Monthly Archives: July 2013

Funny things…

Funny things – gooseberries. They bring back memories of scratchy bushes in the garden when I was a child, and horrid sour and bitty fruit lurking under crumble in childhood Sunday lunches.

This year we have a large crop of the pink variety on our allotment. They look prettier than the green variety, with their translucent pink skins and delicate veins. But the bushes are still prickly and awkward to pick, and the pink fruits still have tenacious green tails and twiggy tops. Not to mention bristly hair on the tough skin. Suck the insides and their tartly sweet distinctive flavour is released, but then there is another downer – seeds, stick-in-the-teeth type seeds.

So what to do with this troublesome pink harvest?
Cook, squash, and sieve….
Add sugar and boil.
And I’m hoping the resulting pouring syrup will be good on ice cream or yoghurt.

No seeds, no skins, no tails, no bristles – well here’s hoping anyway…



It works…

Back into “normal” life and routine. But I am aware that the journey continues, it is not just about travelling in space and time. We are all on a journey that goes in, and beyond. This week I have had a couple of clear reminders that writing the journey can have a healing effect, and be a sustaining and healing support through difficult times.

At a lunch of people I hardly, knew my husband mentioned in passing that I ran a therapeutic writing group. Little was said at the time, no-one commented or picked up on the remark. But as we were about to leave one guy who I hadn’t spoken to all afternoon came up to me and said,
“I just want to say to you that I know it works”
When I looked enquiringly, he continued “Writing, it works” and proceeded to tell me how writing things down had helped him recover from night terrors and phobias.
That was all, we left soon after and I may not meet him again. But it was a confirmation and reminder that writing things that cannot be spoken can set us free from their hold.

The second reminder came in the last gathering of our writing group before our summer break. We were reviewing and sharing some of our writing through the year. It was very moving and a great encouragement to me to hear how much members had felt supported in the group. Their writing, poems, stories, articles, descriptions, journalings and contemplations spoke powerfully of journeys, inner and outer, joyful and heartbreaking, often expressing emotions it would be difficult to share directly. We laughed and cried together, as we looked at how far we had travelled. Thank you all, I am looking forward to sharing further writing adventures with you as we travel on.


Summer reading

My son is now rescued from hospital and his “key holes” are healing, my jet lag is clearing and it is lovely to not have to think of returning to work! I have been enjoying a great summer holiday read. Acts and Omissions by Catherine Fox. No you can’t get it on Amazon, yet. Because it’s not finished. I discovered her from a link on the Greenbelt Festival line up.

20130717-193124.jpgCatherine Fox
She has several books published already but this is a novel she is writing in weekly installments. I read all the 27 chapters so far in one sitting, absolutely hooked and enjoying all the characters. Now I have to wait for the rest…. ! It is a funny, honest and perceptive unfolding story. Have a read for yourself …
Chapter 1
I also enjoyed her parallel blog Close Encounters explaining about herself and the process of her writing. She is a great example of “write what you know”. Her life experiences are very different from mine, but there are so many resonances when someone is writing honestly about human feelings.
You can hear her talking at a past Greenbelt Festival about the process of writing a novel.
The naked vicar’s wife – the art of cooking up fiction”
I am now wondering why I haven’t come across her before! I am looking forward to reading one of her earlier books which I have requested from the local library. Can’t wait!

A bowl of cherries

Life is just a bowl of cherries. The title of this song from the 1930s has been going round in my head as we picked cherries from our tree. So I looked up the lyric here ….interesting and a good reminder…

Back from our Canadian and US holiday I find myself contemplating the interesting phenomenon of returning home from an amazing trip, thinking that the fun and excitement of the adventure and journey is over, only to discover further challenges abound at home. Not just the jet lag, unpacking, washing, weeds in the driveway and overgrown lawn, but far more importantly one poor son, having emergency surgery for appendicitis in an east London hospital!!

Bags unpacked, some washing done, and lawn now mown, but son Ben is still languishing, albeit recovering, in London Royal Hospital Whitechapel. He was taken ill up there while doing some lecturing, and ended up missing his planned holiday. Thank you to all of you who are visiting him, or keeping his spirits up in other ways.

And in the meantime there are home pleasures too as we enjoy bowls of luscious cherries, sugarsnap peas, first sweet little courgettes ripening in the warm sunny weather, and we sleep off our jet lag in our own beds.
Yes, life is just a bowl of cherries indeed, sweet flesh, and hard pits too….


Last day…

Our last day of our holiday in beautiful British Columbia is a gentle one of packing, online checkins and last minute shopping. We eat lunch in Wendel’s, famous coffee house and bookstore on the corner in Fort Langley, busier these days than when we first used to stay here.

20130711-222212.jpgLater we drive to visit a strange little art gallery in Mission, with a couple of great pieces of fabric art by Judith Hurley. No information about the artist but interesting work.

We eat out for dinner at Rowena’s at Harrison Mills, overlooking the golf course and the Harrison River, lovely setting and great food.

Then back to Fort Langley and sun set over the Fraser River. Beautiful sights, and not a few biting mosquitos!


Hot springs and hats off

Today is dull as we eat breakfast and we are glad it is cooler. As we drive east the mountains along the valley are shrouded in cloud, but by the time we reach Harrison Hot Springs the sky is blue.
Harrison Lake is a vast lake, only a small part is visible from the small town of Harrison Hot Springs where we wander along the beach and lagoon area. The hot springs have been an attraction for many years here, and we have a pleasant time snacking in the Hot Springs hotel and deciding it would be nice to sample the hot springs and spa someday.

20130710-215255.jpgReturning later back along the flat river valley surrounded by mountains which rise up behind the farms, we drive alongside the Harrison river, which feeds eventually into the Fraser.

At last Mount Baker is “hat free” and without the cloud cover she appears in all her glory above the valley.


North Shore

Today we drive over to the North Shore of Vancouver, across the Port Mann Bridge which spans the Burrard Inlet. Driving east along the inlet we come to a little village called Deep Cove, with boats and canoes in abundance. Children are playing on the beach and in the water, and there is a very nice coffee shop.

Further west along Highway 1 we turn off to Lynn Canyon. It has trails through shady trees, a deep creek, and a swaying suspension bridge, which is a test of the nerves.


Later we ascend the long road up to the Cypress Bowl, the mountain where some 2010 Winter Olympics ski jumping and snow boarding events were held. No snow today, and the view is hazy. But still beautiful.

Horseshoe Bay, at the far end of North Shore, is where the ferries for Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast come in. Time for another coffee while we watch the scenery.