Monday, April 9, 2018

Coping Stratagies

I can't remember a wetter, colder, more miserable spring than this in Leicestershire. I can normally turn my heating off at the beginning of March, not this year, and as the grey wet days pile up I'm starting to dread the electricity bill.

Mum and I keep having our Wednesday afternoon clay shooting sessions rained off (my gun hits its centenary this year, it wants to be treated with a little consideration and not exposed to the sort of weather that might encourage rust, that and it's not much fun us standing around getting soaked either) which is a shame. Shooting clays is brilliant for stress busting and I'm missing it.

I'm also finding it hard to concentrate when it comes to reading fiction, all I really want to do is hibernate with a stack of Georgette Heyer's, a packet of Choco Leibniz (dark, there is no better biscuit in my world), and a lot of tea, but I'm fairly sure that's a desire I shouldn't give into. Although if I'm honest the Choco Leibniz and tea have taken a bit of a hammering.

What I have been reading is Susan Crawford's 'Vintage Shetland Project', although there's a bitter sweet edge to that. A lot of the photography was done around where I grew up, and where the weather has been rather better so far this year. It's making me very homesick. It's a fabulous book, inspiring on all sorts of levels, and definitely the thing to inspire creativity on dull days - so I've also been knitting a lot whilst catching up on podcasts.

I'm not very good at keeping on top of the podcasts I subscribe to, so it shouldn't really have surprised me that there seem to be the best part of two years worth sitting there. I've been particularly enjoying Simon and Rachel's Tea & Books - it's easily the best one to knit to. (I'm not quite sure why that is, but it's meant as a compliment).

I've also been reading Diana Henry's new book 'How To Eat a Peach'. I've had it for a couple of weeks and had meant to have written about it by now. There's a lot of things I meant to do about this book and haven't though. I meant to ask the publisher for a review copy, but then I thought I'd rather have the pleasure of buying it. My local bookshops are small enough that more often than not they don't have what I want, and don't particularly reward browsing. There's a very specific sense of joy in walking in and picking up an anticipated title, then sharing your enthusiasm for it with the bookseller, which adds to my pleasure every time I open that particular book again. That said, I'd also meant to wait until I saw this one on offer somewhere - because apart from anything else there's that not inconsiderable electricity bill on the way. That thrifty intention lasted about 20 seconds after I saw the book, and felt it's fuzzy peach like cover.

I've loved all of Diana Henry's books, they've seen me through some difficult times (especially 'Salt, Sugar, Smoke' which helped me preserve my way through a grieving process one autumn a few years ago and left me with over a hundred jars of jam, jelly, marmalade, and more) provided some memorable meals, and provided plenty of food for thought as well. Even so 'How To Eat a Peach' is special. The cookbook part is a collection of menus, but there's so much of Diana's thinking about food, and more, here that it's a book that needs to be read properly before I can write properly about it. The summery is that it's brilliant.


  1. Hibernating with a stack of Heyers, biscuits, and lots of tea sounds like a recipe for happiness. Though I did need to Google the kind of biscuits you mentioned. They look delicious. Our weather is not cooperating either so really, this might be a viable life plan.

  2. The biscuits are the perfect mix of thick chocolate and crunchy biscuit. They're a real treat. It's a German company but they're widely available in the UK, I think I'm going to need to stock up pre Brexit against rising prices... I don't normally mind cold weather, but this year it's really getting me down. It's just been so much grey. Now all I need to do is work out how to hibernate and pay bills.

  3. Dark chocolate and reading novels are favorite pastimes of mine too, in any weather. I would like to try clay shooting, it sounds like an entertaining sport or hobby.

    1. Shooting is one of the best things I've ever done, I've no interest in anything other than clays & shotguns but those suit me very well. It's deeply satisfying when you smash a clay, and demands enough focus to put everything else out of mind whilst you're doing it. I also really like that you don't have to be particularly competative (I'm Not, I just like to improve against my own performance) but you can be if you want to - my mother is, and does lots of competitions. It's absolutely worth trying.

  4. I am so, so happy to hear you're enjoying How to Eat a Peach. It doesn't come out here until May 1st but it was the very first thing I ordered with my Christmas book tokens. Thank you again for having introduced me to Diana Henry and all her wonderful books!

  5. I think she's great, there's not many writers who are so consistently good but she's definitely one of them. Not long to wait for your copy now either.

  6. I love that we're easy to knit to! I should put that in our bio :)