into the day. 

At weekends, I treat myself to breakfast in bed, nothing too fancy or messy. Today there’s sourdough bread, honey and cherries from the farm shop, peanut butter (my food addiction and strictly limited so I don’t end up having to be craned out of the house) and a nectarine because it had hit that sweet ripe spot overnight. A copy of Bloom to browse through because recently I’ve lost concentration for books. 

It’s been a tough week for many reasons, so I’m resetting this weekend. No Twitter, no news, limited online time. And lots of good food. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

My week in ...

New series (possibly) of posts where I remind myself  of things experienced during the week via my senses. This week, smell. 

Smell is a rather unpleasant word, isn't it? But somehow fragrance, perfume, odour don't seem to fit, and I just don't like the word 'scent'. 

Never mind, I'll think on, in the meantime, here's my week in assorted smells (really going to think on that word): 

Sheets, freshly washed and in from drying outside, on the bed. 

Rain hitting hot pavements. 

Just-turned soil. 

Wild oregano on the allotment, full of flowers and bees. 

My cat's fur, warm from a day's sunbathing. 

A sandwich of fresh bread stuffed with rocket and halloumi. 

Beeswax polish on my favourite piece of furniture. 

gate image above from a recent neighbourhood explore. I love this so much; it speaks of safety and home and humour. Also, that green. 


Expedition of the Springiest Kind

It is hard to resist spring, for all it's wild and woolly weather, waking up to snow flurries, winds to take your ears off and glowering...