Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

Lemon drizzle is a fine thing
  1. The number of unused Waitrose recipe cards I have is approaching the ridiculous, so I am cooking my way through them at the rate of one new recipe a week. Last week was pan-fried white fish with cannellini bean purée, which was nice but not overwhelming; this week was aloo gosht, which was bloody delicious.
  2. The principle holds true for my Peyton & Byrne British Baking book, which I bought from the Hampton Court Palace gift shop in 2013 for some silly amount of money (£20? Sounds about right) and which I had barely baked from at all until this year. So far, chocolate hazelnut cookies and lemon drizzle cake have met with extreme satisfaction all round. Next, jam roly-poly, which I have had to promise won’t be “like the ones we had to eat at school”.
  3. I have never learned to cycle. So I am learning now. In London. Without a helmet. Such fun! (It’s okay, I haven’t yet graduated from riding round and round a low-traffic residential square. We’re currently working on how to signal left. My ability to do this is limited by the tendency of the bike to jink wildly whenever I remove one hand from the handlebars. I am told that I need to “learn to steer with one hand”. Sounds like witchcraft.)
  4. This book I am writing… I can’t guarantee that the above-mentioned baking and cooking isn’t just displacement activity. Likewise my newfound intense desire to catalogue all the books in our sitting room. Writing 1,000 words a day is taking a lot longer each day than it did a few weeks ago. At least it’s interesting to see where I’ve hit the wall (at roughly 34,000 words); I wonder if it’s standard. Like the mid-term depression we used to call “fifth week blues” at university.
  5. Regarding careers: at what point do you stop trying to get the thing that you want, because it’s taken you three years to even be in a position to try and you can’t afford to try for much longer and really very little is happening and everyone is telling you it’s a hard industry to get into and you’re becoming more disillusioned about the industry itself by the day but maybe that’s just the bitterness talking? I mean, hypothetically. For a friend. Suggestions welcomed with open arms.

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is run by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous; link up, link back, say hi.

17 thoughts on “Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

  1. I love lemon drizzle cake, may have to invite myself over!
    I think it’s great you are embarking on new things: displacement activity for writing, but maybe also for job hunting. I know I’d rather be doing anything than that at the moment. But take heart – at least you are young enough to chop and change and try something else. I just can’t afford to start from scratch again at my age and with 2 kids to support.

    1. ❤ Thank you, Marina – I know, you're right, I have the opportunity to start again if I want to and I'm grateful. It's hard to feel as though I've barely even managed to get started the first time, but I know that's different from having two dependents and being worried about them. Sending more hugs your way.

  2. That cake looks so good! Hooray for learning to ride a bike! But even going around a low-traffic residential square, you should still wear a helmet because you just never know! Trust me, from one cyclist to another. 🙂

  3. If my daughter saw you she’d notice right away you weren’t wearing a helmet, and she’d tell me about it. She did that all summer whenever she saw someone without a helmet (plus, it’s the law here, so she also kept saying they were breaking the law, they should go to jail – ha!).
    Anyway, I’m very impressed with all the stuff you’re doing – baking, cooking, learning to ride a bike, writing a novel. All that, in and of itself, is productive! Forget the job! (just kidding) What about swimming? Do you already know how to swim? If not, that could be next!

    1. Your daughter sounds like she knows what’s what! I know, it is not setting a very good example for the young. We do have “helmet” on the priority list…

      I love swimming! I have missed doing it all summer because the local gyms have membership fees and that is distressing to me.

      1. I don’t like the membership fees either. I swim as much as I can during the summer (in the lake or ocean), and hope it lasts me the rest of the year. 🙂
        And, that’s the perfect way to describe my daughter – she definitely knows what’s what (even when she doesn’t).

  4. Mmm, re: job. That’s rather cryptic. My advice is to listen to your gut, which is not terribly good advice because that voice is rather hard to suss out from the rest of the chatter, but there it is. I stayed too long doing something because I thought I had already invested too much time not to; the thing I wanted to do all along put pushed aside as too impractical I now do in dribs and drabs because it’s (a third) different kind of work that brings in the (small, very small) paycheck. And eats most of my time. Which is all a way of saying, I wish I’d listened to my gut about a decade ago.

    1. That’s super advice. Guts are HARD to listen to. What I’m getting from mine is that it loves working from home and it loves not having “a boss” or “working hours” or “having to care about banal shit”, but it’s really disheartened and scared by having been unpaid for two months. Which I guess is practical.

  5. I think the 30k to 40k mark on a novel is where pretty much everyone hits the wall first time round, yes! It can take a couple of run-ups – I tend to go back and rewrite everything from the start, which usually takes me over the sticking point, but others have their own strategies.

    With you on point 5. Same problem – no obvious solution!

  6. Cake! Gimme!
    Also I have cycled a lot, doing triathlons and at one point (not now!) didn’t think much of 60-80 miles of a Sunday, but I still have issues with turning left, as I can steer fine with just my left hand, but not my right!
    Have fun cycling, it’s a really great thing 🙂

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