I’m not so sure about this grown-up business. Life was simpler when I didn’t have to worry about bills or getting food on the table or whether I really wanted a career in my day job or not. The world was my oyster and I could take off at the drop of a hat and everything was achievable. Time flies and life takes over. All of a sudden I find myself wrapped up in being a responsible member of society. And I’ve been so busy being a grown-up, that sometimes I forget what makes me tick; what makes my heart soar; what fills me with enough me to tackle anything the world throws at me. How did that happen?
Recently, we packed up the Little Paddler, left the guard dog in charge of the smallholding, and headed off to visit a friend and her little family. Words do not describe this friend or friendship adequately. You know one of those friendship where you might not see each other from the start of one year to the other but yet when you do meet up, it’s like you’ve never been apart? It’s one of those ones. We met out paddling. It was my first time in a sea kayak and Mr. Fairweather had blagged my way onto a weekend paddling trip and I didn’t know which way was up with my paddle. A baptism of fire probably does not describe that trip enough. But I survived and continued to paddle and this friend and I hit it off and we haven’t been able to get rid of each other since.
For my birthday one year we headed off; just the two of us on a mystery tour. She had told me to pack my kayaking gear and really not given much else away. We ended up in Connemara – as far west as the car could go – packed up the boats and hit the water. It was beautiful. One of those lovely calm days. The sea and the sky a pale blue. The water so clear you could see individual strands of seaweed drifting along in the current. We could hear children shouting off in the distance where they were playing in the water but there was no one close to us. Just us and the birds flapping lazily overhead. We meandered over to one of the many small islands and pulled up on the sandy shore. We built a fire and grilled some fish we had brought for lunch. We made a Dutch oven and baked some bread and brewed a pot of coffee and watched the sun laze its way across the sky until we packed up and headed home. It was possibly one of the best birthdays ever.
I don’t get out to do much paddling anymore. I am going to try harder. It’s too easy to make excuses. But getting out on the water – even just being near it – is good for my soul. It makes my heart glad. Tonight I baked that same bread we did. Except I used an electric oven instead of a Dutch oven. When I eat it – I’ll be back on that beach in Connemara. Even if only for a few minutes.
3 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 oz shredded coconut
5 oz butter
1/2 pt coconut milk
Preheat your oven to 180C. If you are using a baking tray then grease it. I use a silicone mat and there is no greasing required.
Mix dry ingredients together. Rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add coconut milk and knead lightly until dough has come together and is smooth (or as smooth as you can manage it with dried coconut through a dough). Cover it down with a tea towel and leave to relax for an hour.
Roll the dough out into a disc about one inch thick. Place onto mat/tray and bake for about half an hour or until top is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
I highly recommend this slathered in butter while still warm with a pot of good, strong coffee. Preferably sitting on a beach in the west of Ireland.