The Front Door

Front Door and Coffee

Last time we had coffee I wrote about the porch door and the small repairs I was making along with a fresh lick of paint.  What I didn’t mention at the time was that this was all prompted by having the front door replaced.  Which in some ways broke my heart.   The door I’m sure had been the original I’m sure from 1890.  A beast of a thing, in two halves.  Unfortunately, it really had bowed.  Let in all manor of the elements and didn’t really close properly and therefore didn’t lock properly.  This was back in November and we’ve had nothing but trouble with it since it being painted, and it started to warm up.   Being made of wood it started to have a mind of its own trying to burst free.

The good news is that it got it’s final lick of paint on Friday after several calls and emails.  Only took a couple of hours.  So infuriating.  As time goes by we will forget this drama in our lives.

Again the gap between us having coffee has been too long and I can’t believe Natalie has hosted 22 of them, which is amazing!  April was the last time I contributed, so I feel I need to bring you up to speed.

I’ve cheated on you!  I’ve be writing elsewhere which I’m sorry about and I hope you forgive me!  The cookery book that I wanted to write just wasn’t happening.  I was disappointed with myself and the realisation that lockdown hadn’t afforded me the miracle of more time and the power of magic.  Miraculously I felt the weight was going to drop off and I’d be able to play all those piano pieces I’ve always wanted to play!  I’d wanted to come out of it hoping to have achieved something more.  Instead I probably worked more and dreamt more.

So since that last blog post in April I’ve signed up for a writing in community project.   Six months to write a book which in reality is more like 6 months to show up daily and write something and we’ll see what happens.   Some days it’s a sentence, some days it’s page of the things running through my head and it’s been really good.  I also found myself a piano teacher who is willing to take on an adult and 3 lessons in it’s been so liberating to feel I’m back at the keys with a goal each fortnight.  Let’s not mention the piano scales, however with the more conventional set there has been a slight improvement.  A minor lifestyle change of trying to live a more Mediterranean diet with less carbs has seen the loss of a kilogram (a 2lb bag of sugar) which has given me more energy.

On reflection though lockdown did achieve these things by allowing me, mentally to go on a journey.  I listened to many podcasts in the self help space.  I succumbed to an audible subscription and everyday I try to put something into play from the learnings.  Start small, show up and do the essentials.   It’s a theme that gets repeated over and over again.

Back to the coffee…a lovely weekend here in Edinburgh.  A treat to get a scone in with a takeaway coffee, sit on the links and watch the bustle of the city come back to life.

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Inside Porch

The Castle, Arthurs Seat

I’m on my 2nd coffee of the day, which is standing between me and a duel with the 2nd coat of paint and finishing touches to some of the doors in the house that we’ve been in for 5 years now. I’ve finally gotten around to painting the porch door.  It’s a beast of a thing so I know why I’ve been putting it off.  I replaced the draught excluder a couple of weeks ago and I was telling myself that needed to bed in before I went any further.  Now the handles need to go back, being replaced with shiny new ones that we purchased from our favourite Iron mongers.  I have no idea if the screw holes match and it looks like I’m not the first owner to replace the handles.  I’m wondering how many years this door has seen, how far it goes back and how many faces have been welcomed in.   The question of when we will welcome folk back in unanswered.

Scotland has eased some of the measures and we are back to being able to have folk come round as long as it’s outside.  We had our first guests round since last November in the back garden Friday evening, co-incidentally the same folk who were here last.  With the reverse spring we are having just as bitterly cold.

I’ve been trying to get my mountain legs back, Scotland is opening up with movement between regions starting again  and I’m ready for adventure in the hills.  My son and I have a roll over trip from last May.  The Isle of Skye in our sights and to bag a couple of Cuillins with a guide.  There’s an element of scramble and a ridge to traverse, which comes with an element of intrepidation and excitement at the same time.

I’ve already bagged my first Munro of the season the same day the green light was given so I know I have some level of fitness but the legs are still recovering a week on.  Keen to stretch the legs, yesterday I headed up Arthurs Seat.  Great views of the city with the gorse bushes in full throttle, the hill covered in a sea of yellow, against a blue backdrop of sea and sky bringing great hope into the heart.

Valentines Coffee Share

Valentines Coffee
Coffee is served with chocolate and Charbonnel truffles, a gift waiting for me at breakfast this morning.  I’m a sucker for this kind of chocolate and thankfully in small boxes not to disastrous!  Fortunately I’d got my card ready, written with a few meaningful words and was able to reciprocate the thought.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the weekend coffee share.  My attention has just been elsewhere and I have to admit that I’ve been struggling to write.  I’ve started a couple of times and then events have conspired against me.  I’ve struggled with being at my PC all the time and not taking enough breaks.

The days are getting longer  and more than a welcome relief where I’m hoping for light at the end of the tunnel with this pandemic but I know we still have a long way to go.  It’s been the half term break this week so no on-line lessons and a huge dump of snow at the start of the week has been a huge god send in terms of not having to twist their arms to get outside.  The lure of a sledge and the mention of hilly golf course the only nudge required.

For me though work is even more pressured, project milestones ever closer and although working from home is allowing me to consider self-learning and more reading.  There is an underlying feeling of being trapped.  The papers are constantly mentioning the subject of mental health relating to the reader.  The  shared feelings of angst helps on some level, that we are all going through this, but on another level there is a feeling that its adding weight to it.  The irony of my writing this isn’t lost on me.   At this point I put my head in my hands and wonder why am I even writing this.

I can’t help thinking we are eating more, even though we are trying to eat less.  It’s a coping mechanism and my constant need to feed us must be some underlying cave man thing going on my subconscious.  Food though is my way of sharing and getting through the dark nights and worrying times. Tonight’s meal is an attempt at making a cassoulet that will last a few meals followed by a cherry and apple crumble.

The last months reading included the really thought provoking ‘Atomic Habits’ James Clear and Downsizing by Tom Watson.   If you are podcast listener I definitely recommend the following podcasts where the authors are interviewed.

How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones with James Clear
From Sugar in Tea, To Butter in Coffee: Tom Watson’s Weight Loss Story #542

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

The Footprints of 2020

Footprints in the snow

The sun slowly sneaks and creeps around the corner of the house illuminating the back of the garden wall, the start of a new day, the start of a new year.  Even though the footprints of yesterday’s trip to the bottom of the garden are still there; they are slowly melting. At the same time though they have grown bigger somehow.

Perhaps a metaphor for the path that we walked last year….through the steps that we took we have all grown and although we are keen to embrace the new dawn hopefully with some reflection we can all take some inkling of the learnings we made even if it was just about being.

The footprints will disappear, either they will be replaced with fresh snow or melt and like the marking of a new year it’s a chance for renewal, mentally that is. Remember the world hasn’t suddenly changed, it’s still spinning in the same motion, the politics are the same and physically and mentally we are all just the same…..but as the sun rises and the new day dawns the path we set on yesterday will help us grow and if hasn’t then today of all days we have permission to change direction.

I’m looking forward to this year more than any other, despite the politics and the craziness that lies ahead, there has to be improved health for the world and it can’t come soon enough.

On a personal level, working from home has on reflection renewed my quest to keep learning. Even though I know that I’m in that honeymoon period where the office has closed for the holiday season and I’ve had time to reflect. That’s the thing though; I have had time to reflect and I know that the hour that I gave to myself first thing in the morning really helped me….the footprints of 2020.

So I’m ready to start the footprints of 2021…..let’s go!

 

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

O Christmas Tree

Chocolate Christmas Cake, Coffee Pot

Coffee is being made whilst I stew the fruit for a chocolate Christmas cake, the smell is intoxicating.   The zest from the orange mixed with brandy.  Deliberating making the coffee slow in order to stay at the hob longer, to linger, to enjoy this moment and breathe.

The recipe has been on my list since mid November and welcome on this cold, wet and bleak day.  The ground is covered in slushy kind of snow that soaks and bleeds you dry of warmth and energy.  The sky is dark and full without a thought for the folks who need to get out for a walk in order to the clear the mind.

The recipe turns out to be a winner looks wise and I’m very pleased with the result, no battling with having to cream the butter and the sugar.  Proof will be in the tasting a couple of days from now, should be weeks but don’t think we’ll be able to wait!

With full on water proofs I make it out and listen to a new podcast, very much out my comfort zone about London, urban community and rap music.  It peaked my interest from one of the top 10 lists I’ve seen this time of year and hoping in some way to help broaden my mind…..I’d recommend the podcast or musical poetry from George the Poet a London-born spoken word performer

The Christmas tree is going up today the first real one in five years or so.  I’d forgotten the weight of these things and the pine needles as they follow you round the house.  The artificial has gone up the kitchen at the back as a way of lighting up the back.  Joining our neighbors in what feels like an unspoken solidarity with regard brightening up our corner of the world….to push back the darkness in more ways than one.

 

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Covered Cave

 

My computer cave has been squashed up into a corner, shut down and put into hibernation.  The sash and case windows that have served the house for a hundred years and then some need replacing.  The breeze that comes in from the tiniest of cracks is unreal, and has been known to tickle the goosebumps.  The dust on top of the books on the top shelf is unnatural and can only be caused by particles drifted through the house on the breeze.

We’ve had some windows replaced before, a gradual process as we work through the house, save the money and pick of the rooms that need it most.   It’s an upheaval, workmen in the house, banging, shouting, grunting and dust where the house is opened to the elements as the old windows are removed back to the stone.

So the weekend coffee share is one of carnage as we put rooms back together, the hoover doing overtime, soapy water and a clothe to clinch the final deal.

The coffee is a welcome break, and I thank you for stopping by, we discuss the black Friday offers….and they can make one black with the hunt.

Food wise, if you’re looking for a chocolate pudding……this one is a keeper Chocolate Tahini and Banana Pudding from Nigella.  It’s a welcome highlight to the day after all the cleaning and If there were any left I’d share some!

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

 

It’s come round quick

Fruit Cake

It’s Saturday already, it’s come round so quick. I’m back from the morning messages and a simple light rye loaf with blue cheese for lunch. It’s time for a post lunch coffee and the weekendcoffeeshare.

I’m gearing up for painting the porch, it’s a small affair, a long over-due job probably not been touched in 20 years. I can understand why though, a hotch potch of corners, nooks and crannies. The meter is there for the electric, the fuse box and coat hooks. It’s going to be fiddly.

I’m off the Saturday cooking duty as a consequence; which is a little disappointing, at the same time nice to be cooked for….although that is the case most days! I enjoy the weekend spot and the routine of producing something new.

The Guardian today, had various recipes for lunch time cooking whilst at home. I cannot see myself going anywhere near them given the amount of time between online meetings. Where one meeting ends and the next one starts with the touch of the screen on the iPad. I am taken by the roast chicken legs and radicchio (tomorrow nights tea). Then there is the easy weeknight root vegetable fitters and slaw with Sausages….probably Monday’s tea.

TV has so much going on at the Moment. I’m late to the Mandalorian, and caught up quickly, about to start the next series (no spoilers please) with the youngest. Star Trek Discovery, my guilty pleasure just keeps giving…and nobody is interested in the house but me. Then the BBC has got His Dark Materials an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy and the whole family seems to appear for the Sunday sit down which is nice.

It’s time to start making the fruit cakes if you wish to feed them in time for Christmas, another thing that’s come round quick. The smell lingers in the kitchen for hours….a smell that always takes you by surprise, but right back in time to my grandma’s kitchen.

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Nanopoblano Week 1

View from Arthurs seat to the pentlands

Woke to a strange sky this morning, Edinburgh enveloped in a shrouded mist with patches of blue. The sun was welcome as a source of heat, slowly working it’s magic. Inspired me to a long walk around Arthurs seat to take in a the fresh cold air. A welcome day away from the office and a chance to soak up the last of the Autumn colours.

Brunch out with the boss, a masked affair that saved us having to worry about making lunch, and then a few bits and pieces to supplement the menu for this evening.

  • Leak and bacon buckwheat pancakes, served with a rocket, sweet potato and avocado salad.
  • Hazelnut chocolate pots to follow.

With such an early lunch, there was time to crack open the fruit cake (we are not mentioning the C word yet) with a cup of coffee…..which I would gladly share if we were having coffee.

While we were having coffee I would tell you about WordPress and its constant need to tell me about my daily streak. I made it to 7 since last week, the start of nanopoblano regardless of quality! I’d tell you that a daily blog habit is quite hard if you want to provide meaningful content, at the same time as keep to the daily grind of a project that has a major milestone in the next week.

Having missed yesterday’s post I’m now wavering around the journey that I have put myself on. It’s something to add into the mental health stakes of both working from home all day on a computer to add in another item that I need to do. I’m trying to reframe it on the basis it’s something I want to do…..but with an active mind there are another million and one things I would like to do as well.  On a postive, My Nanopolblano challenge has given me focus though, making me think daily alongside visiting some other great blogs.

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

Hunkerdown Halloween

Hunkering down in town today. With gale force winds on the forecast it’s not a weekend to be exploring the hills. We’ve walked in with a few messages in mind.

For me it’s the ingredients that we don’t have readily available, the butchers and the whole foods store. We’ve recently subscribed to the guardian and so on waking I’m able to hit my favourite Saturday food section. This in order to broaden my skills and thinking in the kitchen. I use it as inspiration and a way to just say this is it, the choice whittled down to a few pages, what you going to make.

My favourite writers that brought me to the paper have long since moved, now it’s Rachel Roddy that brings me back. An ex pat living in Italy sharing homely recipes. Translating traditional Italian recipes, making them accessible with a writing style that inspires. A gnocchi made from semolina is on the menu tonight with a beef stew. Followed by an Almond based carrot cake.

Halloween this year is going to see me transition to a daily blogger, I’ve signed up to NanoPoblano2020.  Possibly failing at the first hurdle of day -1 as it’s supposed to be about the goal, a plan so to speak.  I have one in my head and the plan is to tackle this ……..you guessed it tomorrow.  My son is waiting for me patiently to watch the Mandalorian.

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

 

Tier 0 – Nearly Normal

Coffee and Notebook

It’s 6.15am, pitch black outside and that’s before the clocks change tomorrow. Saturday morning and I could be lying in, instead I’m keeping the bread machine company as it whirs and wobbles. I’ve gone for a peppermint tea when really I wanted a coffee, which means I can get one a little later!

The wind has got up, which will be stripping the trees of their amazing colours and I’m pondering how to face into the last 9 weeks of the year as the half term holiday comes to an end and the days become shorter and shorter.

To add into the pondering we are still in a strange kind of loch down here in the UK where it’s hard to know what is coming next instruction wise. I’m trying to stay away from the news as a way of controlling my mental state but it’s hard. There’s mention of a 5 tier system in Scotland, cited to come into place from the 2nd November and I’ve no idea what that will mean travel wise.

I can thoroughly recommend taking up podcasts or audio books and walking as solace. Getting out into the day light when you can. Movement is key and I can thoroughly recommend this podcast from Rangan Chatterjee : How to Keep Your Immune System Healthy with Dr Jenna Macciochi and The Surprising Truth About Exercise with Professor Daniel Lieberman

I hope where you are you are safe, thanks for joining me at the weekend coffee share.

How to Keep Your Immune System Healthy with Dr Jenna Macciochi

The Surprising Truth About Exercise with Professor Daniel Lieberman

 


The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.