I used the wrong term in ‘convenience food,’ I realise – I’d meant snacks, such as the humous and so on – ready meals are usually for one or two, of course. And I do buy them occasionally, but I find they become strangely samey after a while.
When my mother was in hospital and apparently near death, some fourteen years ago, I simply wasn’t able to cope with cooking. There were quite a lot of us here – russell and me, Ronan and Alex, Winkie and then Charlotte and her daughter Miriam came too, from Holland. I might have been back to cooking by then, though – because I went into the supermarket and just bought a lot of meals that could be heated in oven or microwave. And they were perfectly nice. I can’t remember what I bought, a whole range and then everyone chose what they wanted that night.
After about three days, they begged me for proper food. It was all just wrong and it all tasted the same, even though it shouldn’t have. How can lasagne taste like chicken Jalfrezi? But there was a sameness, a lack of texture, not enough vegetables and we were all glad when I started cooking again.
I’m reading at least twenty pages or so of a book a day, but that’s nothing really. And I’m not reading all through the newspapers as a consequence. At least I’m listening to music more now. I find myself quite annoying, really.
Anyway, the main news of the day is that the missing chicken turned up. Two are still with their chicks, so there should be 16 others coming to the run every evening, including the cockerel. One black hen tends to be late, with the result she’s often shut out – she likes spending time in the greenhouse. There have, for the last few weeks, been either 14 or 15 and I had no reason to think a fox might be about, so I wasn’t surprised when Stevo came running in to tell me she had strutted out … with five chicks. Ho hum. I had to turn a single pullet out of her run, which was formerly the baby Tots’ run, to make room for them. Come the weekend, Jamie is coming to help me with the first four cockerels and then I’ll let the remaining four females out with the adults, in the hope that they will integrate. In a week or two, I’ll have to catch a couple of them for my friend Linda. She’s not quite ready for them yet. I still have all the rest of the chicks, which are of indeterminate sex as yet. I find it really hard to tell, in most cases.