I think this photo says it all: I’ve been laid low with The Cough and The Cold. It started with The Cough and developed into The Cold and I still have it. But hey, it’s a cough and a cold, it will go eventually. It’s unpleasant, but this is what happens occasionally. It just means I’ve not been sleeping well but there is a plus side to this: as I was coughing so much, dear husband was up making cups of tea for us during the night, and eventually we decided to get up about 5 am. We watched Breakfast TV and then showered, dressed, and were out of the house by just gone 8am and on our way to Waitrose for the food shopping as we’ve been warned that the weather is going to get worse. Of course, it mightn’t get worse, but I like to have the fridge nicely full just in case. Not that we’d not be able to get food; we have a convenience store just 50 yards away, but it’s the siege mentality, isn’t it? You hear the weather forecaster say, “snow is on its way” and you think, “must stock up.”
Since my last post we’ve not been out-and-about with the exception of doing an errand for my brother in law. He and my sister in law had been staying in a sea front hotel for a couple of weeks while they had their bathroom revamped. As their bathroom was their only access to a shower and loo they thought it best to move out for the duration. The hotel they have stayed in (they’re back home now) kindly gave them the bridal suite! We laughed at this, they’ve been married for just over 60 years, they celebrated their Diamond Anniversary last September. We saw the ‘suite’ which was actually not a suite as such – suites usually have a separate bedroom and sitting room – but a very large room with the bed at one end and a sitting area near the window, with its view of the Bay. All quite nice but very, very dated, as if it had been decorated around 1980, all flounces, very chintzy and plush. But they liked it which is all that matters.
However, the en suite bathroom was something else. My sister in law told me that it had been done over 100 years ago, but I think she was exaggerating a little and it looked to me as if it had been done in the 1930s, although the twin basins, loo and bath looked more modern. But the tiles were certainly of the 1930s period:
This is just one corner of the huge bathroom with twin basins
After we visited them, and had completed the errand for brother in law (he can no longer drive because of failing eyesight) we left them and drove to our favourite sea front hotel for our usual shared beef sandwich, but this time instead of a beer each, or coffee or tea, we had hot chocolate and that was delicious.
We only have chips when we are here, and when it’s a shared sandwich (with extra plate, of course), there are only about 4 or 5 chips each, so we are not over-indulging. But this time, even though I’d requested no horseradish sauce in the sandwich (as I don’t like horseradish) but to have some in a little dish for my husband’s portion, this message hadn’t filtered through to the kitchen, and so I couldn’t eat my two quarters of this club sandwich as the beef was covered in horseradish sauce. The waitress kindly took my plate back and returned with two sandwiches without horseradish and a fresh salad, but my chips, just four of them, had disappeared! I felt I couldn’t ask for some fresh chips as well as the place was so busy, but husband gave me two of his. And then I had a coughing fit and a very kind waitress simply went to get me a glass of water with ice cubes in it without even my having to ask her. This is how lovely the staff are, really thoughtful and attentive.
Other days this week I’ve been cooking, not that often as I’ve not felt well, but earlier in the week I made two fish pies for the freezer. I had bought the fish pie mix in Waitrose but, with food costs escalating, although I’d spent as much as I usually do, there were fewer piece of fish, and so I decided to add the remainder of some smoked salmon I had in the fridge, for we’d had smoked salmon sandwiches the day before. I’ve not added smoked salmon to a fish pie before, only time and tasting will tell us whether this was a good or a bad idea! I also added parsley and lemon zest. This is what the pies looked like before I added the cheese sauce and the mashed potato. Both are now in the freezer.
Other dishes I have made for the relatively new freezer are meatballs in a spicy sauce (I make that up as I go along, tasting along the way to get it to my liking, using cinnamon, cumin, mild chilli powder, nutmeg, coriander, beef stock, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce), and I’ve also made chicken curry (sufficient for two meals). As I had some creme fraiche in the fridge I also added two dollops of that to the curry and that resulted in a deliciously creamy curry sauce. I also simmered the bones from the roast chicken and now have chicken stock in the freezer, too.
I was delighted that while I’ve not been particularly well the various monthly magazines arrived, all of them now for January 2018.
And the Christmas cards are beginning to trickle in. I’ve not written ours yet although I have them all, plus the labels I’ve printed for the envelopes, plus the stamps. I just need to settle down to this annual task. Right now I’m going to make elevenses for myself and husband, after such an early start, I think hot chocolate is in order.
Susannah Constantine used to present a fashion programme with Trinny Woodall on TV several years ago. This is her debut novel. I’ve not finished the non-fiction books I’ve been reading, all of which are really interesting, but I just wanted some fiction while this cold is clinging on.
Until next time.