Sunday, 29 July 2012

Community Matters

I was going to write about the Olympics, having spent the morning at a historic and iconic venue and never having imagined I would hear the words "... will serve from the Downing Street end...."

However that will have to wait since another matter has been buzzing in my brain for a few days now and unless I pin it down on the virtual paper I fear it will be lost in the ether never to be discussed or debated further.

So... let's begin with a cake - or twelve...

Many of you know that I am now baking cakes for a living - along with writing of course. I create bespoke, "posh", (or as one of my friends put it "expensive...") cupcakes for birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, leaving dos, celebrations, commemorations and pretty much any other occasion  you can think of. I do cupcakes by post too - for less than the price of an (expensive) bouquet you can send a gorgeous box of hand made bespoke cupcakes especially designed for the occasion.

I digress - and advertise.

I now supply cupcakes for a new cafe in our community, which for those of  you not in the know is Croxley Green in Hertfordshire. The very same village mentioned by John Betjeman and in which brownies still dance around the maypole in the annual Revels on the Green.

There is so much to say about this gorgeous cafe that even me - so rarely lost for words - does not know where to begin. Not just the calm relaxing decor, the delicious menu, and the best coffee for miles. Much more than that - the sense of community that it is already engendering.

I deliver cakes two or three times a week - they are truly freshly home made (I advertise again...) On each occasion I stop for a coffee and catch up. The door opens constantly (but not of course draftily) with a stream of people all of whom are greeted like old friends. Many of them are.

I've spent hours already in Coco. I've met and chatted with managers and mothers, contractors, carpenters, commuters. Retired and unemployed, everyone with a story to tell - many of which I will in the coming months.

Every community needs a Coco because Community Matters. Pubs aren't everyone's cup of tea - to coin a pun-like phrase. But Coco is - especially if you love a Girlie Grey! But step into a community cafe and you can also step out of your daily life, relax and enjoy the company of friends old and new. Yes this sounds cheesy but think of Roy's Rolls (Corrie fans) or whatever they call the caff in 'Enders. It's a meeting place, where news and gossip - of the best kind - is shared and friendships made and strengthened.

If you live in Croxley be sure to drop into Coco - on the Watford Road opposite the Red House and next to the Dentist. Plenty of parking but why not take a stroll there and burn off the calories in one of their delicious cupcakes?

Did I mention I was baking for them?

Monday, 2 July 2012

Three Months!

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post about not having written for three weeks I've woken up to the realisation it is now three months since I left my "proper job".

Time flies when you're having fun - guess I must be having lots lately as no idea at all where that's gone.

Someone said to me at the weekend "would you rather be doing this - or back at (insert name of place I used to work...)?"

The answer didn't come easily, "oh this for sure" didn't trip off my tongue as if this was what I was born for. I had to stop, think, consider, and reply hesitantly.

The issue being I'd have preferred to have had the choice. Some might say it can take having circumstances thrust upon us to shift us out of our comfort zone and into new adventures. Others might point to my control freakery and say "well you would, wouldn't you?"

Personally I would have preferred not to have gone through the agony and angst; the uncertainty and indecision. I'd have felt happier knowing that leaving the security and friendships that had built up over eight years was my decision. And it would have been good to plan for that properly, to prepare for the next chapter and to grieve for the last one.

All of which isn't to say that those things didn't happen - the planning, preparation and grieving. But being thrown into the situation escalated everything, contracted the timeline (Is that a proper expression or born out of hearing a childbirth story on Daybreak as I write...?!) and forced me to make choices quickly.

Or did I ever actually make those choices? Looking back when did I decide to "be" a writer and cake maker? Let's not go there or my inner control freak will rear her ugly head and we'll be back where we were!

No picture - have to be a cake then....did I already post these?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Three Weeks?!

Three weeks with no blog entry - hot on the heels of a blog post announcing my intention to blog daily as part of a commitment to the whole "I am a writer" thing. Should I be hanging my head in shame and failure?

Happily not.

Some readers may recall the whole "Write Bake Create" project born out of my redundancy and birthed on Facebook

Working as a Project Manager on the Southbank, struggling with the Met and Jubilee Lines on a daily basis but loving London Life I could never have imagined the about turn that my "career" has taken. I use inverted commas as I'm still not quite sure that is the right word to use. Sure I've stopped using the term unemployed, replacing it with "self employed" but is this really "a job"?

One of the main reasons I've not been writing on here is I have been so busy writing. It took a while to get into news writing - being so different from creative writing, blogging, poetry and everything else I was well used to. I love the immediacy - find the story, get the quotes, write it up, publish. See your byline, enjoy the compliments, take the criticism on the chin and move on - another day another story....

When not writing I am baking. Hundreds and hundreds of cupcakes. I look back six months and see how far I've come and have to smile....

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