The sweet spot

Saturday and a new job starting tomorrow. One I’ve wanted to do, one that I’ve been angling for for a year since asking on the off-chance. The heat of the year is gone and the wind moving the blinds is cool on my skin.


This is my time of year, the time I was born. The time, literally this year, of going back to school, but not the school I went to and not the lessons I had to sit through.

Not too, the roads I used to know to get there, nor my friend I used to hitch to Bath with. Nor Limpley Stoke hill covered with trees, nor Bath itself, where the head-shops sell Agas now.

I bake bread about three times a week. Sourdough depends on a lot of things, but on its culture largely. I think too, on the temperature. And right now, it’s sourdough sweet spot temperature, not too cold, not too warm. I make it because bread from shops is never my bread. There are breads I like as much, but not many of them.

The recipe is always the same. 300g of flour and pretty much any flour will do. 200g of water, weighed into the bowl. Olive oil, salt. And the culture. And maybe a little more water. After a day, when it’s bubbling, another 300g of flour, knead it just a bit and give it another day. Then bake it.

The culture’s been going since August Bank Holiday 2012, when I got back from my friend’s house in Dorset and started writing Not your Heart Away.  I haven’t stopped. And I haven’t stopped baking, either. I’ve been doing both this morning.

Where I grew up I was told that nobody would want to read anything I wrote. Some people have different parents. Ones who know what people want to read, for example. They were wrong, but it’s taken a long time to get that message out of my head.

I finally know what I’m doing. People do read it and more will. And today, this Saturday with a hint of chill about it, the weather just right to let you know that with hot comes cold, with summer comes winter, that lets you know that the season of hitching through foggy Wessex valley bottoms in a maniacally driven blue Mazda truck is also the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, that lets you know that being there, then, was a precious gift, that my friend is and was and will be too, this is a sweet spot.

The bread’s come out just right. Maybe this morning’s writing has, too.




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