Thursday, 28 July 2016

Newburn Riverside

Jeff took these photos at Newburn Riverside where we did a short walk on Monday, very beautiful and peaceful too.

Visiting Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey

Earlier this month I stayed for a few days at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey. If you have been to an introductory retreat there you can request to visit when there are no retreats on, if you wish. The schedule when there isn't a retreat on tends to involve less time in sitting meditation periods and more time on working meditation, and you can discuss with the guest department how much you want to do. There are also more non-silent meals with fellow lay trainees, so its a bit more sociable.
It was very enjoyable. We has a massive thunderstorm with power cut to the whole of the valley, which was quite exciting. I had the opportunity to borrow and wear a much-coveted head torch while working in the kitchen, as there was no power for the lights and the storm had caused dark clouds to block most of the daylight.

What bliss to work
in the monastery

no electricity today
great valley storm
gave us the medieval once again
blessed and dear kitchen monks
provided all we needed
head torch and suitable work
even tea break time as usual

Dogen tells us "The marvelous spiritual ability manifests its enlightened functioning
In our carrying water and our hauling firewood."

Decluttering the Self

Today I cleaned up my noticeboard and took down some things which had been pinned up from earlier in the year. Also stored away in a desk tidy. Its good to keep receipts for a while in case the item is faulty, or if its paid remotely such as parking meters, to make sure there is no query about whether you paid. For people who are not confident about their memory, its also a useful way of remembering when you went to a place or when something happened.
Its also a way of building up your story and constructing a Self.

To do this decluttering method, look around for items you have hung onto for these reasons. Take a photo. Upload the photo to your computer or blog. Then throw the item away, recycle where possible.

What is going on with this term "self?"

Heres Ron Crouch's description:
"As a therapist and a meditation teacher, I live a surreal life. At the office I’m helping people to gain greater self-esteem, more positive self-regard, and encouraging them to see themselves as competent, empowered and strong. But when I teach meditation I strongly encourage people to see that the self is an illusion. On the outside it could seem as if I’m working against myself."

What would life be like if you couldn't recall much of your past? Would it matter or not?

Jeff and I did a trip to the North West in 2014. Definitely time to recycle some parking tickets!

A family member was in hospital in Stockton earlier in the year. We went to visit regularly, and I hoarded the parking tickets. Yes, I confess I am a hoarder. My hoarding tendencies are specific and don't interfere with my life, but hoarding parking tickets, is... Hoarding!

Only one of the parking tickets, just to remind me when this event happened, also a key cut receipt for the relative's home.

Also earlier this year the landlord arranged a quality control visit from the company that does the annual gas safety checks. I had already had a check, but the first one must have missed something on his checks or perhaps a resident had made a complaint! The engineer checked the boiler, took it apart, put it back together, checked the gas flow from the meter, told me that various electrical upgrades should be done by the electrical contractor, and gave me a carbon monoxide detector, which I have never had before. We put it up on the boxing-in near the ceiling.
So, I don't really need the manual, as I will be able to look on the internet as long as I know its name. All I need to know is that at some point in the future the battery will fail and an alarm will then sound, but I will probably have a new one before then.

I am going to put all those things in the recycling bin NOW!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Inspired by a library book, I decided to try to make a Bakewell Tart.
I thought it would be a bit tricky as I am not that good at baking so I enlisted the help of a Time Exchange member. We made it in The Time Exchange kitchen.

The Ultimate Book of Vegan Cooking: Everything you need to know about going Vegan, from choosing the best ingredients to practical advice on health and nutrition Paperback – 28 Dec 2012
by Tony Bishop-Weston (Author), Yvonne Bishop-Weston (Author)


Jeff sent this photo of Gallowgate with Sandman Signature hotel (exactly where Newcastle "Brown Ale" Brewery used to be), and St James Park with student flats in the background.

Vegan Tofu Fish Sticks

The Vegan Fish and Chip Shop Project continues with an attempt at Fish Fingers
We followed the recipe exactly, I had even got kelp powder off eBay, but the fishy taste was minimal if at all. It was great fun making it however. I think we may have had misunderstood the recipe re breadcrumb quantity.

Should you wish to recreate this delicious plate of veggie heaven, clockwise, Tofu Fishy Fingers as according to recipe in above link, tinned mushy peas (Tesco), broccoli cooked in microwave (Tesco), steak-cut oven chips (Tesco).
2 good protein sources for vegans are tofu and peas (any kind of peas will do).

The Most Beautiful Laburnums Live in Leazes Park

This year has been fantastic for the Laburnum trees around the Leazes Park area. Just a few for you I saw in the last few weeks... Please visit there for latest news from Herbwormwood