Happy New Year!

I find it hard to fathom that any year could have been stranger than 2020, but then there was 2021. In spite of it all, I continue to seek out beauty in the mundane as well as in the ethereal and extraordinary. I thrive in the comfort of it, in the smallest miracles that abound.

On the third of January, the morning brought an extremely vivid double rainbow over our beloved neighbourhood. Two days later we celebrated 12th Night with a cranberry orange cake decorated with a marzipan persimmon which was as delicious as it was beautiful. A lovely shop near us brings in a spectacular display of marzipan fruits especially for the festive season from an artisan in Italy.

Spring can come very early in this part of the world. Snowdrops, then crocus and daffodils are usually seen by January and February. Some newly cut branches we found on a boulevard brought the spring inside for us in early February, just in time for a reminder on February 13 that it was still winter. Valentine’s Day is always a good excuse to bake, not that I ever need an excuse!

On the grey days of March I made time for cozy cups of tea and making things. Fair days were for walking among the daffodils. The famous Victoria flower baskets begin to appear in March, and in March and April the ornamental cherry and plum trees bloom in waves throughout the city, their heady fragrance filling me with delight (making up for my itchy eyes!).

In anticipation of Easter, the bakeries fill with seasonal delights and I seek out all the versions of hot cross buns I can find. More and more cherry blossoms appear and the days are brighter.

By May the trees have been adorned with every shade of green. In June I created a birthday tea party for a lovely friend, complete with tiny sandwiches, scones, a tropical-inspired Victoria Sandwich Cake and other sweet treats. We also began picking up our local organic produce CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) from Littlest Acre Farm at Moss Street Market. Every Saturday until the end of October was like Christmas as we brought home a mystery bag of the most beautiful fresh veggies and fruit.