Saturday, 10 July 2010

No Pain - No Gain

This week the children broke up from school. My relatively ordered house is in utter chaos, and for finally for the first time in months I managed a trip to the beauticians. She is a new beautician for me and somehow she persuaded me, for the first time in my life, to try something new and wax something other than my eyebrows. The pain. Yes, the results ... but oh the pain!

I'm now working on the lavender chapter, and yesterday had a brillent afternoon talking picnic's with the wonderful John Griff on BBC Radio Northampton. For just one week afterwards you can listen to the show by clicking here. Starts at 12 and a half minutes in.

Wednesday I sent in my first chapter of the book for approval. I stayed up late and got up early to put all the recipes into one document and pace out all the lines double spaced. With this first chapter the publishing team will put together the style of the book. Boy can I tell you I was nervous. I suppose like anything you have put your heart into you want people to love it like you do.

It didn’t get approval though. To my utter horror the photographs that I choose were not the style that my publishers wanted. As I read the email that came back saying this, I felt a cold harsh grip of dread. Call me it said. I was 13 again standing outside the headmistresses office waiting for something I didn’t want to hear.

For a good hour after the call, explaining that the style of photo’s missed the mark, I ranted internally. After all I thought the photos were perfect. What did anyone else know? I called my mum. Who is an expert in all things, and even more so as I get older. I expect her to stick up for me and say no darling, the photo’s are wonderful. Stick to your guns. I was wrong. She told me she hated the style and really thought I could do much better.

At lunchtime I was still feeling like I had failed my A levels when Kellie, one of the photographers from the Chronicle and Echo came to take some shots for Saturdays paper. Chocolate Cake with lavender Cream. This divine combination of moist rich dark chocolate smothered in aromatic whipped cream and scented with the aroma of indigo lavender flowers did cheer me up. Kellie took a quick look at the rejected photo’s and explained that whist yes, they were beautiful that they were not putting the food centre stage. As the penny dropped I realised that whilst I loved the photos that were rejected they because they were over styled and needed to be more food focused.

At this point panic set in. The elderflowers are over. There are virtually non left. I rounded up the children, jumped in the car and drove around the countryside looking for elderflowers still white enough to photograph. Eight miles later I found some over a disused railway bridge at the end of Merry Tom Lane, and despite telling the children that they are not to climb over high up things, I did. I climbed over a fence, fell into a ditch and was wearing impractical maxi skirt and sandals. I got stung by nettles. I must have looked like a crazy woman. However, I did manage to secure 3 pure white heads of Elderflowers. Perhaps the only ones left in Northamptonshire. They were mine.

I raced home before they could wilt in the heat. Fortunately I was prepped and had taken vanilla sponge out of the freezer, and had butter icing still in the fridge. I set to and for the next hour I ignored the children, who ran riot. I re-snapped the shots and emailed them over to the publishers. Had I understood what they wanted?

My husband Alastair arrived home to find me waiting for the phone call and the house was in utter disarray. Kindly, he took the children straight out for a walk whilst I talked through the required style with those who do know what they are doing.

Style accepted ; relief swept over me. They were right. This photo style is really much much better. But the pain .. oh the pain. Lesson learned. I know now that I must focus on the food, not the props.

We had take- out for supper.

oh and my mum called me last night, to say that she loves the new photos.

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If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.