Week 4: The Hero, the Sloth and the Pretend Veg Patch

Hello , how are we all? Whatever your status I hope you are safe and well.

So far I have mused and tried to keep my musings pretty jolly, well I hope I have. However this week I would like to mention the new super heroes.This was starkly demonstrated when a friend sent a photo of her husband . This is him in full PPE in ICU. A true hero amongst many.There was also the sadness of the death of pregnant nurse Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, but the joy of hearing of her newborn that she leaves. I do not know her but wish her family and friends strength and love.

I make sure that I am there with a pan and ladle every Thursday at 8pm- as hubby says your can take a girl out of Southall …”. What is there left to say ….all those that are working in tough conditions need the tools. Simples ! Right ? I will let you watch the debate continuing along with the hours of news updates. Whether it is beneficial to wear or not wear a mask – I was all ready for another accessory in my wardrobe. Just think of all the possibilities; saving on lipsticks, do you match earrings, your shirt or just go all out with a jazzy fabric that was once a tablecloth. I will send you a photo of mine next time.

In Bedford there is huge network of kindness where people are collating material for bags and scrubs, which are then being distributed to those in most need. We are now making friends with hundreds if not thousands of strangers. Community groups are cooking meals everyday for the key workers . Local businesses are trying to find ways of supporting the people so it makes staying at home easier ; yes wine deliveries are available and so is bread and cake. Shopping for some elders in the community gives me a warm feeling and provides plenty of laughs. The elderly lady has now sent me on a mission to find some headbands; she is so used to going to have her hair done weekly that she’s referring to herself as the sheepdog. I admire the fact that she loves cake and flowers. I think we can be friends. I must remember not to buy any hard fruit for her, “as the teeth don’t like it”.

Ok so back to chez Grantham. Firstly I can report that there are still three people living in the house. The student, the hubby and myself. We did however have a day that we hardly saw each other so I was beginning to wonder if someone had escaped. But it was a much needed break. And when we did meet, greetings were short and sharp. Absence makes the heart grow fonder apparently? We are back into the swing of our routine now, each performing to type.

The weekly shopping trips continue and I ventured to our local Asian grocery store as one the Auntijis needed some bits and I was desperate to try Dishoom’s Okra Fries (non essential). I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of people in the store, it’s all about timing and luck. Again I found myself saying to a man, “please keep your distance”. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a line I use normally .He looked at me totally bemused, not realising that he had to wait until I got my head out of the deep freeze. He’s obviously been hibernating. But I got my okra, a very happy girl. Only one cake this week, but what a cake it was. The pineapple upside down cake must be a favourite for many and brings back memories of school. The hunt for flour had started again and finally found some at our local small Sainsbury’s (pm me and I will send you their postcode). I am not encouraging unnecessary driving people. And to support one of our favourite holiday destination in Sicily we decided to order some olive oil. Just a tad excessive but one less thing for me to buy.

My cooking efforts continue with a mixture of own recipes , from friends and my favourite cookbooks Prashad and Dishoom. Perhaps if I mention the latter enough I may get lifetime entry without queuing? Those who know just know. I have surprised myself at the ingredients I already had at home, the intention was always there you see. There is definitely no shortage of equipment for obvious reasons. We ate well again this week, and for that we remain thankful. From Mexican to Italian to Indian as you can tell from the photos. My obsession with bowls gets mixed reactions. Anything from ‘loving it’ to ‘what about all the washing’. To be clear I love my little bowls, from various holidays bringing back happy memories. I’m sure they are feeling loved and useful. The highlights of the week were my Saag Paneer and the pineapple cake. Not a salad in sight. Although the student made a great mezze effort one evening. Is that really cooking though? 🤷🏽‍♀️ And when it came go hubby’s turn to cook last night he made an all day breakfast with the main ingredient being 5 Bean Baked Beans. That was an accidental purchase on my part but never going back to a single bean tin. It was surprisingly good – beans on toast with mushrooms.

The other adventures in the kitchen continued. My OCD has led me to clean the hob till it gleams. I’m working on the oven trays now , armed with Brillo ! The student’s OCD is directed towards the surfaces . The hubby is oblivious still and continues to leave mugs with tea bags, who does that? I suppose people who like strong tea. Salt & vinegar crisps were becoming a point of tension between the hubby and student . Both decided that they would mark the packets to ensure peace and harmony. It has been decided that no more chocolate or biscuits are entering the house; they are not essential!!

The garden project is now in full swing (that’s a relative comment so don’t judge me) with the student making comments about the ridiculous number of pots that are now planted up. If there is still a pot hiding anywhere in our small garden, come and be known. Your garden needs you! Seeds have been ordered and not planted yet except the sunflowers which have begun to come alive. My coriander is having a little think about whether to show it’s face – it just may need more sun. You can’t rush this gardening thing … I might plant some seeds today. Anyway onto our micro veg patch. I see myself as the project manager and the hubby as the “labour”. He was out there with sticks, string, spade and top soil. And would you believe it the neatest ever veg patch was created. I planted out cauliflower (note to self, keep list of cauliflower recipes)and onions. Peppers and tomatoes are in the shallow trugs and in a bag. Need to plant the cabbages, not sure whose bloody idea that was ? I will keep you posted as to how we get on. The Good Life but without the chickens, goats and manure; there is a limit to everything. The garden looks lush and green and I believe we have a flying friend trying to make a nest at the back within the jasmine and tall grass in the planters. Need to restart our bird feed tray; jeez another head to feed.

I made the fatal mistake of tackling the jewellery (not diamonds and pearls, I’m not extravagant or rich) collection. Those who know me well can probably remember the abundance of bracelets and earrings and much more. I shall NOT be buying anymore. How to segregate? Silvers , golds, colours, Indian , bracelets, single earrings looking for their partners and a box for those that need repairs. Expensive presents long forgotten; shame on me. So if we have a zoom call I shall be modelling as many earrings as possible.

And finally back to food, tip from my papa from India was that if you can’t find plain flour sieve chappati flour using a fine cloth (not silk). The sieved flour is what you need. Voila! He’s decided to change his evening exercise routine and switched from the static bike to walking for forty five minutes on the roof. You have to love his dedication to the cause and his discipline. Perhaps some of this has rubbed off and is what makes me get up four times a week at 5.30am for yoga at 6am. I’ll be more than happy to take on more of his traits that can stop be from being a sloth, which creeps up on me.

Sloth – noted for its slowness of movement. That’s me. Slow and deliberate. Spread the load people … there are seven days in the week.🦥🦥🦥🦥🦥🦥🦥

Have a happy, healthy one.

🙏🏽

Seema

Forever grateful to anyone who is still working to support us.

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