The Front Door

Front Door and Coffee

Last time we had coffee I wrote about the porch door and the small repairs I was making along with a fresh lick of paint.  What I didn’t mention at the time was that this was all prompted by having the front door replaced.  Which in some ways broke my heart.   The door I’m sure had been the original I’m sure from 1890.  A beast of a thing, in two halves.  Unfortunately, it really had bowed.  Let in all manor of the elements and didn’t really close properly and therefore didn’t lock properly.  This was back in November and we’ve had nothing but trouble with it since it being painted, and it started to warm up.   Being made of wood it started to have a mind of its own trying to burst free.

The good news is that it got it’s final lick of paint on Friday after several calls and emails.  Only took a couple of hours.  So infuriating.  As time goes by we will forget this drama in our lives.

Again the gap between us having coffee has been too long and I can’t believe Natalie has hosted 22 of them, which is amazing!  April was the last time I contributed, so I feel I need to bring you up to speed.

I’ve cheated on you!  I’ve be writing elsewhere which I’m sorry about and I hope you forgive me!  The cookery book that I wanted to write just wasn’t happening.  I was disappointed with myself and the realisation that lockdown hadn’t afforded me the miracle of more time and the power of magic.  Miraculously I felt the weight was going to drop off and I’d be able to play all those piano pieces I’ve always wanted to play!  I’d wanted to come out of it hoping to have achieved something more.  Instead I probably worked more and dreamt more.

So since that last blog post in April I’ve signed up for a writing in community project.   Six months to write a book which in reality is more like 6 months to show up daily and write something and we’ll see what happens.   Some days it’s a sentence, some days it’s page of the things running through my head and it’s been really good.  I also found myself a piano teacher who is willing to take on an adult and 3 lessons in it’s been so liberating to feel I’m back at the keys with a goal each fortnight.  Let’s not mention the piano scales, however with the more conventional set there has been a slight improvement.  A minor lifestyle change of trying to live a more Mediterranean diet with less carbs has seen the loss of a kilogram (a 2lb bag of sugar) which has given me more energy.

On reflection though lockdown did achieve these things by allowing me, mentally to go on a journey.  I listened to many podcasts in the self help space.  I succumbed to an audible subscription and everyday I try to put something into play from the learnings.  Start small, show up and do the essentials.   It’s a theme that gets repeated over and over again.

Back to the coffee…a lovely weekend here in Edinburgh.  A treat to get a scone in with a takeaway coffee, sit on the links and watch the bustle of the city come back to life.

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Inside Porch

The Castle, Arthurs Seat

I’m on my 2nd coffee of the day, which is standing between me and a duel with the 2nd coat of paint and finishing touches to some of the doors in the house that we’ve been in for 5 years now. I’ve finally gotten around to painting the porch door.  It’s a beast of a thing so I know why I’ve been putting it off.  I replaced the draught excluder a couple of weeks ago and I was telling myself that needed to bed in before I went any further.  Now the handles need to go back, being replaced with shiny new ones that we purchased from our favourite Iron mongers.  I have no idea if the screw holes match and it looks like I’m not the first owner to replace the handles.  I’m wondering how many years this door has seen, how far it goes back and how many faces have been welcomed in.   The question of when we will welcome folk back in unanswered.

Scotland has eased some of the measures and we are back to being able to have folk come round as long as it’s outside.  We had our first guests round since last November in the back garden Friday evening, co-incidentally the same folk who were here last.  With the reverse spring we are having just as bitterly cold.

I’ve been trying to get my mountain legs back, Scotland is opening up with movement between regions starting again  and I’m ready for adventure in the hills.  My son and I have a roll over trip from last May.  The Isle of Skye in our sights and to bag a couple of Cuillins with a guide.  There’s an element of scramble and a ridge to traverse, which comes with an element of intrepidation and excitement at the same time.

I’ve already bagged my first Munro of the season the same day the green light was given so I know I have some level of fitness but the legs are still recovering a week on.  Keen to stretch the legs, yesterday I headed up Arthurs Seat.  Great views of the city with the gorse bushes in full throttle, the hill covered in a sea of yellow, against a blue backdrop of sea and sky bringing great hope into the heart.

Perseverance

Snowdrops

If we were having coffee I’d tell you  how exciting it was to watch the live stream of the Mars Perseverance landing this week.  Purely by luck I stumbled upon the details about 30 minutes before it was due to land and even joined by the young adult in the house.

How great it was to see it at as the main first news item on the News at 10 rather than another story about politics. The decisions that the bureaucrats are making for the greater good of everyone and everything.  It just struck a chord with me in relation to the feats of human kind.

I then saw the cost this morning, roughly $2.7 billion and thought….yikes that is a lot of money and then I saw another article about the prospect of a tunnel between Scotland and Ireland (about 31 miles/50km) and wondered how much that would cost.  As it’s merely thoughts at the moment….I thought I’d take a look at the channel tunnel costs and came across the wonders of the world databank….a rabbit hole if ever there was one for the inquisitive mind.  The channel tunnel according to this site was $21 billion.

Back to Perseverance and the cost, I came across another site, putting the cost of perseverance in context and like the comparisons.  The same amount of money that Disney made in global box office revenue for avengers end game and the amount of money Google makes in 6 days (which is so it’s eye watering it’s unreal).  So the cost of perseverance, seems like a steal, spent over a long period of time, funding science and moving us on with wonder.

Obviously these figures and facts are from the internet…it’s got to be true! And I don’t have the budget to check whether the facts are indeed true, I’m just sharing the thoughts!

Managed to re-open the black box this week with an impromptu-start, it’s been nagging at me for some time, an exploration into grannies recipes .  When I first started a good while a go (I’m embarrassed to say when) I’d definitely entered into the challenge with rose tinted spectacles.  However a certain reality hit this week that the recipes.  They are definitely of a time and it’s not due to the units.  The ingredients are for items that just don’t feature in our house and I think have long gone out of fashion like corned beef and Campbells condensed soup.  Some of the recipes are (I want to use the word terrible) just not to our current tastes like liver creole, salmon pudding and chicken mousse.  Discussing this with the boss we then realised it was more about the memories than anything else.  I’m going to persevere though, ditching the ones that don’t appeal and writing up the ones that do.

Last weekend we were marching through a foot of snow, today though at 9°C we made a great loop round the citi on the bikes.  A few muddy trails…but lots of snow drops.  Have a great weekend and hopefully you can get out where you are!

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

 

Impromptu – a start

Coffee and Notebook

I feel a bit of an imposter writing this, a strange feeling where I’ve just started to type. I know I want to blog, but the fear of putting something down. The questions in my mind around who, what, why when floating around in my mind forcing me to question the whole point……then it hits me. Just type and start.

6.45 the house is quiet aside from the quiet clunking of the radiators warming up as the central heating turns over. The boss has gone for a run, a welcome relief as the snow has gone and the outside is at a temperature where there should be no black ice.

I’m trying to focus myself more, I’d normally have grunted rolled over and put the alarm on snooze. Instead I’m in a state of fuzzy shock. I’ve started putting an alarm on in the corner of room forcing myself to get out of bed rather than pressing the snooze button. I’ve made it to Thursday, 4 days in a row! It’s a tiny change something I’m trying to take from Jame’s Clears atomic habits, small incremental changes.

I’ve started up on the black box again, the recipe file that we inherited. I’m starting to be ruthless, there are recipes I’m never going to touch like bacon and liver, liver loaf and a tinned salmon ring and salmon pudding. I’m determined to examine everyone and setting a target of one a day in terms of transcribing…..got to be achievable and a start.

Valentines Coffee Share

Valentines Coffee
Coffee is served with chocolate and Charbonnel truffles, a gift waiting for me at breakfast this morning.  I’m a sucker for this kind of chocolate and thankfully in small boxes not to disastrous!  Fortunately I’d got my card ready, written with a few meaningful words and was able to reciprocate the thought.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the weekend coffee share.  My attention has just been elsewhere and I have to admit that I’ve been struggling to write.  I’ve started a couple of times and then events have conspired against me.  I’ve struggled with being at my PC all the time and not taking enough breaks.

The days are getting longer  and more than a welcome relief where I’m hoping for light at the end of the tunnel with this pandemic but I know we still have a long way to go.  It’s been the half term break this week so no on-line lessons and a huge dump of snow at the start of the week has been a huge god send in terms of not having to twist their arms to get outside.  The lure of a sledge and the mention of hilly golf course the only nudge required.

For me though work is even more pressured, project milestones ever closer and although working from home is allowing me to consider self-learning and more reading.  There is an underlying feeling of being trapped.  The papers are constantly mentioning the subject of mental health relating to the reader.  The  shared feelings of angst helps on some level, that we are all going through this, but on another level there is a feeling that its adding weight to it.  The irony of my writing this isn’t lost on me.   At this point I put my head in my hands and wonder why am I even writing this.

I can’t help thinking we are eating more, even though we are trying to eat less.  It’s a coping mechanism and my constant need to feed us must be some underlying cave man thing going on my subconscious.  Food though is my way of sharing and getting through the dark nights and worrying times. Tonight’s meal is an attempt at making a cassoulet that will last a few meals followed by a cherry and apple crumble.

The last months reading included the really thought provoking ‘Atomic Habits’ James Clear and Downsizing by Tom Watson.   If you are podcast listener I definitely recommend the following podcasts where the authors are interviewed.

How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones with James Clear
From Sugar in Tea, To Butter in Coffee: Tom Watson’s Weight Loss Story #542

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

The Footprints of 2020

Footprints in the snow

The sun slowly sneaks and creeps around the corner of the house illuminating the back of the garden wall, the start of a new day, the start of a new year.  Even though the footprints of yesterday’s trip to the bottom of the garden are still there; they are slowly melting. At the same time though they have grown bigger somehow.

Perhaps a metaphor for the path that we walked last year….through the steps that we took we have all grown and although we are keen to embrace the new dawn hopefully with some reflection we can all take some inkling of the learnings we made even if it was just about being.

The footprints will disappear, either they will be replaced with fresh snow or melt and like the marking of a new year it’s a chance for renewal, mentally that is. Remember the world hasn’t suddenly changed, it’s still spinning in the same motion, the politics are the same and physically and mentally we are all just the same…..but as the sun rises and the new day dawns the path we set on yesterday will help us grow and if hasn’t then today of all days we have permission to change direction.

I’m looking forward to this year more than any other, despite the politics and the craziness that lies ahead, there has to be improved health for the world and it can’t come soon enough.

On a personal level, working from home has on reflection renewed my quest to keep learning. Even though I know that I’m in that honeymoon period where the office has closed for the holiday season and I’ve had time to reflect. That’s the thing though; I have had time to reflect and I know that the hour that I gave to myself first thing in the morning really helped me….the footprints of 2020.

So I’m ready to start the footprints of 2021…..let’s go!

 

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

O Christmas Tree

Chocolate Christmas Cake, Coffee Pot

Coffee is being made whilst I stew the fruit for a chocolate Christmas cake, the smell is intoxicating.   The zest from the orange mixed with brandy.  Deliberating making the coffee slow in order to stay at the hob longer, to linger, to enjoy this moment and breathe.

The recipe has been on my list since mid November and welcome on this cold, wet and bleak day.  The ground is covered in slushy kind of snow that soaks and bleeds you dry of warmth and energy.  The sky is dark and full without a thought for the folks who need to get out for a walk in order to the clear the mind.

The recipe turns out to be a winner looks wise and I’m very pleased with the result, no battling with having to cream the butter and the sugar.  Proof will be in the tasting a couple of days from now, should be weeks but don’t think we’ll be able to wait!

With full on water proofs I make it out and listen to a new podcast, very much out my comfort zone about London, urban community and rap music.  It peaked my interest from one of the top 10 lists I’ve seen this time of year and hoping in some way to help broaden my mind…..I’d recommend the podcast or musical poetry from George the Poet a London-born spoken word performer

The Christmas tree is going up today the first real one in five years or so.  I’d forgotten the weight of these things and the pine needles as they follow you round the house.  The artificial has gone up the kitchen at the back as a way of lighting up the back.  Joining our neighbors in what feels like an unspoken solidarity with regard brightening up our corner of the world….to push back the darkness in more ways than one.

 

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Covered Cave

 

My computer cave has been squashed up into a corner, shut down and put into hibernation.  The sash and case windows that have served the house for a hundred years and then some need replacing.  The breeze that comes in from the tiniest of cracks is unreal, and has been known to tickle the goosebumps.  The dust on top of the books on the top shelf is unnatural and can only be caused by particles drifted through the house on the breeze.

We’ve had some windows replaced before, a gradual process as we work through the house, save the money and pick of the rooms that need it most.   It’s an upheaval, workmen in the house, banging, shouting, grunting and dust where the house is opened to the elements as the old windows are removed back to the stone.

So the weekend coffee share is one of carnage as we put rooms back together, the hoover doing overtime, soapy water and a clothe to clinch the final deal.

The coffee is a welcome break, and I thank you for stopping by, we discuss the black Friday offers….and they can make one black with the hunt.

Food wise, if you’re looking for a chocolate pudding……this one is a keeper Chocolate Tahini and Banana Pudding from Nigella.  It’s a welcome highlight to the day after all the cleaning and If there were any left I’d share some!

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

 

It’s come round quick

Fruit Cake

It’s Saturday already, it’s come round so quick. I’m back from the morning messages and a simple light rye loaf with blue cheese for lunch. It’s time for a post lunch coffee and the weekendcoffeeshare.

I’m gearing up for painting the porch, it’s a small affair, a long over-due job probably not been touched in 20 years. I can understand why though, a hotch potch of corners, nooks and crannies. The meter is there for the electric, the fuse box and coat hooks. It’s going to be fiddly.

I’m off the Saturday cooking duty as a consequence; which is a little disappointing, at the same time nice to be cooked for….although that is the case most days! I enjoy the weekend spot and the routine of producing something new.

The Guardian today, had various recipes for lunch time cooking whilst at home. I cannot see myself going anywhere near them given the amount of time between online meetings. Where one meeting ends and the next one starts with the touch of the screen on the iPad. I am taken by the roast chicken legs and radicchio (tomorrow nights tea). Then there is the easy weeknight root vegetable fitters and slaw with Sausages….probably Monday’s tea.

TV has so much going on at the Moment. I’m late to the Mandalorian, and caught up quickly, about to start the next series (no spoilers please) with the youngest. Star Trek Discovery, my guilty pleasure just keeps giving…and nobody is interested in the house but me. Then the BBC has got His Dark Materials an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy and the whole family seems to appear for the Sunday sit down which is nice.

It’s time to start making the fruit cakes if you wish to feed them in time for Christmas, another thing that’s come round quick. The smell lingers in the kitchen for hours….a smell that always takes you by surprise, but right back in time to my grandma’s kitchen.

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.