Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Shining The Light

 Yesterday - the apple blossom covering 

our tree at the bottom of the garden, 

a glorious umbrella of pink and white light.

And today against a brief blue sky

before racing grey clouds covered the sun,

and the rain soaked my washing on the line while I was out shopping for new jeans. There are at least eight styles of jeans in Marks and Spencers - none of which suit me and my body shape. I did however find a possible pair of loose wide legged linen trousers to wear to my niece's wedding in the summer - provided I can find a top and shoes....

In the EFT session this afternoon our lovely counsellor says some things which I find really helpful. She uses the Ghandi quote,


  to get across to RC the idea that if you focus on war and conflict and suffering that is what grows. So putting your attention on peace and kindness that is what will flourish. Although you can't change  the pain of the world you can do something about what you think and talk about a lot -  and change that.  RC thinks and talks and feels a lot about the pain of the Second World war.

Just for a little while this afternoon, while we all tapped for healing,  he said he could imagine God's Light shining into all the dark places of the world......that he could shine his own light by remembering peace not war and share his goodness with us. And that could be his gift to the world.

I don't know if he'll remember - but I could remind him. Remind him how he's being a teacher for me too as I learn how to shine....and love him as he is now...and love me as I am now.

Last post for a while as there is no internet access at the Flower House where I'm staying in Cornwall...... having been given this gift of respite by my sister....not planning too much or expecting too much....maybe just do some gentle shining ....and a lot of nothing much... 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Done Deal

More spring at Killerton Estate on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday morning we walk back from town, rucksacks full of supplies from The Real Food Store -  our most local supermarket - organic wholemeal bread and milk, bacon and Clive's pies -  I'm stocking up the fridge for when I go away to Cornwall on Wednesday- leaving RC in the TLC of my sister for a whole week.
On the way we pass the British Heart Foundation second hand furniture store. I'm still looking for a footstool for my room. I've decided if I can't find one I'll buy the one from Ikea called Poang which I saw last time we went to the store near Bristol -  but after several hours trailing around the aisles I lost the will to live -  and all decision making faculties - and so abandoned the whole thing.

Within one minute of entering the BHF store, I spot it - an Ikea Poang footstool. Exactly what I want - an elegant wooden frame, a wide slim cushion - horrible rough plaid cushion cover, but that is easily removed, for £20.  Done deal. We go back, collect the car and within 15 minutes it's settled in front of my snuggle chair - cover removed and draped in a soft deep purple throw just waiting for my feet.

I love it how there is a time for everything to happen - once my intention is set, put out into the ether and then let go, it sort of happens by itself. I haven't forgotten about my desk chair  - it's waiting for me somewhere - waiting to arrive when the time is right. I just have to keep my eyes open and keep sitting in chairs in shops. And trust that all is well.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Not A Masterchef Supper

 I lose touch with my heart today.
Forget how to access yesterday's hopefulness.

At least I cut the grass before it rains. 
And iron the pillow cases.... make up the spare bed for my big sister coming to stay tomorrow.

RC is out most of the day in the care of two lovely men.

Before supper we make a Chocolate Banana and Walnut cake - he says

I've never made a cake before.

 But I remember one year he made the Christmas cake ( Nigel Slater's) when I was in Portugal.

And a batch of Anzac biscuits. I balance the last tray of just baked biscuits awkwardly on the counter top and they crash to the floor and break into hundreds of granola crumbs. I'm glad our lovely cleaner came this morning.....so at least some of them are rescuable.

 I'm trying to make supper at the same time as helping RC with the biscuits. On Masterchef they are always pan frying fillets of turbot or hake or sea bass in obscene amounts of butter so I decide to give it a go with my fat pieces of cod even though I never fry fish and especially not in butter.

However I now have two new super duper non-stick pans - a friend did all the research and came up with a brand called Ozeri which are fantastic and have revolutionised my cooking. You use less fat and a lower heat and it all takes much longer -  so I'm learning to be more patient -  but the end result is brilliant and the pan looks like new after you clean it (very carefully) - something my old pans never do. I call them my green goddesses as they're lime green on the outside.

So the cod fillets are succulent and just lightly browned - I finish then off in the oven and then spritz them with lemon juice and a little shake of salt and pepper. We have them with a sloppy veggie mix of squash and tomatoes, leeks, sweetcorn and spinach cooked up with my holy trinity - ginger, chilli and garlic which has now become the holy quartet of ginger, chilli, garlic and turmeric. RC has the rest of the salad he didn't eat at lunchtime.....and some toasted flaked almonds - a second panful as the first burned while I was cleaning up the broken biscuits on the floor.

 Not a Masterchef supper but lovely all the same. I knew Simon would win - you could just tell he has the edge and the hunger for it....

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Miraculous Asparagus, Middle Names and Not Being Crushed

Spring is springing all around me this week....

BLUE.....bluebells along the river....

under the apple tree in the garden....

round the lilac tree at the allotment...

the white version standing out the border full of geranium mallow....

I don't think it's a blue bell at Killerton House....

blue sky, late evening shadows at Duckes Meadow......

close up bell blue.

Shining bright in the heart of kale....

luminous pale in primroses after a shower....

lemony yellow in a field of rape.


 Soft pinky red Maple tree reflection at the crematorium.....

tri-cornered flame tulip outside the back door...

 rain-dropped crinkle petalled tulip - pink as a tongue... 

sunset outside my window - spilled coral paint across the sky.

When I open the front door into the hot house this afternoon the perfume of hyacinths fills my nose. A pot of white ones in the sitting room ....a pot of blue ones in the kitchen, in full star waxy bloom. I'm back from watering the allotment with a bag of spinach, rhubarb and purple sprouting broccoli. And the most exciting, miraculous of all - three long and tender asparagus spears - sprung up out of the dark in a matter of days.

When I wake him up this evening before supper RC wants to know what my middle name is. 
I say,
  My middle name is after my aunty, my mother's sister. And my first name is after her aunty, her father's sister.

I didn't know that, he says. And I can't remember my mother's middle name either.

I tell him.

How do you know that? he says.

I just do. It's one of your niece's middle names too.

Do you know what your middle name is? I ask him.

Yes, because it's the same as my father's and my nephew.
What's your middle name again?

I tell him.

Tonight after the lovely hour of meditation at my Deeksha group, when we're having tea and birthday cake, several friends come up and say that I'm looking better.....more grounded..... stronger.....less strained.....five years younger.
I don't know about that.... and I'm surprised.... but maybe the miraculous session I had with Matt Kahn and the feeling I have inside of not being so crushed, feeling hopeful, feeling I have some tools to practice with, to be kinder, more accepting, more loving.....maybe that's showing on the outside.

And maybe all the recent sunshine and all that green veggie juice I drink in the morning is showing on the outside too.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Mother Wounds

Spot the elephant....

Spring in the gardens and in the woods at Killerton House on Sunday.

This morning in my family constellation session I gaze down at the patterns of coloured felt squares and discs laid out on the wooden floor representing my family and RC's family and  I see so much mother death..... mother loss..... loss of mothering, stretching back into the generations..... feeling the scars of such deep wounds even now.....but not mine ....giving them back for healing. 

I've never been a mother but I'm noticing that it's that kind of unconditional love I need to call on now,  dig deep for -  for myself and for RC  - to get me through the days and the nights of this time. To be a carer to him, not a wife now, without being a parent. To have another chance to be vulnerable and strong.

 Tonight after another amazingly helpful coaching session, I sit at the supper table with RC and with the sun sinking low in the sky, I say sorry to him for all those years when I held myself back, so afraid of intimacy, so afraid to love in case I lost myself somehow. He knows it's true.  Which makes things clean between us. Makes it possible to find a new way to be together as his world shrinks and mine grows..... but with the pulse of Love always sustaining us.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Food ....And More Food

When I saw Grilled Fillet of Black Bream and Chermoula chalked up on the Spanish Tapas menu board at The Old Bakery in Kingsbridge, South Devon, I thought it might be good but it turned out to be more than excellent...I asked for a salad and bread to go with it and they brought fresh focaccia and smokey chargrilled courgettes and rocket - inspired.

Robin's was a focaccia sandwich with patatas bravas and a sweet beet and bean salad. I knew without seeing it that the chocolate brownie would be good ......and it was ....beyond rich sticky dense heaven.... also everything was bigger than mini tapas portions.  Such an unexpected, fabulous and satisfying dining experience. We didn't have to wait too long either which is always good as waiting isn't Robin's favourite thing any more.

It's 8 years since we've been to Kingsbridge.... we stopped here for tea and cake on our way to spend the night on Burgh Island for our 20th wedding anniversary - another lifetime ago.

Gull in the Kingsbridge estuary mud.

Yesterday a friend whom I haven't seen for several years came for lunch.  It was so hot that we sat on the patio under the green umbrella and had this salad speckled with chopped wild garlic -  the three cornered stem variety - and its flowers which 

I picked at the allotment the other day.

We ate it with Asparagus and Gruyere tart and extra grilled asparagus  - the first of the season - organic but sadly Spanish not English  - I just couldn't resist the treat of it at Riverford Farm shop.

Followed by this Raspberry Coconut Mousse - which contains no cream or eggs - thanks to Ella of Deliciously Ella fame which I did adapt slightly, of course. It's made with coconut cream ( the block type), raspberries ( I added banana as didn't have enough raspberries), ripe avocado, roasted almond butter and  honey - all just whizzed up into a thick and creamy gloop.  The raspberry pips make it a bit seedy and the almonds and avocado make it a rather dull browny pink colour - hence my disguise of passion fruit and toasted coconut shards - but the flavour is gorgeous and it's hard to stop spooning it in. 
Worth experimenting with soaked cashew nuts and strawberries and maple syrup maybe....mmmmmm. And it has reminded me that chocolate avocado mousse is divine too.

 The sky from my study window the other night....didn't see the bird on the wire till I downloaded it.

This morning I made this gluten free Chill Cheese Corn Bread to take to brunch with friends. Inspired by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's recipe ( thanks Hugh) and adapted by me....I added chopped wild garlic and preserved lemons, coriander and olives along with the chilli and red onion - I think polenta can be quite boring without something to perk it up -  and then brushed it with Carluccios's divine lemon olive oil when it came out of the oven. 
It went well with the fabulous spread of chive scrambled eggs, roasted cherry tomatoes, fried mushrooms and potato cakes......followed by red berries and yogurt....rye toast, croissants and jams and an endless stream of tea and coffee.

Kept me going all day - that, and the softness of the love being passed around the table.