Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Slow but mobile?

After a year in the UK, I'm now back in Brussels for a brief stint. It feels really good to be back! 

I don't know if it's the time of year or something about Brussels, but here I am, reviving the blog and seeking some slowness again. I think you feel you can have a slow life in Brussels, while London doesn't allow for that possibility. Here, there are more parks. You can walk to work. There are farmers' markets in every square. The main thing though is the size - it no longer takes forever to get from A to B, and you can genuinely ring up some friends on Saturday evening to propose a dinner party and be sitting down together within the hour.

There are some aspects of this life I can dive straight back into. Seasonal cooking! I've been squashing (see what I did there) as many different variants of pumpkin into my recipes as I can, and discovering new types along the way. (Spaghetti pumpkin - so easy, so yummy, so versatile...)

But many other aspects are harder to embrace when you find yourself changing jobs, home and even country every 6 to 12 months, which is the situation I am currently in. I absolutely love my job, both what I am doing now and the future prospects it offers, but the scheme I am on gives me no control over where I go and no ability to plan ahead. I get rotated every six months, and I am told 6-8 weeks beforehand where I will go next.

This means that things involving long time-periods (like brewing fruit wine), or space for storage (like homemade jam) or equipment (like a sewing machine) or bulky ingredients (like soap-making) are pretty much out. It does not make sense logistically, financially or for my sanity to lug large quantities of oil and lye around.

The one thing I have brought with me is my knitting. Needles do not take up much space, and I no longer have a stash of wool. 

But all the oh so many things I really want to do - and which I could very feasibly do in terms of time if I were living here longer - just don't make sense. A fruit tree in a pot - what do I do with it when I leave? Build a small worm-compost box - ditto.

How do you manage this compromise? Any ideas for more mobile simplicity?


  1. What about things you can do on a small scale. Make jam, but only make four or five jars, or make eight but give some away. Baking bread is wonderful on so many levels. In the spring sew some annual herbs like basil. Hand sewing or embroidery? If you have time maybe volunteer? If you can't make soap, support a local business and buy soap made nearby. It sounds like you are finding your feet again which is lovely.

    1. Aww thanks! Yes yes all great ideas - I could definitely make a small quantity of jam. You've got me thinking now. Plum jam never comes amiss. And cranberry would be perfectly matured for Christmas.



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