Ed made me a birthday cake following this recipe for a vegan coffee and walnut cake. I first trialled this recipe back in the spring, and it has taken the place of my old favourite sponge cake recipe. The Rose Elliot recipe is pretty good (it was our go-to birthday cake recipe for nearly fourteen years), but the Veganuary one is fluffier and tastes more like a traditional victoria sponge. I made a few adjustments to it though. Instead of 1tsp xantham gum, I use 2tbsps soya flour, and instead of 200ml instant coffee I use 50ml strong filter coffee and 150ml soya milk.
Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk around Sutton Park before shooting some b-roll for a documentary I’m working on at the moment. While I waited for my friends to arrive I went to see if I could find the ponies in the woods near Bracebridge Pool. Just as I was about to give up hope that I’d see them, I turned a corner and found what appeared to be the entire park pony population grazing on heather and roaming the paths down by the lake. Needless to say, I was in my element. I think I’d quite like to be a pony, they seem to have a good life.
This afternoon Ed and I went for a walk to see the wild Exmoor ponies in Sutton Park. I’ve lived in Birmingham for fourteen years and visit the park fairly often, but I’ve never seen the ponies before, just the cows. I just assumed the ponies were shy, and largely kept to themselves in the deepest parts of the woodland. I was hoping to see them today, but didn’t really think that we would.
On Friday evening Ed and I decided last minute to go hiking in Snowdonia. It’s always a bit of a gamble to book a hostel in advance because the weather is so unpredictable, but 24 hours out the forecast looked both clear and dry, and there was a room available at YHA Idwal.
This morning we got up before dawn and went for a walk around Llyn Idwal. It’s one of my favourite places in Snowdonia, and being up in the mountains for sunrise is something we both love. To my complete surprise and joy, we came across a herd of wild mountain ponies grazing the thin pickings of late autumn on our way up to the lake. The light wasn’t great and they were a little bit far from the main path, so I waited to take photos of them until the return leg of our walk.
The road to South Wales from Birmingham winds its way through Abergavenny, and for a long time now I’ve been thinking that it would be fun to climb Sugar Loaf which is on the outskirts of the town. We pass it by on the way to and from the bigger peaks further west, and most recently drove through Abergavenny on the way home from Babcia’s funeral down in Carmarthen at the start of June. On Saturday with no weddings or races on the calendar, we finally made plans to drive down to Wales and walk up Sugar Loaf together. It’s very easy to skip the lower peaks in favour of the bigger climbs of Pen y Fan and Corn Du, but Sugar Loaf on the edge of the Black Mountains is a really beautiful climb, with really good views on a clear day.