I used to pick the peel out of marmalade until on a train from Penrith to London I met a dapper elderly gent in a chalk-striped suit who told me he was heading to Harrods or Fortnum's to buy some No Peel Marmalade. It could have been created for me. Even better once I discovered that you could buy it in any self-respecting supermarket. When John and Carole came to visit the other day we discovered that Carole and I share the same discerning taste. We have tried others but they all fail to impress. There can be only one.
Today I had my first al fresco yoga session of the year. The occurence of these is usually limited as much by privacy as weather, but both were in my favour today, after our over-the-hedge neighbours had been for a look at the Airstream. We seem to be having an early summer and it is perfect for starting to spill out of the trailer and do stuff outdoors that is limited to indoors for rest of the year. I think it is about seven months since we put away our outdoor furniture and stored the firepit and barbecue, so it's not a day too soon. When you can leave the door open and seamlessy swap between inside and outside, that is what it's all about, whether you are Airstreaming or campervanning, fulltime or holidaying. I'm outside right now!
To get myself to make time for yoga I took my own advice that I used to give when I taught yoga classes, and that is to aim small. If you think that you need an hour put aside then, unless you're dedicated, you'll just find that you have more pressing things to do, like answer some emails or clean the kitchen bin. So, if you tell yourself that you will simply do ten minutes, or one pose, you are more likely to step onto the mat. The thing is, once you get started you will probably end up adding a few more poses, and afterwards you'll feel more alive and maybe a little bit pleased with yourself.
I have recently bought a cheap foam bed roll to put under my yoga mat to counter lumps and bumps under foot and to help to keep my mat clean. The sun warmed my face, birdsong was ringing all around me. A couple of brave Goldfinches even dared to use the feeder which was only about eight feet from me. I savoured sustained breaths of fresh spring country air, I reached up to the sky, I thought about having a cup of tea and some chocolate biscuits. I was at one with nature, and then I wasn't. I didn't dwell on the beverage fantasy, but it was a persistent yearning which I have since indulged, and my life is complete and well balanced I feel.
Here are a couple of pics from a little visit to Broadway in the Cotswolds, ridiculously pretty and a perfectly preserved version of 'Englishness' which only exists in affluent pockets and attracts tourists from all over the world. It is a lovely place to wander about, have some tea and cake, buy something traditional from a traditional shop, look at some yellow houses with their regulation sagey-putty-coloured front doors before returning to the real world.
A few days after I brought the Land Rover home from its cheap-as-chips MOT it started to lose its umph. It wouldn't accelerate at an acceptable rate. I had to return to the hinterlands of Cheltenham to get it fixed, and once more had to 'kill' time, a whole day in fact.
I had a few gratifyingly gratis and discounted experiences in Cheltenham, starting with a free coffee, courtesy of a loyalty card lurking in my purse. I made up for this by signing up for the coffee chain's not-free WiFi. It took as long to sign up as to actually be online.
Next, some reward points helped me to purchase a book (Room, by Emma Donoghue) for £2.44. Then an early summer sale in a department store got me 20% off some new bed linen. So far so good.
All was negated by the bill at Land Rover at the end of the day. This seemingly simple life of ours can be bloody expensive at times. We've chosen this big shiny trailer to live in, which needs a big monster car to tow it. It works by some kind of voodoo/electrics, which has been cleverly designed so that the voodoo/electrics wear out a lot and have to be fixed by the voodoo/electrics pixies, not by mere mortals. You look under the hood and you can't even see the engine. What goes on in there? It looks big and tough but it seems to be made of marshmallows and tissue paper, and it disappoints me quite frequently. Can you tell?
Hey Ho, here's some more Spring stuff. Oh and the book was superb. I devoured it in two days.