Friday, 29 May 2009

snapshots


Here are just a few little snippets from a little stroll along Herne Bay beach where I spent the weekend at my parents house. Oh how I love blue skies. Speaking of which, the sun in shining brightly today and it's the last day of the school holidays, so I am going to go and eat breakfast on the patio & watch the cars on the motorway go by. Because that is the view from my patio.
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My mother's garden


From the very little experience I have of tending to flowers, I have discovered that they are far more delicate than I previously thought and require a whole lot of tlc. My mother's garden is testament to the amount of tlc she has devoted to it. There is much beauty to behold.
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London Baby



Last Saturday saw a wonderful day trip to London. Despite having lived in close proximity to London for my whole life, I saw more of London in one day than I have ever seen before. We had fun.

[From left to right, top to bottom: Somerset house : Embankment : John : Sunset over Kent : St James' Park : Somerset House : Embankment : View from the London Eye]
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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

this girl.



Growing up, you have friends who you love dearly. At this young age, you don't know that it's love, but you know that you want to spend every possible waking minute with these people. You say you'll be friends forever. And you really do mean forever. Only at your young and tender age, you have no idea how long forever is, and absolutely no clue about all of the other wonderful people you will meet over the course of time. You have no concept that it is just not possible to stay best friends forever with the people who are around you right here, right now, when you see the world through a child's eyes.

However, there are some people who God brings into your life who stay and do not go, regardless of the changes that life brings. There are some people who you can know that maybe you will not see them for months on end, but when you do see them, you will laugh and cry together. You will reminisce on the days gone by and rejoice together in the joys in each others lives, shared only through talking because you are too far away to live through these times together anymore. And every now and then you will stand back and be amazed that it really is possible to stay friends for that little bit more of forever that you imagined when you were young.

Katy is this person in my life. She is the girl who I have known for as far back as my memory is able to go. She is the one who was a permanent feature in our home during our teenage years; the one who I learnt to play the guitar with; the one who I have spent many times laying in grass taking photos of all the beautiful things we see; the one who I know shares the same passions as me, who finds delight in those little things the way that I do; the one who I felt truly honoured to stand with at the airport praying for her as she went to see the man who was to become her husband in Brasil, knowing what the future was going to hold for her, and delighting in sharing this moment with her. Yesterday I got to see this precious friend of mine.

We talked for hours, barely aware of the rain and lightening that came rolling in overhead to replace the glorious sunshine that had shone just a few hours before. We filled her kitchen with the aroma of chocolate cookies then went strolling in her fields where we talked with the sheep, gently convincing them that they really didn't need to chase us by drawing on our knowledge of sheep-talk from Babe: 'Bar-am-ewe, Baaaaar-am-ewe, sheep be true.' They responded well and graciously allowed us to continue on our walk at dusk through the mist-shrouded field, walking across precarious bridges clutching cameras tightly. Oh how I love times like these...




Wednesday, 13 May 2009

today


I relished the opportunity to have some time to sit & read & write & drink coffee. Wonderful.

Sunday Afternoon


Sunday.

Sunday 10th May saw the dawn of the Bristol 10k race. Having carbo-loaded the night before on a vast amount of pasta that I could not finish, I awoke at 6.20am to have my trusty breakfast of weetabix, banana & sultanas. Then went back to bed for another hour and a half. Yep, that's right. I've found the best way to combat race day nerves is to sleep as much as possible until it's time to leave.

The night before, I had arranged to get a lift to the race with a friend from church who was also running. What an amazing woman - she has four small children who she home schools, and has time to run. It didn't really make sense for me to get a lift with her as I live very close to the start of the race, but it is far better to be with people than alone. It was a lovely memory, to walk down Park Street in convoy with 1000's of other runners on their way to the running village, holding the hands of two small boys whose little legs were running to keep up with my leisurely pace.

It's funny how memory works. As I cast my mind back to that morning, everything is in snapshots:

Little hands
Lots of runners
A lady kneeling by the roadside, replacing her fallen contact lens
Sense of pity. I can empathise
The sight of Bristol Cathedral & college green drawing near, signifying our proximity to the race venue
Excited phonecall from a friend whose husband's running too. Desperate to beat me. Thankful for cake
Photo time. With the kids. Wondering if I'll ever see the photos. Wondering at how I never get any of my own.
Toilet time. Long long queues. Stretch.
Oh gosh look at the time. Run to the start line.
I've lost the family. I'm on my own again.
Take up my position with the 'elite runners', much to my surprise that I am in this category.
Surprised at how 8000 people feels like a small number when you can see the front runners from where you're standing.
A man holding a banana. I say, 'Are you going to eat that as you run?!'
He tells me how he'd forgotten he was holding it til I mentioned it and starts to eat it. It's been a rushed morning for him. Only decided at the last minute he was fit enough to run.
The countdown starts.
Earphones go in. Playlist on pause, ready to go.
Look at the clock. 1min 27 secs. Must remember to look at it as I cross the start line so I can work out my race time. I forget.
We're away. In the zone straight away.
My plan: To push myself for the whole 10k because I know my body can take it..
Loving the speed. Loving the sun. Nervous about dehydration but know it'll be over quick enough for it not to be a problem.
Counting down the kilometres.
7k. My body says it's time to slow down. My music says it's not. I keep the pace up.
400m to go. Sprint I tell myself. I want to stop right now. But it's only a few hundred metres! You've come 9600m so far!
See my friend poised with a camera. I smile & wave, spurred on to the finish.
Sprint, feel like I'm flying & my feet aren't touching the floor.
Beep beep beep over the finish line. Head spinning. Elated.
48mins49secs.

Oh yes, and this is the picture one of the girls in my class coloured in for me 'for your running' after she'd heard the news that I ran the same race as her mum:




Her Mum's comment - 'Don't take it personally!!'
I thought it was quite amusing. I'm hoping it's not a portrait...

The Cupcake Run


A few weeks ago I dreamed up the idea of doing a cupcake run. I named it this simply because it was what came to mind, not because I intended to do any running with cakes.

So, with the help of the wondrous facebook, I set up an event, inviting 50-something people, asking the simple question:

Do you want some cake? If so, I'll bake it. I gave 4 options:

Maple & Pecan
Blueberry & lemon with a cheesecake topping
Apple & Cinnamon
Rocky Road

It was as fun as can be.

I delivered 100ish cakes to friends around the city. I was fortunate enough to have my very own driver who had to put up with my interesting form of navigation, but hey, we managed it.

My first stop was to an old coursemate from uni who I haven't seen since July 2007. We talked ten to the dozen, trying to pack in as many words as we possibly could in a very short space of time. It is times like that that I rejoice in being a woman. We love to talk. Fact. Well, most of us anyway. I came away from her house with a smile on my face & joy in my heart at having had the opportunity to catch up with her.

Oh how I love cake & oh how I love to give it away...


Thursday, 7 May 2009

menu for the day

Having had a busy old week and next to no time to plan what I was going to cook for the family I work for, I pulled down off the shelf a stack of Waitrose Recipe Cards and started trying to locate recipes containing chicken & bacon to use the meat that was in the fridge. Amazingly, I only needed to pick up two cards before finding the perfect recipes, sat one on top of the other. I love it when that happens.

Thursday & Friday's Menu:

Tartiflette with brie & bacon
Spicy chicken with chickpea couscous
And last but not least, the oh so simple but wonderfully delicious combination of strawberries & cream for dessert

As I whipped up the cream for dessert, I instructed Katie, the oldest of the children I childmind for, how to make meringues. It presented a little challenge, trying to describe the process of separating an egg to a first-timer, but she totally got it.

Katie's face was a picture of delight when I offered strawberries & cream for dessert, and I'm pretty sure my face had a similar expression on it when she announced, 'You really are a very good chef Hannah.'

I like the fact that she actually calls me a 'chef' - a slightly glorified title for what I actually do, but a massive compliment all the same.

Friday, 1 May 2009

There's always a need for cake. Always.

It just so happens that the two ladies I work with have birthdays that are a week apart. Having had little forewarning of their fast approaching birthdays, I decided for the first one, I would bake her some birthday brownies. These seemed to go down very well, and were greeted with glee. My other colleague just so happened to comment that there is something wonderful about getting a birthday cake, as when you get older, no-one tends to bother, meaning you end up birthday cake-less. This makes me sad. So I remedied that and made her some birthday cupcakes...