We did what we hope will be the last of the shopping yesterday morning. But first, to the Co-op where I had been saving my membership ‘rewards’. As this amount of money was a freebie, I thought it would be nice to pass this on, and so husband and I went in and gathered together items for the local food bank and paid for them with the ‘rewards’.
We then took the items with us to put into the Waitrose food bank container which, I’m happy to say, had an overflow container as customers have been so very generous. I hate the fact that in this day and age we require food banks, but while there is a need, we will support them.
Waitrose was busy but not over-crowded and it certainly wasn’t noisy. That is one benefit of shopping there. I do think a lot of people have the impression that it’s a very expensive place to shop. Well, much depends on the items you buy. Any supermarket is expensive if you choose the most expensive items. We bought our usually weekly shopping plus some wine, our contribution to the Christmas Day Lunch at elder son and daughter-in-law’s home, and a couple of presents, and so all the shopping is now done.
We took our ‘free’ coffee and sandwich to Ilsham Valley again, and parked the car so that we had a view of the sea. When we arrived the sun put in a brief appearance …
I said to husband that perhaps next time he might park beyond the lamp post, so that I needn’t have it on my photo! (I took this through the windscreen or our car.) Of course, I could crop the photo, but I thought you should see exactly our view from where we were sitting in the car.
And then the clouds rolled in again …
I took this photo as we drove towards Meadfoot beach
And this was the view as we approached the beach, with the sky darkening every second.
We then went home, I put the food away, tidying the larder cupboard as I did this, and then cleaned out the fridge and put the fridge-food away. And then I asked husband if he would kindly clean out the freezer, i.e. removing the drawers and scraping off the build-up of ice. So that was his next job. I then put the drawers back, tidying the freezer food as I went, and getting rid of some items which had lurked at the back too long (not many, as I try and keep a check on such things, but now and again you find something which has been there for a year or more.)
This morning I prepared the ingredients for making the Christmas cake. Yes, I know. Late again. But I’ve baked the cake a couple of days before Christmas in the past and it’s been perfectly OK, indeed, it’s been lovely and moist, and never bitter. I know a lot of people anoint their Christmas cake with various types of alcohol once it’s been baked, but I don’t do this. I don’t like raw alcohol in a cake, but I do mix Napoleon brandy into the cake before it’s baked, and it tastes wonderful.
Here, the fruit has been weighed and mixed with a portion of the flour, the butter and sugar (Muscovado) is ready for ‘creaming’ and the eggs and brandy are there, too. But I wasn’t able to mix the cake until later in the day as husband had an appointment at our local Health & Well Being Centre (formerly our local cottage hospital) for his annual retinopathy (eye screening). As I needed to drive him home – he’s not permitted to drive after having had drops in his eyes – I left mixing and baking the cake until we returned home.
Of course, driving husband isn’t my occupation-of-choice. I’d rather herd cats. He likes to drive himself and when I drive him, well, he tends to drive me up the wall. “Why did you change gear?” “You were too close to that car!” “You pulled away in 2nd, you should’ve been in 1st …” and so forth. I told him any more remarks of that kind and he gets out and walks. Of course, I then stalled the engine and we both had a good laugh! I told him he was lucky that he had a wife who could drive, several of our neighbours (female, and at least one male) do not drive. I told him he was a very lucky fellow!
On the way home I called at our local shop for our newspaper, and then I saw boxes of After Eight mints on the shelf. Well, the shelf is minus a box now …
“What have you bought those for? You have already bought a box of Quality Street …” says he, as if we still have sweet rationing in this country. To which I just thumbed my nose. “Anyone else would need a stiff drink after driving you up from the town; thank your lucky stars I’m only going to tuck into After Eights!” say I.
I tell you, it’s a right comedy show here, I’m sure neighbours – if they can hear us – think we’re having dreadful arguments, when it’s all done in fun (well, most of the time.)
On the photo above you will also see hyacinths. I bought these in Waitrose as I’d not seen any in the garden centre. They are white ones and husband transferred them for me into this blue bowl rather than keeping them in their cardboard container (I notice that fewer plastic containers are being used, which is a good thing.) I love blue and green together, so here is a photo with blue and lots of green.
And finally, to my latest read …
I’ve read the first 50 pages and am absolutely loving this and can’t wait to read more this evening. But before then, I must go and gaze into the fridge for inspiration regarding our supper. Perhaps it will be chicken curry this evening, there’s the carcase of a roast chicken in the fridge just waiting to be used.
I’ve now removed the Christmas cake from the oven, it only takes 1 and a 1/2 hours to bake and it’s looking good so far. Tomorrow, I will make the almond paste (which many people now refer to as marzipan) and put that on the cake and, after it has dried overnight, I will ice the cake on Sunday with royal icing. Well, that’s the plan …
Until next time.