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Shopping … bike goes on the list!

September 21, 2017

While I cycled to and from work daily for 25 years, I had little need for other exercise unless I was preparing for an event and remained fit.  When I retired, I didn’t think much about daily exercise especially as I had stop long distance running, swimming and cycling sometime ago. I did welcome the opportunity not to get to work through all weathers.  I am able to do yoga each day at dawn but that is meant to slow the heart … not get it pumping.

However, as time went on and my daughter returned for a holiday I realised how much I miss the routine (as I have with other aspects of ‘going’ to work) and I was not feeling fit; mentally or physically.  I don’t think that exercise per se is the cure all; I am a fit lady;  my mental disorder is not cured by a daily stroll!

Nonetheless, I was missing something.

So while me and my girl were together we walked, ran and cycled (not all at once) most days. We hoped to do longer distances by time was not available.  

So, the seed was planted and I am planning to get back up to speed. No great shakes, ( I do have the ‘T’ shirts and nothing to prove); but I will try and incorporate cycling and walking trips with other activities.  Yesterday, I walked to the centre of Reading by the canal and Thames, to buy sewing cotton and attend the acupuncture clinic; on the the way back via the alleys and backstreets for lunch in my favourite pit stop and then to pick up some marigold petals and chamomile from the Herbalist. Job done in a mere 3 or 4 miles!

Today, I am taking the bike out of town eastwards in search of organic oranges; I know they don’t grow on trees here in Reading, but I may have tracked down a supplier and the journey will save the postage.  I am sure there will be some pleasant pit stops so I ‘don’t get famished’ before tea!


Dodgy Autoimmune system or not?

September 18, 2017

I studied what was called Domestic Science in 1966 at college for two years, when I decided not to be a shorthand typist and being an artist was not an option.  Later, I learned that too was not a good choice for me either; working conditions and unsocial hours where unattractive.  So I became an accounts clerk while the job was tedious at the time, the  pay was better and as time passed so the opportunities became more desirable.

However, cooking, food and nutrition always has been of interest and with a growing family it proved to be not  only a healthy interest but economically sound.  

Since, I have what my GP calls a dodgy autoimmune system; my diet is my life force and that ain’t melodrama!

There are foods I simply cannot eat and some I prefer not to.  Daily thought is paramount and thanks to a long suffering husband of 35 years this has never proved a problem at home and even out and about difficulties can be avoided.

It is no good pretending that I will get better and with age; I must improve my control and be less reliant on others.  I am unable to to tolerate dairy products and choose not to eat meat and fish. I don’t call myself a vegetarian or vegan as I am  an advocate of Doc Martens and use other animal products.

But that aside I am also a  Coeliac  unable to digest gluten; so already I am restricted. Or I was until I started baking for myself, and now I can begin planning meals for myself not reliant on expensive, poor quality so called ‘free from’ Yes! It was pleasing to see them come into supermarket; albeit squeezed to three shelves; but they are mostly horrible.  Eating out too is difficult; why is it so hard for restaurateurs  to do gluten and dairy free in the same dish?

Having said all that; I am not holding my breath; these funny looking walnut and apple clusters took and age and a lot of swearing …

Uppsy … downsy

September 16, 2017

The last few days have been sad, to say the least.  During the week my daughter returned to her home in Brazil, after a wonderful month’s holiday.  No matter how I tried to accept the inevitable leaving; in the words of Camus the ‘absurdity of  everything’ the ‘fruitfulness’ is not so clear.

Yes, I know the pluses I have been here before and from this dark place the minuses loom large.

So, I will try and find a balance and think about the things we did, those I will continue and the adventures already booked.  

Today, I am going to the Berkshire, Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Open Day; to discover (again) a local creative community.  I am not sure whether I can incorporate spinning in my already busy creative world, but I know how to do it so I am in a good position to take it or leave it.  

Nonetheless, on a day when I feel like a childless mother anything will help.  

In a Spin …

September 15, 2017

This is a coat I made from the fleece of a Jacob Sheep; more than thirty years ago;l in a bid to pass long winter evenings and bouts of insomnia, without gazing at endless TV; I bought a spinning wheel.  As is my want I found an exciting and fulfilling hobby;  while adding to my wardrobe I discovered texture, colour and rare breeds of sheep!

Then, with the surprise arrival of a beloved daughter … fulfilling hobbies went on the back burner!

Twenty nine years later, having, found some beautiful hand dyed rare breed fleece while in Scotland; I have bought my wheel from the loft; it is a little dusty but in good order I plan to have a go this weekend.

I am hoping spinning like riding a bike is not forgotten.  Also,  now that autumn beckons and evenings lengthen a task that will take me from my drafty studio to a place by the fire will be welcome.

Let us try Camus …

September 13, 2017

Tomorrow, I return to work after a holiday of a lifetime.  It began just as a celebration of my daughter’s overdue visit to the UK. Since my retirement, I have been working hard, although happily, a complete month off seemed like a good idea.  Putting my tools and art equipment away proved to be the perfect decision.  

We had the most wonderful time, we did meditation and yoga, we tried new recipes for gluten free and vegan dishes, which included bread, cake, we made almond milk and new breakfast cereals. Celebrated tea, We wrote poetry, embroidered, set letterpress, cut lino and printed and drew some lovely work, We gardened, walked miles, took a barge along the Thames.  Took a train to Edinburgh, did the festivals, went to a wedding. Had tea at Fortnum and Mason and bought two hats! We had a picnic with wine in the park.  While she met friends, I took time to meet a friend met on FB.  We shopped until we dropped on more than one occasion.  I enjoyed ‘her’ hairdressing appointment.  We visited art galleries and museums. We spent some super fun days with her brother, sister and nephews.  Most days were unplanned, rising with the sun and finishing tired and happy at dusk when we did a crossword before supper!

This morning, after a tiresome day of packing, we had a tearful parting and I return to a quiet house with 5 kilos of stuff that had to removed from overfilled cases.

As I speak she still has a few more hours before getting to Rio, where she will struggle alone with the said heaving bags!

However, we are quietly hopeful about our futures, and take strength from  a quote by Albert Camus … that we printed during our retreat from the daily routine.  

We need to talk about Diane Abbott. Now. (EXPLICIT CONTENT)

June 8, 2017

I haven’t posted lately but feel I must reblog this …


This is not a recipe. I wrote this as a series of tweets today and readers asked for it as a blog post, so here it is. Our politics may differ, so feel free to skip straight back to the recipes if that’s what you’re here for.


Right one of us political writer people needs to do this and it looks like it’s me. Grab a seat. I wanna talk about Diane.
Diane was first elected as an MP in 1987, the year before I was born. She has been dedicated to serving the British public for longer than I have even been alive. Hold that thought. Understand it.
Diane was the first black woman to have a seat in the House of Commons. She MADE HISTORY. Her father was welder, her mother a nurse. How many working class kids do we have…

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Music in the studio on or off?

May 29, 2017

I have a lot of music in mostly cds, my Iplayer in packed and even some albums from collected as a teenager in the 1960s.  It doesn’t get played as much as I would like;  as I listen to the Radio 6 music during the day. However, while working I do find that distracting; so have taken to selecting instrumental music from my collections; but I don’t have very much … Brian Eno, Mogwai and Minor Victories are pretty much played back to back.  I have discovered that some sound tracks are pleasant as background although Twin Peaks is haunting almost disturbing if I remember the program and On the waterfront by Davis Amram is well played.  

I am not sure if the music has improved my work per se but the routine of switching off the radio, choosing and playing while preparing my workspace has added another layer to a nice experience and I have enjoyed working more … and wish I had thought about it sooner.