Today has been an interesting day to date, although following a predictable pattern. Firstly, it is the day when our domestic help calls around and we always enjoy her coming round tremendously, not least for the little household hints and tips that we share with each other. Our help has a very keen sense of internal decoration and things that ‘go’ with one another, so we treat her as our personal design consultant and and are happy to trust her judgement about things, but perhaps more of this later. After we had breakfasted and absorbed some of the latest grim news from the Israel-Gaza conflict, it was time to set out onto the road. We first collected our newspaper and received news of our newsagent, when we picked up our daily newspaper. In the shop was one of the faithful assistants who knows the business well and was actually ‘inherited’ by the present owners, and she gave us the latest news of the newsagent we now regard as a friend. He had had a second spell in hospital getting his lungs in working order after a serious lung infection and is now at home, feeling slightly better but still a little weak from it all. As he is now in his late 70’s and in order to run his business has to get up tremendously early, we wonder how much longer he and his wife will continue to run their business or whether he may decide (and why not?) to call it a day and to sell the business on. We shall see but often these little bouts of illness can cause a reevaluation of life’s priorities and I think it is a ripe old age at which to be still active in business. We then made our way to Droitwich to what is now our favourite cafe and had our mid-morning coffees there in nice and comfortable surroundings. I have a slightly vested interest in going to Droitwich in any case because about 150 yards from the cafe is a large shop run by the Worcestershire Association of Carers (in which I happen to be a member in any case) This shop always contains some interesting bric-a-brac and I think is a cut above some of the normal charity shops. I had my eyes upon on a little plain white ceramic lamp, with a matching shade, which I thought would illuminate a dark corner in our music room. After a certain amount of dithering, I bought this and was absolutely delighted with the results once I had got the lamp in place which fulfils the function I had in mind for it perfectly and has the bonus of a little in-line on-off switch on the cord, which I always find more convenient. But whilst in the shop, I espied a pair of teak hand-made teak candle sticks, some 27cm (10.5″) in height for which I may well have a future use. When Meg is no longer able to attend our local church, then what is termed an ‘Eucharistic Minister’ will call round to the house with a little truncated service, which may well give Meg some spiritual comfort. So I can put these candle sticks when needed on a little table with a lace table cloth and other devotional objects in position and this should help to create the right kind of atmosphere when required. As soon as I got home, I applied some of my precious beeswax to them, left them for some 25 minutes which is the recommended amount of time, and then gave them to a polish which resulted in a wonderfully delicate sheen. So this was an unexpected little bonus and I felt that both the lamp and the candle sticks were well worth the £5 each that I paid for them.
To make our diet a little more interesting, I decided to cook a risotto meal this Friday, which used to be our usual pattern but I have got out of the habit over the months. I think I was trying perhaps a little too hard to cut out excess carbohydrate calories and this is why we got out of the habit of cooking our Friday risotto. However, I remembered the core elements (start off with fried onions, add some chicken stock, the fish which was actually half a pack of mackerel, some ‘arborio’ rice,a cup of petit pois and finished off with a handful of grated cheese). Meg and I were actually delighted with the result so I happily gave a mini-portion to our domestic help who was going to have it as her break once she was half way through her shift in a residential care home which she runs off just after seeing to us on a Friday. Her husband and mother are apparently often asking after us and think that the pattern of going out to have a range of social contacts in 3-4 of the local cafeterias an excellent way to cope with the frailties that Meg has been experiencing in recent months. Today followed a predictable pattern of the James Martin cookery program, one further episode of ‘Outnumbered’ on BBC iPlayer followed by hopefully a period in which I am attempting to get Meg to have a good rest in the afternoons. This is aided today as it is raining cats and dogs outside, the afternoon is naturally dark and this helps Meg to get the nap in the afternoon and from which she can only benefit.