2016: the year of spaciousness

Because there's more to life than work

Simple pleasures

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I was thinking today how some of the things I most enjoy doing really don’t involve much money at all. We went for a walk round one of the local nature reserves by the beach this morning before doing the weekly shop, and were rewarded with the sight of the first swallow of the year and the sound of masses of skylarks in the air above us. Though there were few signs of growth, the willows were covered in various types of soft furry catkins.

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We also saw this little one on the ground just outside the reserve – I thought he might have been one of the rare natterjack toads that live on the reserve, but a bit of a Google makes me think he’s just a Common Toad (seems rude to call him that, we thought he was rather cute).

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It was a beautiful weekend morning, yet there wasn’t another soul around to see the birds, catkins and toads. Great for us, but shame there weren’t more people taking time to enjoy it – the supermarket, on the other hand, was packed out. Again – our shop didn’t cost much – we like to cook from scratch and find that we spend so much less these days now that we’re almost totally vegetarian with fish perhaps once a month. I couldn’t cook at all when I left home at 20 and ate no veg apart from potatoes, peas, onions and carrots. My ability to cook is now probably the skill I’m most proud of, but it’s only been acquired through many years of trial and error (learning the difference between a clove and a bulb of garlic was a biggy – none of our friends would come near us for days after I put an entire bulb in a meal!). I love being able to see an offer and buy it, knowing I can turn it into a delicious meal. Star buy today was a big bag of aubergines for just 30p!! That’ll make at least 4 days worth of meals (obviously with some other additions!), am thinking a coconut, mushroom and aubergine curry, and then perhaps a repeat of the aubergines parmigiana that I made last week.

Tonight was one of our few fish meals of the month – mediterranean fish crumble, an old recipe from Good Housekeeping that I’ve been making for years. For the two of us I halve all the ingredients except the topping, use a dessertspoon of pesto instead of basil, and bake it in one big dish. It’s really far too much for two of us, but we justify this by saying that it wouldn’t be as good reheated the next day…

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Lovely meal for a rainy evening followed up by the habit we’ve had over the last year of reading to each other a couple of chapters of classic novels – this week it’s ‘Kidnapped’ by Robert Louis Stevenson, lots of dialect in it that’s great for reading in the most exaggerated Scottish accent possible. Hoot toot, I cannae stop to fash with ye more!

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