Les Feuilles Mortes

The Dead Leaves, says the title. Pourquoi? Well they are just out there and how does one just turn her eyes away from the golden, rustling beauty of them… How fast the days fly by as I sit at the desk with my thoughts, trying to put them down into a project which seems to be taking forever, devouring the Outlander books, baking once in a while. Smidgens of self-doubt have been bogging me down. The problem with smidgen is that it tends to balloon into mammoth proportions and then you are caught right under the heaviness of it, the self-doubt that is, and you feel nothing less flat than the perfectly pressed leaf which comes out from between the pages of a book. The leaf has more leverage in all of this as you can imagine. It holds more beauty in its faded glory than anything else pressed does.

The blustery wind whipped away chunks of these thoughts with icy fingers as I ran, bathed in the golden stream of the early evening sun, the trees bare and leached, the gulls gathered in little clumps around as the waves rose and ebbed in choppy harmony. I passed by the old man who has determination in his fingertips. He must be above 80, wizened by age. It seems that a stroke has robbed him of movement on his right side, so he leans in heavily towards the right. It has become a ritual for us to acknowledge the other with a wave. The only other person who haunts the park and the river front, along with the old man and I, is a young boy of about 15. He is a beanpole, all arms and legs, possibly a soccer player.

I find persistence and hope at the sight of these two.

Towards the latter part of the evening, a couple of squirrels decided to turn playful on me. I was kneeling to shoot mounds of dried leaves when these two tubby fellows capered around, coming up close and dodging like we were at some game invented by the two of them. Catch me if you can.

Naturally, I feel like I have had free therapy. Now the lemon and verbena candle is making the room smell so cosy and citrusy and it feels doubly nice as I dig into a hot salad of chickpeas and grilled vegetables, spruced up with a handful of blackberries, caramelised pecans and roughly chopped gouda. So I shall leave you behind with this jazz number and a few photos of sunset, armies of white clouds, ducks, geese, gulls, squirrels and dead leaves.







2017-11-16 05.23.33 1.jpg

2017-11-16 05.23.32 1.jpg



2017-11-16 05.23.37 1.jpg








Mystery Blogger Award

Hello my lovely people,

How is your Saturday going? I am off to the former Roman town of Cirencester in Gloucestershire. It is a middling day and sauntering in a town sounds like a better idea than walk upon moorlands which we had been looking forward to, but then the blasted weather always keeps changing and the plans do too.

I have been tagged by Cheila on the Mystery Blogger Award. Cheila is a Portuguese girl who lives with her partner and 2-year-old Rosa on the outskirts of Lisbon. Her blog is called Pink For Days. Don’t let the title mislead you. She is candid, humorous and she will get you thinking. Oh wait, I forgot to mention who Rosa is. But why don’t I let you figure it out for yourself, eh?

The mystery blogger award has been created by a blogger called Okoto Enigma.


  • Put the award logo/image on your blog post
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link
  • Tell readers 3 things about yourself
  • Answer the questions the blogger gave to you
  • Nominate 10-20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask nominees 5 questions of your choice (one weird/funny question)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Things About Myself:

  • I am a rambler by nature. I like to ramble in the countryside and then I also ramble on a fair bit when someone encourages me to let my tongue loose.
  • I have the personality of a dog. My nose leads me places. Into eateries, into bakeries, coffeeshops (the Dutch kind too) and chocolateries, and into second-hand book shops where I sniff up pages of old books like my life depends on it.
  • I am a popcorn maniac. I have it for dinner on certain days. It is like a vicious cycle of not being able to stop. If I do not let my will step in on Day 2, it could very well be a Popcorn Week. A tub of popcorn and a crime thriller on my lap is my idea of bliss.

Cheila’s Questions and My Answers:

  • Do you know where Portugal is? Do you know anything else about my country?

Oh yes, Portugal is one of my favourite destinations in Europe. It lives in a pocket of my mind so it would be difficult not to know where it is. What else I do know about your country? It is that it is a place for the soul, where the strains of Fado just make their way into the heart and leave it aching with melancholia couched in those powerful notes. And the food – the bacalhau, grilled seafood, cherry liqueur shots – is succulent and delightful. Then there are the streets of Lisbon and Sintra which have left me besotted with Portugal as much as writers Fernando Pessoa and Cesario Verde. I would live in Portugal in a heartbeat.

  • What’s your favourite snack?

Phuchka. It is a rustic street food in Calcutta, India. A crisp hollow ball stuffed with a filling of boiled potato, red chilli powder, fried spices, chopped green chillies and tamarind water. You pop it whole into the mouth and when it breaks it releases a spicy and sour goodness. Then giggle a bit because you know you look a tad bit silly as juices often dribble down the sides of the mouth. But then once you have it you know there is no turning back from more.

  • Are you saving to buy something?

The next travel destination.

  • What was the last movie you watched?

Four Lions

  • What is the name of your first love?


Thank you Cheila, I did enjoy it.

My Questions to You:

  • What is the most adventurous thing you have done in life so far?
  • Your way of unwinding after a long day of work/being outside/travelling?
  • The most valuable lesson you have learnt so far in life?
  • What kind of music do you have on your playlist?
  • What would the title to your autobiography be?

My Nominees:

As before, I shall leave the choosing to do the tag bit to you. If you like the sound of it, do it…if not, carry on with the business of life. Cheers.

My Rain-Soaked Northampton Days

And that is not how dawn today looked. It is a shot from a couple of days before, taken by the husband before he set out for London for his daily commute to work. I do not get to see many sunrises because I am one of those people who can sleep so much that you would think that I am dead.

The sky is uniformly drab and colourless and there are tiny drops of water speckling our bay windows as it drizzles away at a constant rate. I switch on all the fairy lights in the room, put on the cosy lamp at the corner of my round table and settle down to a large mug of cold coffee (because there is nothing that starts my day better than coffee). Hygge, hygge my friend. Did you know that people nowadays do coffee detoxes? Lordy lord, I do feel sorry for their caffeine-deprived souls.

I want to pep up my mind with some random thoughts on this dull, dull day (before I get cracking with my other writing).

  • I do not mind rainy Fridays as long as I am inside, tucked in with lots of books and a blanket.


  • I am currently into making dark chocolate barks. I have realised this kinda goodness is easy to put together in the kitchen. Really, try it out. Melt some dark chocolate cooking bar, sprinkle it with your preferred things. Chilli, dried blueberries and pecans, cranberries and hazelnuts, sea salt, orange zest. Not all together in one bark, please, however.
You see what I mean?
  • I cannot wait for the skies to turn a glorious hue of blue again. Even if a smoky one will do. So that I can get back to my beloved park nearby and get going with clearing the cobwebs in my mind while running. Apart from the fact that I am a glutton, I also am a thinker. Nothing gives my mind more free reign than when I am surrounded by the idleness of people loitering around with their dogs, dogs meeting other dogs, toddlers playing in the park with their parents, school children passing through, old men and women out for vigorous walks with their hands intertwined, other joggers sharing benign smiles as they pass me by. The joy of life are simple, no?
  • I hate being pitied. Much as I hate the expression, ‘Poor you’. I can abide with empathy but not pity. Also, I hate it when women emphasise the fact that they are helpless beings. It destroys the very tenet of why women all those years ago fought for the likes of us who came thereafter.
  • I am re-reading Three Men in a Boat. Jerome K Jerome is a hoot. I am inclined to think that Bill Bryson (who I love reading because he makes me shake with mirth) is quite inspired by Jerome K Jerome. I find a similar tone of humour in his travel books. Try this from Three Men in a Boat: “I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can’t help it.”
  • Where shall we head out tomorrow? We love our English countryside wanderings. There is nothing like the sight of a field full of busy sheep and a curious horse or two, followed by rummaging in vintage stores and a cup of tea and cake to make my day. Fortunately it seems that the rain gods will take a break tomorrow before they start with their job on Sunday afresh.
  • Should I make pizza for the husband today (with a cauliflower crust)? Psst: This is just to alarm him. Once I did make him one and it turned out that I had not drained the cauliflower rice well enough. That is okay, right? We live and learn.
  • I am into Nordic noir. It is like biting deep into a delicious piece of crime fiction and there is no looking back. My obsession started with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. Now I cannot put down the likes of Henning Mankell, Hakan Nesser, Jo Nesbo, Asa Larsson, Leif GW Persson, Samuel Bjork. So I have these two books on my bedside table to be picked up soon and I am loving the deliciousness of the wait. Are you a reader of the genre too?


  • I cannot stand whinging. Yes, I know, we are all human and we like to complain, but not all the time, okay? We all have our share of problems and worries but it does not overtake the essential goodness of the fact that we are alive to feel all of the above emotions.
  • I hate gossip mongers. Period.
  • I used to blog once upon a time. It was an anonymous one till it was not anon no longer one day. It also landed me in hot water (which I do not regret however because I am trying to work on myself. Ref: the point below)
  • I was born with the disease to please. It will take the rest of my life trying to shake it off.
  • I can see the spires of two churches from our window. They make me happy when I look out on any day, however crappy the weather might be. One is the steeple of a 12th century round church (there are only four such churches in England). The other is the turquoise domed spire of the 17th century church that was rebuilt after a great fire ravaged Northampton in 1675.
  • I cannot wait for our satellite dish to be set back alright (Doris came visiting, you see) and get back to watch The Kettering Incident, an Australian drama series which is quite intriguing. Plus it has Elizabeth Debicki and she is my new favourite.

How is it going for you in your part of the world? Is it cold, warm, sunny…? I would love to hear your thoughts on this Friday too. Once in a while it is nice to pen down these completely random thoughts and look back at it from another time and place. Do you know what I mean?