bean thrower

Yesterday I went and had lunch with a friend who lives at Trevaccoon and helped prepare a side dish of broad beans. We shelled the beans then added them to fried onions, fennel bulb and cumin – really delicous! I was invited to pick more broad beans to bring home as they were not keeping up with the bumper crop of these delicious pods.

So, today I have decided to bake a broad bean quiche and thought I would share it (virtually) with you! I have steamed the beans and skinned them – they are such a bright green when you do this and taste even more wonderful.

I have looked up broad beans on wikipedia and found their latin name is Vicia Faba. I am a bit of an etymologist, finding real pleasure in the roots of words. I have discovered that an ancient Roman family name Fabia comes from this bean and also the term Fabian as in the Fabian Society which was the precursor of the Labour Party – not sure what to make of all of that!!

Also found that the rest of the world makes such exciting dishes with broad beans and I am not sure we do that much with them in this country. I love Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking and you can find a delicious broad bean and radish salad recipe of his here.

And here is the quiche fresh out of the oven!

A lovely memory I have from living at Lower Down in Shropshire was of finding a big pile of broad beans on my door step one morning. My neighbour Fiona had a gorgeous vegetable patch and would always share her harvest with us and other neighbours.

I love eating baby broad beans and wouldn’t advise this as they contain alkaloids that in certain people can be potentially fatal, a condition called favism – even knowing this I still enjoy munching on a few raw baby broad beans!

And the bean thrower?  It seems in the Ubykh culture, that was centred in the Caucasus, beans were thrown on the ground and interpreted as a form of divination called favomancy – how cool is that!  The Ubykh culture, while patrilineal equally venerated women. I wonder if the bean throwers were men or women?


The Long Tide

I want to share the source of the title of this blog and the reasons for choosing it.

The long tide is a concept I discovered a few years ago while recieving some wonderful craniosacral therapy from Clare Williams in Bishops Castle, Shropshire.  After a few sessions I found myself in a place that felt like a deep, peaceful and still in-breath. Clare explained that this state is known as the long tide.

William Garner Sutherland, considered to be the grandfather of cranial therapies, stressed that the human system is ordered by a mysterious Presence that he called the Breath of Life.  He became especially attuned to its presence and action within the human system.

He realized that it is the Breath of Life and the intelligent forces it generates that make the healing decisions and carry those decisions out. Over time, he realized that these tidal motions were direct expressions of the creative intention of the Breath of Life. He called this level of primary respiration the Tide.  It was later called the Long Tide to differentiate it from other tidal motions in the body.  For more on this go to the Craniosacral Dynamic website.

For a few months I have been receiving cranial sacral osteopathy from a very skilled practitioner Jill Cantor in Cardigan and am again regularly experiencing the long tide. I am fascinated and drawn to this place of deep stillness that is the universal creative breath. Swimming in the sea gets me close to it. Being in deep water and being rocked by the energy that runs through the sea manifesting as swell and waves is a profound experience. That tidal motion of the sea can often stay with me for hours after I emerge from the water, moving through my body at a deep level.

While I miss my home and community in Shropshire very much, I also feel blessed to be living by the sea in this stunning landscape that is Pembrokeshire. I will be exploring and reflecting on the long tide more and will share in these posts.

With love in the ebb and flow.

By bus to Aber Mawr

My daughter had borrowed my car for the weekend and I really wanted to go to Aber Mawr about 12 miles up the coast. A friend reminded me of the shuttle bus that every day, from May to September, goes from St Davids to Fishguard following the coast road. Its been a while since I have caught a bus and I felt excited that I could get where I wanted to go without a long walk or cycle ride!  So I got up early (for me) yesterday morning, packed a rucksack with food, a good book, camera and swimming gear and caught the bus which left St David’s just after 9.

The bus journey was wonderful and I loved going through all the villages that I would have normally bypassed on my route by car.  A lovely Australian woman got on at Trefin and sat next to me and for about quarter of an hour we shared some of our stories.  Sharing with a ‘stranger’ is so rich and in the moment and unattached – we didn’t even share names yet shared so much more, then said good bye! A glimpse into someone else’s life, then moving back into my own.

It felt wonderful to get to the beach, just after 10, with the prospect of being there all morning by myself, with a friend joining me later for lunch in the next cove Aber Bach.

I love being on Aber Mawr, and one of the main reasons is the stones that make up the beach. I have discovered that the huge pebble bank, which is its main feature, was thrown up by a great storm in 1859. Apparently, as the tide drops and the dark sandy beach is revealed, there are remnants of a drowned forest occasionally poking above the surface. The bay is backed by lovely woodlands and fields with high cliffs to the south and lower, crumbling cliffs to the north.

The pebbles that make up the huge bank are one of the real joys of the place for me. I took a few pictures of them to show you – the colours and forms are wonderful.

I didn’t read much of my book, I was so enjoying taking pictures of the pebbles and watching a seal play in the water right in front of me – I tried to get a picture of it and decided to give up trying and just enjoy watching it tumble in the waves.  I then went in for a swim, screaming with delight as big waves broke over me! Every swim is different – the sea is constantly changing, the back drop of the landscape is so different in each cove and the sky, unless its clear blue, is a vast moving canvas of clouds and light.

The swim at Aberbach in the afternoon, with my friend Shayne, was wonderful.  Aberbach is part of the same bay as Abermawr and 5 minutes walk further on. The sea was much calmer and such a beautiful colour. Once I have decided to get out of the water, as soon as I do, I invariably want to be back in the sea. The freedom and joy of swimming is powerful.

The light on the sea as we left was breathtaking.

And then a walk through the beautiful Pen-yr-allt woods. We were chatting as we entered the woods then became quiet as the sight and feel of the place was literally enchanting.  Shayne gave me a lift home so no tales to share of a return bus trip and I really want to take the bus another time as it added so much to my day.

This has been a long post as there was lots I wanted to share from such a magical day. These posts will not always be as long – and maybe sometimes longer!

Mango and Avocado Salad

Having taken the leap to set up this blog I went blank when it came to writing my first post and decided to come back to it after lunch, hoping I would feel more inspired. I made a beautiful salad of mango and avocado and realised this would be the feature of my first posting – there could be lots more to come about food since it is a passion of mine! I love the contrast of orange and green and the lettuce I had just picked from a pot in the garden. I’d like to knit or felt something with this combination of colours.

So, I am on my way with this blog – really looking forward to the journey I will go on with it!