About This Time of The Year 

There is something about this time of year which I cannot explain. I don’t cope very well in the cold and it is usually the coldest month of the year, when the bitter winds blow and you cannot feel your face. In the last few months I have suffered with tremendous pain in my ears and throat on a regular basis and as yet unexplained. I was told that it was eustachian tube disfunction and prescribed something for it but it didn’t work. So I resort to plugging my ears with cotton wool every time I leave the house.

So in the coldest time of the year, why am I missing our beloved Scotland so much. True, for the past four years we have spent either Christmas or New Year and sometimes both up in Scotland, braving the cold and enjoying the scenery. It felt normal to us to be there. It was where we went for Kato’s holiday and this year we didn’t. This year we had Roki who hasn’t got used to travelling yet so has no desire to take such a trip. We hope that in time that will change. Oh I do hope so, then we will be able to show him our wonderful piece of heaven.

Meanwhile maybe because it was Burns Night a couple of weeks ago and there is a plethora of Scotland on our TV screen is what is making me homesick. I know that it is totally impractical at present but I was looking wistfully at jobs there earlier today.
I have been cooking these past few days. Things which I do not usually make and have enjoyed it. I haven’t been well this week, none of us have so this is my way of helping us to heal. By preparing food wholesome comforting winter food. I was also thinking of making marmalade again. I haven’t done for a few years now I used to make orange and ginger and add brandy for a bit of hooch. It was nice.

I am missing the hill and all of it’s little oddities. I know that I could not stay there in this cold weather. We would freeze and so would our water supply which would be difficult up there. I am craving the time when we are able to go there at will whenever we wish and do not have to rely upon friends for water or baths.

I am missing the trees, the wildlife and the light which brings me peace and calms me and it is this that I am thinking of tonight again as I cannot sleep. Yes I am tired. But for some reason I am wide awake and thinking of our sanctuary once again. He talked about the beautiful burn which he filled with stones for me, so that the water would run freely through it and we would not be overrun with mosquitoes. It nearly killed him as so many things almost did that year. He wanted to do it for me, to surprise me. I am glad I brought him home in time. He was ill that year too collapsing with blood poisoning a week after his return due to an infection in his jaw.

We have a supply of wood, but this time of year I know that it would not last us very long. I am conscious that it would not be easy to replenish it despite all the trees that have fallen. My first foray with a chain saw this year does not exactly qualify me to log 150 foot pine trees, I would need a much larger saw than we have and I still have not fitted the log burner in the other room or repaired the chimney. There is so much to do and now is not the time to do it. Yes I would need a team of helpers. I don’t have any.

I am constantly amazed at the people who can turn their hand to anything. I am a creative person and I also have a practical nature but my tools are old and a little basic and my knowledge is sketchy. I am willing to learn and give almost anything a try. I have thought of opening up the place to helpers far and wide and offering food and board in return for help to get our house fixed up but he will not entertain the idea. He doesn’t want people tramping all over our private place. He likes the solitude that it provides.

We have a select few friends I there, who do not encroach and are always welcomed when they arrive.

I wonder, Is the dream moving farther away as the years go by? Seven years this year we got this magical place and I thought back then that we would’ve been well on our way to having it sorted out. In truth we are such a long way off, not much nearer to the goal. Although at least the majority of the ground is cleared and we can see what we have now.

We have been reevaluating these last few days. Trying to figure out what is the best action to take. A step in the right direction to make some progress and changes for he better. We are undecided as to whether our southern lifestyle needs to drastically change but personally I feel that it has to. A move might be on the cards this year and this would not be an easy task. It is also likely to cost us financially and we are not set up for it despite my best attempts I am no nearer to getting full time paid work. All this time later, I still do not have my head above water which makes me hesitant rush in and do it all over again, I need to find the right job, which pays the bills without a shortfall.

The Daily Post – Overwhelming

Natures Way


As you hear the wind through the trees,
Sounds on the ear to entice and tease.
Natures bounty there in the wood,
Planted here for the great and the good.
Will share its branches and bend its bough,
Save some for later, not all needed now.
Leave some behind, to heal and regroup,
Let nature keep you in the loop.
Berries and fruits, there to behold.
What was once a garden of old
And one day, will be so again,
If you take care and do not drain.
The resources it’s happy to share.
While you clamber among it there.

In My Solitude.

 

(In My) Solitude.  A song that I have not heard for some time now it was on an album of  Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits which was given to me by my Great Uncle, when I was about thirteen years old and which I had cherished for many years.This song is one of my favourites from the album, which I would belt out singing in times gone by but I also find it slightly haunting when hearing it again, but have a love for it.  I think I was fortunate enough to make a cassette tape of it, but due to the damp in storage, too many things were ruined and so they were disposed of.

But I have been feeling pretty blue and it set me off thinking…

It also prompted me to write the following poem, my first in over a month.

In my solitude.

Oh Teddy you were so beautiful, it is plain to see.

It brings a lump to my throat to know that you are free.

And as my eyes fill with tears. I remember once again,

That in your face which I held near, you could not hide your pain.

But when we danced, around and round and laughter filled the air,

We sat upon the floor together as your paw stroked in my hair.

We often sat there thinking as your eyes gazed into mine

You were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and were simply divine.

My wonderful boy your expressions were just filled with love,

Remembering the times that you’d also cajole and shove.

I’m flicking through the photos that I will here keep on my phone.

I think of when we lost you and feel somehow alone.

In the flesh you are now gone, but in my mind you remain.

To not dwell in the past, I will try to refrain.

You fur kept as a keepsake, your ashes by the bed.

And as I say goodnight and rest my weary head.

I say goodnight to all of you, my safety there to keep.

And often think of you again, which always makes me weep.

The tears fall here again as I sit in solitude,

Thinking of the times we had and being so subdued.

The love that you gave to me, was second to none.

And as I hope to heal from loss, I’ve only just begun.

But now there is a new boy here to comfort me, he sits here at my feet.

The soppiest one whose staying near you’d ever hope to meet.

A loving boy we’ll cherish with a heart of gold

I hope he’ll stay with us for years till we all grow old.

Mi Casa Su Casa – Casa Lola Via Laietana

It was a wonderful day, we had wandered about looking again in awe at the sights that surrounded us when we were heading back to the hotel. On our last night I was determined that although it was nice and I mean the food was really nice, I did not want us to be the Brits who always go to the same place to eat on holiday. That I would be such a cliche. So I pushed us to go back to the hotel to get freshened and dressed up. Mum had promised me a birthday meal whilst we were away and I did not want to go somewhere local once we came back, what would be the point of that. We were in this wonderful place and although we were tired, there were restaurants aplenty there. We were heading back with our feet aching when we stumbled upon Casa Lola. It wasn’t a cafe at all it served tapas and other lovely things and the decor put an immediate smile upon my face. I stopped to take photos from outside and a man strode towards us smiling. Come inside if you like, he said inviting us in. I said that we weren’t ready to eat, he said that’s Ok you don’t have to, you can come in just to take photos. So I did. It was five minutes walk from the hotel even in the heels I was definitely going to wear so I asked if I could see the menu and he told me that it is all freshly cooked at the bar where you can see it. I figured out that there was food I could eat and would also enjoy being an awkward diner due to allergies I have to check.

All good. I Thanked the man for allowing me to take photos and explained that we had to go back to the hotel but that we would return. He probably hears that all the time I thought, but I wanted to do this.

We walked back and got sorted out dressed up changed and walked back. He was pleased to see us “Thankyou for returning,” he said. I said that we would I replied. He showed us to a seat and we ordered wine. We still had half a bottle of a lovely Tempranillo Merlot sitting in the hotel room from the night before. It was so fruity and tasked like raisins but so smooth too, we had savoured a glass each before crashing out to sleep the night before. So we ordered a Tempranillo which was just as good, by the glass as it was already late we did not think we would have time to drink it all.

We began with a starter of Tapas I ordered steamed mussels which were absolutely right and tomato ciabatta bruschetta whilst Mum ordered cod. She made me try it, it was cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth and was served with a grilled red pepper and asparagus and lightly dressed with sea salt.

For our main course, we tried the seafood paella. It was darker than I had anticipated and served in a cast iron skillet but the flavours were intermingled beautifully. Mum was distinctly unimpressed with the seafood on top.

We sat observing the other diners, there are convex mirrors on the walls which made her view so much easier. Three ladies at another table were having a lovely time and we commented on it was like watching me with my two best friends when we got together. Although that has been far too long since that happened.

We looked at deserts which are notoriously difficult for me as Mum fancied one. I considered ordering the cod starter which she had chosen. It tasted so good. She went off to investigate them and spoke with the man who arrived back just before she did with a wonderful fresh fruit salad that he had made for me. The strawberries within it were so fresh and juicy it was just right.

He also asked the waitress to bring me another glass of red wine which was “a gift, on the house”

By 10pm it was starting to get busy in there. A man joined the ladies for Tapas and drink and then proceeded to rearrange the front of the restaurant to set up a sound system at about 11pm and started to play some really good tunes. A real mix of music and including a bit of jazz and some mixed up old songs. I’m not great with loud music but this was not too loud. You could still hold a conversation and Mum was considering getting up to dance, saying that was one thing that was missing from our holiday. Dancing. I told her that she could but I wasn’t drunk enough to attempt to dance. A necessity before I would have. I have never been a dancer.

We ordered coffee and as it arrived I smelled the coffee. We had not had a cup all day, no wonder we felt so tired and were flagging! But I have to say that at that point it tasted and smelled like the best coffee in the world! It was smooth on the tongue and livened the senses. I bowed to the coffee gods, thanking them, it made mum laugh.

At the end of the meal I thanked the man. Explaining that this I had a wonderful birthday meal and such a lovely evening in this wonderful place. I also thanked him for the wine. He said it was a pleasure and Thank you for your custom it was lovely to meet you.

We walked back to the hotel. We had a lovely evening and enjoyed the remainder of the lovely red wine as I rang my partner to tell him all about it. It really was the best way to spend our last night on this wonderful place.

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The Daily Post – Invitation

All Hail The Breadmaker.

 

It took  a little while for me to start to use it. I thought it would be much more difficult to make bread. I had forgotten that years ago I used to make it and loved the whole process of leaving the ingredients in a warm place and letting the yeast go to work. I never experimented with recipes much back then. 

I have always had a weakness for bread, the scent of it wafting will not fail to entice and enliven the senses. Now, thanks to my dear friend I have inherited the breadmaker so makes it so much easier than before, since I used to do it all by hand way back.

I am finding delight in the ingredients in my store cupboard and have been craving focaccia for the past month or so. Having looked at the wonderful bread recipes in the past week or so that are available I decided to throw things together and see what happened. Since I am dairy free I was concerned that the bread recipes in the manual all contained Milk powder, but I need not worry it still worked.

Tonight I thought I would stick with the machine since I’m not using the oven to cook. My focaccia style loaf contained whole meal and plain flour, rosemary from my garden, some Italian herbs, black olives, extra olive oil and sea salt. I’m sure that if I had used bread flour it would have risen better but this shape means that it will fit nicely into the toaster if there’s any left. 

For my first attempt though from scratch I have to say the end result was delicious and the heavenly smell wafting around the home is just fantastic. Focaccia in the true sense will have to wait just that big longer. 

Having found a few more recipes along the way I will very soon be experimenting with cake. But my next one is likely to be banana bread.


The Daily Post – Scent

Winter Hibernation


We have slipped into Winter Hibernation  mode here. Where we do not want to go anywhere and do anything. Going to bed late, in the early hours of the morning and sleeping until lunchtime, our days are spent playing catch up and with a sense of dread that I am wasting time. I should not waste time, it is precious and whilst I do not have a job there is in theory so much that I could do around the house and sort out for us but I am getting none of it done. I find this very frustrating and berate myself for it I am not by nature a lazy person but feel that I am being one lately. My job search is taking up most of my waking day, and it is getting me nowhere so the highlight is taking a walk with our dog together. We have not even managed that in daylight for the past few weeks. I am craving daylight but there is a lack of any motivation at present to haul myself out of whatever this is. Normally in winter months I do not cope with the cold and aches and pains that the season provides me with and this year it is slightly different. It is somehow worse, more depressing. Less desire to get out there even on the brightest of days. My ears are painful as is my throat with this annoying thing that will not go away and is as yet undiagnosed as I count the weeks off before I get to see a specialist. I have a cough which has not cleared and the doctor offers no solution to whatever causes the condition but it leaves me feeling exhausted and disoriented. On the plus side I am not shoving medication onto my system for that reason at least. I also have to see another specialist since I have been struggling over the past few months with pain and discomfort elsewhere But I wake from a night when I have been in bed for 9 hours feeling as though I have not slept at all.

I know that it is not good enough, it is no way to live and I need to haul myself out of whatever this is, and him kicking and screaming if need be. We are in this together though, currently cocooned in our winter life. He says that he is grateful for the time we have had together in the past few months. I am too and being able to form a lasting bond with our new boy has been an absolute gift. I have been here whilst my partner has been ill so there has been no pressure upon him and I have been able to help. But trying to move us in any direction forward has felt like an uphill struggle where we have not succeeded.

Am I trying to kid myself that all this time I have been nurturing my mind and body. Waiting to heal from the past few months experiences. I ask that, Am I kidding myself? Or has that actually happened and that is now leaving me feeling so restless.

January is always a month that leaves me feeling strange. My birthday month when I dissect the year before and what I have or haven’t done. Without he realisation that I am doing it again until it is done. I make plans, wishes even. I wouldn’t call them resolutions as such. For they have often disappeared by Springtime when I want for something entirely different.

I think about a slightly new direction, a bit of new life, growth. The things I want to achieve. It all starts out so well. Then so get to thinking how on earth I will go about doing these things, getting these done and making them happen and that’s when I get these feelings of doom.

It is cold and wet outside, our baby boy had spent too much time out in the wet in his previous life, so has no inclination to be out there for very long unless we are going anywhere. The ground is frozen so I cannot do much put in the garden. I am waiting for things to sprout. Now is not the time to haul stuff out of its, whilst it is resting and sleeping I must learn patience.

So what have I been doing? Well in the past week I have been cooking, if nothing else we can eat properly and the odd desert which is a break from the norm for me at least has been well recieved. I have also tried out the breadmaker which was gifted me by my friend. Much to the delight of the others the house is filled with the wonderful smell of fresh bread on a regular basis. I am imagining ingenious ways to use the food in the freezer to create wonderful things to inspire us. Sometimes it happens and other times we just resort to our chosen convenience food of pasta and… (fill in the gap) Interesting food may continue this week or I could make good old comfort stew with dumplings it depends if we can shake off these feelings.

Maybe if I stay up till 3am I will just be able to sleep, not be awakened from slumber at this hour instead. The random thoughts will have already exited stage left by this time and I can concentrate on the business of sleeping.

The Daily Post – Successful

Saab Monte Carlo Yellow

image010It was his favourite of all the cars that they had owned together. They had enjoyed many Saab’s over the years but this one remained in his memories and had a lace in his heart. Of all of them this one was his smile factor.

A bright yellow Saab 900 convertible. It was not the original shape vehicle, but the newer model on a 1998 registration. A 2.3 petrol engine with an Automatic gearbox and as it changed through it’s gears it flew with a whisper quiet engine. They loved it. It took them all over the country on many trips away, exploring together in the sunshine. Even in huge rainstorms you couldn’t help but smile. It made you feel like you were a small child that had found the biggest puddle in your favourite wellies. A car which made you feel totally safe. It’s big comfortable black leather interior always looked smart and turned heads approvingly down whichever street we drove.

They took it to Belgium and France on holiday, on day trips. Visited family and felt sure in the knowledge that they were perfectly safe exploring new things together. Those were happy times when they were younger and more carefree.

When he decided to get her new car some time later, he gave it up included into the deal. He regretted it, not for weeks but for years but did not say so for she would have wanted him to keep it.

Although they had many other Saab’s of the same model it was never quite the same. Later when the truth emerged that it was his favourite they looked for another to recapture the times gone by, to create new memories and to drive through France again exploring new things together. They haven’t managed to get another one yet, always somehow missing out when they see one, but she has not given up hope of fulfilling that particular wish just yet.

The Daily Post – Yellow