Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Thursday, April 11, 2024

A Birthday, a Framing and a Roast Vegetable Stew

It would have been Jim's birthday on Tuesday. In my mind, it was his birthday, as in it was the date of his birth, which will always be the case. He just doesn't get any older. But for anyone who wonders, he would have been 82 ( my fingers made that 832, which would have been a Very Great Age Indeed 😆 )

In honour of the occasion, I went to the Formosa garden centre and bought some curly kale, sprouting broccoli and mini cabbage seedlings and another packet of broad bean seeds so I can have successional sowings of both broad beans and peas through the rest of the autumn and into early winter (depending on the weather). Jim would have approved of those as a birthday present, although I would probably have also bought him some local microbrewery beer, had he been here to drink it. I don't know anyone else who regularly drinks microbrewery beer so there didn't seem to be any point in buying any, given that Jim isn't here to drink it.

Then I went out food shopping, assembling the ingredients for my take on a typical British pub Steak and Chips meal. Steak, obviously. I already had potatoes. I went to Wilson's and picked up a Mystery Box, plus a few bits and pieces. The mystery box produced mushrooms, an onion, some tomatoes for my "pub" meal. I also acquired some frozen peas, which the pubs would definitely have added. 

I plated the meal on my Totoro plate that Lindsey got for me at Noritake when we were there last March and which she gave me for my birthday (or Christmas - sometime in December) and which I have used for special occasions until now. Following its birthday outing, it has joined the usual dinner time plates:

It was very close to a British pub plate of steak and chips, except the steak was quite a lot smaller. And there appears to be one ingredient missing. (It's not the gravy. There was gravy, I just hadn't poured it when I took the photo.)

 I opened a small bottle of wine to have with the birthday dinner. A bit more celebratory than the château de boîte that I usually drink.

I had hoped to be able to show you the seedlings all planted and the grass all cleared away - alas, the weather has not been kind for planting seedlings. I think it should be better at the weekend. Not warmer, necessarily, but perhaps not as coldwetandwindy.

This lady has been everywhere with me since 1991. She came to the library where I was working in 1990, as one of a monthly series of posters to celebrate the International Year of Reading or perhaps Literacy. At the end of the year, when the posters were all thrown away, I rescued her and took her home. She has been in every home I have had ever since (although I don't remember how she moved from here to England in 1996 - but she did). She was laminated as part of the library display but at my places has always been put up with blutack or "rent safe" sticky tabs, or drawing pins.  Yesterday, I finally bought her the frame I have always promised her. And I have hung her in the loo, where visitors will see her. She was in the dining room in Tupton, but in Mount Helen she has been in rooms that only I ever go into.

She seems happy:

This is what I did with the many red capsicums, and the oyster mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, and kale that came in the mystery box. The lemons came from Gillie's garden. It looks very tasty!

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