We haven’t had coffee for a fortnight now, I’m feeling guilty and frustrated with myself for not finding the time to write. Partly due to procrastination, not making the time, not finding the time and chaos enveloping the house in week 6 of the kitchen renovation.
The builders are doing a great job of staying tidy, however they are spreading out bit by bit. The inevitable rain came which added another dimension to the dirt and dust. Old lead piping discovered, a concrete floor that has no more space for new piping adding more cost into the build resulting in the front garden being dug up.
Things have started to get better though, the beams have gone in with the props removed and plaster board starting to appear. The sense of space is amazing and we are going to be very lucky when it’s finished.
Father’s day brought a long awaited copy of Five Quarters, by Rachel Roddy. I’ve been pleasure delaying partly because we need the kitchen before I get stuck in and partly because I haven’t got the time to read it and grow with the experience.
Back to the coffee which is why we are here 🙂 Thank you for coming, it’s enabled me to drown out the xbox in background, to zone in and put some words down. Today the coffee is served with pancakes a Father’s day breakfast request served with either sugar and lemon juice or Nutella with Bananas.
If we were having coffee it would be a little different this week, a neighbour had invited us around for coffee and scones. As relative newbies to the street it was a very kind and unexpected gesture. We didn’t know the person other than to say hello to and we didn’t know who else to expect as invitees.
Approaching the door with a little apprehension as I do with most social occasions, armed with a rose plant as a small token of appreciation and my youngest child…..if ever you need an ice breaker make sure you have a child dressed in football gear with a match to attend.
Offering to take our shoes off which was waved away as silliness, we were quickly ushered into the kitchen, where the smell of fresh baking and coffee permeated. The back door was open and my youngest was promptly guided out to the back garden with a glass of pink lemonade, a large scone and raspberry jam.
Staying put I made polite conversation, unfortunately the bell went again in quick succession and we were unable to converse properly before the other neighbours arrived……and our previous house owners. Yikes, of course why wouldn’t they be part of this posy. Almost immediately struck with fear around the possible awkwardness of the situation, should I bolt and sit in the garden with my son….or stay and face the fear that was in my head.
You see….we now know the house that seems to keep giving just as they knew the quirks that they had left behind. The strange smell that lingers after a huge downpour and the leaky drains to mention a few. This was part of the deal when we took on the house and we fully accepted the challenges. The bigger fear was how to explain the alterations we were making with no hiding the fact that a skip has been outside the house for the last four weeks and how this might be received. Within a few minutes I was extending a friendly invitation to come and take a look once we had finished, the finer details of taking a corner out in order to allow the sun in too complex to imagine.
There was a choice of 3 scones, a cheese, a fruit and something I would describe as a flat fruit scone come rascal. Two choices of jam, a raspberry and a blueberry. Served with Rhodas clotted cream, a type of cream that I just can’t turn away with a taste that takes me instantly back to cream teas in Cornwall.
We left early, too many brief conversations and not enough quality ones. It was a shame you see, unfortunately my son really had football to attend to and you can only fit so many things into a day!
If we were having coffee we would be sharing from my flask, which would have been made up from the cafetière at the campsite. We’d have cycled a good 5 miles before we got to the base of the Munro we were going to walk up. Coffee would be served with a piece of fruit loaf and we’d be arguing over the piece with a full on juicy glacé cherry versus the thickest slice. Either piece a win win.
The morning started dry with a mist present from the rain in the night that we could tell was going to burn off. Today was the day we were going to conquer the un-conquered Munro. Last year we’d tried but aborted about 40 minutes from the top.
The spot we’d picked for coffee came with its own waterfall, that fell into clean pools before it joined the beautiful Glen Tilt river which we’d ridden along to get to this spot.
This was a fuel stop, a chance to catch our breath and gather our strength before the climb. This was fuel in another way too, a way to replenish the soul. The Scottish landscape rolling before us, the fresh air and some warm sun on our backs. Fuel that makes you forget about being in the office, the mobile signal dropping out and being all but none existent.
….we made it to top and took in the view, we congratulated each other on the achievement and breathed deeply with our success. Carn a’Chlamain had been bagged.
If we were having coffee this weekend we’d talk about how the week had just flown by and I’d be struggling to to tell you why.
We’d be meeting in Stockbridge, the north of Edinburgh just beside the Newtown, a little adventure trying a new coffee shop. We’d choose by looking through the window and trying to maximise on the scone. Today you picked well, a lemon and poppy seed scone. I went for a moist coconut and blueberry number that really hit the spot. The coffee was nice, a full on artisan roast. My only issue was that there wasn’t enough of it and the balance between finishing the cake and coffee was difficult. I’m a man who likes to have their coffee 2/3rds of the way through eating and then having time to savour the coffee for a little longer. A coffee this size doesn’t allow for such pleasures.
The kitchen work continues at home with the external wall now open to the elements with some serious Scottish stone being cut through and removed. My hopes of keeping you posted on life with 2 rings via blog recipes hasn’t come to fruition with work taking up any pc time at home. I’m pleased I’ve managed to meet you coffee for the 3rd week in a row and enjoy being able to ramble like this.
I’d tell you about the Grange street fair last weekend after we met, that my boys dragged me to. I came across a book stall selling 5 books for a £1 which I just couldn’t argue with, a nice book on cooking with beer, a coach yourself book and a few novels.
This week sees the start of the global corporate challenge, a team event through work encouraging those who take part to try 10,000 steps a day. I’m pretty good on average steps wise, however I’m pretty good at eating cake as well. So for a few weeks at least I’m going to try and start anew, perhaps start my mid-year resolutions. Armed with my coach myself book. What can go wrong!
I keep coming back to a burning desire to write a recipe book. I’m not some amazing foodie or a high flying chef with any stars after my name, however I am someone who cares about the food we eat. I’m educated enough to know that the provenance of food is important, that we’ve gone way too far in terms of processed meals. However I understand it’s about choices and I’m not too precious to say that the odd pre made pizza or packet of reconstituted ham makes its way into the shopping basket.
Reading bird by bird by Anne Lamott, some instructions on writing and life..…the concept of short assignments taking it recipe by recipe! She stresses over and over its not about getting published, it’s about writing and the love of it. A trip to the foodie section in any good book store gets me all excited at the same time a pang in my heart kicks off as I think why would my ideas stack up against this lot!
Reality kicks in, these authors have put the hard yards in and becoming a food writer just doesn’t happen because you write a blog post every 3 months or so and call yourself a blogger.
I need to promise to myself not to get caught up in the razzamatazz of the foodie world and stick to my own path. There are so many great food blogs already, so many great recipe books. Why do we need another one? I wonder if Jamie Oliver says to himself, I’ve written 17 books I think I’ll stop there, there are way too many books on the shelves as he stacks another video up on food tube. This the epitome of success I know. So I’m going to define what success means for me…….and that really means push on and keep my head down.
There will be peaks and troughs of enthusiasm, I know it’s not going to be easy, what I do have though is a hard working ethic and the will to get things done. I also need to accept that I’m only human, I have a day job with a busy set of family activities and life continues to throw it’s challenges. Food writing is a hobby, a chance to share and a way of getting excited about the food we eat.
Another re-read 4/4/17: Just read this through and this feels like another one of those self-motivational talks one gives themselves when they know they need to go to the gym and a new resolution kicks off. My intention was to declare a public open statement of intent with a view to making a promise to persevere.
Been psyching myself up all year to write this post. There have been a million and one thoughts that I’ve wanted to put down, insightful and entertaining, pure nuggets of gold……all drifted away into the darkness because I didn’t get round to it.
For some reason theres always something else going on stealing those precious moments, always a few rabbit holes to go down and always another job lurking round the corner. Not helped by the severe winds (I had to rescue the fence) we’ve been suffering here in Scotland, my want and need to have a spring clean around my desk. Also switched back to OSX Yosemite from Windows 8.1…..as I thought that might kick start my ability to write by osmosis!
One of my rabbit holes took me to this blog Journal Fodder Junkies and a post that talks about Permission and Initiative which hit a few nails on the head for me around giving oneself permission to try, fail, experiment, not be perfect and open-up along with having the initiative to get off our lazy butts, break out the tools, accept where we are and trust our ideas. I’ve stolen the few that resonated with me (hopefully this doesn’t count as ‘not to merely copy’). If you keep a journal then do check out this site for inspiration and ideas.
Bold Over by the number of likes that I received over the last few days by blogging directly on wordpress.com rather than self hosted. Which fits neatly into todays #blogging101. Quite an inspiration to feel that positivity.
Came across Fragile and Blowballs, on my neighbourhood travels. I know blowballs as dandelion clocks where I come from and I loved the metaphor that the author introduced around the seeds covering large distances just like a blog.
I thought I’d try and introduce my own bit of wisdom, inspiration. As I walk in each day to work the pop up Christmas Village is starting to grow, bit by bit, everyday there is something new. My observation is that this doesn’t just happen in a matter of minutes….a bit like blogging. It takes hard graft and time and over time you build something great!