The Studio is closed for holidays - the next dispatch date is 25th September


It's not about the bread

I love bread.

I particularly love sourdough bread.

Once, in the mid 2000s, after a particularly good trade fair, Euan and I went to the London restaurant Moro to celebrate and I badgered the waiter to let me buy a loaf of bread to take home (£8 - 15 years ago! I must have been on a trade show exhaustion high)

Now, every week, pretty much without fail, I bake a loaf of sourdough. Sometimes I bake two.

But it's not about the bread.

If it was just about the bread then I would simply buy a loaf. Unlike 15 years ago, there are places locally where I can buy excellent sourdough for £3-50-£4 a loaf. (People go on about how sourdough is expensive and it truly isn't, it is just that we have been conditioned to think that bread should be cheap - a whole loaf, which will last a week, costs less than a small coffee and a donut ). It would be a straightforward commercial transaction and I would enjoy my morning toast.

But it isn't about the bread, it is about making the bread.

The pleasure is somehow about the routine and the connection and the sensory pleasure of making the bread. The simplicity of combining flour and water and salt and wild yeast. The kneading. The smell of fresh bread coming out of the oven, cutting the first slice, the feeling of plenty. Abundance.

I don't mean this in a 'domestic goddess' kind of way - my bread is made to a simple recipe with an even simpler technique. I have no call to improve or alter it, I do not want my bread making to become something I perfect, it isn't a competitive undertaking. If you take away the rising and the actual baking it is something I spend less than 10 minutes on each week.

The bread is something in my life that is removed from consumerism, away from competition - something that just is. A weekly magicking up of sustenance from simple ingredients.

It made me think about how many other things in my life, the best things in my life, have the same kind of feel - making soup, growing vegetables, arranging flowers, knitting blankets, mending - all done for the love of the doing, none sensible in a cost analysis way, the process more important than perfection.

It is something that I increasingly believe is a route to a more engaged life - a connection to a rhythm of the seasons, to materials, to making, to feeding people. It is something I am thinking about a great deal while I potter.

So what do you love doing that is as much about the doing as the result? That is away from consumerism and competition? Let me know in a comment.

I learned to bake sourdough with Kat Goldin at Gartur Stitch Farm - she runs workshops and also has a great online course for non locals!

Comments: 1 (Add)

Gill Harris on December 6 2019 at 12:21

I live to make our Saturday night Pizza & today because it’s to wet to garden I made roast vegetable soup & soda
Bread , living 3 miles from a shop makes you be inventive!

Snapdragon social

Seraphina's eleven babies have grown so fast.⁠⠀
Now when she tries to gather them under her - usually if she hears the buzzard overhead - they all head under her feathers but their heads and tails stick out the side.⁠⠀
She seems unperturbed and a little like an overstuffed tea cosy.
I think that the last time I had this wooden clothes horse out was when we needed to dry cloth nappies c. 2001.⁠⠀
The plant dyed alpaca house socks have all cured now, the dye is well sunk into the fibres, so over the past couple of days I've been washing and pressing and packaging them.⁠⠀
The link to the shop page for them will go out in Friday's newsletter first - the actual newsletter is all about the dye deck and if you want to get it straight into your inbox you can sign up on the website or through my profile.⁠⠀
These were all dyed with tansy - the very yellow ones from the plant at the top of the Studio meadow, the slightly more orange ones from the plant down by the Studio door.
Last year, in the spring,  I got a tiny amount of seed of a grey Shirley poppy. ⁠⠀
I sowed half and gave half to @gracealexanderflowers .⁠⠀
None came up, in my garden at least.⁠⠀
This year two plants have appeared - a little fey and wan as Shirley poppies go, but with definitely grey flowers. ⁠⠀
Well kind of a purply grey . . . and if I'm honest I prefer the rich plums of Pandora . . . but It is eminently instagrammable.
Yesterday Seth Godin wrote that instead of getting our ideas spread like wildfire (uncontrolled, destructive, leaving nothing) we should get them to spread like wildflowers instead.⁠⠀
I loved this idea.  Ideas that self seed and spread in groups, ideas that place themselves where they are happiest, where they can thrive.⁠⠀
Ideas that take root in unpromising places and bring joy.

These daisies moved into the top of the Studio Meadow last year- spreading from the garden rather than the fields- but wilding themselves none the less.
A bright new morning starting a bright new week. ⁠⠀
A row of dog daisies and love in a mist, fresh and light and optimistic.⁠⠀
I feel like I'm hovering on the edge of planning things outside my studio this week. It is tentative.⁠⠀
Today I have a meeting about something that will involve me leaving the premises. I'm part excited, part terrified - I think they are probably the same things in many ways.⁠⠀
I'm building up to going on holiday in a few weeks. It feels vertiginous.  I definitely need to build my social muscles back up.⁠⠀
The globe thistles shouldn't be there. ⁠⠀
It was meant to be a temporary nursery bed.⁠⠀
They were a root cutting from my parents' garden - memories of pulling off the heads as missiles.⁠⠀
It is the perfect place for them.⁠⠀
Low sun barrels along the path as the gloaming comes. ⁠⠀
They glow in the golden hour.⁠⠀
I leave the heads alone.
Of all the half hardy annuals that are beginning to flower here, I think that cosmos purity is my favourite. ⁠⠀
Happy and light and generous with its flowers.⁠⠀
As you pick it, the foliage smells that dense herby/incense way that is perfect for the late summer/early autumn time.
Yesterday I was chatting to Eileen, who volunteers in the garden on Wednesday mornings, about how the Studio meadow changes in the light.  In particular how the warmer light in August - especially the soft evening light - makes everything glow.⁠⠀
Walking back from checking things at work I snapped these big daisies with a speckle of purple loosestrife behind them.  Softly glowing.⁠⠀

About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through my communities, both free and paid for, through my writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted activity kits, and through my online and in-person workshops I aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here