5 Things…

The week in pics

As I write this it’s just after 6am on Sunday morning. Outside the sky is blue and I know that it’s quite warm – we’re at that time of the year where it doesn’t cool down much at night. I’d like to get out and lie in the pool for a bit, but I know that if I do the dog will run around and bark, waking the rest of my family – and next door. So instead I’ve decamped to the guest bedroom and am propped up in bed, a cup of tea beside me, catching up on blogging for the week ahead.

So, without further ado, here’s my weekly look at five things that either made me smile or made me think. (I’m challenging myself to stick to 5…)

1.First up, this article about the healing power of bread, or, rather, baking. 

Kitty was in Year 9 and was, unbeknownst to her family, struggling – not with the work, but with everything else. Mostly, she was struggling with the idea of perfection. Then, out of the blue, she got ill and dropped out of school.

Kitty’s parents got urgent help for her, but none of the distractions they tried helped until the day she watched her father make a loaf of bread. 

“It was fascinating…There’s this magic to bread — an incredible illusion where flour, water and salt turn into this living organism. I made Dad teach me, and something clicked.”

That was 18 months ago and now she has her own bakery.

“Bread gave me hope when I really didn’t have any…So much about baking is therapeutic: the touch, the smell and the fact that you can’t be thinking about anything else when you’re making it.”

Which reminds me, I need to write a guest post for Min from Write of the Middle

2. I’ve told you about the How To Fail podcast by Elizabeth Day? It’s fabulous. 

Last week’s episode with Tom Kerridge – you’ll find it here – was a doozy. Tom is a Michelin-starred chef who is now almost as famous for his weight loss as everything else – he lost about 75kgs 6 or 7 years ago. His philosophy was one that I looked at when devising my Project Excess Baggage aka, the food writer’s non-diet diet. 

Anyways, in this episode Tom was talking about his excesses and how it had got him to where he had been (almost 200 kgs) and how it had also been the key to his success – both as a chef and in terms of his weight loss. 

He spoke about how many chef’s self-medicate through excessive behaviour. Some ran, some drank, some took drugs, some ate loads of junk food – all of it to excess, yes, even the running, and all of it designed as an escape of sorts. 

He said that at the age of nearly 40 he had to get real and see his behaviour for what it was. That was when my ears pricked up – getting real being my particular mantra for the year.

Listening to him talk about how his brain was wired and the amount he fitted into his day and…well, it was like listening to myself, and that made me think.

For fear of getting into too much information territory, we’ll leave it there and move swiftly onto this one…

3. The best book I read in January was John Baxter’s “The Most Beautiful Walk In The World”. I’ll tell you about it on Wednesday in my monthly wrap-up. When I saw this article, An ode to women who walk, it  reminded me of one of my favourite words flânerie. It’s about purposeless walking, dawdling, if you will. It’s the sort of walking I love to do in a new city, to be a flaneur.

Another new word I learnt last week was this one…

4. Tsundoku – a word which translates loosely to being the stacks of books you’ve purchased but haven’t read. I don’t know about you, but it has a better ring to it than a TBR (to be read) pile. It combines tsunde-oku (letting things pile up) and dukosho (reading books). Don’t say you don’t learn anything here.

Now, here’s the best bit about this word. Rather than having a stigma attached to it, there’s a school of thought that says that having unread books tempers the know-it-all sort of arrogance that some people have. That within these books is knowledge about something that you don’t even know about yet. That the value of these books is in just that – not what you have already learnt, but what is there between those covers and as yet unread. So, Marie Kondo, take that. If you’re interested, you’ll find the article here.

5. I read somewhere, and I can’t remember where, about how we make 35,000 decisions a day. Goodness knows who worked that out or even if the number is accurate, or even close to being accurate, but it makes you think, doesn’t it? Sure, most of these decisions are made unconsciously – turning left instead of right, putting toothpaste on your toothbrush. They’re sort of non-decisions, I suppose, but when you think about the sheer number of them, it puts the few that you get wrong into perspective against the vast majority that you get right.

I think we all deserve a little pat on the back for that.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

29 thoughts

  1. That’s me a person who loves to flânerie. Jo, your post certainly had me thinking, and I gave up trying to process how we could accumulate 35,000 decisions. Each moment we make, and every thought we have soon adds up if the genius who came up with that number. Bright spark.

    1. I read the thing about the 35,000 decisions when I was beating myself up for something completely inconsequential, which, in the scheme of things was 1/35000…

  2. I love your pics of the week, Jo, especially the one with your dog eating ice cream or what looks like ice cream to me. When I started reading your item 1, I immediately thought of baking bread as “therapeutic”. I’m glad it worked out well for Kitty. I knew the word flaneur but not tsundoku. I have a tsundoku on my side table atm although I didn’t purchase the books, I borrowed them from the library so I hope I can still use that word 🙂 #lifethisweek

    1. Kali knows that she gets the last spoonful of Sarah’s ice cream & gets to lick the container clean. She loves it.

  3. I read the Ode to Women Who Walk after you tagged it or something and it was beautifully written. I loved it.

    And that podcast sounds interesting. I haven’t listened to any for ages so I should check it out!

  4. Hi Jo – interesting about chefs being so driven and fitting so much into their days (and your comparison of yourself with that – there’s a blog post in there somewhere!) I’m learning to pace myself more and to allow periods of being unencumbered by “stuff to do” and I love it. My head and my heart are a lot happier these days.
    Also interesting about all the decision making – I read about all the decisions we make when we do our grocery shopping – right up to which check-out lane (and all the regrets when our choices don’t pan out – I always manage to pick the wrong lane!) No wonder we’re all so stressed in this busy busy busy world we live in!

    1. I’ve listened to a few of them now (chefs that is) – all Michelin starred & all driven. There is a blog post about how I balance, I suppose, maybe…but I guess that just works (most of the time) for me.

  5. I was interested to learn more about Tsundoku so I looked it up. Discovered that it is considered an art…the art collecting/purchasing books that you never read. Ha! https://www.bbc.com/news/world-44981013 While I have books I haven’t read, I can’t imagine going out and spending money on books I know I will never read!! The article also talks about the art of shelving books attractively. As a librarian I had to teach my students how the books were shelved in the library. Contrary to popular belief among 10 year olds, the books in the library were not shelved in color order or by size.
    How do you arrange your books on the shelf? That might be an interesting photo prompt, huh?

    1. That’s so interesting. I shelve mine in genre and then by author and if in a series, in order. I could never buy books I didn’t intend to read…I have far better things to spend my money on lol.

  6. Hi Joanne, The unread stack of books resonated with me. I feel guilty about not having read them, yet. I do feel better after reading number 4. I am very curious about your January’s best book. Beautiful photos, again. I read one of your comments on one of the other blogs we follow. You shared how we all have had challenges in our lives, not perfect lives at all. Yet, you choose to put out there the positive. I am with you, Joanne. Thank you for sharing the good!

  7. 35,000 decisions a day! No wonder I’m tired! I love the idea of Tsonduku although now I’m a wannabe minimalist my pile is more library books than books I’ve bought – I wonder if that still counts?! I loved that bakery story – it’s true that bread makes everything better!

  8. Ummm. Lots to digest there…and I liked what I read. I read today about how many times people glance at their phone and as one of them I don’t wish to tell you anything more.

    I love the fact that as humans we both crave connections AND learning. Blogging is tailor-made for this!!

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week #174. Next week’s optional prompt is 6/51 Interesting 10.2.2020. Hope to see you again there too. Denyse.

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