Thursday, 27 November 2014

Love Whatever Arises

 This morning I heard something on a Matt Kahn UTube video -Love Is The Answer -   which really helped me with my self judgements.
I imagined this conversation between me and my Higher Self.

Me: I'm trying to be good ALL the time.

HS: What ALL the time? 

Me: Yes. And loving and patient and joyful and kind.

HS: Mmm. How is that going?

Me: Not well. I fail ALL the time.

HS: What if I told you that it's a spiritual myth that we are supposed to be in ONE state ALL the time. A myth and impossible.

Me: That would be a relief.

HS: You are only supposed to be in the state you are in when you are in it. Not another one. It will change when you love whatever feeling arises. 

Me: Instead of thinking I should be better - sweet instead of sour?

HS: It's your shoulds that cause you pain - not the feeling itself.

 Me: Phew, thank God for that.

HS: You're welcome.

Last blog for a while - will be back in December.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

November Pudding

I was supposed to be in Plymouth today - helping to look after my sweet great niece. But she was ill so we didn't go.

 Instead I cleaned out the food cupboards in the kitchen and sorted out the overflowing baskets of nuts and dried fruit, flour and sugar, rice and pasta and toppling piles of tinned tomatoes and chick peas. I labelled them to help my husband find things when I'm away, forgetting he won't recognise what most of the packets are anyway. I chucked out  two past-their-sell-by-date cans of kidney beans, a bag of gram flour and lost-flavour cinnamon sticks.

At the very back of the top cupboard I discovered a small M&S Christmas Pudding given to me by my sister at the end of last year - now well past its sell-by date. I love Christmas pudding - especially the dark, chunky deeply fragrant one she makes ( see photo above) every year. I've always wanted to eat Christmas pudding more than once a year but somehow it's never happened, never really felt right - in August anyway.
As my husband was out for lunch with his new walking group I decided I'd try the M&S one - if only to see if it was still edible and not mouldy - like a homemade one I'd once kept for more than a year.
So after my hugely healthy egg, avocado and hummus salad I sat down to to slab of crumbly Christmas pudding -  rich and fruity, sticky and spicy - no mould in sight, sloshed with a wave of soya custard.

Not nearly as good as my sister's but Christmas pudding all the same - on a damp, gloomy Tuesday afternoon in November.
But now I know why it's much better to keep it for once a year tradition. It's all too easy to cut another slice, thinking I've got room after my salad when really I haven't at all.

And now I don't want any supper.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Stocking The Freezer

Bellever Tor, Dartmoor,  on Saturday. My husband doesn't remember the name of this place but he remembers exactly where he slipped and fell hard, hurting himself, on the steep tussocky climb up to the top. Even though it was many years ago. His wounds linger longer than his words.

Today I made foodie presents to take to dear Portuguese friends when I go back to the Algarve with my sisters on Friday.  Sesame Cheese Biscuits -  delicate as lace. Coconut Cranberry Flapjacks - dense fat squares speckled with pecan nuts. I just hope they travel well and don't arrive in a mish mash of crumbs.

I've also been stocking up the freezer with meals to leave for my husband and wonderful brother-in-law who's coming to stay in the house while I'm away.  A Salmon Thai Green Curry,  a Savoury Tomato Minced Beef Stew, an Aubergine, Red Pepper and Prawn Indian Curry and a list of store cupboard options. I know they may not eat them - may live on toast and biscuits - but I'm struggling with letting go....trying to replicate myself in my absence.

 I know in my heart my husband will be safe and well in the good and loving hands of those who will be taking care of him - I just need to let my worrying brain know that  too. That it may be a relief for him to have a break from me.....away from the sight of my frowning face.....thinking  my tiredness is all his fault. Better to think we are giving each other a gift -  the gift of trust -  and then surrender to it. 
Like stocking the freezer with faith instead of doubt.

Monday, 24 November 2014

What's Terrorism?

Charmouth, Dorset, on Sunday  - the beach -  and the black cliffs - slipping into the sea in slow grey rivers of mud.

This poem by Samantha Reynolds makes me sad for myself....makes me
 wonder why I write.

Why I write

I don’t write to remember
that when we drive past
the electrical tower
you say

look, it’s the Eiffel Tower

I write to leave crumbs
so I can find my way back
if I need to
at the end
for a moment
to inhale
that time
when my life
was big and new.


Tonight, watching the 10'clock news, my husband asks me,

What's terrorism, please?

Trying to explain it is like that game where you  have to describe
an object to your team but aren't allowed to use any of the useful,
obvious words to help you.

Because my husband doesn't know them any more.

I write so that I can look back
over my shoulder
into that slow time
of the slippage
into the ocean.
All the pebbles
of his mind

So that I can remember
it wasn't as bad
as it is now.

As if there were
of terror......

Friday, 21 November 2014

Family Life

 Family life - the Barbary Apes of Morocco in a sanctuary at Rocamadour, SW France..... just pictures because I've run out of words tonight....

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Jelly Melon/Legs

I wasn't going to buy this very spiky looking specimen in the farmers' market this morning.  Then I heard the man describing it to another customer who was young and pretty, with an American accent. She bought one. I liked her why not try it? attitude and decided to override my sometimes unadventurous, cautious I might not like it approach and bought one too.

The man said it comes from Africa, grows easily in their poly-tunnel on the farm (deep in Devon) and you cut and eat it like a kiwi fruit.
I google it at home and find out it's called an African Horned Melon or Jelly Melon or Kiwano and is a relative of the cucumber family.
When I cut it -avoiding the lethal spikes -  it releases a faint fresh lemony scent and tastes a of not very much at all. Maybe good in a fruit salad, or as a drink without the pips, but doesn't really make my heart sing. Not a repeat purchase.

On the other hand these slabs of Carrot Cake and Chocolate Almond Brownie which I bought at the Exploding Bakery - after sampling them with some friends last week at The Dark Horse Cafe - I would go miles out of my way to buy again.

We are going to have them for dessert after our supper of spring onion, mushroom, Parmesan  cheese omelette, angular chunks of roasted pumpkin rolled in crushed toasted cumin seeds, whole cherry tomatoes fried in garlic and flat leaf parsley, and a bunch of chopped Russian kale speckled with sesame seeds....not wanting to accuse myself of boring, cautious cookery.

My husband has been out in the tender loving care of friends most of today -  fortunately -  as I've been feeling as spiky and tasteless as a Horned African Melon - my legs and inclination weak as jelly - not wanting to take me on any adventures - let alone up the stairs - one more time.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A Solid Gold Joy

It's impossible to be anything other than totally in the now in the presence of this sweet baby. At least if you are her great aunty - which I am. I spent the afternoon with her and her grandfather and was captivated by her - all ten months of her - a solid gold joy.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


Random photos....

I wash the scented geranium oil out of my hair after a massage, deep into the knots in my back, my neck, my scalp.... where I carry all those thoughts, old as fossils..

  I have to do all it on my own.
I can't be happy till you are happy.
How can I make you happy?

as if it was my job to save you. Instead of myself.

 Asking for help from my ancestors. Asking myself - 

Do these thoughts take me closer to love or closer to fear? Make me feel safe or unsafe?

And if I could embrace the frightened, unsafe me  -instead of judging her - maybe that would be the first step to cracking open the secrets of the fossils....let them turn to dust in the wind.

Monday, 17 November 2014

One Chapter At A Time

An evening walk along the beach at Exmouth last week.

Sometimes when I  think I have too much to write about - a whole weekend-full,  or not enough - like today, I feel tongue-tied on the page and waver about the point of weaving any words together at all.
I slosh around in the shallows - buffeted by my inner critic  - like this serpent log - never making it out to sea and deep, calm waters.

So now, paddling back through my day I scoop up this tiny moment as the one to mark this particular wet Monday in November.

My husband waves goodbye from the gate, all smiles. He's going to visit a friend in another town for a cup of tea. I close the front door which is still overhung with the poles of the scaffolding tower, waiting for the roofer who never comes as he's waiting for a dry day which never comes either.

Carrying a cup of Earl Grey leaf tea upstairs, intending to sit at my desk and start my long to-do list, I find my feet taking me into the bedroom instead. And then I sneak under the duvet, turn on the bedside lamp as it's so gloomy outside, pick up my library book and escape into my version of heaven - reading the afternoon....alone....for a whole hour.

How did I let that happen? Reading, reading stories..... one of my greatest pleasures...relegated to a thing to feel guilty about..... shoved into the slot of playing hooky......demoted to the end of my day when I'm dropping with now.

Something I want to change.....allowing pleasure back into my days.....remembering what I chapter at a time.

The book I'm reading, the one I don't want to put down, is called The Midwife's Daughter by Patricia Ferguson.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Chocolate Coconut Fudge Cake

The last piece......

of the chocolate fudge cake that I was so worried about not being cooked last night. I brought it home for my husband after the birthday girl had blown out the candles -  I cut it into very skinny slivers so it stretched to 12 people - who all said it was delicious and not too raw or rich after all.

The  original recipe was given to me by a friend so I'm not sure where it comes from but this is the version I made - gluten and dairy free.

Chocolate Coconut Fudge Cake

250g dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids)
250g coconut oil
4 medium eggs separated
200g soft brown sugar
100g ground almonds

For the icing

400ml can chilled coconut milk ( thick solid layer separated from the water)
150g dark chocolate
Maple syrup/honey/ icing sugar to sweeten
Grated zest of an orange

Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4.
Line a  23cm springform tin with silicone/greaseproof paper.
Melt the chocolate ( cut into pieces) and the coconut oil in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally till all melted.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl till thick and creamy.
Stir in the melted chocolate and coconut oil.
Fold in the ground almonds.
Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl till they hold soft peaks.  Loosen the mixture with a couple of spoonfuls of egg white and then carefully fold in the rest, keeping in as much air as possible.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 - 35 mins till only just set. It should still wobble slightly in the centre but not be raw when you test it with a skewer.
Leave to cool in the tin and then turn out.
( The original recipe uses butter instead of coconut oil and suggests serving it with creme fraiche or cream.)

I made this coconut icing instead.

Chill a can of coconut milk in the fridge. Pour off the thin liquid and scoop the creamy solids into a bowl and whisk well. Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water and add to the coconut along with a few spoons of honey or maple syrup and whisk again. Adjust the sweetness to your own taste by adding more honey or syrup.

Spread over the top of the cake and sprinkle with shards of toasted coconut flakes.

I think I'll experiment a bit more with this recipe - reduce the sugar and coconut oil.....increase the ground almonds.... will keep you posted.

I'm going away tomorrow for 3 days with my sisters to an ACIM conference in Buckinghamshire - leaving my husband in the tender care of friends and brother-in-law during the days - but alone at nights. I'm feeling a bit anxious about that but practising my new trust gene - wrapping us all in the Light and then letting go....

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Head Full of Worries

At lunch time( I can't eat as my mouth is still numb with novacaine from the 3 fillings I had earlier) I walk through the town to the industrial estate to collect my car from the garage. Need a new wing mirror glass after a car smashed into it on Monday while I was driving to my yoga class......was he too close to the middle of the road or was I? An expensive mis-judgement anyway - in time and money.

 Christmas shoppers throng the pavements, queue at the tills. I nearly leave my rolls of wrapping paper in the basket and walk out of the shop - suddenly too sticky hot in my coat and overwhelmed with the thought of Christmas decisions - and I'm not even buying presents.

Longing for the glorious empty beaches and high blue skies where we were last week in the Algarve....feel so blessed to be going back in a few weeks time with my sisters. Noticing my strong desire to escape the details of my life......noticing wherever I go - walking the sand, walking the pavements -  I take myself and my head full of worries with me.

I'm worried that the birthday chocolate fudge cake I made tonight is closer to fudge than cake as I replaced the butter with coconut oil and it may not have cooked at all....