Thursday, 30 May 2013

GeogSoc Brownies

MrsM wakes to the sun streaming through the gaps in her bedroom curtains. "Today is the day!" she thinks "Today is the day to make the famous GeogSoc Brownies."  She leaps out of bed and is in her kitchen in the twinkling of an eye. Dark chocolate! White chocolate! A tray of raspberries! Everything is present and correct and she is ready to start.

There is much melting of chocolate, beating of eggs and sifting of flour - it is all very satisfying.  Soon the kitchen is filled with delicious chocolatey smells and MrsM wonders why she does not bake before breakfast more often. The brownies take slightly longer to cook than the recipe states but they are out of the oven in plenty of time to take to work.

MrsM looks at the tray of chocolatey goodness and realises that if she gives them all to the Exams officers they will probably both have heart attacks before the exam period is finished. For their own wellbeing and to ensure that the exam process is unaffected she sends an email out to the Department announcing the opportunity to sample the famous GeogSoc brownies. After five minutes MrsM remembers that she has not taken a photograph of the brownies. Alas, it is too late - they are all gone - only a few crumbs remain


This recipe was given to me by Ally, a finalist who is a very talented baker. Can you see that she customised the recipe card? Isn't that lovely!

The GeogSoc brownies feature in this post and are particularly delicious because the raspberries cut the sweetness of the chocolate. Next time I make this recipe I will use a larger, shallower tin and I estimate that the cooking in my oven will be 40 mins at 160 fan. If you use a 20cm by 20cm tin as in the recipe you will need to cook for up to an hour. Use a cocktail stick and test a corner section because this is most likely to be baked  first and the stick should come out clean - this will give you an idea what the centre should look and feel like when you test with the stick.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

jelly bean therapy


Who ate all the jelly beans?
I thought we shared everything
That doesn't apply to jelly beans.


Oh! Lots of jelly beans!
Leave them alone
They are mine!
I thought we shared everything
You said that didn't apply
to jelly beans.

The memory of MrM's disappointed face
remains with MrsM
as she carefully constructs her
her innovative analysis
of the vivid colour spectrum
of the neo-Impressionists.

When she has finished taking photos
MrsM selects her favourite colours
and then gives the rest to MrM
thereby demonstrating a courageous
deconstructionist response
to her artistic environment.

Apologies if you were expecting
a detailed exposition
of the history of my relationship to
'The Red Beach' by Matisse
or a profound statement on
the human struggle against adversity.

It's not that sort of blog.

*** for Jen ***

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

peaceful days

My greatest luxury is breakfast in the sunshine.

A jug of orange juice, a bowl of fruit salad,
some warm hot cross buns from the freezer.

The lazy sound of bees and purr of a visiting cat.

The fresh blue of shirts hung out to dry.

The fragrance of a thyme plant on the table.

There is no rush - everything else can wait.

Peaceful days like these are hard earned
and not a moment should be wasted.

Friday, 24 May 2013

what a time it was

Is it really over two years ago
that I wrote to you from Nerja?
I looked back at the photos today,
amazed to find that time had passed so quickly.

The first year students I accompanied
have become good friends now
who drop by my office to tell me their news.

They will be sitting their last exam today,
celebrating, sleeping,
going to job interviews
and then packing up to leave.

It will be hard to let them go.
Very hard.


“No matter how much time passes,
no matter what takes place in the interim,
there are some things we can never assign to oblivion,
memories we can never rub away.”

Haruki Murakami
Kafka on the Shore

Thursday, 23 May 2013


... in South Africa
Cheeky the little red car
has gone to the Great Scrapyard
after an encounter with the bottom of a ditch.
Thankfully nobody was hurt.

MrsM thinks that there are times
when it is very hard
to be a long distance mother
and distracts herself with a new iPod

MasterM send photos of his new car,
Sifiso the Night Warrior,
watching the sunset in the mountains.

Who is Sifiso named after?
Sifiso Myeni the famous footballer
or Sifiso Nhlapo the BMX star?

but Sifiso Nhlapo says that
the most important person
in his life is
his mum.
I respect that.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Zen Bowl

I'm sensing an energetic imbalance of chakras
in the blogging community right now
leading to feelings of dissatisfaction
and a subtle form of anxiety.

I'm going to let you all
peek into my Zen Bowl
to help you liberate yourselves
from negative conditioning.

I hope that has helped you centre your beingness.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Dear Universe,

London, 1593

Cartographer : John Norden
Engraver : Pieter van den Keere


Today went a bit off plan.
I had to retire to bed.
Which was annoying.
Tomorrow had better be better.
Or I will be cross.
Just sayin'.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sea Breeze ✔

Sunday Lunch

MrsM admires her freshly scrubbed table
and the artistic placement of the thyme plant.
MrM complains that he can't see anything
because of the 'bush' in the middle of the table.

MrsM moves the thyme plant aside
with only a small sigh of artistic despair
because she is feeling delightfully relaxed
after drinking her sea breeze cocktail.

Check out this Summer Greens soup
(spinach, peas and edame beans)
with artisan bread from Hambleton Bakery.

Healthy - no?

An afternoon of gardening is ahead
but first MrsM will make the most of the sunshine
and have a long blink.

Life could be worse.


I have been reading Megan
at 'the scent of water' for several years.
She takes wonderful, inspiring photos
and writes with great honesty
but then she stopped, or so I thought.
It turns out that my Google Reader
was not picking up the feed for some reason
but Megan had not stopped writing,
in fact she has started writing every day.
Only a few bloggers choose to write every day
and I know what a challenge it is -
so I am glad that I discovered her again,
and can be witness to her journey.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Doris, Rudolph and Edna

It was a wet and windy day in May
and MrsM sat down to write her list

"10 things to do this summer!"

Drink a Sea Breeze cocktail
Have a picnic on a boat
Swim in the sea

Enter a cake competition in a village fete
Grill halloumi cheese
Go to an outdoor theatre event

Go to the zoo with Miss Maisie
Use nasturtium flowers in a salad
Watch cricket with MrM

Work out what on earth
I am going to wear
to the GeogSoc Boat Party.

A little tiny wave
to our lovely friend Cathy of Menopausal Musing.
She is not blogging at the moment
because she is Very Busy
but I hope she will enjoy this post.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Bento #8

Stand by your beds
it's Bento time!

Can we can get any madder?
Or more extravagant?
Yes we can!

Dressed crab salad.
And why not?

< Don't lick the computer screen... >

Goats cheese with cranberry and hazelnut toast
and a golden oregano leaf.
Because coriander is so last week.

Red fruit salad with free range raspberries.
No expense spared around here.

I am eating this with Blogless Andrea
who sent me this link about sock knitting.
Willow pattern socks!
What's not to like?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

MrsM and the Picture Framer

MrsM takes her new prints to the Picture Framer
and lays them out for his approval.
The Picture Framer selects some frame samples
and they start the negotiations.

The Picture Framer likes frames with features.
MrsM prefers simple frames.
MrsM picks a distressed white wood
and the Picture Framer puffs his disapproval.
It is too deep, too wide.

The Picture Framer displays
a grey frame with a contrast black line.
MrsM purses her lips.

The Picture Framer concedes
and offers an off white frame.
MrsM accepts graciously
and allows him to choose the mount.

A week later MrsM collects the pictures
and the Picture Framer says gloomily
'It's very difficult to hang in a line,
I expect you will spend all day
trying to get them straight.'

MrsM tries to look modest
because hanging pictures in a line
is her secret super power.


These prints are by Tom Frost,
a talented young illustrator based in Bristol.
I bought them from St Jude's Prints

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

an everyday miracle

As I left campus tonight I saw a Chinese student standing under an apple tree. She was looking upwards into the blossom as though she was seeing it for the first time. There was a stillness, a total absorption in the moment, and I had the sense that she was seeing in exquisite detail the delicate shades of pink, the curves of the petals, the bright stamens. It may be that this student has never seen apple blossom before but this year after such a long winter I think we have all felt wonder and gratitude for these everyday miracles.