I have to say this was the most exciting summer I had. We didn’t go to any country faraway or any places that worth “boasting” about. We didn’t leave the UK at all. I believe it was a state of mind, which filled my everyday life with excitement and contentment.
We went on our first ever camping trip to Kielder Water and Forest and had our rough encounter with midges.
I visited Corbridge three times during different trips. Such a lovely little place. The one hour walk from Corbridge to Riding Mill was pleasant and sweet. The biggest mistake was that we stopped at the great pub near Riding Mill train station and didn’t manage to get going again…
The second camping trip was a weekend away in Patterdale in the Lake District, which was 10 times more pleasant without midges. That was also our first backpacking experience. Even a short escape to the Lakes makes me very happy.
After two attempts, I became a big fan of camping, even though one of them was miserable. So we upgraded our gear and went on the most challenging backpacking trip so far, the Ridgeway. The Ridgeway was not the most scenic walking route we’ve been. But I think it was the perfect terrain to test out a slightly more challenging backpacking trip. More of that to come.
Cycling coast to coast along Hadrian’s Wall was another highlight. A great start to the last year of my 20s…
Barter Books is a book shop in Northumberland that deserves its own post – it’s coming very soon. We spent summer bank holiday there and went for a walk in Alnmouth with friends. It’s lovely to have great company.
Inspired by a trip to the pool with our new niece, to prepare for the opportunities of wild swimming, plus the slim hope that it will improve my stiff neck and shoulders, we started swimming at the local pool. I have to say thank-you to my parents that even after 6 years of staying away from any water (except in bathrooms…), I’m still a confident swimmer. It feels great to come back to the familiar world of water.
The biggest disappointment for the summer (apart from the failure of our strawberry plants) happened when I calculated the total walking mileage for the first half of the year for #Walk100Miles challenge. There was no way I would reach the goal by this rate. Since then, I didn’t have any motivation to record the mileage anymore…
In light of the launch of a second site of our home church, my husband and I had a happy afternoon brainstorming about a newsletter/magazine for our church. We talked to relevant people and the first project was a small booklet for World Mission. It’s an entirely new area for me, but I enjoyed it very much, even with very basic software and a limited amount of graphics resources.
I watched a few films over the summer. Four in total. Two were adaptations of two books I read, Tracks and Wild. You can see my book/film review here. The other two are two Japanese animation films. One is called Paprika. Imagine a 2D, crazy, colourful, disturbing and some say cleverer version of Inception. The other one is called The Wind Rises, which is the closing work of Hayao Miyazaki’s long and successful animation director career. An end of an era. The animation is about the life and work of genius Japanese aircraft engineer Jiro Horikoshi. His fighter aircraft was later on used during the WWII. I can’t agree more with Hayao Miyazaki that war is not to be celebrated. But Jiro Horikoshi’s gifts should be recognised as an individual human being. There’s nothing wrong with airplane. It was people who made them into killers. I’ve also been watching a historical TV drama about a legendary Japanese woman Atsu Hime. It’s very well made which should not surprise me at all since it’s a NHK production. I especially love the luxurious and exquisite fabric of their outfits!
Talking about TV programmes, The Great British Bake Off has started again! I’m following it this year. One more excitement for my week!
I’m a little bit surprised by how many books I went through over the summer. You can read some of the book reviews here: The Makioka Sisters, The Story of a Nobel Family, Tracks and Wild as I mentioned above, Journey Under the Midnight Sun, Illusory Night, The Devotion of Suspect X, Criminal Lu, and Norwegian Wood.
The serious and heavy book I’ve been reading is Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavour. I know! This book appears in my blog post again. I’m reading it slowly for the second time, with a lot of underlining, summarising in the margins and reflecting. It talks about work from a gospel worldview, which actually touches on a very big range of topics and areas, vertically across history, horizontally across the world.
The last one is Ken Robinson’s Element, which I’m also reading for the second time with a different colour highlighter than the first time. There are so many real life examples in the book. Instead of reading a book, I feel like meeting a lot of new people on every page.
I didn’t do much gardening this summer at all, but the garden looks lovely. The work from the previous years is showing through. My husband made a raised bed, which is supposed to be a herb garden but at the moment a curl leaf parsley jungle. All lavender plugs from last spring went in and are adjusting fine and growing really quickly. The strawberry plants are in retirement state this summer. However the blueberry plant worked hard and produced abundant fruit.
Hoppings fun fair came as usual. This amusement park on wheels comes to Newcastle every summer. Very romantic. We went for a photo shoot.
Summer is the time of year when international students leave us for good and when the weekly Small Group bible studies have a break. I feel completely spoiled having one extra evening at home every week. I signed up for cooking for Summer Small Group one week and fed 30 people with Mary Berry’s Sausage and Potato. The cooks on rota seemed to be overwhelmingly Asian origin. As a result, the dinner had been consistently Asian as well. I couldn’t resist chuckle when I heard “thank you Lord for British sausage” before meal.
After last Christmas, my husband bought me more recipe books as a birthday present this summer. So far, some of the successful attempts are: Brazilian beef stir fry, harissa chicken + beetroot, bulgur wheat and halloumi salad, a Portuguese cake recipe Bolo de Bolacha. I visited my South Korean colleague one day after work and learnt how to make Kimchi. I also tried out crème patissiere for the first time and made the biggest mistake so far. Instead of egg yolk, I used egg white… but I think maybe I invented something new. The creme patissiere was turned into Rachel Khoo’s chocolate mousse, which personally was a bit too much work for an ordinary flavour.
I started my Chinese blog recently as well. I don’t want to say it loudly just in case it fails…
The best news of all, we got a new niece!