Monday 7 June 2010

Simple pleasures . . .

Take time to think,
it is the source of power.
Take time to play,
it is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read,
it is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to pray,
it is the greatest power on earth.
Take time to love, to be loved;
it is God's given privilege.
Take time to laugh,
it is the music of the soul.
Take time to give,
it is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to work,
it is the price of success.
~author unknown

I found this poem in one of my many books and I just love the words . . . they resound with truth to my heart, and speak of things in life that are truly important, and sources of great joy . . . or at least the things in my life that I find important and joyful. I am a simple woman, with simple needs and wants and . . . joys.

We went for a long walk with friends last evening, down by the River Dee over on the other side of Chester through a tiny village called Eccleston. It's so very pretty there . . . and it was an easy walk . . .

We passed by beautiful cottage gardens, each one a picture . . . it was plain to see that they had been tended to by loving hands . . . a gift to us who wandered by and gladly drunk them in . . .

Fishermen down by the banks, quietly sitting and casting their lines . . . I wondered at the fish they would catch, but didn't like to ask and disturb their solitude . . .

Rolling fields, surrounded by moss covered brick walls and filled with dairy cows . . . softly mooing . . . the sound carried off through the eventide upon a gentle breeze . . .

We became acquainted with a couple of metal detecting men, who had stopped . . . the whistle on their detector going mad. We watched and chatted and waited while they went to work digging up their find . . . a piece of silver paper . . . long discarded from a bar of chocolate or some such . . . but it was an adventure all the same. You meet some really nice people walking along the river . . .

Several Kayaks, brightly coloured, drifted past . . . disturbing the quiet flow of the river . . . but not at all in an unpleasant way . . .

We walked and chatted and enjoyed the ambience of our long held friendship . . . this was a gift, is a gift, and we all thought to ourselves . . . we need to do this more often, but we know we won't.

It will continue to be a rare treat . . . these easy walks . . . but then again, it is the rareness that adds to their value . . . that lifts an ordinary walk up into the realms of something really special.

I am grateful for that. Simple joys, simple pleasures, the company of simple friends . . . All the best things in life truly are free.

We returned home afterwards and shared a piece of cake, none of us wanting the evening to end. This tasty blueberry cake went down a real treat. Easy to make and so very delicious when it is done, I don't know anyone that doesn't love it.

*Blueberry Crunch Cake*
Serves 10
Printable Recipe

This is soooo good!! With it's buttery, crunchy base and topping and it's lovely gooey blueberry filling, this is a real winner all the way around Serve dusted lightly with icing sugar, along with some cream for a really delicious dessert!

1/2 cup cornmeal
2 further tsp of cornmeal
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup soft light brown sugar, packed, plus a further 2 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup of butter, cut into bits
1 large egg
the grated zest of one lemon
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 1/4 cups fresh blueberries

preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/Gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 9 to 10 inch spring form pan and set aside.

Place the 1/2 cup of the cornmeal, the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the 2/3 cup of brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Drop in the lemon zest and butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. (alternately you can whisk the cornmeal, flour, soda, baking powder and brown sugar together with the lemon zest and then rub the butter in with your fingertips to resemble coarse crumbs) Beat the egg together with the lemon juice and add this to the mixture in the food processor. Pulse again, just to combine evenly. (Alternately whisk together and stir in with a fork to combine.)

Press 2/3 of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing lightly to even it out. Sprinkle with the 2 tsp of the cornmeal, trying to sprinkle it evenly over all. Top with the blueberries and then sprinkle the 2 TBS of brown sugar evenly over the berries. Crumble the remaining cake mixture over top of the blueberries and brown sugar. Bake in the heated oven for 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out fairly clean. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing the sides of the pan.

Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with some pouring cream, spooning cream or softly whipped cream on the side. Delicious!

If you are looking for a simple dessert that is quick and easy to make and uses simple ingredients hop on over to The English Kitchen this morning . . . tis Cookies and Cream Dessert.


  1. Oh Marie, I'll come walking with you!! Those photo's are so idyllic.
    I have got to do that walk:)


  2. I thought this time of a morning I'd be sure to leave the first comment! Wrong again!

    Your walk sounds wonderful - and cost not a sou. They do say the best things in life are free!

  3. your walk sounds enchanting ...I love the simpleness to it all. Hugs..Mica

  4. It sounds like a perfect way to spend a Sunday. I love walking like that but don't do enough of it. Having friends to share good times with always doubles the pleasure. I hope your Monday is a great one. We are hoping for some sunshine here.

  5. Hi, Marie! So much enjoyed this walk with you--love way to start the week! Like you, I believe simple pleasure are on of the keys to a happy life--taking time for the ordinary that is extraordinary! :o) Wonderful cake today--I just love anything with blueberries...mmm... Happy week, dear friend! Hope to catch you for that chat yet! ;o) LOVE YOU LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  6. Oh, how lovely, lovely! I adore it all. Wish I could have gone along on that walk with you.

    I admire your ability to enjoy the simple joys of life. God bless you!

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. Shall I make it tonight?

    Elizabeth :)

  7. OK I am calling the air line right now. I must come over and take that "easy" walk with you along the River Dee and through Eccleston. What beautiful pictures.
    Did you take all of those lovely photos? If so, you are just as good an artist with your camera as you are with a brush. What a talented friend. You are also an artist with words. I love the way you turn a phrase.... like.... "they resound with truth to my heart" ... and..."a gift to us who wandered by and gladly drunk them in"...etc.

    What a lovely post. It is gratifying to the eye, the heart and the spirit. How amazing to me that you can produce such a quality post every day. I can barely manage a simple family post once a week or so. I know that I repeat myself...BUT YOU ARE AMAZINGLY TALENTED MY FRIEND!!!...and I appreciate you.

    Lately I have been really busy taking some cruise computer classes online. I have taken 11 classes through Princess line and 4 classes through Celebrity line since we got home from Alaska.(The more I learn about being a cruise specialist, the more I find I don't know) I have 14 more through Princess and a bunch from Celebrity to finish. (and I have not even started with Carnival, RCCL or NCL). Because I have been spending several hours a day taking classes I have missed a few days of blogging. Either I must run to do something or my hip and leg get to hurting too badly to sit a moment longer. On the days that I don't manage to hop over the pond to visit you, I always miss it. I always feel slighted when I don't get my "Marie Fix and uplift" for the day. OK, now that I've written you a book, I will say goodbye.
    Love and Hugs, Lura

  8. Thanks for taking us along on your beautiful walk along the river, Marie! Simple pleasures are absolutely the're so right!

    That blueberry crunch cake looks just perfect to me--my favorite kind of dessert!

    Hope you have another equally beautifully day today, sweet friend! Sending lots of hugs and love your way this summery day!


  9. Blueberries are on sale now, so I'm all over blueberry desserts!

  10. I love simple pleasures the best! Thats where sweet peace resides. Love the desserts here too Marie! Come say hi :D

  11. that poem is just beautiful. we all need to take time for the simple things in life. sounds like you had a lovely walk-wish i could join you sometime! :)


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!