this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


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Aaaaatishoooooo!

I wish sneezing would banish mosquitoes from around me! I have sustained five bites overnight in the most aggravating way. I hate waking up to the evidence that something has taken a leisurely stroll down my leg, sucking my blood. Gross and totally uncalled for if you ask me. All I ever did was aggressively exact revenge on two of your species in the past week with my slipper *thwack*! That is no justice for the total of ten bites and counting… An average of one per day. Grrrrr!

The crazy thing is, mosquitoes are totally out of season here right now. But this year’s weather has been out of kilter all around the world it seems. I’ve seen news of more flooding in the UK. I hope everyone is ok back in good ol’Blighty?

I thought I’d post a cheerful photo to help make the lemons easier to swallow. I flew Virgin Atlantic last week and was given a mini tube of Love Hearts as we were preparing for landing. I do dislike long haul flights and would not choose to take them if I had the choice. But I do find marketing and consumer psychology interesting!

image

I’m not adverse to allowing myself to appreciate the quintessentially British style that Virgin employs. No milky coloured pile of mints for them on the approach to your destination. Just some playful and nostalgic (if you’re a Brit) compensation for having suffered the discomfort of embedding your knees into the passenger in front for the last eternity.

And my last Love Heart is a message for you this week. Framed by my favourite pen to travel with. My fun Muji 5-colour plus pencil contraption (also somewhat nostalgic – did I ever mention that I love stationery?) Have a very blessed week, whatever you are facing.

I desperately miss home with its cold early evenings, frosty mornings, proper dark and neon light deficiency, easy accessibility to good cheese, strong black tea that goes well with milk, slightly less unpredictable weather and hibernating bitey things.

When you are away from where you call home, what do miss the most?

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All patriotic about food: fish & chips

Fish & Chips

Food is a powerful thing. It is so much more than just a combination of ingredients, flavours, aromas, calories and techniques. The food we eat is literally an inseparable part of us. Food is so important to who we are, our culture, and is integral to our concept of home. It can give us a sense of belonging or adventure, it can even be iconic.

The latter can definitely be said of one of my all time favourite things to eat, fish and chips. A much-loved British tradition for Friday nights which I try not to succumb to too regularly. According to a couple of my favourite TV foodies, the Hairy Bikers, an early English cookbook seems to suggest that my favourite deep fried goodness has early influences from the Jewish community of Whitechapel in East London. Lovely stuff.

A delectable feast from my local chippy never fails to cheer me up. The one near me serves generous pieces of fish in a delightfully light and crisp batter. Finding a good local fish and chip shop is a real exercise in trial and error, but once you have one, it’s like a good doctor – you want it to stay in very good health. When I lived in Hamburg, one of my favourite treats was a North German version from Daniel Wischer consisting of fish goujons served with a lovely dollop of Remoulade sauce. A taste of home, with a delicious twist I’d say. Eaten under familiarly grey skies, it went a long way to easing any homesickness.

Fish & ChipsThese days, I’ve taken to eating fish and chips with English mustard alongside some good old malt vinegar. I’m addicted to the bright yellow stuff. I must have good chunky chips, nice and soft on the inside but crispy-ish on the outside. And, why not throw in a battered sausage from time to time too…

A note for any visitors to our shores wanting to sample this wonderful meal, beware, a higher priced fish and chips does not indicate superior quality!

Door Keys


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All psyched up to go home

Last week, on my way home, I actually took a seat on the train. I was ill equipped to occupy myself in a useful way as usual, so I just sat and stared at random patterns and adverts.

About two stops into my journey, a man in his thirties or so got on. He had in-ear buds plugged in and tinny beats emanating from his head to the rest of the passengers. I suddenly realised that all the men in my section of the carriage, bar one, had their ears stopped up with various portable speakers. There were two other sets of nondescript ear buds. One young crisply suited male had a spotless almost glowing Beats by Dr. Dre halo clamping down on his ears. Another two had black-coloured headphones in a similar but less trendy style (the kind that could double up as ear-muffs). Another man slouched against one of the high seats at the end of the carriage, his head drooping as he dipped in and out of a fitful snooze.

My mind quickly referenced an article I had read recently about athletes training and psyching themselves up to motivational music. I wondered what these guys were getting ready for. The music did not seem generally to be of the kind that helps you to relax judging by the sounds from some of the headphones and the bouncing chins of the other wearers whose music I could not hear. (Notable exception could be the guy who was semi-conscious.)

(I must say I wouldn’t mind having one of these Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones for every Tube journey. I stepped foot in a Bose shop for the first time a couple of weeks ago out of curiosity, and recommend that anyone that has not tried these does so for the pure amazement value. Once you have experienced them, the attached price tag will no longer surprise you. I can imagine if I had a pair, every Tube journey in future would be like an out-of-body experience!)

That day’s observation did bring to mind the fact that there is a different story behind each person with whom I rub shoulders, literally or metaphorically, on my daily commute. We may all wear a similar uniform. We may even enjoy similar tastes in music. Each of us probably sports a familiar blank look as we meander home by various means. But we each go back to a different place and life can be very very different behind each door that we severally close behind us at the end of that journey.

Door KeysFor some, on the other side of the door is a refuge from the world. For others, to open that door is to leave a refuge behind for the night. For still others, the door opens a gaping hole of emptiness which envelops that person until he emerges again the next day. Then there are those we do not realise have no doors to journey to and live a expertly fabricated deception that we so readily believe. We can live so closely alongside one another, and yet, we can be such solitary souls.

I have no deep insights to offer on this trailing thought. I’ll try to remember to make lemonade and share it around while I know how. I am just glad that behind my closed door, I can open up this world here from time to time, and see your smiling and encouraging faces.