The day started perfectly well. Wink came through for coffee before leaving for Wiltshire, because she’s got a pre-op appointment at the hospital in Bath tomorrow morning. I gave her our last few slices of bread because she’d run out, so got a loaf going. Then I sorted out the Christmas beef, prepared a cottage pie from the little bits and put aside the chunks for Tim to make a rogan josh and sliced some onions and garlic for French onion soup. Eloise cat appeared looking hopeful, but I’d saved her some snippets of beef so she was very happy.
It all went very well until around half past three this afternoon, when Weeza texted, very upset because someone had slashed their tyres in the night. They’d left their car in the road – not blocking the road at all and mostly in their own frontage – for a couple of nights because they had two loads of wood being delivered. They have no idea why anyone could have done such a thing. Their car, which they bought second-hand, has London numberplates and perhaps someone thought it was a second home owner, illicitly visiting from the city? Or some random nasty person, but why pick on them? Anyway, the police have the details and it’s going to cost them £500 for new tyres; the only small consolation being that two of them were due to be replaced soon anyway. This is a country road in a lovely rural village, the village pub is shut so no one was lurching home drunk (not that it’s really that sort of pub) and they’ve upset no one. They’re devastated.
Then a friend phoned to tell me that our mutual friend Jo has died. 96 years old, so it’s not as if it’s a premature death, but she was in hospital because she’d had a minor stroke and she caught Covid there. If you’re one of those who says “aha, but did she die FROM Covid or WITH Covid,” please don’t to me. She wouldn’t have died two days before Christmas if she had been allowed home for her sister to look after her, as they both desperately wanted. I grieve for her sister Lilian, also in the 90s, who will struggle to find the will to live without her, especially now when friends can’t rally round as we’d like.
So I can’t be very upbeat this evening, but at least I invented a reasonable meal tonight. I had half a pumpkin, cooked, which I layered with fried breadcrumbs, browned pine nuts, fried tomato and fried halloumi. Cream flavoured with nutmeg was poured over and the whole thing was baked, while I cooked mushrooms in butter, then added white wine, garlic and cream. I think that more creamy sauce would have added to the pleasure but I don’t really want to eat a lot of cream at one time, so perhaps puréeing some of the pumpkin into the cream, let down with a little milk or water, would have made it more saucy. Anyway, it was a leftover-storecupboard thing, so that’s always good. The chickens will love the little bit of pumpkin left over.
And now I’m going to bed and will start again tomorrow. Goodnight, friends.