Sunday, 31 July 2011

it's so soon!

A couple of weekends ago, I got myself down to London to celebrate with friends. As per usual, we drank a lot of tea; ate a lot of cake; and (especially, oh, especially in my case) obsessed a lot over vintage china. (The Soho Secret Tearooms really is further inspiration for that one-day bakery dream. There will be more on that later--there will always be more on that later).

This trip wasn't just about tea, though. It was more about celebrating the impending marriage of a very good friend. (This week: the wedding's this week! And I couldn't be more excited).

It sure was a beautiful day!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

summer--or not.

I'm not ashamed to admit that in these last few days, I've had my first real cravings for autumn.

It's been a little cooler here (winter hat weather, I tell you--or so I saw today) and things that I associate with those first, few September days have fallen, slyly, into view. (You know, like early mornings* and enrolment confirmation and grabbing wholesome snacks when I can. These are the things that pinpoint the start of academia--and with them the browning, weighty curl of leaves).

But--I say--with scenes like this, how can I resist that pull?

*I got a job! In a café! In an animal sanctuary! And I have a love/hate relationship with it already...But I am ever so grateful for friendly connections.

Monday, 25 July 2011

a little update on some things (the ongoing)

There's a certain path I must take to my Monday morning meetings: a concrete walkway suspended over a fading campus. And for the past seven weeks, I have noticed its symbolism: its hinted allusions to the way I see this process. It is the glimpse of the fear of falling--the risk and height and chance--the careful steps I need just in case I trip. Surrounding one side of this pathway is a (similarly) concrete wall. The bricks are thick and heavy, weighted by a greying shroud of cement. But within this very stiff enclosure--like this rigid, clouded judgement I have set myself--there are gaps and patches and tracts of light. It is only in this seven weeks that I have seen them--seen them and the beautiful view they allow of the lake and fields and geese below. Of the serenity and stillness and lushness of another, new perspective. Thus I think of my mind--of the way it is piecing together new associations, now. Of the little gaps in what has been perpetuating tension. I relish that. The new greens that come into view as summer progresses, just as I relish the new things I am doing, the new experiences I surround myself with. (And trust me, they sometimes feel so tiny but so minuscule all at the same time). Because with them there are these glorious, glorious branches of sunshine--of contentment--which rest a little easier on my stomach--and my head--and, oh!, my heart.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

if at first you do succeed...

...don't try again so confidently.

My sister and I made macarons a couple of weeks ago--successfully, too, for a first time effort and with a notoriously difficult recipe (I think all macaron recipes are: they have such a delicate, tricky structure).

Yet yesterday, when I attempted them again, I only ended up with six. (And it took five hours and I used nearly a dozen eggs).

Rose Macarons.

I think I'll use a different recipe next time--or not intend to gift them. You know, just in case.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

seaside searches

I always relish the fact that I live pretty close to the sea. Arnold, though? He works right beside it.

Since he got that job, I have started spending more time there. For little lunch-dates, petting local dogs and a whole lot of shore-line reading. (The ebb and flow of tidal movement is, by far, one of the sweetest songs I know).

Starting next week, though, I'll be doing more than just that. I'll be volunteering for a museum there and working on a research project that I couldn't, really, be any more excited about. (The subject matter is so precisely my thing--loosely based on British seaside holidays around the 1920s-'50s!)

You see, the last few weeks have been marked by an inability to get a summer job. (I lost my old one back in April--so now, really, it's more necessity than a simple change of scenery). I've been kind of sad about this--and, well, more than a little frustrated.

Whilst this project will not bring in any finances--a fact I have been reminded of over and over again--I will, at least, be doing something worthwhile. And enjoyable. And creative. And those, to me, are the things to count.

Monday, 11 July 2011


I took a train to Cambridge on Friday.

It isn't all that far from me--so nor is it new.

But even now, when I walk its streets, I like to imagine I live and study there. That those vaulted dorms that overlook the Cam are mine--that I can cross the jaunts of that mathematical bridge into Queen's--that I can peruse its envied library stacks. I like to imagine that I can brush shoulders with the academic elite and be so, so enveloped in culture.

It's silly, really. This pretend. Because I know if I had it, I'd soon find its faults. I'd succumb to its vast oppression or its arrogance--the immediate tensions and the creeping flaws I sense each time I visit.

But that isn't to say I don't get a kick out of it--that it doesn't do anything for me. It does: it truly, truly compounds a will to work harder--to study--to involve myself in an academic or artistic passion. But I soon realise that that passion is the important thing. It is the peak and the crescendo and the most sought-after thing. It is not tied to a building, a street, a desk. It is something you can--and do--take anywhere.

I suppose I like Cambridge for that. It sure has a power to provoke my thought. (And gladly, happily, blissfully so).

i'd like to, please

Hope #22.

Have a garden swing.

Because on warm summer days, I cannot think of a better place to read.

(Inspiration for my I'd Like To, Please posts are inspired by this blog. And the photograph of that enviable garden swing is from My Future Home).

Thursday, 7 July 2011

july bakes

I did a bit of baking last week.

And these were probably my favourite thing I have baked so far.

Apple Streusel Muffins.

I kind of had a sneaky suspicion that the recipe would work, having seen my mum bake them for so many years, but I'd never quite achieved them myself. Until now.

I only need to bake another three things to finish my goal.*

*I really, really need to work on a few more of those things.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

so we did this

Lots of things happened this weekend--at least, it felt like they did. Like summer fairs and baking and catching a film. (Larry Crowne is nice--I recommend it for a little feel good.)

But I guess the thing that stood out the most was this.

Arnold taught me to ride a bike. Sort of.

I haven't quite got the hang of it yet. (I need a little push to get started and I cannot, for the life of me, cycle on pavement--only grass). I was a little scared to admit it, before now--because it's such a simple thing, right? A thing everyone can do? But learning again* is a little victory--a little progression--and you know how I feel about that.

What did you do this weekend?

*You really can forget to ride a bike--don't believe what they tell you ;)

Monday, 4 July 2011

i'd like to, please

Hope #21.

Go to dinner dances.

I'd like to take the hand of my love and dance again. Because nights like those serve my old-time soul so perfectly.

(I'd Like To, Please posts are inspired by Someday Hopes. The picture--oh, it's wonderful!--is from here).