I have a very cobbled together garden. The veg patch gets too much shade and the neighbourhood cats like to use it as a toilet (leading me to punctuate the earth with random sticks in an attempt to make it uninviting to their paws/bottoms).
But I do love my garden. It’s a good place for sitting with a cup of tea and watching the washing dry in the sun. And in the height of summer there will be greens and tomatoes, alpine strawberries and the buzz of bees everywhere. It lets me be outdoors and grow things and swear at cats (I love cats really) and get dirty fingernails and just make things up as I go along.
Today’s top 5 uses for the empty veg box crates I keep forgetting to put out to be collected by the veg box delivery person:
1. Petite shed for garden hand tools
2. Pedestal to create backdoor window box effect
3. Trough for growing greens (nasturtiums and mixed lettuces perhaps?)
4. Table for seed modules (dwarf sunflower and calendula)
5. Mini utility room greenhouse for germinating chillies, tomatoes, basil and lovage
In times of trouble you gotta do the things that make you happy…
The cycle training was a success. I can now ride my bike down the street without fear! I can use my gears in a halfway sensible manner! Gravity and hills are not my ultimate enemies! Wow, I am excited and inspired and just wish it would stop raining for long enough to let me get out there and keep practising the art of looking behind myself without wobbling.
Next lesson will involve venturing onto bigger, busier roads, a bit of route planning and who knows what else. It’s amazing how much of a confidence boost you can get in an hour. Even on a creaky old bike like mine.
I seemed to be a bit dazed for a while by all the ingredients in my cupboard and found myself making the same sorts of things I did while I was travelling around and staying in hostels. Nothing wrong with that but then I was like, come on Kramer, jazz it up a bit. But I’ve started to get back into my rhythm, inventing all sorts of dishes, some of which have been gorgeous to look at. Wish I had a photo of my veg stew with beetroot – a rainbow in a bowl. (Although the leftovers the next night were decidedly red/purple – that’s bossy beetroot for you.)
Then I decided I was going to bake myself a polenta pie. With spinach and feta, I think. Mm. Only thing holding me back is that the supermarket only had ready-made polenta. Not useful for my purposes, so I’ll have to wait until I can get to somewhere that sells what I need.
In the meantime, my other baking project. Tonight I’ve been sheltering from a rainy night in a warm kitchen – with Led Zeppelin blaring out of the speakers – and baking carrot bread. And by bread in this context I mean a sort of cake, but uh not carrot cake… It’s bread like banana bread is bread. If you’re American (or a quick study) you know what I mean. If you’re British, you’re probably not paying attention, as you’re too busy boiling the kettle at the mention of cake.
My tried and tested recipe comes from Nava Atlas’s Vegetariana but there are two extra ingredients I’ve introduced this time. One is tinned pineapple chunks. Just a few, for extra sweetness and moistness. The other, well… If you’ve read Like Water for Chocolate, or have seen the film, you may recall Tita’s secret is to make her food “with love”. I hope I’ve baked my bread with love too, but there’s more. I’m also inclined to believe this loaf will be extra good because it was baked with rock ‘n’ roll.
Wander into the mud with a camera!
One moment you’re marvelling at the glorious sunshine. A second later you’re eyes have completed one full blink and the heavens have opened. Ah, good, springtime in Bristol. Always nice to catch a few signs of the season on camera.