Although I had made some rather grand plans for International Downshifting Week, in actual fact it turned out to be a bit of a wash out. I had planned to try out several of the Downshifting Week website's Top Tips for (Downshifting) Success but became increasingly frustrated as the week went by, once Sod's Law had dictated that I devote my time to other things. Sometimes that's just the way it is, I suppose, but it did leave me feeling somewhat 'digalon' - a wonderfully emotive word we picked up in Wales, meaning 'downhearted'. From early on the Sunday morning, I spent my week initially looking after poorly people and most of the rest catching up with all those mundane, but nonetheless essential, tasks that I had neglected whilst looking after said poorly folk. Apart from a happy hour spent capturing my tulips on camera between downpours on Wednesday, the week had whizzed by before I knew it with seemingly little to show for it and even less to blog about! Having said that, my mum and I had had a really good chat about family and local history whilst travelling to Reighton the week before (the idea behind Tip 9) and we scored a double whammy on Friday, when Si' took the day off from work (Tip 10) to help me dig the allotment (sort of 5). We didn't get anything planted that we could eat but we did add to our compost heap, dig out a lot of dandelions and come home with some of our first rhubarb of the year. To be fair, virtually all of my cards have been handmade (Tip 8) since February and those that haven't have come from those I've stockpiled in the past, rather than bought for the occasion. Equally, it was analyzing our time and finance budgets originally (Tip 1) that encouraged us to cut up our credit cards (Tip 2) and downshift in the first place. So in many ways now, rather than "dipping our toes" into downshifting, we are already in it up to our necks but with the most positive of connotations!
The lining of my cloud, however, wasn't blue but silver and some very nice things happened last week, too. On Thursday, Carrie - one of the poorly ones - came round for a bit of TLC, just as I was taking a batch of ginger biscuits out of the oven. If ever one dreamed of a 'domestic goddess' moment, then that was it! While she was here, I showed her my tulip photographs, the dogs followed and I was able to take the precious picture of Carrie and Hector having a cuddle that's at the top of this post. Si' usually has more luck than me in photographing the dogs so both Carrie and I are delighted with this one. We let two more allotments to two lovely couples, who seem very keen and Ivy, of Lemon Cake fame, sent a jar of home-made lemon curd and a lemon cake. We reciprocated with a jar of pink grapefruit marmalade, which I've yet to write about. I have a James Martin recipe for lemon syllabub - from his book, Desserts - in which I plan to use the lemon curd. Happily, I have a profusion of mint, growing on the allotment, for the garnish! In addition to the tulips, I photographed some of the Spring greenery that suddenly seems to be bursting forth. My phography skills are still very much at the 'point and shoot' stage so I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out.
Yesterday evening, not long after we'd got back from the allotment, we had the most amazing thunderstorm. The torrential downpour that ensued began with hailstones before turning to rain that made a river of the road outside. I was sorry that we hadn't had enough time to repair the guttering on our allotment shed; we could have filled our water barrels several times over, I should think. This morning, I went up to the allotment to check for damage but all was fine, if unbelievably soggy. The water, in addition to the recent warmth, had brought the bluebells right out and the rhubarb appeared to have doubled in size overnight. Looks like we are set for another glut! This reminds me of Julie, of the inspirational blog, Little Cotton Rabbits, who has very kindly added me to her blog roll and who mentions cold rhubarb crumble as being one of her favourite things to eat. If you have not already visited her site, I have put a link in, and I'd like to welcome all those people who have found their way to Being Creative from her blog. I don't do a lot of knitting myself but I do have some very nice recipes - that are only featured after being tested personally - on the Recipes page. Those and an awful lot of rhubarb!!!
At one time, not being able to achieve what I set out to do - like my plans for Downshifting Week - would have caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. Now I'm learning to accept that following the sign that reads 'Diversion' , far from being a source of frustration, can be an adventure in itself. I might have been down but I'm nowhere near out and am already back on my feet and ready for the next round. Ding, ding!