Sports people produce little gems of mantras. Choose your battles, saidtheChelseamanagerAntonio Conte to the England rugby coach Eddie Jones.
One Thursday, I found my yoga teacher in the changing room in a glow. It wasn’t a yoga glow. She gushed so much about a book she was reading that I bought it the next day.
I’ve since recommended it to many people. In fact, I was out with a friend some weeks later and she said I’ve got this book … I finished her sentence: The Four-hour Work Week!
In essence, one of Tim Ferris’ arguments is: choose your battles. We can’t do everything. Too much choice can be stressful. Lack of choice has been attributed to the success of supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl. Children like to know were the boundaries are – they may push them but, in general, they like limits. Less is more.
I can’t for the life of me remember where I wrote my banana bread recipe. I thought it was in my blog Recipes for Aimee. It’s not there. It’s here now. I promised Reya from yoga that I’d sent it to her.
10 oz of plain flour
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4oz of softened butter
8oz of caster sugar
4 ripe mashed bananas
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 fl oz of milk
1.5 teaspoons of lemon juice
2 beaten eggs
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven at 180° about 170° -175° fan assisted
2. Grease and line a loaf tin
3. Sour the milk by adding the lemon juice and put to one side.
4. Sieve the flour, baking soda and salt and put to one side.
5. Cream together the softened butter and sugar together. (I cheat, I melt the butter in a microwave and then mix it together!)
6. Add the bananas, eggs, vanilla extract and soured milk to the butter and sugar mixture.
7. Mix well.
8. Fold in the flour.
9. Pour mixture into the baking tin.
10. Bake in the oven for around an hour. Check on it after about 50-55 minutes (depending on the ferocity of your oven)
11. Turn out onto a baking tray and leave to cool.
I love films like Sliding Doors. They pose that question: what if you took a different route or made a different decision on a particular day?
Alexander (I mentioned him in one of my posts a few weeks ago), caught his train with about one second to spare. Ten minutes later he was dead – one of seven victims in the Potters Bar Train crash.
There was a woman on the radio a few weeks ago who said she hadn’t eaten for several days because she had to choose between heating and eating. Her depression had made it hard for her to find work.
On another occasion, a teacher called the radio station when they were talking about food banks. His wife was a nurse. They fell on hard times when his wife became ill during her pregnancy and, at the same time, he had a mental breakdown. They had to go to the food bank.
One food bank founder said: most people are only one pay slip away from a crisis. I often wonder what the stories of the beggars outside the tube stations are.
My heart is is like a Tardis and it’s full to bursting. I’ve reserved a little spot for so many people it’s a universe of its own.
Recently I’ve welcomed in a few friends who need a little TLC. Some of them are reluctantly sheltering under an umbrella named the United Nations of Cancer. Bowel, breast, ovarian, stomach, lesions on the brain, lesions on the liver…
I haven’t called. I’ve sent texts. I have no idea how to formulate any words that could make it better. I once saw a get-well-soon card that said I wish I could hug you so tight that all the broken pieces would fit back together. I sent texts along those lines.
Question: When there are no words what is left?
Answer: There’s a place in my heart where love, warm wishes and positive thoughts swish around.
Outside Seven Sisters the other day I was approached by a dishevelled man. He had one tooth and he wasn’t that old. Can you buy me a coffee? He asked. I shook my head and moved away. I watched as he went from person to person outside the tube station. Each one had the same reaction. I felt really bad so I went up to him and beckoned him to follow me to the coffee shop which was steps away.
Actually, I don’t want coffee, can I have tea. Actually, tea in Costa costs about £2.00. I can get an all-day breakfast for £3.99 up there. He beckoned towards West Green Road.
As I started to walk with him towards West Green Road he said: that place is closed but there’s another place further up the road. My patience started to wear thin when he said the other place was 10 minutes up the road. I’d already missed one bus and my murder mystery head took over. People have vanished in more innocuous circumstances. You can have a drink from Costa and that’s it, I said. Can’t you go 10 minutes up the road? I told him I was not going anywhere and he could have a drink in Costa or nothing at all.
I walked away.
As I got on my bus I noticed he was asking everyone around the bus stop for a cup of tea or coffee.
A book memory: I am seven years old and I go to the post office with my dad – Daddy. I’m allowed to choose a book but there’s so much choice I just don’t know which one to have. I eventually pick The Three Little Pigs. I’m so excited I read the book on our way home. By the time I get to the front door, I’ve finished and know the fate of the characters.
Fast forward a couple of decades: I’m baby sitting my nephew who’s about three years old. I appease him with my rendition of the Three Little Pigs. I take the role of the Big Bad Wolf to the nth degree: actions, voice and all. Each time I read the book my actions get more elaborate.
Some time later, I call my sister for a chat. My nephew’s dad answers the phone: Lynda, please don’t read that book again. We’ve had to read it again and again and again – just like Aunty Lynda does – with the actions and voices!
Fast forward a few more decades: I remind my nephew, the actor, of this incident. He has no memory.
No matter, I’ve already visualised myself pushing past him to tell this story before he has chance to collect his Oscar.