A summer’s walk in woods I know well. With nothing to guide me but the sun and my nose. An afternoon spent following paths I know and some newly discovered.
Blame it on the cat who nearly made me miss my train (but don’t blame her too hard; she’s sick at the moment). I ran out of the house in a flurry, said a hurried hello to my old lady neighbours, and only at the station did I realise my backpack might contain a few apricots, purse and a rain jacket, but no phone (so no internet or GPS), no map, no train times, no camera. To not cross-check just where I might be or where I should go. To not see when the train would pass or whether a message had been answered. To not worry about composition, focus and light, but just stop and drink in the way the golden yellow and deep green bands of wheat and trees alternated before they stopped before a clear blue sky. To walk up a path I’d never followed and could only guess where it would lead. Little moments of freedom from habits a little too well engrained. Read more
The sun shone this week and it was warm and it was good. Joyfully good. Spring seems to be peeking its nose around the corner, wondering whether it should get the party rolling or not. With a friend, we ran for the hills and found snow. Lots of it, although it was very wet and sticky. Still, that made the break from hard-graft snowshoeing that much earlier and that much more well-deserved. As we watched the first migratory butterflies flitter by and tried, in vain, to spot a crocus, life was made all the more genial with some lunch.
My readers who know me in real life are by now unsurprised to see me appear at 1600 meters or so, fully equipped with sunglasses, boots, and a cake in my backpack. Sometimes two cakes, if there are many of us. It’s innate, I think. After all, I find it hard to imagine anything more satisfying than sitting in the sun at the top of a long and strenuous hike, and tucking into a slice of something that’s fruity and spicy and substantial all at the same time. The raw carrots came too, yes of course, the chunk of gruyere, definitely. But that slice of fruit cake? Adds that extra touch of happiness. Read more
With a pot of the famous apricot and almond jam on the slow boat to Jersey, it’s time to write down the recipe.
2kg apricots, to give 1.9kg fruit and around 24 almond pairs*
juice of a lemon
* Note that not all the apricot kernels will yield their almonds without a fight, and sometimes they’ll win. Apricot almonds come in twos. Read more