I woke feeling bored and it got worse as the morning progressed. Not just mildly bored as in a tedious lecture but soul-bored, heavily, deeply bored. It’s a boredom that holds me down, weighing down into my gut. (more…)

  

Ingredients:

125gm butter or marg

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup

3/4 cup self Raising Flour

2 cups oats or muesli  (good way to use up disappointing muesli)

1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 

(You can add nuts, cherries, raisins etc to the oats.)


Method:

Heat oven to 170 degrees C, 150 for fan oven.

Grease or line a Swiss roll tin.

Melt butter, sugar and syrup gently in a medium sized pan.

Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in two spoonfuls of hot water – it should fizz.

Add to melted butter etc – it will fizz!

Add oats and flour.

Mix together. Spread and flatten in the tin and bake for about 10-15 mins, until it is golden brown.

Cut into slices while warm. Remove slices and put on a wire tray to cool.

unencumbered
This word floated into my mind this morning. Although it feels like quite a heavy word with all those little syllables.
unencumbered
ʌnɪnˈkʌmbəd,-ɛn-/
adjective
adjective: unencumbered
  1. not having any burden or impediment.
    “he needed to travel light and unencumbered”
    • free of debt or other financial liability.
 (Google dictionary)

Many of my friends and family seem to be in the process of shedding encumbrances. I wish them well – and may even join them.

I love that it is such an old word (Online Etymological Dictionary)

encumbrance (n.) Look up encumbrance at Dictionary.comc.1300, “trouble, difficulty; ensnarement, temptation,” from Old French encombrance “encumbrance, obstruction; calamity, trouble,” from encombrer (see encumber). Meaning “that which encumbers, impediment, obstacle” is from late 14c. in English

This travelling week had two Tuesdays – somewhere between Auckland and LA, I gained a day. More hours were gained on the way to London. The downside was losing my sleeping routine and having to build it again. So far, I’ve managed to sleep until 4am. Then I’m up and awake, and ready to go. For a few hours. 

Coming home from NZ has also shifted me from the end of summer to beginning of spring. I’m floating in a kind of in-between state just now, not quite landed.

Some aspects of coming home from long distance travel are quite fun. Old familiar places are seen with fresh eyes, as if for the first time. I now try to register that experience and hold on to it for a little, before familiarity dulls the senses again. It can spark good ideas for making changes – why is that rug there? What if I turn the table round?

And the jet lag that wakes me at unearthly hours also seems to allow new thoughts, that come springing out of my early morning mind. I try to capture the best ones in writing since my tired brain will forget them otherwise. Lots of journalling!

My friend left two little apples in my house. I was going to throw them away because they’re going a bit soft but once they were in my hands, I wanted to throw them up in the air and catch them. It was surprisingly difficult. My hands and wrists feel stiff. 

My challenge for the next weeks – practise juggling.

 May need some new apples…



In a particularly glorious example of the New Zealand coffee shop, I sat down with my americano with hot milk and a magazine. On the cover was a title that had caught my eye, “The Upside of Anxiety”.

Now I don’t think of myself as particularly anxious, except in those situations bound to make anyone anxious, like moving house – and I’ve done that so many times in the last few years that perhaps the anxiety has stopped coming and going, and taken up residency. My daughter-in-law thought I had got more anxious and so I was thinking about it – I have seen a lot of people get more anxious as they get older and I was hoping that wasn’t happening to me.

It was a great article that fills in some of the background research, and teases out some of the complexity – like what is it that makes us anxious and how that can actually be helpful. It was the little quiz that got me excited though: “Are you a defensive pessimist or a strategic optimist?”. I answered Yes to every question except one (e.g. I spend lots of time imagining what could go wrong – Yes!) and so am clearly the former, with all the advantages that brings. It was that ‘no’ question that shook me:

“I imagine how I would feel if things went well”

No, I’ve never done that; I never do that! I didn’t even consider it a possible way to think!

Very tentatively, I tried to do just that. It was so alien to my habits that I had to begin with something really easy. How would it feel when I walked on the beach at just the right time of the evening?

Now I am regularly trying to imagine myself into things going well. It’s hard! Years of focusing on what can go wrong has set up a strong bias to pessimism. It feels like tempting fate to imagine things going well. But now I know that lots of people do this all the time, I’m allowing it into my life. wow…

You can read the full article here:

http://www.otago.ac.nz/psychology/otago078715.pdf

Today I walked with a friend to the little church in the next village – it had snowed and I wanted to see it in the snow. It looked lovely, mellowed stone with gently layered snow on ledges and roof.

But it was Sunday, 1030 when we walked through the gate, and absolutely quiet, deserted. Where were the people going to Mattins, the bells?

The church looked like the one in the village where I grew up. The church I went to nearly every Sunday, where i taught Sunday School, where I was married. Church and what it meant was important to me.

And then I remembered the little prayer book covered in royal blue leather that was a present from my godmother when I was 12 or so, and taking it to church those Sunday mornings, reading the sacred words and the explanation for modern youth written alongside it. What a depth of feeling went with that little book. I believed I was in the presence of something holy in our village church, something bigger and better than me that I was drawn to.

Seeing the empty, lonely church today, I thought that I should write about my religious time, what happened to it and how I seem to have lived through – been a part of – destroying the life of the village church, putting it aside as if it were a mere fairytale to grow out of.