Saturday, 15 October 2011

Spending time with food

There's not much I like more than filling the kitchen with ingredients and spending a Saturday afternoon creating stuff.

The smallest of things please me. A bunch of bright red tomatoes still clutching frantically to the vine; the smell of red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and red onions slow cooking; and the way pastry feels between my fingers when I squeeze it into a ball.

On a Sunday, I gather together some small change, a bag or two, and head to the farmers' market. Just down the road, and through the village, it stands in the playground of a school every Sunday. There I'll decide on my soup for the week, getting enough ingredients for a large batch which will see me right through to Tuesday. This week it's carrot.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Back to the Bramwell roots

A few months back, a very special auntie came to visit. After a week of work (me) and dining out at fabulous restaurants (auntie) we boarded a train bound for the North East. At Newcastle train station there was a lovely Geordie lad waiting for us. With a lovely Geordie hire car.

And so our adventure began.

Our destination was a little village called Garrigill. The cradle of Bramwell civilisation.

In our hire car, we drove. Across the moorish landscape, winding through teeny villages that were barely there, until we came to Garrigill.

In the brilliant sunshine and passing sudden rain showers, we walked amongst the knee-high wet grass and wonky gravestones, straining to see a Bramwell. To no avail. But the inside of the church gave us two who had served in the world wars.

We left pleased that our lead mining ancestors had originated in such a pretty village (and not neighbouring Nenthead which was a bit dire), tucked into a corner of Cumbrian countryside.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

One step closer

This week I managed to squeeze out a 5,000 word research proposal. On reflection, it all happened in such a blur, I don't quite remember how it came together. But fortunately, I submitted something that, in a haze of weariness seemed to be somewhat 'on topic'.

This moment signified the end of another paper towards the Masters. All going to plan it's just one more paper and four more months now.

What's next after that I wonder......

Sunday, 2 October 2011

She's dreamin'

I'm not sure how it works for other people, but night time for me is an opportunity for my sub-conscious to run wild. It likes to use its entire toolkit of imagery, to release my deepest thoughts, feelings, and sometimes fears to the rest of my brain.

For months after visiting the Cayman Islands, I had a reoccurring dream of moving to a tropical island. All my friends would be there, waiting for me. Mostly the dreams were about me deciding where on the island I was going to live, and what kind of work I wanted to be doing. It was always sunny and the water was crystal clear. I'd wake with an overwhelming feeling of calm, and the obvious desire to immediately move to a white sanded beach.

But, just as quickly as they began, the dreams stopped a few months ago.

During the working week, I spend most of my dreaming time focused on clients and projects. This makes me feel incredibly dull. It's bad enough that I spend my working days concerned with action planning, surveys, analysis and project milestones, but it's horrifying to think that that's where my brain likes to spend its downtime.

I also worry that my sub-conscious has serious doubts about the depth of my intelligence, because a lot of the time, it prefers to make any messages it chooses to send me, as blatant as possible.

As my psychotherapist-in-training housemate said to me, last night's dream was one where no dream analysis book was required.

I was on holiday with a bunch of friends, staying at a series of Japanese-style hotels, with futons and tatami flooring. Every night we'd lay out the futons, and every night all of my friends would go to sleep in their respective pairings, except for me, who would always miss out on a futon, and would be left to lie on a pillow of folded clothing, at everyone else's feet.

I spend enough of my waking time battling with these sorts of insecurities, I don't want to wake up at 6am on a Sunday morning in a cold 'will be single forever' sweat. Bring back the tropical island dreams I say.