Because I Can!

Hello again! I’ve been absent from here for a while – not sure why just general busyness I guess. But today I have felt the urge to share my life with you again, perhaps because I am fresh from a new adventure – a January mini-break.

It all started last Monday when I got an email from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s  River Cottage offering short notice cookery courses at almost half price if we could do Friday. River Cottage HQ is not that far from us, about an hour and a half’s drive so it seemed feasible. On the whole we don’t really do spontaneity, partly because I am a huge believer in the idea that if you want to see / do something you should get on and book it rather than moan about the fact that you left it so late it was sold out. This proved to be the exception to our usual rule however so we booked the course and decided that rather than subject ourselves to an early morning, catch all the rush hours, sort of drive we would book into a B&B the night before. This proved to be a good call.

We left home in bright sunshine – a real change after several days of wet, gloomy weather and headed down to Lyme Regis where we took a brisk walk along the promenade enjoying views of the Jurassic Coast.

Then it was time to look for somewhere for lunch – not always easy in an out of season seaside resort. After finding a number of likely looking places shut we eventually stumbled on the delightful Aroma Cafe which had different and unusual sandwich combinations and mezze platters.

After lunch we explored further along the coast including the delightful fishing village of Beer (I was last here as a small child on holiday with my parents) before heading off to our Air B&B for the night.

Next morning it was off to River Cottage HQ where we warmed ourselves by the log burner in a wooden hut while waiting to board the tractor and trailer for a ride down to the farm – the view was stunning

On arrival we were greeted with a coffee and a delicious snack and then it was straight into breadmaking, followed by creating a Boeuf en Daube, then filleting and cooking Lyme Bay flounder for our lunch.

After lunch we baked our bread, made rough puff pastry which we turned into delicious apple tarts, saw a demo of making fish stock and for those who had the appetite left tried our casseroles with some delicious polenta flavoured with goats’ cheese. Any leftovers were packed up to take home.

Really a description of the dishes we made doesn’t do the day justice  –  Andy our chef tutor was giving valuable hints and tips all day and it was interesting to learn how some of the basic thinking about traditional dishes has changed since I started cooking.

All too soon it was time to pack up and go, after tasting our main course which was delicious  – packed full of flavour! I have to say I was absolutely exhausted after being on my feet for the best part of seven and a half hours, but very happy with the day. Watching the beautiful sunset as we rode up the hill in the trailer was the icing on the cake!

I guess the point of all this is that being retired offers you the possibility of taking advantage of opportunities that come along. That said it’s all too easy to stick to your familiar rut, whatever that may be. Its good to be alert to opportunities – they come along more often than you might think and rather than immediately put them in the ‘too difficult’ box really consider whether taking advantage of them will prove to be life enhancing.  This can often be a case of following your initial gut reaction before all the ‘should’ and ‘would’ gremlins get in on the act. Try it and see!

“Intuition is seeing with the soul.”
Dean Koontz

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