Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I don’t know why I was surprised, really. I’ve seen the photos of the flooding at the Ravenside Retail Park. Even so, I was quite taken aback when I went to go to Pets At Home on Saturday morning and found all the stores shut and boarded up. I’m not sure about Currys. That appeared to have people in it. But whether they were shoppers is another matter. Mind you, these shops had had water half way up their windows last week, so I really shouldn’t have been surprised at all!

The weather wasn’t too awful over the weekend. Nothing like as catastrophic as the early warnings had suggested. So we decided to go down to Salisbury on Sunday just for the day. We left at 8:15 and arrived at 11:30. Not bad going. Actually, it’s quite good driving at that time ion a Sunday. The motorways are all empty! We found The Builder’s parents in good form, and very appreciative of the supplies we had brought down. Rhubarb and shallots from the allotment, picked on Saturday afternoon. Peas and raspberries from the garden, picked at quarter to eight on Sunday morning. They don’t come much fresher than that. We took them to The Bull in Downton, a five minute or so drive from their village. It’s been refurbished. It has a new French chef. It serves fantastic roast beef, though The Builder’s father found his a bit gristly. It also serves rather nice apple crumble and custard. Not really a summer dessert. But then, it’s not behaving like a real summer!

On the way down, I had said to The Builder that I wanted to go to the supermarket to buy some water chestnuts. Not that I couldn’t get them in Sheffield, but it’s a bit of a trek to the Chinese supermarket at lunchtime and the Sheffield Waitrose, for some reason, doesn’t stock them. At one point I said: Oh – and I could also do with some mumble mutter wotsit. OK, said he. We’ll go after lunch. Got to his parents’ place. Do you think I could remember what it was I wanted in addition to water chestnuts? Not only that – neither could he. Very irritating! We dropped his folks off after lunch and made our way to the supermarket. Water chestnuts and …? Water chestnuts and …? Picked up the book of picnic food I had borrowed from the local library, against us ever having any picnic weather ever again. Leafing through it, ran across a picture of some bread buns. *That’s* it! Yeast. I need yeast. Nothing I’ve made with the latest batch has risen. I suspect it of being dead yeast! We now have fresh yeast.

Got back about 6pm. A long time in the car. A long way to go just for lunch, though it was a mighty fine lunch and it was good to see Gwen and Mick. But it’s useful to know that it can be done. And perhaps next time my back might be slightly more forgiving of 7 or so hours on the road!

Our new, ever so earnest government is being ever so, ever so earnest about the latest lot of terrorist attempts on the UK. It’s difficult to take the new Home Secretary quite seriously, yet. And Gordon Brown telling us that “I want the country to cooperate with the police. I want you to be vigilant” merely had me thinking “I want doesn’t get”. Which is not an entirely helpful thought under the circumstances. Bring back Tony and the grown ups, I reckon. They at least seemed to know what they were doing. But the BBC stood deliciously defiant, if every one else was being vigilant and earnest and evacuated. It ditched whatever it had been planning to do for the Sunday Service on Radio 4 and we were treated to the live broadcast of an equally deliciously defiant service from the cathedral in Glasgow. Peace and love and calm were preached, yes. But the message that the Christians were there and Singing a Glad Song was very loud.

We were coming home on Sunday evening and had just reached the M1. My mind turned to what we might have for supper. We didn’t need much, having had a large lunch. Pity we don’t have any soup in the larder. A Very Silly Thought. I don’t like tinned soup. Too salty. And a very odd consistency. There are times when only tinned tomato soup will do, but they are rare and usually involve me being poorly sick. Hmm. Pity I don’t have anything to make a soup with. A Very Very Stupid Thought Indeed. There is a drawer in the freezer absolutely full of home made stock. We had turkey soup with shallots, garlic, broad beans, peas and tarragon from the garden. I added a few noodles. Was wonderful. Very much better than tinned soup!
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