Reasons to Be Cheerful - My New Work Space

When a landslip caved in the back of our house a couple of winters ago, It seems like a disaster. But out of that disaster came Terence's Terrace, the garden that was formed by the timber retaining wall that had to be put in. And after months and months of dealing with architects, engineers and the bloody council we got planning permission to repair the back room.

Duncan and the builder were working on that while I was away in Europe for 11 weeks. I came back just before it was finished. Last week all the remaining work was done and I was able to move into what is now my studio. It gets great light as it faces northwest. It also faces the garden, Which could be a bit of a distraction.

 My studio in Lyttelton, New Zealand

My studio in Lyttelton, New Zealand

It’s a lot messier in real life (and it’s only going to get worse!).

Alex Hallatt's studio

Reasons to Be Cheerful - Homemade Sauerkraut

I love that you can make sauerkraut with nothing more than finely chopped cabbage, salt and time. I added some caraway seeds to this one and have had success with red cabbage, apple and coriander too. To get an idea of the technique, head over to Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation page here.

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photo of sauerkraut

And here is what it looks like for real.

Reasons to Be Cheerful - Travelling Without Flying

I had to fly between New Zealand and the UK, but when I was in Europe I was able to take public transport and travel surface. I took the train from London to Dorset and on to Hampshire, where I boarded a ferry that takes a day to sail to Spain.

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In Santander I got a couple of buses to take me to Hondarribia, where I was working for a couple of weeks on my books (see earlier posts on A Basque Diary). Then I took the little ferry across the River Bidasoa to Hendaye in France. The 9.12 am train from Hendaye got me to Paris in time to catch the Eurostar to take me through the Channel Tunnel and be back in London at 5.39 pm that same day.

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It is a slower, more contemplative way of travel and I’m lucky to have the time to do it. I can’t work on the bus (except for daydreaming), but I can on the train and ferry, especially since they now usually have wifi.

It’s a lot nicer than flying.

Reasons to Be Cheerful: Fingerposts

British street furniture can be very attractive, particularly in Dorset. And yes, these names are real. I grew up in the Piddle Valley. The River Piddle runs through it and past the villages of Piddlehinton, Piddletrenthide, Puddletown, Tolpuddle (of Martyrs fame), Affpuddle, Briantspuddle and Turnerspuddle.

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