Saturday, 30 January 2016

A Year of Marvellous Ways and More

 Since my last post about setting up an online book club (which seems to be popular with  a few, so watch this space!) I finished reading possibly one of the most beautiful stories I have ever come across.

I stumbled across this book in Waterstones and was drawn to the front cover (I know, how shallow!). Reading the blurb on the back I was not initially taken by it, but skipping through the first couple of pages I saw some potential so treated myself. 

Wow am I glad I did! 

This book opened up a whole new genre I'd never even thought of, 'Magical Realism'. Doesn't that just sound amazing? I would say it describes my general state of mind in day to day life; real, but slightly off in its own little world..... anyway.....

So, if your a reader who likes a story then I'd say perhaps you might struggle with the development of this plot line. It skims in and out of now and then, this person to that person and creates a real diverse tale of the characters lives that only really makes sense at the end.

When I read the title of this story I thought it meant a year of wonderful events, but no. Marvellous Ways is a PERSON! She's an old lady who lives in a gypsy caravan on the banks of cove with a floating church and boat house. She's so connected to the earth when she breathes it sounds like the wind in the trees, when she smiles the flowers blossom and her laughter sounds like bird song- how very poetic of me!

The story of her life is told in snippets of her story telling and why she is the way she is, why people have found her and why she believes she's a mermaid.

There are some truly beautiful one liners and quotes that make you want to grab a pen and some pretty paper, write them down and give them as gifts to loved ones. 

If you want to discover a new way of reading and learn a little about yourself, read this. I promise you wont regret it.

So what now?

 Well I'm glad you asked because two beauties of books turned up on my doorstep today, these being the quirky cartoon creation by Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown from Harry Potter) 'Love Sick'. Basically this is going to be a pick up and flick through as I please book, its full of doodles by Jessie that express her feelings towards love, life, friends and the general things that we ponder everyday but don't share. 

 My next 'reading' book is 'The Versions of Us' by Laura Barnett. I can't wait to get into this! It was suggested after I added A Year of Marvellous Ways to my read section on goodreads. The blurb tells me its based on a couple and the development (or not) of their relationship set in the 1960's, but there are three different versions of this based on the events that occur (something to do with a rusty nail?!?)....Ooooo!!

Anyway my reading window is calling, the Ercol Daybed looks inviting and my big, chunky knit pink cardi beckons me. I have shopping to do, uni work to research, work out to do and a shower to have. But for the next hour this where you'll find me:

P.S, come find me on goodreads: Kim Flisher

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Trying to get my head round this blogging thing.......

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Book Club?

 If- like me- you think you spend way too much time on social media sites looking at pointless quizzes that tell you what colour/animal/element/tree/any other obscure object you are, or know more about your colleagues Aunties ex husband than is more than decently respectable, then perhaps you would be interested in this idea?

For  a while I've been toying with the idea of setting up a 'little library' which is basically a box full of books stuck in the middle of a town or village where people can pick up a book and donate their own, thus creating a little society of book readers sharing their old and unwanted books. However this is expensive and you always run the risk of either people misusing it or vandalising it.

 So instead.....

Shall we set up an online version? 

 Create a facebook group where people can display the books they would be happy to swap with another member? All personal details would be kept between the swappers and no money would exchange hands? All postage would be paid for (if posting) by the individuals?

 I have a ton of books that I have read to death and would love to give away to people who I know would enjoy them as much as I have. They are well thumbed, mostly not new, but books are not destined to stay shelf perfect. They are meant to be loved by many- what's the point in reading an amazing story and then keeping it to yourself?

 So this is me testing the waters. Let me know if you fancy taking part and I will keep you updated on any progress. 

 I think it would be a wonderful way to encourage people away from social media and the mind numbing nothingness it creates.

 I hope you do too :)

A (VERY) small collection of the books I would like to share, wouldn't it be great to explore the different genres of books you never thought you'd enjoy until you were given the chance to swap and explore?

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Lazy Friday

 Being a student I like to take advantage of having free time when everyone else is hard at work (I'd like to add that I DO work hard, but as a student nurse my timetable is all over the place) and go to the places that are usually mega busy at weekends but fairly quiet weekdays. It's not that I'm not sociable (well not entirely!) I just like to take my time and not feel rushed.

 So yesterday me, my friend and her freshly baked baby (sqeeee!) decided to treat ourselves tea and lunch at the local Tearoom. 

The Cosy Kettle sits on the main through road in Hamstreet and (oddly) has a tattoo studio above it. It's just as well they don't serve alcohol as I can imagine some badly made tattoo related decisions may be made ;)

I love that they serve the milk in tiny milk bottles, I would have absolutely no use for them at home but that doesn't stop me wanting a couple!

I decided on a root vegetable soup, served in a rather snazzy pot. It was delicious and I must admit I'm quite keen to have a go at making my own.

They also have a little shop, selling local homemade bits and bobs, they did little packages that contained everything you needed to make your own goody which I will remember for birthdays!

 It was a really lovely couple of hours and I would highly recommend the Cosy Kettle if you ever visit the Romney Marsh. They make and sell their own (AMAZING!!) cakes, cookies and milkshakes, but after all that tea and soup I couldn't handle a mighty slice of chocolate fudge..... gives me an excuse to return though ;)

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Soup and Cozy Evening's

Today I got my soup on and I thought I'd share with you this super easy, yet super tasty recipe that never fails to hit the spot on a cold winters day complete with a chunk of crusty warm bread.

You will need:
2 red onions (sliced)
10 Sage leaves
2 stalks of celery (chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1/2 a red chili (deseeded and chopped)
2 chicken or veg stock cubes
1 squash -my favourite is chestnut, but butternut will do (chopped but not peeled! Love your skins!)
5 bacon rashers if you fancy (sliced)
Olive oil, salt and pepper

Using a BIG saucepan fry the bacon (if you want to use it) and sage leaves in the oil for 5 minutes before adding the onions, garlic, chili and celery and continue frying until soft (about 10 minutes).

 Season with salt and pepper then add the squash (this can be abit of a squeeze if the saucepan isn't big enough), plop the stock cubes in 1 and 1/2 pints of boiling water to dissolve and pour into saucepan.

 Cover and simmer for half an hour until squash is squishy, then blitz the living daylights out of it with a blender (mine is a hand held, but a 'posh' one will work too!). 

 Pour into bowls (serves a hungry 4) and serve with chunky bread, warmed, with butter.


 This also keeps for around 3 days in the fridge if you can't handle all of it in one sitting.

  This is my favourite soup to make and eat, its very thick and satisfying and I've had alot of people asking for the recipe.

 After all of that hard soup making, I'm sitting down with a cup of tea and a good book in my cosy living room. 

I hope your evening is just as relaxing!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Stress is not my friend

 The past two weeks have pushed my stressed limits to breaking point. Two 3000 word essays and a maths exam with a pass grade of 100%- all due within 2 days of each other. 

 I'll admit I'm not the most organised of people, things get jumbled up and muddled round in my head until I struggle to distinguish between what I have done, meant to have done and what else needs doing. 

 I broke down last week when my laptop wouldn't connect to the Internet. It was such a little thing, all that needed doing was a reboot of said laptop to make things tiptop again. But at that moment in time it was the straw that broke the camels back:

 'I can't do it'

 'I don't understand'

 'Everyone will be disappointed in me'

'I'm never going to be a nurse'

 Today was due day, the EXAM that requires 100% pass....... a MATHS EXAM! I don't think you need me to elaborate on how crap I am with numbers, but let's just say I'd rather face a room full Katie Hopkins (yuck) than walk through the doors of a numeracy exam.

 But something happened before I set off on my commuter train to London. My farmer man gifted me with a treat. A harmonica! I've wanted one since Christmas when I got a cheapy one as a joke present and really enjoyed making tunes on it. It cheered me up no end and made me stop being a moaning Molly and start being a positive Polly :)

 If I've passed these essays and exams or not, it's not the end of the world and it's certainly not going to hold me down. 

Stay positive. Stay happy.


Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Little Things

 Today has been rather wonderful:

I finished the essays I have been writing and agonising over for the past month
I woke up warm- a difficult thing to do in a Rayburn heated house
I went for ANOTHER run (my running shoes are going to go on protest soon)
I planted the Daff bulbs gave me for Christmas
And I spent time outside feeling lucky.

 The picture really doesn't do the view justice. It was stunning- even my car and feeding trough couldn't spoil it, although the sheep which would have really added to it were not interested in a photo shoot.

I'm not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination, but I just about handled potting these Daff bulbs- yes I know it's a tad late, but hopefully sitting in the window will encourage them to bloom even if it is a little later.
Neither me nor my farmer man can quite believe how GREEN everything is right now. Usually this time of year is very grey and dull. However the fields and our garden are growing like crazy and the grass needs cutting of all things!!
 It's days like these that are important for me to store in my memory bank, because living on a farm in winter is hard; its cold, muddy, windy, dark and just very grim at times. I look forward to the sun every year as it transforms not only the farm, animals and activity, but also my positivity. 
 I hope that where ever you are you take the time to find a slice- no matter how small- of the bright moments among the murky. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Your Escape

 The latest edition of Molly Makes:

 If there was ever a magazine that you could open the pages and step into, this would be my choice. It's beautiful photos full of pastel creations, quirky ideas and twee craft rooms are my escape.

 I escape from the housework and essay writing to visit the world that I so desperately want to be apart of, but lack the needle and paint skills to do so. Oh I've got ALL the ideas, but they're stuck in my head, they wont trickle down my neck, through my arms and into my fingers. 

 Training to be a nurse my routine is very rigid, as is the job I do. No room for error, creativity has no place apart from how to administer a funky tasting medicine to a reluctant 2 year old! So you see, this is my little slice of a life I would have been apart of had I chosen a different path. 

 What's your escape? Reading? Writing? Dancing? I love hearing about what inspires people.

Running Sunrise

 You know those people who claim that they 'enjoy' running, well don't tell anyone but I think they may be  telling porkies! Don't get me wrong I understand the whole release of endorphins as a result of increased heart rate and use of muscle, I've felt that and I know it's a real kick to feel that you've done something good for your body. But the continuous movement that running involves is just, well- boring!!

 Dance exercise, yoga, swimming, trampolining, football, tennis... they all give you variety, you can spice it up abit. But running: Right arm, left leg- left arm, right leg, and repeat. All you have to do is look at long distance runners on the TV: their faces screwed up in what (to me) looks like pain, sweat dripping down their face, gulping in great big lung fulls of air, grunting with effort and when they cross the finish line they practically collapse into a coma!


Having said that. I went for a run the other morning!

 I did the NHS couch to 5k last year after doing no more than running a few meters to catch the odd train -and nearly dying in the process! I would like to say that I enjoyed it, I didn't. I did it because I'm a stubborn individual who wouldn't admit defeat. Ever since I've tried (and mostly failed) to do a 5k run a week to keep up my stamina and beat my personal best time (30 minutes). 

 The ONLY good thing about going for a run where I live is the scenery. It's beautiful and this particular run produced some amazing views,

 It was 7am on a very chilly and frosty morning when I crawled out of bed and put on my running gear. It was just starting to get light as I left the house and the birds greeted me as I squelched out the field. It was a tad nippy, but after a 5 minute warm up walk I barely felt the bite of the wind. 

 I ran without music, normally I have some sort of poppy or clubby tune to get me motivated and pace myself too. But today I felt the harsh music would tarnish the stillness of my surrounds and muddy the experience with Rudimental crooning in both ears.

 I watched as the sun came up over the horizon and cast shadows over ploughed fields and gave the sparse grass a vibrant shine. It made a lovely change to be greeted by the sun, instead of the rain that seems to be hanging round like a bad smell these days.

 I was surprised by how quick the murky purple haze of dawn gave way to the beautiful bright yellow that has the ability to turn any dour mood into a sing song number of a musical. 

 The sheep certainly seemed to enjoy the new warmth that was bouncing around the field, this is probably because they have been trudging round a muddy field, bogged down by their damp, heavy fleeces for a good 3 weeks now. 

 I maintain that I did not enjoy the process of this run, I was a hot sweaty mess (not an attractive one!) by the time I got home and for the next two days my legs will remind me that they also did not enjoy being pounded against tarmac so early in the morning. 

 Hope you enjoyed this little post and it inspires you to get out there and explore the surrounding countryside (you don't have to run!), with a very polite reminder to close the gates you open into sheep fields ;)

Thursday, 7 January 2016

My Home

They say Home is where the Heart is, and with me that is most certainly true. I love where I live, even in this gloriously English weather I STILL love it.

 Yes, at the moment it's slightly more than damp, the wind bounces down the chimney creating the illusion a giant is stomping around outside and it's cold, so cold infact that the ice is on the INSIDE of the glass. But it's my home and with not a main road, town or shop within 5 miles it's my silent piece of (muddy) heaven. 

As I said- it's wet! To get to my house you need to park in the sheep field and walk across the bridge over the ditch. Most of the time this isn't a problem, but with all the rain we've had the water is getting ever closer to the wooden planks and (not for the first time) the bridge may well just float off. Wonderful!

Around October/November last year we had the most bountiful mushroom harvest I have ever seen since living here. They were everywhere and I didn't have to wander to far from my house to pick enough to make soup! I had to clean the sheep poo off them and double check that they were harmless field mushrooms rather than the sinister stomach crippling kind that also grow in abundance all over the farm.

 In summer the Romney Marsh is like no other place, the lambs from spring are full of energy and you can watch them frantically play on the banks of the field before they scamper back off to Mum for a well deserved milk stop. The crop fields look lush (hopefully!) with their produce whatever it may be: wheat, barley, oats, peas, and the wildlife they bring is beautiful. Butterflies of all different colours, dragonflies, ladybirds, the odd kingfisher zipping past near the sewer and the hares gracefully loping between bales.  Summer days normally involve picnic lunches in the garden or some far flung field somewhere on the farm, bike rides along the long, (thankfully) flat roads to the beach or canal and twilight bbqs where the moths dance around the candles in jars. 

 Of course, living on a farm its not all play. There are still animals to feed and a far few more as lambing happens in spring and most years we lamb at least 600. The hours I've spent in a tractor (both willingly and..... slightly less enthusiastically) going up and down fields with my boyfriend or on my own is something I both enjoy and dread- as beautiful as it is it gets a little boring after the first 4 hours! 

This is my favourite tractor, she's a little rusty and dusty, but she's loyal.

 Living on a farm has it's ups and downs in almost equal measure. I've learnt that sometimes the hard way is the best, to appreciate things others may take for granted (hot water is the most glorious thing on this planet!) and to stop and evaluate what your actually lucky enough to be doing rather than critically analysing it (sticking your hand up a ewes...well... to pull a lamb out isn't the most fun I've ever had, but WOW!).

So until next time, enjoy.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

An Idea

I had an idea the other day.

 It happened when I was drifting off to sleep on my 05:26 commuter train to London. If you are- or have ever been- a commuter to London you will know well and understand the struggle that public transport brings to your  daily life and how the travel gods are all powerful in deciding your fate. Sometimes they will be kind and you will breeze onto your on time train with ease and be home in a timely fashion….. other days they are cruel and wicked, causing not only a signal failure but also a broken down train with a strike thrown in for good measure and you’ll be lucky to make it home at all!

 Overall, the average commuter has to make THAT choice: stay away from London and settle for average pay with average benefits but have a door to door commute of  about 5 minutes, or do the commute to the money and promotions but half your life expectancy with a long and stressful journey to and from work.
It’s a tricky one. It’s the one I made. You see I’m training to be a nurse and instead of training locally, I decided the education offered in some of the countries leading hospitals (in London) would look killer on my CV when it came to qualifying and getting a job locally. And it will, it’s just surviving the training, which thankfully will be all done and dusted in July next year (nearly there girl, nearly there).

So back to my idea….

 Sitting on that train, watching the fields slowly turn into villages, towns and eventually cities made me realise, I’m lucky. Really lucky. Some people commute from their small town house, maybe even their little village house. But me? I commute from a farm out in the middle of nowhere. My nearest neighbours wouldn’t be able to see me walking round my house stark naked even with a telescope (I hope!). My nearest shop is a good 10 minutes away by car and the town centre is so far away I rarely bother.

 I live in a place where privacy is a given, silence is the norm and peace is all around. It’s also a place where nobody would hear me scream, but that kinda spoils the image I’m going for!
I’m lucky enough to see (and normal partake if uni work isn’t too bad) the first lambs of the year, the first crop begin to germinate and (hopefully!) grow, the seasons changes in the many trees surrounding my house, the sun cast shadows in our fields that we overlook, the roaring sound of the combine kicking up dust as it thunders past. I get to enjoy those freezing cold walks over solid mud to find out where that sodding lamb has gone, the wet and windy struggle to retrieve fire wood from the pile, the blazing hot sun burning my (I’ll be honest) pale and freckly shoulders during shearing season, the hours spent in the tractor with my boyfriend going up and down, up and down a field and the evenings spent stacking the bales in the barn.

 I get to experience all of this yearly and I know others either don’t know or don’t understand the sheer hard work, sweat, blood (there is no escaping blood in my world!), stress and determination that comes from running a farm. I didn’t, I grew up in a town. It’s only from moving in with my farmer boyfriend 5 years ago that I now have a better idea of how and why our food goes from running around a field (sorry vegan/veggie friends!) to packed at Tesco.

 It is so important that people see and understand this side of our society. Farming was once the most important and most employed profession in the world, that’s easy to forget when you have your London commuter head on. Farming is what we were and it is fast becoming a dying profession, this can’t happen.

So my idea, is to share it with you. I’m not a farmer I just put up with one (ha!), but maybe this will allow me to present it in a way that is both understandable and enjoyable. I will tell you what the farm does from season to season in a growing and harvesting sense (both livestock and arable). And I will share with you the delights and hardships that come from living on a farm.
I hope you enjoy and I hope you learn something new every time I post. Starting with:
Ever wondered what the tags are for on the ears of livestock? One ear has the number of the farm the animal was born at, the other has the number of the animal- it’s ‘name’. You have to order these in for every animal you have. During lambing season some farms near ours can lamb 3000- that is a lot of ear tags and they’ve all got to find their way onto the ears of lambs when they are big enough!!

Until next time,

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