My life’s essentials 14: Ilfracombe

Ticket to ride This ticket started me on a journey 50 years ago on Saturday, 2 August 1969. I didn’t know it at the time, but that train journey from Paddington to Ilfracombe, on the north coast of Devon, would bring me to the place where I would live 50 years later. We had a … Read more

My life’s essentials 13: my lawn rake

My trusty lawn rake must be 29 years old. My Dad gave it to me, I think, as a birthday present the year Mrs Z and I moved into our first house, which had a garden some 50 feet long by 11 feet wide. To me, this was paradise. The house I was born in … Read more

My life’s essentials 12: feet

feet | @robertz

Yes, feet are essential and my feet are essential to me. I walk a fair amount, usually between 15 and 22,000 steps a day, but I didn’t always. When I was younger, I used to cycle a lot, but then stopped when I started work and got a car. For quite a few years I … Read more

My life’s essentials 14: Canon PowerShot SX500 IS

Canon PowerShot SX500 IS | @robertz

I have always enjoyed photography, although for much of my life did not spend much time on it. Moving to live by the sea and walking with our dogs have given me plenty of opportunities to take more photos. Five years ago, after we lost our dear two spaniels and there was a lot of … Read more

My life’s essentials 11: reading

As a child, there was always something to read in our house: the Radio Times, books, newspapers, magazines, dictionaries, comics. While we listened to the radio and records, watched television and played with toys and in the garden, sometimes the house would be silent as we would all have our noses in books or magazines. … Read more

I need it all

It’s probably because of the seasonal bombardment by adverts for things which I don’t need that I’ve been thinking a lot about what I do need. While I post a series on ‘my life’s essentials’, many of these are tongue-in-cheek as I’ve come to realise that I need very little to be content. Recently, I’ve … Read more

My life’s essentials 10: breakfast

I’ve noticed that food figures a lot in my life’s essentials. It is, after all, essential to life for us and I think it figures so highly because I’ve had to look at my diet closely because of my Crohn’s disease and also to prevent middle-age spread. My aim is to achieve a balance of eating healthily while … Read more

My life’s essentials 9: treasure

What do I need? Not a lot. What have I got? Too much. This morning, when our dog took me out for exercise, we played with a newish tennis ball. I’d throw it for him to catch and bring back. Then he found a bald, broken tennis ball, which didn’t bounce. He was so happy. I put … Read more

My life’s essentials 8: laughter

Sometime you don’t realise how long something has been missing from your life. This often happens when you set yourself against some adversity that can last months or years. I realise I haven’t laughed as much as I usually do over the past few years. Laughter is essential, whatever happens in our lives and in the … Read more

My life’s essentials 7: wooden spoon

Following on from my home baking post, yesterday I realised that the wooden spoon I use for baking has become an essential. As I spend so much time typing on a keyboard, using my iPhone, apps and software, one of the biggest pleasures I take in baking, and cooking generally, is working with ‘real’ things: ingredients … Read more

My life’s essentials 6: home baking

Why? Because the flavours are overwhelming. And because I know what’s gone into it. And because it’s been a big part of my life. And because I find it a very relaxing activity. And because I like eating it . . . . . . and sharing it. When I was young my Mum baked a delicious light fruitcake … Read more

My life’s essentials 5: the sea

What a pull it exerts in so many dimensions. I have not always lived by the sea, but now I like to need to see it every day. Whether waves crash on to rocks or glassy blue stillness reaches out to the horizon, it is always a marvel. I could sit or stand, watching and listening … Read more

My life’s essentials 4: bone china

As mentioned previously, tea plays a big part in my life, although the continental European tradition of drinking coffee also features highly. But whether it’s tea poured through a strainer or freshly ground coffee, I always like to drink from bone china. I prefer a cup and saucer, but a mug tends to be more … Read more

My life’s essentials 3: a good whipping

We used to have a number of different kitchen gadgets, but they spent most of the time gathering dust in cupboards. Some gadgets are useful, but their convenience is often minimised by the time spent cleaning them after use. Now we have very few gadgets.