We have not been out this weekend. Yesterday, it was simply too wet for us even to want to venture out; today, we were up late and then husband went to see his brother who doesn’t live all that far away (I don’t call that ‘going out’).
And so I’ve been cooking and, really, doing not-very-much. I have written my monthly letter to a friend, though, someone who doesn’t use email, but that hardly counts as being busy, does it?
I thought I’d start with the flowers – the apricot roses have now opened out beautifully, they are rays of sunshine on the mantelpiece.
As I was saying, I’ve not done very much. Kept the house tidy but not done any cleaning to speak of, resting and reading the paper, and cooking our main meals. On Friday, a new DVD and a book arrived. When does a book not arrive in this house, I wonder!
Yes, I know, DVDs, like CDs, are now ‘old fashioned’; people ‘download’ films and ‘stream’ music, but I don’t think this film is yet available and for that, and in any case, I don’t want to shell out a monthly fee to Netflix (which I’ve done in the past and regretted) for the film not to be available, and for the only films available – as I’ve previously experienced – to be those which we don’t care for (which is most films these days, with the exception of such films as Bridge of Spies, Hampstead, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, etc. films which don’t rely on CGI, or a weak story but with lots of ‘action’)
I had been looking forward to this, and I was enjoying it yesterday when dear little grandson phoned and asked to come and see us? He’s only five and a half but knows how to use the telephone, and really, how can one refuse a request from a dear little five year old? So we ‘paused’ the film and will watch that later today. Grandson had great fun with his Granddad making paper planes. As son later texted, “what five year old needs a tablet when they can have so much fun with a paper plane? Since he got home he’s decorated it and added a pilot.”
I don’t know whether it’s our brains these days, or whether actors speak so fast because everything seems to have speeded up in the last half century; whether our hearing is at fault; or whether they really do slur their words, “wanna” for “want to” (even the subtitles had Meryl Streep saying “wanna”) but we find we have to use the subtitles – especially for American films – more and more, and yet we’re not stoopid! We can follow a story … well, we can if we can hear what the actors say! This didn’t happen in the days of Burt Lancaster, Geoff Chandler (remember him?), James Garner, Van Johnson, Rock Hudson, Charlton Heston et al, or even when French and Italian or Egyptian actors were in the leading roles, such as Rosanno Brazzi in South Pacific or Louis Jourdan in Gigi or Omar Sharif in Dr Zhivago . You could hear every word uttered by Katherine Hepburn or Bette Davies or Joan Crawford, but in this film, where Meryl plays the role of Katharine Graham, owner of The Washington Post, there is a lot of whispered, half-spoken, or slurred words. It really is becoming more and more annoying. It’s actually more than that. We have paid to hear a film as well as see it. We’re being short-changed.
Having said that (sorry, cliche!) the film is good and worth watching.
I ordered the book below after seeing part – sadly only part – of an interview with Isabel Allende on TV. I knew of her connection to the ousted President of Chile, but I’d never read any of her books, but I thought I’d order her most recent:
I won’t be reading this quite yet because of the book in which I’m currently engrossed. And “engrossed” is the most apt word because were I not writing this post for you, I’d be reading it some more. It arrived yesterday afternoon, only hours after I’d ordered it. It is the most beautifully written novel I’ve read so far this year.
My attention was drawn to this book on Friday, as the paper ran a short feature on this debut novelist …
… and the book sounded just my cup of tea. And it is. Without a shadow of a doubt. It is a simple enough concept: letters between a farmer’s wife in Suffolk and the curator of a museum in Denmark, but my goodness, the prose is some of the most eloquent I’ve read in a very long time. It is funny at times, but most of the time it is extremely moving. And, as in life, sometimes it’s what isn’t said but which is implied (or do I mean ‘inferred’?) that is so subtle, so clever. Do put this on your reading list. As the headline in the paper says, it is on the Costa prize shortlist. And it most certainly deserves to be.
Yesterday, being such a miserable day. I made a sausage casserole for our supper. Breakfast was porridge, lunch was wicked because I cooked some Waitrose frozen cocktail sausage rolls … but we’d not had any for months and months and suddenly we had that Pork Pie Moment. You know what that is? Well, we know we shouldn’t eat pork pies. They are Not Good For Us. Far too much animal fat. Well, just too much fat full stop. But every so often we crave a pork pie. We give in, have one, feeling guilty at such wicked enjoyment, and then we are satisfied, we don’t want another for perhaps six months or more.
Well, we had that Pork Pie Moment and wanted sausage rolls, so they found their way into our supermarket trolley on Thursday. It’s hardly worth buying sausage meat and making pastry when they taste this good from the freezer – I’m all for short cuts when the result is as good as home made. I baked the lot (but they are very small!) and we shared them out for lunch, with some of the soup I’d made the day before, plus some cheese and celery.
The sausage casserole was lovely. The stock, as I’ve mentioned before, is made from Katy cider plus veggie Oxo cubes, plus a good sprinkling of dried sage.
The casserole, where it is ‘started off’ on the hob before it is transferred to the oven
When it is ready for serving, I add a good dollop of creme fraiche, and also test the seasoning. It sometimes needs a little more veggie Oxo, sometimes some salt, but generally speaking, it’s just about right. It contains pork sausages which have Bramley apple and sage in them, onions, shallots, leeks, celery and a dessert apple (cored and sliced, but not peeled.)
I served it at our dining table for a change – we tend to eat in the kitchen – and we had just new potatoes with it.
We have had our Sunday lunch (roast chicken) and now I’m going to close and curl up on the sofa with the Sunday papers, a h.w.b. at my back, and the lovely book. Once the football which my husband is watching is over, we will continue to see the last part of the DVD of The Post. A lovely lazy weekend. We all need those every so often.
Until next time.