We’ve been away in Pembrokeshire for the last week, which was lovely as it always is. We won’t get over there again this season, so have shut up the caravan for the winter. I ran out of books, unfortunately, as I’d only taken four with me, but at least the weekend newspapers are bulky enough to take a while to read.
Rose has had to deal with various things while we were away – nothing she couldn’t handle and she trimmed Crow the Cock’s claws while she was about it, which i’ve been putting off doing. I do have a proper pet nail clipper, at least, which I used when we had Tilly. She never did anything to wear her claws down, whereas Chester used to dig out rabbit holes and keep his claws short that way.
Tim is, I suspect, both amused and bemused by my kitchen habits, which do not include wastefulness. Having chickens helps, of course, because it doesn’t count as waste if I can feed leftovers to them, but we did seem to manage on very little bought food while we were there. We’d taken half a dozen eggs and some cheese and vegetables, and bought four chicken thighs which managed to turn into two meals and a starter, but otherwise we just bought, for a treat, a rather large whole brill, which is a flatfish that hadn’t been seen in the shops for years. It’s noticeable that, though the EU fishing policy is certainly flawed and could have been improved, it has worked. Fish stocks have improved and we can buy fish now that had been overfished to a worrying extent and had been banned from being caught; or at any rate sold. But anyway, the brill was bigger than the roasting tin I’d planned to bake it in. So I used foil lined with baking paper to make a parcel, which worked fine. And it lasted for two meals and a starter for a third, so the rather startling price was brought down to practically a bargain.
I’m an amateur when it comes down to not wasting food, though. When staying with my friend who’d had a hip replacement, earlier in the year, I found her fridge absolutely stuffed with leftovers. I used what I could but threw away a scrap of Stilton which was all rind and dried-up scraping of cheese. Next day, she was searching for it. Fortunately, I found another one, even drier, and didn’t own up, though she probably suspected. It didn’t help that a friend, trying to help and absolutely not succeeding in the least, had bought a huge pack of uncooked chicken portions for her. If she’d then cooked them, maybe made up three or four different dishes, it would still have been too much chicken, but at least it would have been useful. As it was, frankly it was less helpful than doing nothing at all, not that one say so, of course, and my friend is too kind even to think so, though it taxed even her charitable nature.
Anyway, I don’t know how I got onto that. Tim is still getting used to the way I talk – you’d think he’d have been more prepared, having read my blog for years, but I suppose it’s different when it’s inflicted on someone all the time. I know he has a point. I give an unnecessary amount of detail when I’m explaining something. I digress to give the background of a person or incident, I sometimes break into an entirely different anecdote as a consequence, yet I don’t forget the original story and I go back to it and sometimes – I maintain that it’s quite often – the digressions are relevant to the ultimate point of the story. Indeed, when I don’t do it, for the sake of brevity and not wishing to bore someone, I see an expression of puzzlement on their face, because I haven’t explained enough. Horace put it nicely, “I strive to be brief and so become obscure*.” I explained, I think I’m not likely to change at this stage in my life – which is, of course, a whole year older than I was in my previous post – and we don’t want to change ourselves or each other, why would we? But in regard to my ramblings, there seem to be three options. He listens to the whole thing and bears it with amusement, he learns to put in the gaps which I leave out, or I keep quiet and don’t tell stories. I’m not sure if he came up with a preference, now I come to think about it..maybe the fourth is, I could write them down for him? But I’m sure he enjoys it really.
One of the weekend papers had a recipe for duck with figs, so we brought that supplement home. If we have that many figs next year too, we will be very anxious for ways to use them. I can’t waste them, not lovely fresh figs, but there’s a limit to how much jam. relish and poached figs one can use with the ones I can’t eat raw; which is itself rather a lot.
* brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio, I think, but my Latin relies on a very dodgy memory now, I can’t translate it accurately any longer.