Ha, fooled you! You thought you’d read my Last Post, didn’t you? I was referring to the end of the compost area creation, not of this blog. Sorry. OK, I’m not really, I think this is one of the things keeping me sane. I’ve forgotten how to talk with people. The other day I referred to my foots instead of feet. I felt about two years old!
However, I find it might not be the end of the compost area creation. Emptying the kitchen compost bin the other day, JD told me he saw two “sweet baby rats” looking up at him. Hmm. Can you catch leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease) from home grown vegetables using said compost? I remember when George was kayaking on the Kennet and Avon canal, they were told not to swallow the water just in case rats had been there. Must do some research.…No, it looks like we’re safe. As long as we wash our hands after handling the compost we should be OK. We’re all still washing our hands so no extra action needed.
Having procrastinated for so long, I have too much to talk about so I’m using headings. In addition, I’ve also divided this Post into two so it’s not too long. If you aren’t interested in a topic, just scroll down to the next.
It’s also been so long since the Last Post, the flower pictures I took are out of date, you’ll be thinking our daffs are very slow to come out if I include them. I’ve taken more of other flowers which are out now. At least the sun is shining: we started April with some pretty miserable weather. I’m having to water my pots as the rain has gone elsewhere.
I gave JD a few books for Christmas but as he doesn’t have time to read, they tend to be ones I think I might like. The first is by Julian Barnes, “The Pedant in the Kitchen”. There’s a short chapter on each topic so it’s quick and easy to read and at places I laughed out loud. Sample: page 94 (of 136, a very short book). “Cooking is the transformation of uncertainty (the recipe) into certainty (the dish) via fuss”. You can’t argue with that. I followed a couple of recipes recently and you can see the results somewhere here of cheese soufflé (the rise and fall) and cheese straws (more like cheese trees).
Another book which you might enjoy, not a Christmas present, is “The End of the Road” by Jack Cooke. Make sure you get the correct one, there are heaps of books with that title. If you’re not careful you might find yourself reading about the downfall of Rover Cars, the doping scandal of the 1998 Tour de France cycle race, analysis of the political situation after Jesus’ death and resurrection, or a small town in Alaska. Of course, any or all of these might be right up your street (or road). The one I want to talk about is quietly amusing and involves Enfield the spider, who lives in a second-hand broken-down hearse bought by Jack Cooke to go and explore a number of graves around Britain. I’ve not reached the end so I don’t know if it survives the journey. I’ve shown the cover so you won’t go wrong. He’s also got a blog (hasn’t everyone?). Here’s the link.
We have had some issues with kitchen lights and lack of brightness, so JD rigged up a reflector over the kitchen sink. When the electrician came back to finish, he was well impressed with the ingenuity!
Life has moved on and finally I’ve had to go and buy Bonio dog biscuits (see Blog Post 98 dated 8th July last year). I showed you the dogs’ haircuts last time. For those of you who knew me a long time ago: the other night we were watching a Queen programme (the band not the person) and JD said I looked like Brian May. Yes, some of you might remember that my hair was like that. It’s no longer so curly and it was desperately in need of a cut, I have what I call my Dutch girl curls either side.
In order to get (keep?) fit I’ve signed up for ‘Building Better Bones’ classes at Shapesmiths. It was a sort of accident, the Royal Osteoporosis Society had an auction and I put in a bid. When will I learn? After the first one I was aching all around. I’m now pacing myself but it is building up my bones (I hope) and I’m finding new friends who are also aching so that makes me feel good (sadist). It’s all on Zoom and there are people from Europe, Australia and the USA as well as Britain. For some it’s first thing in the morning, for others it’s just before bedtime.
Going back in time, for my birthday, we had a walk at the Newt. I’ve mentioned it before so I’ll hang onto the pictures, just in case I need them for another day. There weren’t many people around, partly because it was January and partly because it was still full lockdown so you could only go local with no mixing. Not much to look at but it was a nice day (even though they had run out of cinnamon buns before we got to the takeaway café).
Easter was still during lockdown here in England but we had a walk at Shapwick Heath close to Glastonbury. We had never been and it’s fascinating. You can find Excalibur there and ancient walkways, you’ll see some photos in this Post.
Currently, we’re in Stage 2 of English lockdown (with Stage 1 being the worst, unless they introduce Stage 0 or go into negative numbers). This means we can meet up with other people (six or two households): four of us went to Hauser and Wirth the day after things were eased and had a lovely walk around looking at the current exhibition by Henry Taylor, an American who was artist-in-residence here.
We can go to pubs as well, and eat or drink outside. As we’ve got sunshine we arranged to meet with George and Yangtze and have lunch at The Mayfly near Stockbridge. This was partly for George’s birthday and partly to say farewell to Yangtze as she has to go back to China and sort her “old” life out. We’re hoping the two of them will be able to be together again sometime soon.
I’m not sure when we’ll be repeating the exercise, we enjoyed it but it takes a lot of getting used to, seeing real strangers sitting at a table next to you. Maybe once we enter Stage 3, when we can sit inside so don’t have to rely on the weather. That should be on May 17th, if things don’t get worse again. I see that the USA has decided they don’t want us over there contaminating them with our germs. There’s also Covid in a climber on Mount Everest. I’m not going anywhere.
We’ve continued having takeaways including the Sun Inn, a Greek takeaway in Wells. We bought so much that it lasted a few days and they gave us some cans of soft drinks as a thank-you. St Patrick’s Day came and went, I’m not too enthusiastic about colouring my food green. Today is St George’s Day, I don’t know if there’s a traditional dish we should be eating, but as St George was Greek maybe I should go back to the Sun and order something.
As I have a penchant for using up stuff, I thought this article might be of interest. “Which foods are safe to eat after the use-by date?” Having read it, I don’t think I’m likely to poison us.
I do occasionally tell you what music we’ve been listening to.
Wagner’s Ring Cycle was on Radio 3, over four nights, with Stuart Skelton so we felt obliged to listen to that. I had booked tickets to go and see it (all four operas) at the South Bank in London at the beginning of the year (not with Stuart Skelton). That would have been one a night on alternate nights over a week, so you could recover between parts (the shortest part of the cycle is the first, Das Rheingold, at only two and a half hours). Whereas we would have been captive in London, trying to listen at home proved impossible for the whole 15 hours (yes, fifteen). It’s still on my list. I couldn’t begin to tell you the whole plot so here’s a lovely introduction.
Recently the BBC announced that the television channel BBC4 will no longer commission new programmes. That is really annoying as it’s possibly the station I watch most. Of the programmes I enjoyed (and probably mentioned previously), Neil Brand and his history of musicals, of cinema and of song were notable, as well as Antonio Pappano telling us about Italian Opera. I don’t think any of these are available on BBC iPlayer now, unfortunately. BBC4 seems to be showing Top of the Pops from recent decades relentlessly.
I also try to listen to music that I’ve not come across before. One of these is a folk duo, two Swedish sisters, called First Aid Kit. Try Googling them and see how long it takes to get beyond having to buy bandages and thermometers etc!
I suspected you’d force yourself to read this far. Surprise, this is where Part 1 ends and Part 2 will begin. Very soon, possibly tomorrow, as I’ve pretty much written it already. To whet your appetite, you’ll learn about rum, Sambuca and sloe gin. Yes, we’re almost at T time, except we don’t have any tequila. We don’t have any bottles beginning with T, now that I think about it. I’ll leave you with the last picture of us before our haircuts.