Thursday, 24th November, 2022

[Day 983]

I was ‘up with the lark’ which is my usual pattern for a Thursday morning and went on my way bright and early to do our weekly shopping. This was finished quite expeditiously but as usual for this time of year, the Christmas stock of cakes and chocolates is starting to crowd other items off the shelves. I was not tempted by anything in particular but I did eye up an absolutely plain fruit cake which I have bought from Aldi before and is, in effect, Christmas cake without icing, marzipan and other adornments so I might succumb in the weeks ahead. I am of the mindset not to buy anything Christmassy until at least we are in the month of December and Christms Day is so much closer. Having got the shopping done in a resonable time, I managed to park the car not too distant from the town centre and proceeded to the Post Office where I managed to post back the CD of ‘Dire Straits‘ which the vendor of my recently acquired music centre had inadvertently left in the tray of the CD unit. This happens to be of some emotional significance so I was pleased to get it into the postal system. Then on my way back to the car, I did a quick ‘dive’ into Poundland which proved to be fortuitous as within the portals of that shop I managed to buy a couple of plastic storage baskets which will be almost perfect for storing CDs in my new unit. I think that each basket will contain about 20-22 CDs which is just right for my needs. All I really have to do is to affix some little felt ‘feet’ to the underside of the basket- after that, I am resolved to buy some more in the next day or so so that I can acquire storage baskets that are all of the same design and hope that the design does not change when the shop restocks. It was then a case of getting home, cooking breakfast and an unpacking of the shopping.

Today, our old Hampshire friend was motoring up to see us and to stay with us overnight before he proceeds to the Potteries in the morning. I busied myself with making some soup of the winter root vegetables I had previously prepared and popped into the freezer. Once these had been parboiled, it was a relatively simple job to add some fried onions,coconut milk, pasta sauce mixture and a quich dash of ‘chip shop curry’ . Then I let the soupmaker work its magic whilst I went around preparing the ingredients of a risotto we were going to have for our main meal. This was really just to ensure that we had a supply of chicken stock, some mackerel which was eventually going to end up in small squares and finally some yogurt and some grated cheese as well as some well-rinsed Basmati rice (arborio being better if I had managed to locate some in time) Then just after 12.0pm I got these ingredients under way and we received a welcome telephone call to indicate that our friend was in the vicinity of the Webbs garden centre which is only about 4 miles down the road from us.

After we had lunch and washed down the meal with a little white wine, we had our post prandial coffees and then decided to make an excursion into the town. We made a quick tour up and down the High Street and then we treated ourselves to a coffee and some cakes in the Waitrose café which is the end of the High Street. Tomorrow our friend has an appointment in the churchyard in Leek, Staffs, to meet with a local history expert. He is hoping, if is lucky, to locate some of his Quaker forebears. So a bit more of our friend’s family history may be revealed if all goes well in the search. After we got home (in the dark by now) we spent an hour or so in pure reminiscences of the times and the shared experiences that we had together in Winchester. Soon it was time for the TV news (dominated by news of the RMT ) and then it was teatime in which I could heat up and serve the homemade soup I had prepared earlier in the day. This turned out to be fine and in accord with expectations and we treated ourselves to a kind of ‘nursery tea’ finale which was Sticky Toffee pudding purchased on the spur of the morning in Aldi this morning, served with custard and washed down with some wonderful Beronia rioja wine. As you might expect, we chatted and chatted all night long until it was a little past our normal bedtime and we made for our respective beds at about 11.00pm. Tomorrow we anticipate being a nice quiet day and hopefully the Panasonic antenna I have ordered for our new music centre will have been delivered. If this works as it should, then I should be able to tune/retune the FM and DAB radio stations which, in theory, should be quite a simple job.