Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is there a Ten Step Program for Plan-aholics?

As I was walking back into our house today after a shopping trip into Reading, I noticed that the crocus I was waxing lyrical about in my last blog entry on Thursday are not crocus at all. I was confused by the all the gorgeous greenery in the pot, amongst which are some crocus leaves. However, the crocus themselves have not actually bloomed yet; the pretty white flowers are snowdrops. Anyway, be they crocus or snowdrops, any flower blooming this time of year in England is still a sign that Spring is on the way!

For the first time in ages this week, we had a weekend to look forward to with virtually no plans at all. Now, two whole days with nothing booked in the diary had felt wonderful a few days ago, but as we approached the lovely expanse of time in front of us last night, the idea was actually making me quite nervous. Normally we are booked up months in advance and a free weekend was such a unique concept that it really threw me for a curve. I have always known that I was born without any spontaneity genes but I did not realise I had become quite that uptight. I think perhaps I need to work on planning just a little less in advance!

Having said that, our ‘unplanned’ weekend has ended up being pretty full so far. We went shopping this morning for some clothes for the 21st Century Husband, and had a very successful excursion indeed. After lunch, in the spirit of trying to be a bit more spontaneous, I decided to do some unplanned baking. I’ve always got the wherewithal for a cake in the store cupboard (there’s that planner in me coming out again!). I made a Cherry and Almond Loaf from ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson, a wonderful book with loads of foolproof recipes for fabulous cakes, cookies and pies. Everything I have ever made from this book has turned out beautifully and the Cherry and Almond Cake is no exception. It smelled so good we cut it whilst it was still warm and although this meant it was a bit crumbly, the taste was not impaired in any way. Delicious! ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’ is without a doubt the book I turn to most often when I am baking, and I highly recommend it. One of my favourite recipes is the first recipe in the book – a delicious Madeira Cake which I make really regularly. The Lemon Loaf Cake is gorgeous too, as is the Almond and Lemon Cake. Actually, I could go on for ages listing delicious recipes from this book!! If you like baking, you should definitely have a copy.

We were also looking at cars for the 21st Century Husband again this afternoon. We’ve seen a couple we really like, so there will be more test drives next week. This car saga seems to go on and on – we have never before had such a problem choosing a car. Why is it when you are in a position to buy something that you often struggle to find what you want? Although we will keep the car the 21st Century Husband has at the moment as it is very reliable and still looks good, it is only 6,000 miles away from the 100,000 mile mark on the clock so it really is time for a new one. I’m hoping and praying we have finally found the right car at the right price.

It’s a typically grey winter’s day here in England, quite cold and damp. Everyone is ready for some longer lighter days and some warmer weather, but I think we’ve got a while to wait yet. They are promising snow next week, but as usual the weather forecasters are getting all worked up about something that will probably be nothing, except in very remote areas. I think they are right about it being cold though, as the temperature seems to be dropping by the minute. It’s definitely a good weekend to cosy up at home without plans. Actually, I’m enjoying being a bit ‘plan-less’. Note to self, ‘plan more weekends without plans!’ …or is planning to be plan-less just further evidence that I’m a ‘plan-aholic’?

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