Thursday, 14th October, 2021

[Day 577]

As today is Thursday, it is the day when I get up early and get myself off to Waitrose in Droitwich, hopefully as the store is just on the point of opening (today we were about four minutes late but that hardly matters) The nice thing about shopping at this hour is that you are absolutely free to browse without bumping into other shoppers. I tried shopping without a list today which is never a good idea and almost inevitably one discovers over the course of the next day or so what you have forgotten. One of the unexpected bonuses of shopping at this hour is that you can always go straight through a checkout with no waiting. Also, the checkout operators always seem incredibly chatty and so I learned this morning that it looks as Waitrose are going to charge for their home delivery service (so another reason to shop in store) After our normal, cooked breakfast, Meg and I wandered down to the park but the weather was somewhat cooler and decidedly overcast so it was no surprise that we met none of our park regulars this morning. As has happened for the last two days, we had commitments in the early part of the afternoon so we had to have a rapid ‘put-me-on’ instead of a conventional lunch.

Meg and I had an appointment to have blood samples taken from us. This should have happened about a month ago but there was a scare over the shortage of blood sample phials and the appointment never took place. However, better late than never so Meg and I got seen in the middle of a clutch of patients arriving at the surgery to get their COVID-booster jabs. So we both had our blood samples taken and have to wait a week or so to see what the consequences will be. As we were both in the car together, we decided to see if we could sneak into a parking place at the back of our local Asda and we were lucky. Whilst Meg stayed in the car listening to music, I went and got a few kitchen utensil type things which are always good value and of reasonable quaity if you avoid the bottom end of the range. As we have been in this house some fourteen years now, there are are always some items where you think they really need replacing or updating. I am amazed, for example, how long tin openers last given their heavy usage. Whilst I was in Asda, an all too rare occurrence these days, I made a tour of the fruit and vegetable sections and managed to liberate a couple of those long, low boxes which have contained fruit and is often used to display it. These boxes can be quite hard to find because Asda seem to make it a policy to never let an empty box stay in its place before it is whisked away for recycling, I presume. This type of box is excellent for the storage of my apple crop so presuming that it not raining cats and dogs, I intend to make this a priority job for tomorrow.

This evening, Meg and I thought we would treat ourselves to a meal of venison which I bought from Waitrose last week. As we now have a really super new pan in which to cook things like this and fish, I am more than happy to refine my culinary skills. I had some baked potato and broccoli for accompanying veg which were being microwaved up before I started cooking, The venison was cut into quite (but not very thin) slices which I then seared for a minute or so on each side. I then let it simmer for about 5 minutes but put a sprinkling of black paper and a splosh of red wine over it to keep it moist. I felt the need for a just a little sauce of some description so I made what I think might be called a ‘jus’ rather than a gravy. In a dinky little jug I had, I utilised a little onion gravy powder which I made a bit more exotic with a good dollop of brown sauce and a good old splosh of wine. When stirred and microwaved up, this exactly did the job I intended for it i.e. it gave us a little bit of a rich sauce to complement the venison without swamping the whole lot in gravy. It might be noted, at this point, that I am not really into precise measurements of ingredients but prefer to adopt a more intuitive approach. Sometimes, this ends in failure but often it can be surprising successful, as indeed it was this evening. I shall go ahead and repeat this little experiment next week as Meg and I felt we had a really enjoyable meal this evening (and the wine which was now well ‘chambréd’) helped as well.