Alexander Averin

Monday 23 February 2009

Gone in a Flash

Dear Diary,

Come out of the circle of time
And into the circle of love.


What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

Philip Larkin

There is too much time between these blog confessions; too many days have passed and all of them in a flash.

Why does life get in the way?
Why does Time go too quickly?
How can I slow it down?
Suggestions please in the comment box.

Half the morning has gone already as I had a lie-in and didn't wake till nearly ten (but I did stay up late last night, anyway that's my excuse). Then after breakfast I plucked up the energy to phone the electricity board to query a bill. It was a strain but the Scottish lady at SWALEC was very professional, really kind and patient and put up with my poor hearing, my even poorer grasp of anything mathematical and my inability to understand her broad Scots accent. Half an hour later it was all sorted and I received a credit of twenty quid because they had made a cock-up of their (incomprehensible) bill.

I have walked the dogs and promised the garden I will spend more time with it soon as I can. I have writing projects that I must work on. Also I would rather be out taking photos but that will have to wait.

Blessings have taken a back seat lately but I will draw a few out for you today.

I love Mondays and for that reason they will be my first blessing today. For me they are a non-work day and I am usually nicely rested after a Sunday (my favourite day of all). For most folk who work full-time they are something of a dread-day but for me I sometimes feel they are my only 'Me' days as I usually feel free to fill them in whatever way I please.

Snowdrops. They seem to be everywhere and not just in my own garden. Lots of people are posting the most glorious photographs of them and portraying them in such profusion. They make my plants seem relatively few by comparison even though I had been waxing lyrical about their abundance.

I now have an electric blanket and I want to wax lyrical about that too. I had one years ago for a while but I think they must have improved since then. My daughter suggested I treat myself to one as I had been suffering during our recent spell of freezing weather and so I did - to a gorgeous fleecy Morphy Richards one which I bought online. It hasn't been that cold since it arrived but I have been testing it out - indulging myself and switching it on for an hour before I go to bed. It is Absolute Luxury. It's like lying in a warm bath and it must do my spine good. I am sleeping well too.

M's fruit cake will have to be a blessing too. I am tucking in now as I type.

Would you like his (slightly altered) recipe?

The cake is scrummy with a hunk of cheese by the way and so quick to make.

Boiled Fruit Cake a la M.

12 ozs mixed fruit or I prefer just sultanas and a few currants thrown in
as I don't like the 'packet' peel
2 Tbs mincemeat
4 ozs brown sugar
4 ozs marge
8 ozs SR flour
2 Tbs mixed spice
Quarter pint water
2 beaten eggs - free range of course
Half tsp baking powder
A little grated lemon peel, orange peel or both.

Put fruit, sugar, marge and spice in a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer 2 minutes. When cool add 2 beaten eggs and flour.Whack into a non-stick 2lb loaf tin. A piece of greaseproof paper in the bottom helps - grease inside of tin generously.

Bake in middle of oven Gas mark 3 for an hour and a half or so.
Cool a while in the tin and turn onto a wire tray.

Like most things this improves with age.

Final blessing? I like to stick to five; must have my five a day.

Simplicity. Doing Without and Giving Up. I am working hard on these and not just for financial reasons. There were never three truer words than Less is More. It is truly liberating to not do something, not buy something, not go somewhere and to Just Say No. Even the home-made cake is part of our changing habits, we are making biscuits again as well and going back to just buying the absolute necessities. Like all of us I am finding that money is not going anywhere and just like time it is disappearing in a flash. I work very hard to earn my meagre salary and although I am lucky to be in employment, albeit part-time, like all workers I feel disheartened. So I am restricting myself spending-wise. I love thrift both the word and the concept (and the plant too!) - perhaps because being thrifty is a challenge and we Arians like nothing more than a challenge. So many things that we are pressurised into feeling that we need or that we must have are really totally unnecessary.

So that is all for today apart from this treat:

Time after Time by Eva Cassidy, God rest her.


Bye for now and remember, as Colette said

Time spent with cats is never wasted.



Anonymous said...

Congrats on obtaining an electric blanket; we bless ours every single winter's night. I like the idea of the boiled fruit cake and will try that; sounds much easier than my posted fruit cake recipe. Thankyou.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, from Vee's. I must thank her profusely for making it possible to make your acquaintance. I'm certainly very pleased with so doing.

Let me count some of the 'why's' of this. :-)

-You like my Avatar. -You have a picture on your header, which I've had a copy of in my kitchen, for years and years and years. -We are both hard of hearing. -You have a lovely Irish name. {My heritage is Irish, Scottish, German and Austrian} -Where you live, sounds glorious! {Rural cottage with river and old forge} -You love books. -You love taking naps, and all your Interests are precious. -Time goes too quickly for you. {If you get good answers, on how to slow it down, do share} :-) -You love that which comes under the heading of Simplicity. -Born under the sign of Aries [3/26th, for me} -You have a soft place in your heart for cats. -You quote Colette!

There, how is that for a list? :-)

Aunt Amelia
"I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me."
~ Sara Teasdale

Vee said...

Oh I love Eva Cassidy and am glad that you enjoy do, too.

Wish that I had wonderful suggestions to offer, but I certainly enjoyed your conversation about thrift and "less is more." Still, if someone somewhere doesn't start spending money I don't know how the world economy is going to come back. Personally, and this is just me, I think we must be much kinder to business and lower taxes rather than to raise them. But that's not the kind of suggestion you are looking for...

Well, I am writing about this a bit tomorrow and so perhaps you will visit me once again.

Oh, so glad that you are enjoying your comfy electric blanket. I had one years ago and loved it. Now we just have a warm fleecy blanket and a down comforter. But to hop into an already warm bed would be such a treat.

Vee said...

"enjoy do, too"? Obviously, my typing isn't keeping up again. Look at that! You've met Aunt Amelia. She's a wonderful lady and you two shall get along famously.

Frances said...

Cait, I share so many of the thoughts that you've expressed.

I am a past master of considering each and every purchase. So much we can do without, and it is a delight to recognize a gem that truly we just might want of have for our own.

The snow drop alone or in a crowd is something to feast one's eyes on.

The fruit cake recipe ... one to try for sure.

I do have to admit that I am not sure about that quote about cats, as much as I admire Colette!

Stay warm, and be poetic as ever. xo

Chris Stovell said...

I love that photograph of thrift, so beautiful. Yes, it is a time when we're all finding money doesn't go very far (especially as we had to spend £700 getting a car fixed!). I think I need a lie down with a snuggly blanket after that!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely list of thankfulness, Cait! I share your view on spending restrictions. Here in the states for the past several years it's been rather like life was reported to have been in the 1920's. So much money thrown around on silliness. Besides, homemade biscuits are so much better, are they not??

Fire Byrd said...

Wonderful blessings.... I feel the way you do about Mondays about Thursdays.
I enjoyed the cake by proxy it sounds delicious. I couldn't have one though cause there'd only me to eat it( fancy having a son who doesn't like cake... where did I go wrong??) and i'd get too fat and that wouldn't do.
I need all the blessings I can get with a new washing machine needed !!!

Suffolkmum said...

You have made me long for an electric blanket. I was ill over Christmas/New Year and don't actually seem to have warmed up since! You're right, thrift is a gorgeous word. I'm starting to feel much more positive about applying it in my life, and seeing it as a choice, not something just imposed upon me.

Pipany said...

Oh Cait, you have made me cry! I wasn't even feeling remotely sad but as I read and scrolled down the picture of the cliffs and swathes of thrift showed is JUST like my North Cornish homeland where I grew up and I miss it so (without even realising). I must make the journey to visit and roam the cliffs alone like I did for so much of my childhood.

We also budget very hard here and baking is part of that. Time is alwyas a problem, but it does seem to slow a little while I am in my kitchen. Lovely blog Cait and one of the best pics of snowdrops I have seen this year xx

Tattieweasle said...

Oooohhh an electric blanket - it is one of my biggest treats when I go home to Mum's she puts it on for me so I dive into bed after my journey for a rest and within seconds I'm fast asleep. Heaven!

Norma Murray said...

I agree with so much you say, except the electric blanket, I have to get into a freezing cold bed. I love that feel as you move your feet around and seek out the coolest spot, an electric blanket would spoil bedtime for me.

Anonymous said...

Lovely blessings. Aren't the snowdrops beautiful, so graceful, looking a little humble in their appearance.

I have an electric blanket too but I fear it is an old one! I only use it in the very deepest winter, when the nights are excruciatingly cold.

CJ xx

Milla said...

very enjoyable, even if the music was bossy and wouldn't play in full. ALWAYS have to eat cheese with fruit cake, each enhances the other. Have a ropey old electric blanket which I fear wants to kill me so never remember to reinstate it in the autumn and now it seems too late to bother (the laziness!). And, yes, tell me about it, where DOES money go!

Pondside said...

I love the word 'thrift' too, Cait - and all it encompasses. Not the penny-pinching, stingey kind, but the thoughtfull, deliberate kind.
Another beautiful, peaceful read - thank you.

Reasons said...

Lovely blog. Will try the recipe. Your job and life sounds wonderful, I envy you!!

abcd said...

I enjoyed the Philip Larkin poem, he has always been a favourite of mine and love Eva Cassidy's beautiful, ethereal voice.
I will definately try the receipe, we eat quite a bit of fruit cake as there is nothing better to take on a good walk.
Perhaps it is good for us to spend time with cats because they know the secret of time!

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

What a lovely blog cait. I agree utterly about your blessings, my electric blanket is my friend! I am a larkin fan too.
And I shall be looking to thrift as I take the plunge to no work and no income!

Tess Kincaid said...

Love those heavenly snowdrops.

Exmoorjane said...

Lovely blog as always Cait....sorry I haven't been by so much as I'd like..time is running away here fast I don't have a hope in hell of catching it up (was never good at running!).
I like Mondays too - though I work on them - it's a new chance, somehow, a fresh start and evertything seems promising (I know the week officially starts on Sunday but that never feels right to me).
Will pass on the fruit cake (now if you'd said Coffee and walnut cake would be a different matter!) and also the electric blanket as I am a scaredy cat and can;t get over the thought that they'd frizzle me.
But a resou nding yes to snowdrops and simplicity - the two complement each other perfectly. jx

CAMILLA said...

I have only just bought a new Morphy Richard's electric blanket too Cait.!! Sheer luxury as you say. I am late to bed, but do switch on for an hour before hopping in.

Thank you for the recipe Cait, have made a note of it, and will bake this cake at the weekend, love fruit cake.

Lovely post Cait, and I adore the Snowdrops.


CAMILLA said...

Forgot to say Cait,

Who is the artist to girl in white dress?

I too love the voice of Eva Cassidy.