Gluten-free fruit pie

Freshly picked blackberries and apples straight from the tree made a delicious fruit pie for dessert at the weekend.  I used gluten-free ready to roll pastry from Silly Yak which can be found in the chilled section of most supermarkets; trial and error has convinced me that their pastry is as good as any gluten-free pastry you can make at home.  And it’s quick and easy to use. So I cannot say in all honesty that this is a completely home made blackberry and apple pie but it almost is!  I can definitely say though that it was delicious and it went down well with custard and with ice cream. Yum …

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Kick the bucket-list

Jason Lennick’s witty writing always makes me chuckle; he can also be relied on to say it how it is, and this one struck a chord with me.  This post is courtesy of Jason at https://halfbananas.com so here we go …

kick the bucket-list

The concept of making a to-do list of amazing experiences and must-see places has become something of a cliche in recent years. There was even a movie called The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, although I’ve not seen it (it’s not on my list).

If you’re not climbing the Matterhorn for charity dressed as a penguin, or piloting your own fantastical steam-punk ship/house to the Burning Man festival, you’re not really thinking big enough, man. Run an ultra-marathon across the desert, take ayahuasca with an Amazon shaman, or unicycle to the South Pole to raise awareness for world albino-hamster day. But don’t just sit there!

halfbananas-dolphin-image

From one perspective, creating such a list makes perfect sense. Having great goals and a desire to see some of our incredible world is a worthy aim. But dive a little deeper and we find ourselves in slightly muddier waters.

I think my concerns are threefold. Firstly, people are often adopting the same ideas and goals as everyone else, either trying to copy the lifestyles and experiences of the rich and famous, or just jumping on bandwagons. We end up chasing cliches, where everybody’s bucket lists start to sound awfully similar.

Secondly, the very creation of such lists puts your life into a forward-gazing type of wishful thinking mode. ‘My life will be so amazing once I’ve done x, y & z.’ One could relegate the act of living day to day as a kind of ‘waiting for good-oh!’ (with apologies to S. Beckett).

Thirdly all that striving, hoping and wanting cool experiences, just adds to the existing  pressures to have that toned gym-body, great career and dream partner that the magazine world have been selling us for the last few decades.

‘You cannot have your cake and eat it’ seems to most kids like a very peculiar saying. Why would anyone want a cake that cannot be eaten? But I think there is a nugget of wisdom in that cake. Or maybe it’s a walnut, hard to tell. In lusting after an amazing future full of adventures, we relegate the here and now to a time-filling, clock-watching, zombie-like existence. Instead of the ‘power of now’, we live with the ‘promise of then’.

Even our weekends can become a competition, where we feel the need to cram in as much cultural, sporting or culinary activity as possible so as to announce proudly at the water-cooler on a Monday “Yah, the weekend was amazeballs.” (I hate that expression..)

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone” Blaise Pascal

Is there any way to escape this conundrum? How do we balance the desire to have a good life with the aim of avoiding these pitfalls? I believe the answer could be summed up in two words chocolate cake. No, sorry, that just drifted into my head for some reason. No, the two words are: mindset and authenticity.

With the right mindset, we can see the value in the world on our doorstep and have no urgent need to go rushing off to party with a hip ukulele-techno DJ at a Venezuelan yak festival, or base-jumping with neo-pagan anarchist film-makers after a night of avant-garde theatre in down-town Tokyo. We can perhaps learn to value the here and now and the people, places and simple things around us.

kick the bucket-list

Maybe we can try, as William Blake so eloquently put it:

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand, 

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, 

And Eternity in an hour.”

Authenticity means living in a way that is true to our nature, meaningful and does not simply leave us always wanting more, more, more. It’s living according to your inner values and true needs, not being told what to want, think or do.

To live with a healthy mindset and authenticity are lofty goals in themselves. But even if we cannot fully achieve them we can at least keep them in mind when the media bombards us with images of the lifestyles of the rich and fabulous.

You may have heard some folks in the media discussing the concept of a ‘fuck-it list’ more recently. It seems to be a newer twist where one learns to say fuck-it to anything that holds us back or weighs us down with unnecessary pressures, desires and expectations. Maybe it’s time to put the bucket list on the fuck-it list?

Right, I’m off to eat some yummy (vegan) chocolate brownies left over from my birthday. I will say fuck-it to having a flat stomach. Life is too short for all those endless crunches and there are waaay too many nice cakes to be sampled.

Do you have a bucket list? Or a fuck-it list? Go on, spill the beans in the comments section.

© Copyright Jason Lennick 2016. All rights reserved.

Picture credits: Steampunk house/ship – collectorsweekly.com 
Dolphins – grayline.com

NB – The above post “Kick the bucket-list” has been re-produced here with the kind permission of Jason Lennick over at halfbananas, the original writer and owner of the work –  https://halfbananas.com/2016/08/21/kick-the-bucket-list/  If you don’t already follow Jason then here’s the link for you to take a look (and I promise you that I’m not being paid for this shout out!!) –  https://halfbananas.com

A summer wedding

Well, here we are in September and it’s almost autumn again.  It’s been a crazy summer in our house and I’ve had very little time for writing or photography.

Back in June, whilst on an Italian touring holiday with her boyfriend, our younger daughter rang us to announce that she was getting married. Such amazing and wonderful news; we were thrilled to bits for both of them.

The next day she called again to tell us that it would be an August wedding. Mr B and I automatically assumed that she meant next August, but no, they were to be married on 18th August this year.  And so it came to pass.  And now they are Mr and Mrs.  Just like that. We’ve had a crackpot and wonderful whirlwind summer.

I have found some time to walk in between the making of a wedding dress and everything else, and the summer hiking has been good.  The photos above are almost autumnal in tone I know – a real contrast to the spring ones from my last “walking” post.  However my hiking boots are now back to full speed and my faithful Canon is ready to go.