Tuesday, 26 February 2013

the sea for me

Last weekend Curt bought me a long board and I got back in the water to surf for the first time in almost five years. It's hard for me to put into words how good it felt. How I could've ever left it so long. I only caught a few small waves and it will take me a while and a lot of practice to ride with anything resembling grace but I can't think of anything better than the journey to that point. It seems crazy to think that when I still lived in England I would drive for hours on end to get to the coast and that for the past couple of years we've been living almost right on the water and it's taken until now.

I suppose the all consuming nature of growing and raising little people just completely took over and when I was pregnant with Rose I sold my neglected board as we needed some extra money. I've long admired the elegance of long boarders, that dance along the board and the innate connection with and respect for the water beneath them. This time around I instinctively knew this was the way I wanted to go. A shredder I am not and never will be. Right now I'm so thankful for the chance- the board and the time- I've been handed and a husband who just knew it was exactly what I needed to do. Best of all has got to be that feeling of getting back a little but crucial piece of yourself that was lost, or at the very least well and truly buried.

Below is a short vide clip showing the beauty of long boarding at its very best, featuring renowned surfer Belinda Baggs and shot by Macauley Rae.

The top images are by surf film maker and photographer Nathan Oldfield. His blog Look and Sea is a great read for anyone with an affinity for waves and the ocean. His latest film, The Heart and the Sea, is definitely worth watching and beautifully explores the joy that lies at the very centre of a surfing life: family, friends and a shared intimacy with the sea. It premiered here in Torquay last month and Curt and I were lucky enough to get the chance to go and see it. Highly recommended.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

the first veggie box

This is the year I decided it was time to get it together when it comes to the food we eat and to stop making the same old randomly put together meals, probably featuring sausages and fish fingers a little too often, usually conceived of fifteen minutes before the childrens dinner time. To start actually using some of the stack of cookery books I own, to plan more in advance and cook good, simple food. I wanted to start buying less but better quality ingredients and making more conscious buying choices which support local producers when possible. Another key factor was that I was also pretty sick of the below average fruit and veg from the supermarket which was often starting to go bad before I'd even got it in through the door.

So in addition our very young vegetable patch in the garden, I also signed us up for an organic box scheme with a newly launched local co-operative not long after we moved here. After a few months of patiently sitting it out on the waiting list, they finally had a space for us to join. This Thursday, our very first weekly box of organic vegetables and fruit was delivered to our doorstep. Rose was so excited she actually tried to climb inside the cardboard box with it all.

We made a beeline for the juicy plums and oranges, oohed and ahhed over the lovely array of vegtables and pondered over the remaining few ("....Erm, so what exactly is that then?"). Thanks to google, they have now been identified as beetroots. Slightly embarrassing to admit when I grew up in the countryside, on a farm no less. It would seem I didn't pay much attention to things of little interest to me at the time, including vegetables. I will also come clean that I had to watch a video on you tube about how to prepare a leek (with Lila peering over my shoulder adding helpful observations along the lines of "Mummy, why aren't you chopping yours as fast as that lady?"). It's all a learning curve though and the resulting leek and bacon risotto topped with a poached egg was worth the effort and the large pile of washing up. I have no accompanying picture because as a general rule, I would rather eat my food as soon as possible than stand around photographing it. The kids finished every bite without even the mention of a post-dinner biscuit bribe, so that can go down as the first veggie box success story.

What shows up in the box every week will be completely different, depending on the season and what is in abundance, and the idea is that this will force me to be more creative and venture away from the old favorites on permanent, boring rotation. No doubt there will be a few surprises and a fair amount of what arrives may have never made it into my shopping trolley before. I know that some days it's likely to all feel a bit overwhelming but it will be Autumn here soon and so when all other inspiration fails then I can just throw it all in a big pan to make soup and at the very least it should keep us warm.
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