cake32.jpgI’m slowly realising that this grief thing is still really gripping me. I keep crying for Duke. How long til it passes? I’ve spent so many years studying psychology but I’ve never done anything on grief. Anyway, I’m trying to do things to distract myself and keep me cheerful. I took an American friend for a day in the Yorkshire Dales; the forecast bad weather never materialised and we had a great day, if a little too long – 170 miles. I think I need to plan my route more carefully next time. However, we visited the Black Sheep Brewery at Masham, the ruins of Jervaulx Abbey and the Roman road at the top of Wensleydale, and it was all beautiful.

American-English clashes 1: she says yarn, I say wool; I think of yarn as cotton and she thinks wool is the raw stuff straight off the sheep. Which it is, but still… Maybe the difference is in the intonation?

American-English clashes 2: I said I’d brought a flask and she thought she was being driven round by an alcoholic. Then I offered her some and she realised it was tea. Turns out the American for ‘flask of tea’ is ‘thermos’.

Also to cheer me up: cake making. One of my oldest friends was 40 on June 16, so I made two fabulous cakes. We’ve been friends since we started high school when we were 11, and she helps with my children and never appears to go off me, so she’s something amazing. I’ve never made these cakes before, but I am a pretty confident baker, and they both looked and tasted great. They’re in the pic at the top (I haven’t yet worked out how to embed them in the text, sorry); there’s a lemon meringue cake at the back, and a chocolate cloud cake at the front. Both are Nigella Lawson recipes.

 I also thought that more healthy eating may help my hormones to regulate themselves a bit better, so made a batch of Hot Tomato Soup from the WI cookbook. I’ve made it before, it’s easy and tastes wonderful. However this time I was out of fresh chillies so I used dried, and I waaay overestimated how much I needed. So today I had to make a second, unseasoned batch in order to blend with the first batch to make it edible.

Final happy thing: took my youngest son riding on Tinker, one of my sister’s ponies. I know I’m unfit, but that little hack really brought it home. I was hanging on to the lead rein, huffing and puffing, being hauled through hedges and ditches by Tink, who is generally well behaved. Problem is she also likes to get out and about, and she hasn’t been ridden much lately, so as soon as she leaves the field she is keen to get going. My 11-year-old boy perched on top, occasionally saying ‘whoa Tinker’, but otherwise content. Despite all this, it felt good to be back in the field again.