Monthly Archives: April 2015

Z likes a house

I browse among houses for sale when I have a bit of time in hand and, last night, I found two places I liked the look of. One was considerably too large and too expensive to boot, but the location was delightful and the other was pretty well perfect except the village is a bit far out into the deeper reaches of Norfolk. Weeza approved, however, and suggested i buy it. Just like that.  Decisive, my girl. I pointed out that I don’t have big sums of cash hanging about unused and I’m too long in the tooth to want to raise a mortgage. Or to have two houses.  And that the village concerned has rubbish Internet. She still wanted me to go and view it, though.

Tomorrow, Zerlina and Gus will spend the day and night with me, though lovely Roses will babysit for a while in the evening. After that, I will have to plunge back into everyday life, reluctantly. It’s been lovely to spend so much time with them.

Zed in Bed

I’m sufficiently exhausted to be in bed by 9 o’clock. Very annoying, I don’t like early nights, but a third bad night has finished me.

I weighed and measured all three tortoises today and Edweena has nearly hit the two pound mark, at 897 grams. The tots are Anastasia, 84g and Natasha, 91g, but they are the same length, as far as a mark drawn each end of their shell can indicate.

The sun finally shone, a day after the rest of the country. I sat and read for a time in the porch, no energy to do much, though I did some gardening later.

Im trying to ignore the election stuff, though I can’t help but catch bits of it once in a while. There seems to be some counter-productive talking going on and I wonder if that’s intended. Surely not – politicians aren’t that subtle, are they?

Z meets Jasper kitten

There was no reason for it, but I was awake before 2 and fell asleep again after 6.  I don’t get upset about it, I get adequate sleep overall and I’m used to it being spasmodic.

Ro and Dora took me out to lunch at their local pub and I finally met their kitten, Jasper.  He originally belonged to Dora’s sister, but she proved to be allergic to him and had to let him go.  He’s very attractive, with large and pointed ears, very big eyes and a small, attractively marked body.  He’s also friendly and inquisitive.  When I arrived, he was at the top of the stairs and hesitated until I looked up and smiled at him, when he came straight down to check me out.  He was clearly not tetchy so, when I felt we were getting acquainted by having my hands sniffed, I bent my face for him to check it out too.  I’m getting much better at reading cats, I never used to quite understand them.

This evening, I was tired and not especially hungry, but I eat properly at all times of course so, after a long soak in the bath, I cooked poached eggs on toast.  I’m going to have to make more bread soon, I’ve only got enough for a couple more days.  Ro was quite enthused by my description of the naan bread, he’s interested in flatbreads and keen to try them himself.

I haven’t anything in the diary tomorrow, so hope to get some things done in the house and garden.  On Wednesday, I have an appointment with my solicitor to go through the documents for probate.  I feel very anxious and emotional about it and I know it’ll be awful once it’s gone through and I put everything into my name.  Someone who phoned me a couple of weeks after Russell died said “so, you’ll be a woman of property now” – he wasn’t very well and so less tactful than usual and I didn’t know what to say in reply – I mean, yes, but not in a welcome way.  I’ve warned my children that I’ll fall apart again, there’s no doubt about it.  But then I’ll pull myself together again and it will be another job completed.

First, I have to hope that the application goes through without a hitch.  I’ve no idea how likely that is.  Nothing is ever simple where Russell is concerned.

Z cooks and eats and eats and eats.

Indigo Roth came over today and I didn’t have much fresh food in the house, so decided to cook an Indian vegetarian meal.  I had a hankering to make naan bread and – well, I had some vegetables.  So I devised a meal and then talked to Roses and things took off  a bit.  Fortunately, she had ginger, because I’d used the last of mine yesterday.  She also had dried mango powder, which I’d never heard of, and she happened to have a chicken that somehow had proved surplus to requirements.  The result was that – well, I cooked an absurd amount of food for the four of us.  There was a potato dish, a chickpea dish, a beetroot dish, a mixed vegetable dish, a chicken dish and the naan bread.  I’m happy to say that nearly all the leftovers have been taken and I’m left with barely enough to feed myself for two days.

The naan was delicious.  Really wonderful.  It was not complicated at all – flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk and yoghurt, all kneaded together and left to rise, then divided into portions and kneaded again before being shaped and rolled into the traditional flat, tear-shaped breads.  I couldn’t cook them in the traditional way of course, so baked them for a few minutes in the Aga and finished them under the grill.  Indigo and I couldn’t resist tearing pieces off a freshly-cooked one and they were nearly as good reheated later.

I really want to try making pooris.  I love them.  Actually, my next trip to India, I need to have a few lessons.  Or maybe it would make more sense to ask an Indian friend for lessons, using ingredients one can get in England.  The mango powder recipe also wanted pomegranate seed powder.  I didn’t have any, but I did have a pomegranate, so I MADE MY OWN.

I also discovered that Indigo and I work really well together in the kitchen.  He is good cook and just gets on with things.


Z and the spring flowers

So annoying, I can’t get a good sleep rhythm going.  I was awake by 4 and then dozed when it was time to get up.

I don’t like getting up early.  This dawn malarkey was all right, once or twice a year, when I lived in Lowestoft – motto: Point du jour, it being the most easterly point of the British Isles.  Seeing the sunrise was quite good, once.  A bit samey after that.  Last time I deliberately did it was New Year’s Day, 1st January 2000.  And I don’t really care whether that or the next year was the start of the new millennium, it was 2000 which was quite enough of a milestone.

We had thrown a party the night before, which was at our house but organised by our friends Stuart and Caroline as well as us.  It was good fun, though the details are hazy in my memory.  I can’t even remember what food I served, which is unusual for me.

We had agreed to meet up sometime before larkfart, to drive to the seaside to watch the sun come up.  As I’d done dinner, Caroline was doing breakfast and had packed a camp stove, bacon and eggs etc.  Russell opted out but the boys were game – Weeza had called in on the party for a while, with her then boyf Richard, but they’d gone on to another party later.  We drove over to the cliff at Dunwich, where there were a number of other people waiting to greet the dawn.

A tip for you – when you’ve a camp stove, it’s surprising how a bit of a breeze lessons its effectiveness as a cooking tool.  We’d meant to be eating our bacon sarnies as the sun rose, but they were a bit late.  Also, it was slightly cloudy at horizon level, so the actual point of day was slightly to be guessed – but it didn’t seem to matter at all.  There had been snow but it was fine, it was a special occasion and we had hot drinks in a Thermos, as well as slightly floppy bacon in due course.

Anyway, today…. I arranged flowers at the church.  A good job I’d bought plenty of lovely spring flowers – mostly in pink and yellow – as there was also a wedding this afternoon and the bride had been pleased to be spared the expense of a florist, as the church would be decorated for Easter anyway.  I’m afraid Russell didn’t get any of the flowers, they all went into the pedestal under the pulpit.  I’m no particular flower arranger, but I don’t mind having a go.

Russell does have some daffodils, but something has nibbled them.  I’ll pick more and take them down in the morning.  He wasn’t very interested in flowers, truth to tell, but he did buy me some, once in a while, so it seems only fair to return the favour.

Several people have told me in the last few days that I’m looking better – less drawn.  I know exactly what they mean, I’ve put on weight.  I don’t want to expand out of a size 10, it doesn’t suit me.  However, Weeza has told me that, at my age, I have to choose between face and figure.  Well, I accept that I’d lost more weight than I’d needed to.  And being too thin at my age is neither healthy nor flattering.  But I think it’s time to draw the line, while I can still see my feet.

Z has an early night

I’m back home and alone again, having stayed with Weeza and family on Wednesday night and brought Zerlina back here again last night.  I wanted to make hot cross buns yesterday, but it took us a while to get started and I didn’t realise how long it would take – you make the enriched dough first, kneading it thoroughly and leaving it to prove, then kneading it again to incorporate the fruit and spice.  What I didn’t appreciate was that it was then necessary to leave it to rise for another hour before shaping the buns and letting them rise for another hour yet.  This wouldn’t have mattered if I hadn’t agreed to play the organ for the Maundy Thursday service but, as it was, I realised I couldn’t speed the process and had to slow it down instead.

Zerlina is a reasonable little girl, taking on board the explanation that I’d have to cook them after she was in bed and I showed her how to make the flour and water paste and pipe it, and how to brush on the apricot jam glaze, both of which I’d be doing myself.  Roses kindly looked after her and put her to bed while I was out.  Zerlina asked for a soufflé again for tea and I added some ham as well as the cheese this time.

The hot cross buns turned out very well, though they weren’t the easiest thing to make and I was glad I had the mixer to knead the dough, which remained sticky, however long it was kneaded.  Alex made some last year and he didn’t mention that, I’ll have to ask him.  I didn’t think I’d added too much water.

I’m planning a quiet weekend, I hope.  Phil and Gus came over this morning to pick up z, Weeza having to stay home for the delivery of a new bed for z.  Al and family are on holiday in Yorkshire and I’m going to have lunch with Ro and Dora on Monday.  I’ve bought lots of flowers to decorate the church tomorrow (and will have enough, I hope for Russell’s grave too: if not, he will have daffodils picked from the garden) and will play the organ on Sunday.  I might amble down to the pub for a drink at some time but otherwise I shall be home, pottering around in the house and garden.  After such a busy few weeks, I felt quite lonely but I met that rather more than half way, taking and embracing the feeling and playing The Mountain Goats – and if Get Lonely doesn’t cure, it’ll probably have the opposite effect, so it’s not to be played lightly.

No sign of frog spawn yet in the pond or the stream and Wince, my gardener, says he hasn’t seen any yet either.  Anyone from a balmier part of the country got any yet?  I hope the frogs will find my pond again, but haven’t seen any sign yet.  The two of us were making plans for what to do over the summer – he’s quite a reserved man but he’s starting to feel more at ease with chatting to me now.  We’ve never done a job together yet though, he prefers to work alone even if it’d be easier with two.

Although it’s early, I’m really tired and going to have a long soak in the bath and an early night. Changing the clocks has completely confused my body rhythm, I don’t have any feel for what time it is any more.

z is in bed

I’m very glad to have had a tranquil day today in regard to tortoises. Edweena seems to be over her ill humour. I found each of them a dandelion as a treat.

Tonight, I’m back with Weeza and co and will be looking after Zerlina again tomorrow. I hope she will be happy to come home with me, but she was feeling a bit clingy today, her mother said, so we will talk about it in the morning. If she doesn’t, she will have a very quiet day at Weeza’s office.

I’m finding it very hard to keep up with everything, there aren’t enough hours in the day. A lot of school governor emails have been winging around and I finally caught up with them all – this wasn’t a bad thing from my point of view as it gave time for others to do the work and I just had to tweak at the last. But it’s the holidays! I reckon we all deserve a break.

Ten eggs today. Must eat more eggs.