Another first since I last wrote: I had a day to myself. The header photograph may have had an influence: it is to be taken as a warning, not a promise! This is not going to be a funny blog post so no sniggering at the back please (and that includes people in SWITZERLAND and CHINA).
George finally decided that we are safe to look after ourselves, so went back to look after the London flat. (I am very happy with this, as one time when I returned from seeing the fleet off, there was a dripping sound which I eventually tracked down to a tank in a cupboard. If I’d not been there it would probably not have been discovered until the flat below suffered flooding). However, regarding George, I’m not sure he’s right. This weekend JD showed me some mushrooms growing in the lawn where the roots from an old felled tree run. He asked if we should eat them? I think they’ll be fine I replied, look like normal mushrooms to me. We have picked and eaten wild mushrooms in the past (always leaving one on the draining board so whoever finds our bodies knows what took us off). This is despite the tale of one of my brother’s friends, a professor of mycology and an expert in identifying edible mushrooms. Until the day he mis-identified one and died from eating it. Looking at this website, I like the disclaimer in the second paragraph. https://www.wildfooduk.com/mushroom-guide/ We decided not to try them this time.
I didn’t make a cocktail for George’s last night here, we have a few interesting gins and so had a special G&T. I decided instead to make a cake for him to take back, plus a special dessert for our final meal together. The good news is that, as a scientist, I know what I did wrong (afterwards). The bad news is, actually, the same. Take it from me, don’t take it for granted that you know what you’re doing unless you are concentrating on the task. NB I had not had a G&T at this stage.
If your cake sinks in the middle, it’s probably because you added too much baking powder. I know that, but somehow forgot and added too much baking powder. These two bricks with dips in the middle are the result. John mentioned that they are called frogs (when in a real brick), and I said that the depression in a horse‘s hoof (sort of the palm if it was a hand?) is also called a frog. Shape or coincidence? I’ve looked it up online and I’m not sure I understand the connection so we’re still in the dark. Don’t rely on me to know every (any) thing! The cake (ginger and orange) tasted good though.
I also know how to make a meringue. You whip the egg whites so you get lots of air added to the structure then add sugar and mix it in. What you do not do is add egg whites to sugar in the mixing bowl and expect air to be incorporated when you whip it. I could have thrown the resultant mess away and started again but if you’ve been following me you know I abhor waste. Let this photo of my plum meringue pie be a lesson next time you think of making a meringue. It tasted almost as bad as it looks, not enough sugar in the (homegrown from the freezer) plums. I had hoped that the non-meringue would sweeten it up. Wrong again.
The next day John drove George up to London so they both escaped, although JD did return. I’m glad of that or I would have been truly marooned at home with no car and the nearest bus stop about a twenty minute walk away. If the buses are even running.
I have decided that there are (at least) four stages of early morning hair: normal, dragged through hedge backwards, Strewwelpeter (see Post 88 dated 18th April 2020) and now, the beginning of dreadlocks. How to have them (the lazy way): if you pretend to be a caveman (woman) and don’t comb or brush your hair, in about a year you’ll have wonderful dreadlocks. Hmm. Just think of the loss of weight we’ll all have once our hair is cut. That “Covid Stone” is nothing to do with our excess eating and drinking, it’s the hair! Or so we can tell ourselves for the next few weeks until the hairdressers open. In the absence of having my hair cut, I’m trimming anything I can lay my hands on: dogs, lupins, roses, tomatoes. Another reason for OBB to leave? I did enjoy my day alone but probably due to the novelty.
Last weekend I broke my cocktail rule and didn’t pick the next bottle along. Some weeks ago (Post 94, 31st May 2020) we had one with pomegranate juice. As there was about half of the bottle left, I thought we’d best finish it off before it finished us off or exploded. I found a good sounding recipe, Tequila Pomegranate Blush, which we decided would go with the take away pizzas we’d ordered. This was very exciting as living where we do, somewhere re-opening (this time, At The Chapel in Bruton) is a major event, even if we do have to collect them up ourselves. As well as pizzas they do wonderful bread and breakfast pastries but we’ve not yet ordered those. Cocktail recipe? Sorry, neglecting my duties. Tequila (45 ml), Grand Marnier (15 ml), 60 ml pomegranate juice, 20 ml lemon juice and 15 ml sugar syrup. As I STILL have the sugar syrup I made weeks ago with the added ingredient pear eau-de-vie, I used that. We were unable to finish it off as the Tequila ran out. There was only just enough in the bottle for three drinks so that saved us from drinking too much.
Also that day, Adie caused a stir when we noticed that she had a tick (small parasitic arachnid) on her eyelid. I do have a photo but you don’t want to see it. They are disgusting things and I found out that they have three stages when they can attach to living things to suck their blood, like dogs or deer or us, so we removed and destroyed it. A couple of days later a friend who was visiting found another on Adie’s shoulder so that one was dispatched as well. Maybe it would be easier just to get rid of Adie? Less eventful at any rate.
Having mentioned VE Day in Post 91 (9th May 2020), I should mention that Vera Lynn departed this world on 18th June, aged 103. I’ve got a long way to go before I catch her up. I was thinking of her as I read my most recent book: the bookmark I was using is from 1946 and both sides are given here. Still relevant today! I think it’s too precious to use routinely so I’ve put it with my Penguin books (see Post 3 dated 5th November 2018, header photograph).
Earlier this week my diary pinged and I realised that, in another life, I would be on my way to New York to see the boats come in for the end of Leg 7 and the beginning of the final leg, to Bermuda, Derry and London. Who’d want to travel to all those places when they could stay at home and deadhead roses and train tomatoes? See Post 94 for the start of these plants.