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13. Update: Hiking, Banana Bread + Books

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I know I keep saying it, but where did summer go? It feels like things have gradually picked up speed until suddenly the accelaration doesn't even register on the scale anymore. Just play the Back To The Future theme and here we are. In less than a month, I will be living in a whole other country and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. The rest of this month will basically be taken up accordingly: Final HYC tour (one week), meetups + goodbyes (one week), moving day (!). Whilst I am ready to go, I'm simultaneously so wary about leaving home and dipping my toes into the unexplored sea that is the world beyond. A last minute case of cold feet, I think.
So, because things are so rushed, it has been wonderful to have a last few days living life as normal at home with my family. It's been quiet and still, which is why I think I ended up learning so much new repertoire from Pianoscope by Streliski. Her music pauses time in a way my own humanity cannot fathom and yet yearns for. Particularly this piece (Automne) which manages to achieve the frailty of crispy leaves and orange skies; How we seek to hold them long past the day when the harvest is ready and the pumpkins are gone. I want to live in this little pocket of sound forever, on this day where the light is just right enough that you might be able to focus in on the dust motes.
And no piano practice on a weekend is ever complete without some baking. The kitchen in my house is more of a living room, because it is so warm and bright. It is possibly my favourite room in the house for that reason. The smell of fresh food always brings comfort with it, especially when we have worked together to make it. It's a family tradition I am very much fond of.
Today we were making banana bread with a new recipe we found. It was much more straightforward than I thought it was going to be in terms of mixing ingredients and such, though it was a tricky debate about why exactly it is called banana bread. After all it doesn't contain any yeast or anything... But as my grandma said, banana cake doesn't sound nearly as catchy! Also, a heads up to those who want to try making this, be sure to get the brown sugar on top of the cake just right otherwise it can end up a bit too crisp (we managed to save ours just in time!). The only dull part of this particular recipe was the waiting time, as it takes around an hour and a half for banana bread to be just light and fluffy enough in the middle.
The most a-peel-ing banana bread in town - Image copyright CLSS 2017
As far as nostalgia goes, this has also been another part of why I wanted to hold on to this weekend forever before life speeds up and carries me away again. I went hiking in a new place with my mum and dog after a stroll around what is infamously known as Mr. Darcy's lake from the BBC mini series of Pride and Prejudice. 
The Lake - Copyright CLSS 2017
Wandering up, past the sheep grazing sign, past the sheep and cows themselves, beyond the woodland, it always feels again like I am able to grasp at time. Up there, time does not exist. It is instead a malleable thing that I can take in my hands and flatten or throw as I please. It exists no more beyond heart beats or the silence of breath, or how long it takes you to count to 10 and back. The very smell of the cold in the air is enough to bring me the same sanctuary I have always found baking in the kitchen at home. These small things I can take with me anywhere, and looking out over the view of Manchester's sky line I realised that fully for perhaps the very first time. 
More sweeping skies and rolling hills - Copyright CLSS 2017
It will be hard to finish writing this and to go back to the ever constant ticking of my watch. To slot myself back in neatly to the boxes on my schedule, all the while dreaming of a pause button. But I'm ok with that - it means I have to learn how exactly I am going to make every second count. And so long as there are days with banana bread and music and all those people I love, both real and fictional, I think that I'm going to be just fine. 
Feeling on top of the world - Copyright CLSS 2017
Thank-you for all your support and comments. It is a fantastic thing to be able to help answer any of your questions and to share my adventure with all of you. It makes my day every day! 

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