Nuthatches and tomatoes

Lazy slumber, interrupted by a tapping at the window, assuredly aroused awakening.

“Would that be the long-tailed tits back again for the winter?” a whispering spoke in my ear.

Our voices silenced the tapping and fluttering of wings; I sheepishly peered around the curtains, but saw no sign of the offender.

My subconscious takes over first thing in the morning and I can’t be held responsible for what I do.  Fortunately, my actions revolve around making tea, and I found myself in the living room opening curtains, having put the kettle on and prepared the mugs for the first cup of the day. I noted a bird flitting from the patio into the tree, but didn’t quite catch what it was.

I waited, and it returned, turning over the autumn laurel leaves to uncover its meal. I was surprised to witness a nuthatch. The first of this bird species to visit our garden, being more common south of where we live.

I excitedly shared the sighting, but it had gone on his merry way before a second eyewitness could verify my tale.

“Seems it only came for you. What is the symbolism of a nuthatch?”

Yesterday, I had my first wobble over our transitional state of being. Call it a mini-panic if you will. I probably needed to have done some t’ai chi, but I got it out of my system through a good chat, which was therapy itself, and now feel clearer about how best to expend my energies on the venture over the next few months.

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“Hobbes Ambushes Calvin” by Thoth God of Knowledge
“Rally the Herd” by Xavier Verges

The question motivated a quick search on nuthatch lore. A couple of themes emerged. The main one being to have courage, particularly when facing the masses, or when changing direction. A positive portent?

It cheered me up and we went for a run. My partner was aiming to break the 5 mile barrier, I was hoping to get further than my longest run of 4.08 miles. We both achieved our goals. Verd did exactly 5 miles, and I, 4.68.

But exercise induces hunger and a quick fix is needed to avoid the low after the exercise high. My body said that soup was desired, but in no more than 10 minutes.

There are times I love google search:

“10 min soups”.

10 minutes later we were eating a 10 minute tomato soup with some oatcakes I’d baked yesterday.

“That’s made me feel happy.”

I’d felt the same effect and it struck something in my ageing memory. Didn’t I read or hear somewhere that tomatoes are good for alleviating depression? I tried to rationalise it. Serotonin is made by tryptophan, an amino acid – a protein, therefore unlikely to be found in any quantity in tomatoes, but I was back to google again.

Google search: “tomatoes depression”.

There have, in fact, been a couple of studies that have linked tomatoes to reduced reports of depression. The most commonly cited research is summarised here and for an accessible discussion of the details of the study, click here.

So want a quick relief for the blues, or simply a tasty lunch?  Here’s the 10 minute recipe

But due to limitations of ingredients in my larder – this was my version:

Put 1 tin tomatoes, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 chopped celery, a healthy dash of tamari sauce, 150 ml (cup) water, a tablespoon of home foraged honey, and a good sprinkling of salt and black pepper into a processor and mix until smooth.  Stir in 4 tablespoons sour cream and a handful of torn coriander (cilantro) leaves and warm over a medium flame for a few minutes.  Serve immediately and garnish with remaining coriander leaves and crumbled Wensleydale cheese.  Great with buttered Scottish oatcakes.

And as the original recipe suggests, cleaning time is included, I got the washing up done while the soup was warming.

Dinosaur
Dizzy Heights

What a different current this day has brought compared to the wobbly start of yesterday!

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