No alarm clock screeching at an ungodly hour; no deadlines to meet; no juggling too many balls in the air with the constant fear that one is going to drop. It’s a bank holiday weekend in the UK and I’ve been enjoying the chance to enjoy a slower pace.
The day our eldest daughter got married, I made a determined effort to enjoy each moment of that very special day because several of my friends had told me that the day would just fly by. I am trying to adopt the same attitude in everyday life, for I have realised that the efficiency of multi-tasking robs me of the enjoyment of simple pleasures. So, for example, while it’s good time management to read my bible while I eat my breakfast, I may as well be eating cardboard and drinking water. I don’t consciously enjoy what I’m eating.
The pressures of everyday life mean that we often have to multitask. But over this bank holiday weekend, we have had the chance to slow down. While enjoying brunch with the ‘newly-weds’, I looked across the table and savoured the moment – this precious moment when we can catch up on our frenetic lives and share some of the things that are most important to us.
Saturday evening found us with other family members. While the guys watched sports on TV, we girls discussed plans for the next two family weddings (yes, we are pretty well stereo-typed!) and then we all came together to enjoy an Indian take-away. From almost 60 (!) to not-yet-15, we enjoyed each other’s company and, as they say in N.Ireland, ‘the craic was good’.
Today we will have the joy of having Alan’s dad over to share lunch with us. Rhubarb is a favourite of ours at this time of the year, so we have prepared some rhubarb crumble to enjoy together. I just followed the recipe for Cranberry and Apple crisp but replaced the fruit with rhubarb. Simple pleasures.
There has been the opportunity to get out into the garden, too – to fight with some overgrown honeysuckle bushes and to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the beauty of creation.
And time for reading. Aaaaah! The joy of wakening before my husband and having the time to lie in bed with a good book. I’ve been enjoying this one which my sister gave me for my birthday – ‘Bread & Wine’, a love letter to life around the table, by Shauna Niequist. It’s ‘a poetic reminder to appreciate the rituals, people, and sensory experiences of our everyday life’ (Kelle Hampton). The author interweaves reflections of everyday life with her honest take on her own experiences, good and bad, joys and sorrows, and through it all includes recipes which have meant different things to her at different points of her story. A book which is perfect for the bedside table because each short chapter stands on its own. The author hopes that after you have read it, you will ‘bring it to the kitchen with you, turning corners of pages, breaking the spine, spilling red wine on it and splashing vinegar across the pages, that it will become battered and stained as you cook and chop and play, music loud and kitchen messy’. I have the feeling that that is indeed what will happen.
Here is a poem which is quoted in the book:
You say grace before meals.
But I say grace before the concert and the opera,
And grace before the play and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
G.K. Chesterton, ‘A Grace’.