Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Recent Doings.

Its been a long time since I was in a sensible enough routine to spend time on my blogging and reading of blogs. I'm hoping to overcome my recent problems and keep in touch with this place somehow, because its just the sort of place I like to be. So, 'hello' again, sweet readers! I'll drop by soon.

I've had horrible things to deal with in the Single Mummy Zone, and it came to a peak on Thursday, when the ex and a mediating officer rang me out of the blue, on my Birthday, to quibble childcare decisions, and just-as-worryingly, monetary issues (which were put to bed over two years ago). Its a real source of anguish actually, and I was upset that he chose to deliver the news of his most recent plot on that particular day. I'm being tied up in knots. My very real fear is that he wants me to end up with nothing. People that know my situation in greater detail will understand that I haven't overstated that, unfortunately.
Needless to say, with the emotion of the occasion, and my pathelogical dislike of most of my adulthood birthdays, (although I had intended to try and enjoy this one!) it was not a good thing. The day ended worse than it had began, and I was appreciative to all those that tried to improve things, but I decided to write it off! Better luck next year maybe.

I'm reminded of a little Monty Python clip here, something about bright sides of life... I'm trying, Eric!

''Lifes a piece of ***t, when you look at it!...''

So I probably should end on a high. I did have a nice weekend, and had a little birthday party on the Saturday, and a picnic on the Sunday. I was thoroughly spoilt, and had a good time ringing in my thirtieth, or twenty-tenth as the children call it, despite the nearness of tears on many occasions. It wasn't easy, but I was glad that I didn't cancel and take to my bed. I do have a lovely family, and a pretty fab boyfriend, and a couple of very true friends. It really helps.


And also, a special kinda girl wrote some lovely words earlier, please do pop by her blog if you haven't already- I promise it'll cheer you up! I hadn't seen the content of her post before I wrote this one, but I hope I haven't spread any gloom to her corner of Blogland! She sounds all sparkly and light and as though she has been relieved of a great weight. Good for her. Theres a positive thing.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Holiday, Part 2: Ibiza.

This was the indulgent part, after the music and camping at Cambridge in late July. I was persuaded by friends and family who were probably very fed up of me wearily dragging my problems about, and looking grey, to go abroad on a sunny package holiday. I did it! And it was just what I needed.

We went to Santa Eulalia, which is said to be a little overlooked, as people think that all of Ibiza is in the same mode. It was very nice! All cosy and warm and very very lovely. We never even heard a DJ or passed a club. Elvis and Tom Jones impersonators galore though! Lots of clear blue skies and deep blue seas, and we saw fish and lizards and cats and dogs. Everything was simple. And there was the choice of a lounge on the beach, or by the pool, or a little stroll to the marina, up through the hills or around the town. We didn't sit around too much, and just took it all in. I think I did let my guard down, and remembered how to relax- bliss.

The best part would be very hard to pin down, but I really enjoyed the off-road-rambles, and keeping to no particular timetable. The worst part is simpler to decide: my reaction to the pressure on the plane. I did have a piercing toothache, on the return journey from my last aeroplane-holiday when I was 16. Ouchy, but I assumed I'd been unlucky that time. Hmmm. It turns out that I am not a happy flyer, and was quite nervous for the whole experience. It didn't help that my body reacted again! This time I had terrible pressure behind my left eye socket.  (And the eye itself remained a little smaller than usual for the rest of the break! Attractive. Fully recovered now though.) Happily I was okay coming home again, so my unpleasant experiences remain at 50% for my flying journeys. But then so do my happier ones. Note to self: you have sinus issues!

 The view from the balcony.

It was lovely to laze about, and read my Agatha Christie novels, and be in my fella's company without having to try hard at anything. Quietness is ok, and so are late evenings talking lots about all sorts, and joint-effort-crosswords, and snuggly siestas.
We two seem to share an inclination to 'people-watch'. Does anybody else? I can't help myself! We saw some interesting characters. And this harmless little occupation kept us going during the 8 hours that we sat around the airport, waiting for our plane to be signed as 'safe' after engine work. Eye Spy soon petered out. Not a problem- we devised secret codes for when we saw a 'Typical Brit Abroad', or someone who looked like they had a name beginning with a particular given letter. We wondered what the people in the MacDonalds queue would order, and we took great delight in observing what fashionable people were wearing. We saw a lot of young ladies with high buns, so obviously we had to discreetly hum the Bod tune to each other to sound the alert...

Here Comes Aunt Flo.

This was a one-off-holiday really, but I feel very lucky to have been able to have a proper break. Lets think calm blue colours and keep those stress levels under control this time.


Blackberry Cake

I do love blackberries. And the best recipe I have for these little treasures-amongst-the-thorns, is this one. I needed to share it with you. Let me know if you get a chance to give it a try! I'll be collecting the last of the year's blackberries this afternoon, and making my third and final cake of the year. I'm almost completely certain you won't be disappointed.
Blackberry Cake.

8 oz self raising flour
4 oz margarine
4-6oz sugar
1 egg
2 large handfuls of blackberries

Grease a shallow tin. Mix the sugar, marg and flour together with your hands. When its ready (breadcrumb-y), add the egg, then stir in the blackberries- a few at a time.

 At this point, it will look like a complete failure: a little soggy perhaps, and an alarming colour. Don't panic!

Ahhhhh! No really, this is fine.

Pop it into the tin and cook quite gently (190 degrees-ish) for a while (45 minutes-ish). Its a little vague, because the cooking time varies with the amount of blackberries you add- ie, how wet the mixture is. But this isn't the sort of recipe to be worried about accuracy and measurements. This is where my mum and I differ- she goes for a few blackberries, for flavour, and I tend to chuck them all in, in the excitement, and keep vigil by the oven for a very long time- until a skewer comes out fairly clean. A little juicy squishyness is ok- as long as it has firmed a bit, and you're satisfied that the egg is cooked, and the cake is 'done'. Both of our cakes are lovely, but mine feels more decadent, and I will readily accept my mum's point that my version needs to be eaten quickly or refridgerated, and hers doesn't. Thats fine- they never last very long in my house anyway. She also keeps back 2oz of sugar to sprinkle on the top just before she bakes, so that she has a firm topping.

Yes, this is a loaf tin, but I think as lovely as it is to have a chunky 'slice' of cake, it is a bit 
of a bugger to get the cooking times right! Shallow tins are probably better.

Its especially lovely served warm, and also nicest if you can resist the urge to beat the mixture into oblivion- the plain cakey taste in amongst the blackberries- and the contrasts of colour between the two, (almost a marble effect) are one of the nicest aspects. Its also a good idea to keep some fruits back, and pop them in 'whole' once the mixture is in the tin, ready for the oven. Its such a fun cake! And perhaps all the nicer, as it is a seasonal one, and something to look forward to, just a couple of times a year. I can't take the credit for this recipe- it initially came from the very lovely Mrs ABC, who always provided the most popular cakes at the bakey Children's Society Sale back home.

Not a great photo! A little steamy, but yummy all the same.

Enjoy. Before the blackberry picking, I'm going to nurse my cold and rest my sinusy-head, which has lingered a week- which is the main cause of my absense this time! Sorry about that... I also need to talk nicely to my washing machine and my digi-box as they have both had a rebellious moment today. Things come in threes don't they... I'll let you know what breaks down next!