I usually succeed in forgetting anniversaries. I prefer it that way. They can catch you out, one way or another. I hadn’t expected today to do that so much, but it did. I wandered around this morning feeling shocked and lonely and not knowing what to do about it. It wasn’t that I did nothing of course, the usual chores first and then I went out and cleared a friend’s garden rubbish into his garden waste bin – he’s on holiday and he’d got more than could fit in one time, so I’d promised to refill it – and I picked up young Stevo, who was working in the garden for me today. When he came in to eat his lunch, I made myself a stir-fry of lots of vegetables and then dragged myself together. I turned out a cupboard that had rather a lot of old VHS tapes at the back of it. There was only one I wanted to save, which had Russell on it, being interviewed about china for the BBC. It’s only about 3 minutes long,but I wanted to find it. More recently, but still some years ago, he was on Flog It, but I don’t think I’ve got that recorded any more.
The cupboard also had a lot of board games and jigsaw puzzles, going back to when the children all lived here, most of them in very good condition. I’ll see if they’re wanted by any of the family, I’ve no likely use for them. And now, though the cupboard is still half full, there’s plenty of room for the grandchildren to keep their stuff.
I still felt rather odd and didn’t know what to do with myself, so I resorted to food again, or rather to cooking. First, I made cake, a boiled fruit cake (that is, you simmer the fruit with sugar, butter and water) and then I started to look for recipes to cook for tonight. I had a piece of salmon, rather more than I needed for myself – I asked Roses to get me some from the fishmonger (and I haven’t paid her for it yet, now I think about it) but the children and I didn’t eat it earlier in the week. Most of the dishes came from the same Madhur Jaffrey book in the end, except for the spicy Masala potatoes – I also had aubergines, tossed in turmeric and cayenne pepper and then fried, and broccoli cooked with fennel and mustard seeds. I spent a busy hour preparing everything, because it was all quick to cook.
I suspect that, in time, I’ll look back in mild bemusement at all the trouble I’m taking now. I’m clearly not quite balanced at present. One doesn’t have to be the keenest of amateur psychologists to know that I was bustling round with such busy concentration as a way of managing my time, as well as caring for myself. But at least there’s a square meal as a result. Though I’ve rather a lot of leftovers tonight.