The day was more complicated than expected. LT and I were up and breakfasted early enough to drop off the car and go to the local supermarket before the car parts shop was open, so we hung about a bit before picking up the wiper, returning it and coming home in time to greet a friend who’s over from New Zealand for a visit. Except, it didn’t work out quite like that. A warning notice came up on LT’s car information panel saying that the car was overheating and he must drive very slowly; followed by one saying it had overheated and he must stop. And the power reduced considerably. Quite confused, as the heat gauge indicated no such thing, he stopped and turned the engine off, waited a couple of minutes and started again – all this happened three times in the final mile home.
Never a couple to make a drama out of a crisis, as the cliché goes, we didn’t fuss but greeted my friend when he arrived and I introduced him and Tim. He’s already been to a niece’s wedding, stayed with other friends and is now visiting old haunts in Lowestoft before heading northwards to visit his son and family, so it was good to catch up. And then LT phoned the BMW garage in Norwich, which is a branch of the one he normally uses in Reading, then the RAC breakdown people.
The way all this was dealt with was impressive. The garage in Norwich was helpful, the receptionist put him straight on to a mechanic who agreed that bringing the car over was necessary but it shouldn’t be driven the 22 miles involved. The RAC was excellent, a mechanic arrived in short order, checked out the car, confirmed that coolant was not circulating and said he’d arrange for a breakdown lorry to come. Later, my own garage owner phoned to say my car was ready and, since I’d have had to walk in for it, he brought it back and I drove him into town again and paid the bill. They fitted the new wiper blade without charge, now I think about it. The breakdown lorry was here when I got back, LT phoned Norwich to let them know it was on its way and a while later, that garage phoned to say it had arrived. All good communication and it inspires confidence.
In the meantime, we were making bread and butter pickles. I bought a jar of this simple pickled cucumber with onion a couple of years ago and thought it was delicious. I didn’t have much of a cucumber crop last year, but now I’ve got rather a glut. So we’ve made a jar and hope they’ll be as good as the ones I bought. It really is simple – you just salt the cucumber and onion, boil vinegar and spices, then cool them, then pot up in a sterilised jar. I also harvested a vast amount of basil and made huge amounts of pesto for the freezer.
Anna del Conte, the wonderful cookery writer (who shops in the town where Wink works, by the way), says that you should freeze the basic basil/oil/pine nut combination and add the cheese and garlic when you defrost it, because freezing garlic makes it taste off. However, I’ve not found that and so nowadays I put in everything before freezing it. I’ve made nearly three pounds of it, frozen in four ounce batches, so I need to be right about this.
Tim has offered to make his famous pasta dish, with pancetta and tomato. The pancetta is actually some of our home-cured bacon and the tomatoes are home-grown, so it counts as another free meal. Apart from the wine, that is. I expect we’ll have a glass or two.