Writer’s block and raspberries

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I was lying on my yoga mat this morning during the lovely, calm relaxation part at the end of the class, my mind wandering all over the place (as it does; I know, it’s not meant to…) and I started composing a blog post. Witty words came to mind, well-crafted sentences and astute observations. Yay! But by the time I’d driven home, clocked that the builders weren’t here again and that I’d missed a parcel delivery, it had all drifted out of my ears and off into the ether. I’ve not posted much lately because, well, I suppose I’ve just not been ‘feeling’ it. I’ve been a bit lost for words. Stuck. Put it down to post-holiday slump, school-holiday collapse, whatever. I’m usually brimming with words and photos to show you but I haven’t taken many recently and it feels a little as though I’ve lost my voice. I’m sure this happens to other bloggers every now and then, and I suppose I could wait until inspiration strikes properly, but it’s a new school year and I’m giving myself a shove – if I stop writing for much longer I suspect it’ll be even harder to get into the swing of it again.

The yoga class was the first one I’ve been to for [whispers] seven weeks. Yikes. I did a little stretching over the summer but most definitely not the every-day practice that I aspire to. Whenever I’m asked at health-checks and the like whether I do regular exercise, I say that I do yoga and walk my dog. And I smile confidently. This usually passes muster and I get a tick in the ‘keeping fit’ box. Gardening helps, as does rushing around looking after the house, etc, but I know that it’s not enough really. David is admirably/annoyingly fit. He’s a keen sculler and is on the water at least twice a week on the Thames at Twickenham, then he goes running most days when he’s at home. He’s trying to encourage me to get back in to running and to do a local 5k Park Run with him on Saturday mornings. I find his encouragement slightly irritating which says more about my attitude than it does about him! I did do some regular running a few years back and took part in the London 10k but instead of it spurring me on to greater distances, I crossed the finish line after 60 minutes, completely done-in, thinking ‘I… am… never… doing… that… again!’ When you’re in swing of running, it is a good feeling and I know I feel great afterwards, but it’s the getting going. Do you see a theme developing here..? Perhaps writing about it might give me that metaphorical boot up the bum. Another one.

As well as my middle-aged body, the garden also needs some serious attention. I’ve been dead-heading and picking flowers and raspberries galore but there are definite signs of disarray. It’s been such lovely weather that in any spare time I’ve enjoyed being in the garden rather than working in it. We’ve had very little rain for a couple of months – only one day when it rained heavily – and some of the plants are suffering. The pond is also lower than I’ve seen it since we’ve been here. We’re on a water meter, so I don’t like to use mains water very often on the garden. We have kept the raspberries and tomatoes alive and I collect any leftover drinking water in a jug to chuck on the flowers outside the door but everything else has had to fend for itself.

If you, too, are experiencing a surfeit of raspberries, Anne has some very fine suggestions. I made a couple of her Raspberry Loaf Cakes on Tuesday (one for a friend and one for us) and, oh my, ours was delicious. Cakes… another reason why I need to do more exercise. I’ve also made lots of raspberry jam – there is nothing quite like the smell of raspberries, sugar and lemon juice bubbling away on the hob. It’s quite the most delicious aroma. Irritatingly, the jam class in the Late Summer Show this Saturday is strawberry, not raspberry, so I bought a couple of punnets of strawbs from the supermarket and set to. I’ve not had great success in the past with strawberry jam and I suspect this might be too runny but it looks good and tastes lovely. After my marmalade disaster at the spring show (the judge most definitely didn’t like my bitter offering), I do not have high hopes. I’m also entering cut flowers from the garden (any variety), 5 stems of an annual, a tea loaf and 7 raspberries. David is also entering 7 raspberries and I think I’ll make another Raspberry Loaf Cake for the refreshments. I wonder if I could hide a few raspberries in the tea loaf…

Hope life is going swimmingly where you are. Have a lovely weekend. x

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40 thoughts on “Writer’s block and raspberries

  1. Love raspberries and raspberry jam! I’m not surprised your are out of sync after your very long trip to America. It does take quite a while to get back into the flow of things. Sounds like the garden is keeping you busy. Good luck with the strawberry jam 🙂 B

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  2. Sometimes it’s just hard to find the words. I’ve been finding it happening to me lately as well. Things are finally settling down after the return to school, aside from the ongoing need to cajole a certain boy to check his math and fix mistakes, which I can live with. I think your raspberry cakes look delicious. I would like to try growing them someday. I’m told they will do well here, as long as I can remember to water them. 🙂

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    1. Ours are autumn fruiting raspberry canes and so easy to maintain – you just cut them right back to the ground each February and they fruit on the new growth in August-Oct.

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  3. I was nodding all the way through your post. Also not quite feeling it at the moment. And the things I think of to say have mysteriously vanished when I do actually sit down to write. A real need to get a bit fitter here too. And the allotment is so wildly out of control it’s giving me nightmares. The garden is just gently going to seed. Sadly no surfeit of raspberries, although I know there are some to be had out there. For some reason I don’t ever pick the autumn fruiting ones properly, I’ve no idea why. Must go and have a look at them tomorrow. Good luck at the show, I shall enjoy hearing all about it. Will you be creeping around in the chilly dawn looking for the best raspberries? CJ xx

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    1. It’s heartening to know I’m not the only one, CJ. Hopefully we will be reinvigorated soon 🙂 I wonder what you’re doing to your raspberries… When you say picking, do you mean harvesting the fruit? I just pull mine off the calyx leaving a little stump behind. Or do you mean choosing the right one to plant? The best ones we have are ‘Joan J’ – I highly recommend these. Large delicious fruit. The raspberries we entered in the show weren’t judged because I hadn’t read the Show Tips and they didn’t have the calyxes still attached. Doh!

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  4. You have definitely struck a chord Sam I lose my voice when stressed or unhappy, which has been a too common state over the past 12 months. However, you have inspired me to cobble a post together. As for the garden and allotment – it has been far too hot to do anything meaningful. Looking forward to hearing how you get on at the show – I love a good flower and produce show. Sarah x

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  5. This seasonal slump seems to effect quite a few of us, maybe it’s the opposite of sap rising in spring? I have such a long lists of stuff I should have covered by now but am finding it hard to muster the enthusiasm …. Your raspberry cake and jam look/sound delicious.

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  6. I think part of the problem is that it has been so dry and the garden in September does ‘ t inspire the same starry – eyed enthusiasm as in spring or early summer. Yes, there are plenty of flowers, but not the sort that make you want to grab a pen and write odes, sonnets or even passages of purple prose. I found myself featuring a randy vicar in my last post. It’s shameful; on a gardening blog I should really have been writing about my dahlias.
    That raspberry cake looks delicious, can we have the recipe please?

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    1. There should be a link to Anne’s recipe if you click on the Raspberry Loaf Cake. I’ll double-check. I know we shouldn’t complain about sunshine and heat but I am looking forward to cooler days and getting out my wooly jumpers – I’ve had enough of the heat now (although it is good for the bees, etc).

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  7. I’ve been feeling the same slump. Maybe it’s because I don’t have any children in the educational system any more so don’t have the same dramatic start to September. I shall have to organise my desk and pretend I’m starting a new term and maybe my brain will start to work properly again.

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  8. Look how many words you found Sam! I am feeling the general end of summer slump, too. I don’t feel inspired or happy, just tired and frumpy. I did get off my butt and went to yoga – it has only been three years or so…. as for running, my current excuse is the lack of well fitted insoles. Wishing you luck with your show entries. Also wishing you a whole bucket full of inspiration and motivation. xx

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    1. Ah Christina. You’ve been doing lots of manual labour in your garden – I think you’re excused the running! Sorry you’re a bit down – hopefully that’s passed now and you’re back to your cheery inspiring self x

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  9. You know I’m going to encourage you with the running! I found what helped me was just to do a little bit every other day with no expectation of distance or time and to walk when I needed to. Before you know it you’re running a mile without needing to stop and that spurs you on. I feel heaps better when running and the Park Runs are great- really encouraging and you get all abilities there. I think you’d love it. xx

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  10. Really enjoyed reading your post, Sam, as it clearly came from the heart and told it exactly how it is. I will definitely look out that raspberry cake recipe too! Good luck with the jam and other entries in the show – I haven’t entered a show since I was a child but reading about other bloggers’ entries makes me want to give it a go soon. Will have to investigate for next year! ps are your and David’s rasberries fom the same canes? Who gets first pick?!

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  11. Too many raspberries is a problem I wouldn’t mind having at all – they are my favourite fruit!

    I too go through phases of enthusiasm – for yoga, for blogging, for lots of things. Maybe it’s just a natural cycle like the seasons… that is what I am telling myself anyway. Enjoy your weekend x

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  12. Raspberries are my favourite fruits, so thanks for the delicious cake recipe. I had to laugh at your description of doctor’s interogation about exercise, since I say much the same about classes and dog walking (except pilates instead of yoga) and I know that a lot of the class I spend lying on my back too! Your post are always entertaining, so well worth the shove.

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  13. That raspberry cake looks delicious. The raspberry canes we planted at the beginning of the year are low in fruit so will have to wait until next year to make this. Your table with the distant sea views looks so pretty. Sarah x

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  14. Oh, how I would love a surfeit of raspberries. Actually, I’m not sure a surfeit is really possible. I too am sometimes driven mad by having just the perfect turn of phrase pop up, then escape through the sieve that is my mind.

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  15. The cloud in the first picture looks like the tubular clouds we get over the ocean here. They look like wool ready for spinning and fascinate me. And that glass teapot (?) in the fifth photo is exquisite. I want one.
    As far as blogging inspiration, it should ebb and flow don’t you think? Just as other things do in our lives. And for exercise, to my mind, nothing but nothing beats walking. Any age, anywhere, any weather, any clothes, you can always walk. I enjoy all kinds of exercise (especially yoga), but walking has been my constant life companion. I hope to be hobbling on down the road until I die.

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    1. We’ve had some incredible clouds rolling in off the sea lately. The glass teapot is a lantern – a gift from a lovely friend for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. It is very pretty. I’m with you on the walking. Shame we don’t live near each other 🙂

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  16. I’m so glad I saw this post, not just for the lovely pictures and positive feel but because it’s nice to know someone else’s mind wanders in meditation. I find myself sorting all sorts out! Oh and it’s also nice to see someone mention writers block, it happens, we just don’t name it and then feel bad as noone else seems to be in the same place, when really we all are at one time or another

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