1ngi: (Default)
2017-06-12 04:30 pm
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The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow

It's been a bad couple of years. 2 years ago my hands crapped out, and we could no longer manage our 1.5 acre rural dream. It took nearly 18 months to sell the house and move. You may remember me mentioning before that I used to work with Jo Cox during my time at Oxfam. We were not close or anything - just professional colleagues. I know her death and the manner of it shocked everyone but looking back it shook me deeply. The Brexit vote followed and waking up that morning was I think one of the saddest days of my life.

From then until Friday morning, I feel like I have been living under this oppressive black cloud, choking the hope out of me. I couldn't understand why it appeared to that such a huge chunk of the population on this island were so keen on creeping fascism and bigotry. I kept trying to remind myself that negative news is not the reality. All those years of working in the ethical/charity sector, suddenly thinking that being someone who wanted a better world for everyone was in the minority. 

Leading up to the election I started wondering about emigrating somewhere. Sion and I even talked about it. I felt cowardly for thinking about 'running away' but since my hands became unreliable I think I've felt so vulnerable (I suppose that's understandable). I started to worry about how Sion and I were perceived when we were out and about. We've experienced homophobia occasionally but before the referendum I did not give a shit. As this year has worn on, I started to feel cowed about being out as a queer couple. 

I know this election has resulted in a big huge mess of crap to sort out, but for the first time in a year I feel like I can breathe. 52% of people voted progressively. 

I've obviously been experiencing some sort of depression. It's kind of miraculous that it's lifted suddenly. I have renewed admiration of those who can be brave when they are in a minority.

"Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,"
1ngi: (Default)
2017-05-28 06:51 pm

The Commandant's wife

Pretty plants
  I bought some lovely plants today from a little local pop up nursery. She does open weekends every so often and has a wonderful eye for colour combinations. Then I started making a chocolate roulade. Trying to stick to my muchly broken rule of being able to make treats but not buy easy treats. So I keep the ingredients in the house for cake and cookies or popcorn. If I want something easy I can have an apple and a sliced of cheese. Welcome to the inside of my food head.

The inside of the rest of my head is less happy. I feel like I've lost so much confidence over the last few years and since Jo Cox and Brexshit I feel so cowed. My sister got targeted by a neighbour on Facebook with trolling canvassing for the Tories. After she blocked him, he commandeered his wife's account and was really abusive. My sis was heartbroken - this guy had been considered a friend. I said my bit about his behaviour (not his politics). The really embarrassing bit was running into his wife the very next day at a creative workshop. Gawd that was a moment. She confided that she was upset and angry with him. We had an awkward hug and tried to get on with things. My view of her situation was suddenly a whole lot more sympathetic. 

It's misogyny all the way down. 

Isn't it?

Starting drinking seems so tempting at times. But for the aversion to getting drunk. 1935-1945 was ten short-long years. Have we started our decade yet? During my time at Oxfam I learned that it took approximately 10-15 years to create a paradigm shift for a cause (they had piles of research on this) I never stopped to think before about it working for xenophobic ideologies. Being on the side of the angels is no comfort when you wonder exactly how and when you will joint the ranks of those to be othered by the zeitgeist.
1ngi: (Default)
2017-05-26 02:32 pm
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Too many thinks

 Was supposed to entitle this too many things but think my typo should stand.

Best beloved has their surgery date confirmed for the middle of this month. I am a confused mix of making sure I am being supportive and feeling v stressed about the practicalities. I'm supposed to be on holiday but right now I feel I have to nail down all the logistics.

Coming up to London for this from Wales just complicates things. Apparently there might be some visitor accommodation about 3 miles from the hospital so trying to book that. I need to find out about buses and nearby food places. 

We need a fridge freezer (only have ice box at the mo) so that we can stock it up for when we get back.
I need to find some sort of carerer or housekeeping assistant (because hands/own health problems) 
Need to buy a day-bed for the main bedroom (for me)  so that Sion can stretch out in our bed and parents-in-law can have spare room. I could manage on the sofa I guess. I hope having the parents-in-law is the right thing for first few days. 

I'm taking part in our Open Studios in July and need to get some work done so I've got three full weeks before surgery to get some done and up to the framers. I'm hoping to get some canvases done after we get back but I'm aware I could be a bit wiped. I'm going to have ask other people to take over my publicity duties for Open Studios I think. Just too much on.

To say nothing of feels. 
1ngi: (Default)
2017-04-28 03:40 pm
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Owen Cottage 1919 - 2017

These Eyes Have Seen

Yesterday we laid my Grandfather, Owen Cottage, to rest in Birtin Cemetery, Outibridge following a service at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, Grenoside, Sheffield.  I loved him. He strived to be a good man all his life. I admired him for his many wonderful accomplishments and I was angry with him that he was so neglectful of my mother when she needed him most. He made the LDS church his family to the detriment of his own daughter. He endured the tragedy of nursing (and losing) his first wife, Mary, to cancer during my mum's teenage years. He was then widowed a further two times in precisiely the same way. First Ray - who spilt our family apart, and then Lottie who brought us all back together. He patted me on my head when I was tiny, tried to teach me as a teenager, argued with me as an young adult and in the last few years finally stopped lecturing me and clung to me whenever I was with him. I had a much closer relationship with him than I do my own father. I think a tiny part of me thought he would go on forever. The following is the eulogy I gave at the service:

Granddad's eulogy )
1ngi: (Default)
2017-04-23 01:59 pm
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V concerned that the cat is broken.

After having an enema under sedation last Weds, Parsley was then given an injection to help with constipation and we've been dosing him with lactolase twice a day. No sign of poo. At all. For 4 days. He's got progressive renal failure and pancreatitis so I know that things are dicey. He's lost half a kilo in a month as well. He's still got some appetite but he was too weak to get up into his favourite chair last night so I lifted him in. He managed to jump up to the windowsill this morning though. He's not in the distress he was on Wednesday but I can only imagine it's a matter of time. So I will take him to the vets first thing in the morning. Keep wanting to cuddle him but that will just bother him.
UPDATE: He's ok for now. Vet has injected him again and we're to watch for another couple of day. Thank you for your lovely kind messages.
1ngi: (Default)
2017-04-23 01:06 am
Entry tags:

Question meme via sfred

Are you named after someone?
I don't think so.

When was the last time you cried?
10 mins ago. I'm writing my Grandad's eulogy and I can manage about 10 mins before having to give up.

Do you like your handwriting?

What is your favourite lunch meat?
Sandwich filling? Tuna mayo with lemon and dill.
Read more... )
1ngi: (Default)
2017-04-16 08:59 pm
Entry tags:

Menopause on pause


Which roughly translated means after 149 days after the last period (some time back in November) we has period. Of course you wanted to know this. 

Stomach cramps *and* hot flashes? Oh do fuck off.

Have not got dressed today. Spent the day in my dressing gown playing Samorost 3. Finished it. Downloaded Machinerium.

Thank goodness that chocolate is in plentiful supply. 
1ngi: (Default)
2017-04-10 11:00 pm

Shwmae Pawb! Turning this thing on again and some cheese...

 So I am reactivating this account - that I never properly used and I'm finding a bit hard to drive. While it is sad that LJ is being abandoned, I am suddenly hopeful that a bit of a blogging revival might happen. Which would be wonderful because I'm finding other bits of the internet festering pools of unbearableness at the moment. I understand that this is a common sentiment.

And today marks 9 years since [personal profile] sparrowsion and I were married. For the 3rd year running we went to Narberth and had delicious tapas lunch at Ultracomida with Kir Royales. Oddly we did not buy any of their cheese - which was a missed opportunity as we try and post-rationalise cheese into all our wedding anniversaries. Wool - we bought sheeps cheese, salt - well that was easy, and today was 'Copper' so I had planned to buy blue cheese but we didn't in the end. However we did have some Orsau Iraty in the fridge and managed to plough through 2/3rds of it, 

I'll give blogging here at bit of a go for a while. I take it future posts being friends locked would be wise?
1ngi: (looks a *bit* like me)
2017-04-10 06:27 pm

End of era, moving to DW

Hi, afraid I can't stay here. I am the same name in the other place. Currently wrangling the electronic version of packing up the tea chests. If we're friends here or in real life please do the granting access thingy. I'll do likewise. Perhaps we'll post more too. XXX
1ngi: (looks a *bit* like me)
2016-07-02 07:34 pm
Entry tags:

‘A prayer following the EU referendum'

Sheffield Cathedral

This last 3 weeks I have been on a trip to Sheffield. In part it was to take a break for myself and I could have taken it anywhere but I chose Sheffield so that I could do local history research for my new project ‘My Darling Janie’; the story of the love letters of my great great grandparents courting in Sheffield in the 1870s.

What it became was not only a chance to discover my family past but one to firm up friendships and reconnect with my living family in the shape of my maternal grandfather (who is still with us at 97) and my paternal cousin, who I had not seen for over 30 years.
I was made in Sheffield... )
1ngi: (looks a *bit* like me)
2016-01-04 08:51 pm

On confronting my own autism

"I've done such a great job at pretending to be normal that nobody really believes that I have Asperger’s”

I’ve been a keen observer of Asperger folk for many years. I’ve even prided myself on being a bit of an Aspie-whisperer with loved ones and colleagues. I’ve been a Henrick to a Saga, a Leonard to a Sheldon, a Watson to a Sherlock. I’m married to a wonderful person who is on the ASD spectrum - our relationship of 10 years has been the source of some of the happiest days of my life but our communication difficulties mean that we regularly confront painful times.

This weekend I had perhaps one of the biggest emotional meltdowns I’ve ever had - to the point of being unable to function properly for several days. However, I hid most of it from everyone around me. All they say was me being unwell, in pain and unable to come along to social functions.Read more... )
1ngi: (gardening)
2015-12-24 06:57 pm

Happy Christmas

Didn't manage to get the decorations up this year but did do a little bit of faff with some narcissi and some fairy lights :) Here's hoping that 2016 will be a good year for you and yours xxx
1ngi: (gardening)
2015-09-07 04:38 pm
Entry tags:

Would you like to buy our house? (shiny pics!)

Sadly due to health, but also a desire to live nearer my family in the next town, we have put our lovely house and holiday let on the market: http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/37996330?search_identifier=96c4e501594701baba4f04d0aaa5ba06

If you know anyone who wants to live the Rural Dream, our place on the western edge of the Brecon Beacons might just suit them, please let them know :) Thank you!
1ngi: (gardening)
2015-07-02 07:02 pm
Entry tags:

Update and plans for downsizing...

I want to write my heart out on a page, lay out my fears and joys and name them.

Realise some painful truths... )
Trying to find a new dream... )
1ngi: (days out)
2015-04-26 01:51 pm

Trying out creative retreats at the holiday cottage

Seren Lofft
I am going to have a go at offering some one day art courses and creative mentoring at Seren Loft. I thought this might be a nice way to offer some extras that tie in with what I'm up to as well. So we'll see. Also just a reminder that I still offer a family and friends a 25% discount.
1ngi: (looks a *bit* like me)
2015-04-03 03:02 pm

Dare. Meet your new road.

First heard this song as a teenager and puzzled over the lyrics not really comprehending them in my heart, just loving the beautiful harmonies. Heard again today for the first time in years and suddenly I *know* what it means (for me). I can take the pebble from my shoe.

Where are you going?
Where are you going?
Can you take me with you?
For my hand is cold
And needs warmth
Where are you going?

Far beyond where the horizon lies
Where the horizon lies
And the land sinks into mellow blueness
Oh please, take me with you

Let me skip the road with you
I can dare myself
I can dare myself
I'll put a pebble in my shoe
And watch me walk (watch me walk)
I can walk and walk!
(I can walk!)

I shall call the pebble Dare
I shall call the pebble Dare
We will talk, we will talk together
We will talk (chorus) about walking
Dare shall be carried
And when we both have had enough
I will take him from my shoe, singing:
"Meet your new road!"
Then I'll take your hand
Finally glad
Finally glad
That you are here
By your side/By my side

By your side/By my side
By your sideBy my side
By your side/By my side

(Peggy Gorden/Jay Hamburger)
1ngi: (art)
2015-02-17 08:03 pm

Caving in.

Iago by Grace Petrie

You know that I'm my own worst enemy
Always trying to wreck what's right in front of me
Doesn't mean that I don't understand
That everytime I force your gentle hand
To come and comfort me
I make myself your enemy

So lay me down my darling
In your bed
You lay my demons all to rest

But there's Iago sitting on my shoulder
Everytime I hold her
Telling me I'm never gonna make the grade
Telling me I'm stupid
Kinda self deluded
If I think I've got my happy ending made

And everytime he calls it ends up in a fall
He stands there and he doesn't help me at all
Sometimes I think that I'm
Just running out of time
Just heading for the crime
When I let myself break my heart with my own two hands
Put a bullet in the head of the great romance of my life
And I know that Iago
Will be the only one left alive

Sometimes I just don't have the energy
To be the things I'm meant to be
But everytime you take me in your arms
It's like you drown out the alams
Going off inside of me
Nothing but serenity, yeah

So lay me down my darling
In your bed
You lay my demons all to rest

But there's Iago sitting on my shoulder
Everytime I hold her
Telling me I'm never gonna make the grade
Telling me I'm stupid
Kinda self deluded
If I think I've got my happy ending made

And everytime he calls it ends up in a fall
He stands there and he doesn't help me at all
Sometimes I think that I'm
Just running out of time
Just heading for the crime
When I let myself break my heart with my own two hands
Put a bullet in the head of the great romance of my life
And I know that Iago
Will be the only one left alive

He'll be the only one left alive
He'll be the only one left alive
You know that I'm my own worst enemy

1ngi: (looks a *bit* like me)
2015-01-27 01:18 am
Entry tags:

Building bridges.

"Sacrifice" Björk

Why can't you give her room?
Respect her spatial needs.
I feel you compress her
Into a small space.

With clairvoyance,
She knew what you needed,
And gave it to you.
Now her desires are repressed;
Arrows in the flesh

When she found your love,
Her nature bowed her head;
She surrendered,
She renounced the world for you,
Now she's poisoned by demands
You cannot answer.

Why this sacrifice?
Now she regrets the whole thing,
A delayed reaction
When she left her craft voluntarily
For your nest, for your love.
Did you understand?

Build a bridge to her.
Initiate a touch
Before it's too late,
Say the words to her
That will make her shine.

Tell her that you love her.

Your generosity will show
In the volume of her glow.
1ngi: (looks a *bit* like me)
2014-11-16 06:24 pm

When life gives you squash make Squashyoffee Pie

Look what we grewed!

In the relatively new tradition of my pudding mash ups, this is my take on Banoffee Pie (without the bananas) via a nod to Pumpkin Pie. This came about because I was making a special meal for when my Ma-in-Law visited and her favourite pudding is Banoffee Pie, however, my best beloved will not even allow bananas in the house. Butternut squash makes a far superiour pumkin pie than actual pumkins in my opinion and so I got to thinking about combining the two.

Borrowing heavily from Jamie Oliver’s quick Banoffee Pie recipe, I made the adaptations as follows.

1 pie crust (store bought or in my case made from scratch as I am gluten free)
Half a medium butternut squash (the straight bit not the bit with the seeds in)
100ml milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp caster sugar
300ml cream
1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp water
100g block dark chocolate

Cut the squash in quarters lengthways. Place in a roasting tin slicked with 3/4 tbsp of water skin side up and roast for 20 mins at 180C. You want them nice and soft. Allow to cool and remove the skins.
Blitz the squash with the milk, spices and salt until smooth.
In a pan over high heat melt the caster sugar. Don’t stir it, just swirl it gently in the pan until it goes a dark caramel colour
Add the squash milk mixture to the caramel - which will suddenly go toffee like. Don’t worry just keep, stirring until the toffee melts back into the mixture.
Pour into the pie case and freeze for 20 minutes (or leave in the fridge for a couple of couple of hours)
Whip cream and then swirl the coffee into it to make ripples and spoon it on top of the pie.
Make chocolate shavings - scrape a sharp knife at 45 degrees across the chocolate towards you. Sprinkle over the cream

(I’m still figuring out if I can make this dairy free - but finding an acceptable alternative is ongoing. I could make the squash caramel and then assemble it as a dairy-free ice-cream sundae layer thingy.)
1ngi: (gardening)
2014-07-11 02:07 pm
Entry tags:

Introducing 'Cranouti'! (Cranachan flavoured Clafoutis)


This mad idea popped into my head last night and I was completely surprised as to how lovely it was - the Auld Alliance in food-form. The basic recipe is from the blueberry version from River Cottage (which is also wonderful). I put in extra egg yolks because I'm dairy free and missing a bit of richness, and that made things creamier. The oatmeal was my big worry but it turned out to do something interesting - it sank to the bottom, toasted on the underside of the flan and formed a base that the wobbly deliciousness was sitting on. Self-made flan-case for the win! The whisky was present as an aromatic and the honey took the edge off the sharpness of the raspberries. I believe that the Islay-style whisky (I used Ardbeg, which was in the most memorable Chranachan I ate in their distillery 'Old Kiln' cafe on holiday in Islay) and the Colonsay honey really made it. You have to try this - it was SO good!

1 punnet of raspberries (Anywhere between 225-400g works fine)
1 tbs heather honey
1 measure of an Islay whisky
¼ tsp vanilla extract
50g flour*
25g oatmeal + 1 tsp for topping
100g caster sugar
3 large eggs beaten
250ml milk*
Icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 25cm baking dish really well, scatter in the raspberries and drizzle them with honey.

Whisk together milk, whisky + vanilla.

Mix the flour and caster sugar together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre  and add the eggs. Gradually combine the flour and the eggs from the outside of the well, mixing well, then beat in milk mixture a little at a time.

Pour the batter over the fruit, sprinkle over a little oatmeal, and bake in the oven for 35 mins until golden. It puffs up and then collapses a bit when you take it out but that's normal. Do not eat it hot, it's best luke-warm or even cold. Dust with icing sugar. It's lovely on its own but I should imagine adding a little cream would complete the Chranachan picture.

Gluten free + dairy free notes
* I used Doves g/f flour no trouble
**I use dairy free fine (my fave is Koko) - but add 3 egg yolks for richness and make up to 250ml.