Not one for guests

We have decided that on veggie days, we should have lunch as well as dinner. In other words, two meals. The reason is because of a general lack of protein. So, today I made a double batch of delicious leek and celeriac soup.

It’s one of Sabrina Ghayour‘s recipes and is excellent. I’ve tried it before and it will become a regular meal at Chez Gaz. Maybe even for guests as a first course.

That is possibly not the case with what I made for dinner.

Sabrina’s carrot, halloumi and dill balls looked a lot like falafel. Crisp and brown on the outside and, seemingly, very tasty on the inside. I had to swap a few ingredients to make them lo-carb compliant but, given this was a first time, I stuck to the recipe.

Grated carrot, grated halloumi, chopped dill, some spices, all squished together with an egg to bind. Then rolled into tablespoon sized balls and dropped into oil to sizzle and brown. Except they didn’t brown. Or remain as balls. There was plenty of sizzling though.

The two ingredients I swapped out were plain flour and vegetable oil. Instead, I used coconut flour and groundnut oil. I can’t see how that would make a lot of difference. Still, it did. After I’d fished out the few almost balls, I was left with a saucepan full of carrot mush.

Still, it tasted fine, just not as I’d imagined it would.

Not one for guests,” Mirinda said from the other side of the table.

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Charlie goes a bit surreal

To be honest, I reckon that the Aldershot Town Football Club team got a bit over excited tonight. It may have been following the draw they took away from Chesterfield on Saturday. That may have made them a bit more confident than usual. Whatever it was, after 5 minutes of tonight’s game against Southend, they were already one goal up with everything to play for.

Except they didn’t.

The goal was excellent – possibly one of the best I’ve seen – but it came out of nowhere, shocking everyone, fan and player alike. Then, rather than keep it up and scoring a few more, the Shots seemed to be a tad dazed and confused. They gave away possession constantly, they hoofed it or passed it to the wrong players; they generally started playing like they had at the beginning of the season. Awful.

A clear indication of the team’s performance can always be gauged by Charlie’s involvement. When they are playing well, you only ever hear the occasional “Come on, Shots!” Tonight, however, he was getting increasingly vehement in his admonition of the team. At one point, frustrated beyond measure, he even resorted to calling them ‘twats’.

Charlie can be, what can only be described as, an accidental comedian. He often yells things out which has the Slab in stitches. He obviously enjoys the fact that he inadvertently causes such amusement.

Tonight, he was on top form but then went a bit surreal.

Miserable Roy, it seems, has started drinking excessively. Andy reported back after half time that he was looking a little worse for wear. Roy watches from the North Stand but goes and sits near the fan memorials during the break. Anyway, not to mince my words, he was clearly pissed.

At one point during the second half, Charlie wondered if someone could get Roy to projectile vomit from his place in the stand, onto a Southend player if he came near. Nicktor suggested that this might just call for the game to be cancelled. Given the distance between Roy and the edge of the pitch, I’d say it would also likely be a call to the Guinness Book of Records.

I should say that while our attacking and general control of the ball was non-existent, we were much better in defence. Well, until the 87th minute of the game when Southend managed the inevitable and equalised. I was surprised it took so long, but it was rather poetic to end as it had begun.

Still, while the game was a bit frustrating, the company certainly wasn’t. It was another totally enjoyable night at the Rec. James and his mate Joe joined us, contributing to a more crowded than usual Slab.

I should add that where Charlie heard that I was moving to Sweden is a bit of a mystery. Nicktor claims he hasn’t told him.

For a full, Aldershot written match report, click here. Having read it, it was as if I was at another game entirely.

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Down among the blood soaked stretchers

I didn’t realise that Canada, in 1914, was, basically, another bit of Britain. They didn’t have much autonomy. They didn’t even have their own passports. That didn’t happen until 1947. Consequently, when war was declared in August, the Canadian armed forces were, essentially, part of the British armed forces. To that end, it wasn’t just combatants that headed over to Europe. There were also quite a few nurses.

These extraordinary women (and I include all nurses from all countries in this) worked in conditions very similar to the people fighting, patching them up, saving lives where they could and giving comfort where they couldn’t. The difference was that the nurses didn’t have the advantage of being able to fight back.

Tonight I attended a WFA webinar called Canadian nurses on the Western Front: From Passchendale to peace given by Dr Andrea McKenzie, Associate Professor at York University, Toronto, Canada.

Dr McKenzie told us how Canadian nurses were there from December 1914 until the end. She explained how they worked and lived alongside the horrors of the Great War. She used personal letters, diaries, and general reports to create a wonderful portrait of these amazing women.

Incredibly, the nurses were given officer status during the war and, as a result, were some of the first Canadian women to get the vote. Dr McKenzie showed a slide of them voting in the Canadian federal election of 1917, at the Front.

Strangely enough, the election was fought over conscription. It makes me wonder how the nurses would have voted, given the horrors they were witnessing. Which brings up another important point.

While a lot of the fighting men were given rudimentary counselling after the war, none of the nurses were. They had to create their own association or just put up with their PTSD, shell shock and just general misery caused by the war.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom among the blood soaked stretchers. A company called the Dumbells tried to alleviate the stress and tension by putting on performances. While they didn’t start off very popular, they very quickly grew to being Great War celebrities, enjoyed by one and all, including the nurses during their rare breaks.

(Am I alone in thinking the vicar in the photo above looks remarkably like British politician, Michael Fabricant?)

Another thing the nurses did when they were given time off, was head for the French Riviera for a bit of beach, sun and sea. Mind you, as Dr McKenzie explained, if they had a reasonable amount of time off they’d head for London. Not because they preferred it, but because there was no war on in Britain. And who can blame them?

This is highlighted by the Armistice Day celebrations in Paris which were almost exclusively enjoyed by civilians, mainly because the armed forces were still busy mopping things up. Actually, as we all should know, the war didn’t end on 11 November 1918. That officially happened with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.

Furthermore, the Americans didn’t recognise the end until 1921 though this could have been because they were making up for lost time, having arrived at the party quite a long time after everyone else.

Not that that has anything to do with the Canadian nurses. Their war didn’t end on 11 November either. They were still busy fixing men up. Armistice, bombing raids, mud, sweat, blood and death, they worked through all of it. What an amazing group of women the nurses were.

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Spreader of happiness

In 2002, Nobel award winning psychologist, Danny Kahneman, wrote an article regarding a study into happiness. Published in 2004, A survey method for characterizing daily life experience: the day construction method, looked at in which daily activities people found the greatest source of happiness. Socialising came out well in front. And top of the socialising tree was, what Mirinda calls, micro-relationships.

These small interchanges are usually between strangers. A good morning as you walk through the park, a playful bit of fun with the person at the check-out in the supermarket, chatting with serving staff and asking if they’re Turkish or not.

This has come as a revelation to me. I always figured I was just happy because that’s the kind of person I am but, no, it’s because I’m happy to talk to anyone. About anything. Being quick with a quip helps as well.

For instance, this afternoon we went up to Squires in Frensham because Mirinda wanted some firewood. Naturally, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the food hall.

After buying cheese, gin and chocolate I then went to get the firewood.

As I paid the rather curt, be-masked lady at the till, I said “That should make things nice and cosy.” She smiled (I assume) and said “You can’t beat a fire.” To which, quick as a flash, I said “Well, you can, but you’ll put it out.

There was the slightest of pauses as my words reached her, then she burst into laughter. It was gratifying for both of us. She made me happy by laughing, and I made her happy by being funny.

When I returned to the car, I told Mirinda about the exchange and she, in turn, also burst out laughing. That’s me; a great spreader of happiness. I have no problem with that.

It’s the little things. Like making Nicktor happy.

We were on the M25 returning from Chesterfield (I think it was the M25; motorways all look the same to me) when he spotted a number plate which he asked me to photograph for him. I did, and he then went into an extraordinary amount of detail about a Star Wars character he thought the licence plate was about.

If it is a Star Wars character, my thought was that the empty trailer must have held his small spaceship. And he’s lost it.

Also, a big thank you to Caroline Criado Perez for the heads up regarding the happiness report(s). If anyone is interested, you can read her always entertaining newsletter, here. You could also buy and read her brilliant book about the gender data gap, Invisible Women.

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Not singing Sailing at Chesterfield

The crooked church spire in Chesterfield is something to behold. Not only is it twisted around, it’s also leaning off true. How it’s defying gravity, I don’t know. I’m sure there’s plenty of religious non-thinkers who claim it proves the existence of god. To my way of thinking, it proves that just because a job’s done badly, does not mean it won’t work.

Sleazy’s grandfather, who was the mayor of Chesterfield at one point, had only one joke. That joke was why the spire is twisted. It seems that a virgin once arrived at the church to get married. The church hadn’t seen one before, and the spire twisted around to get a look at her. It is said that the next time a virgin gets married in Chesterfield, the spire will twist back to normal.

While clearly very funny and an interesting view of Chesterfield morals, I actually prefer one of the actual possible reasons for why the spire is the way it is. There are a few, but this one makes most sense to me.

When the spire was built in around 1362, most of the master builders in the area had died from Black Death so, the spire was constructed by builders who were not of the highest calibre. One thing they didn’t know was that the timbers needed soaking in order for them to remain true when a few tons of lead were added to the skeleton.

I’m sure everyone in the town were in awe of their new, beautiful spire when it was completed. I can only imagine how they felt when it started twisting out of shape. I like to think of it happening, suddenly and slowly while everyone stood watching. How brilliant would that have been?

The reason I’m writing about the crooked spire is because I saw it today. In fact, along with Nicktor, Bill from the Midlands and Sleazy, I posed for a selfie in front of it.

I should mention that Dawn was less than complimentary about the above photo.

After taking this photograph, we then went in search of the Rectory, a pub that Nicktor had booked for our lunch ahead of the Chesterfield v Aldershot game. Just to prove how much he loves me, Nicktor worked tirelessly to find the Rectory. There are far too many Wetherspoons in Chesterfield, and he knows how I feel about them. He hunted high and low and found the Rectory.

Sadly, it proved a little harder in real life. In fact, we went in the complete opposite direction. The Rectory was about 100 feet in front of us, but we decided to go a few miles the other way. Oddly, Nicktor suggested that I help Bill from the Midlands with the directions. Given my complete lack of navigational skills, this was a weird and dangerous choice.

While it was an odd decision, it did, almost afford us the opportunity to visit the Chesterfield Museum. Though that particular joy was denied us as Sleazy was not keen. We eventually turned around, retraced our steps, and found the Rectory exactly where it was supposed to be.

Unfortunately, the Rectory didn’t open until midday, so we popped into a very handy freehouse which was open for a pre-pub drink.

As we left the freehouse and headed back towards the Rectory, we were ambushed by Pete and Simon. They claimed that they were already in the Rectory waiting for us. I said to Simon that this was really clever – being in two places at once – but I don’t think he understood.

In the Rectory, out the back at a big old table, sat Colin, talking to Big Pete. We all grabbed some booze and joined them. Here’s Nicktor explaining why he loves Aldershot so much. Simon and Pete do not look that impressed.

There was a general melee of happy hellos and assorted greetings as if we hadn’t all seen each other in July. Bill from the Midlands was introduced and fitted right in with the general chumminess. We spent a delightful couple of hours drinking and eating before we had to head for the football ground.

We were sat in section N along with the 170 odd travelling fans, all of whom kept up the singing and chanting, generally egging the boys on and outdoing the locals even though there were 100 times as many of them. In fact, the Chesterfield fans were so silent it was like they were watching a tennis match. Maybe it’s a Chesterfield thing. I don’t know. I’ve read that their favourite song is to the tune of Sailing. I guess they were in the doldrums.

On the other hand, I was so impressed with the noise we were making that I recorded a short burst of video to record it for prosperity. I don’t remember Nicktor asking me if I had a program. When I queried him about it, he said they’d all sold out, which just asks more questions than provides answers.

I have to say that I was very happy sitting down. It’s not often I get that luxury at a football game. It also meant I got to chat to Heather, who was sitting next to me.

The game was not that exciting in the first half but definitely went up a couple of notches after the break. Both teams put on the pressure, the play was end to end. It was definitely exciting, and our goalie was forced into a few saves. Fortunately, their incredibly expensive striker wasn’t on the pitch because the manager had fallen out with him, which helped us a great deal.

By the end of the game the score was still 0-0, and we went home with a point. Strangely, there were seven minutes of injury time to play after the 90. There were no signifcant hold ups in the second half, in fact, the whole game was pretty free flowing, so I’m not sure where the seven minutes came from. It felt a bit arbitrary. Apart from that, I thought the officials did an excellent job. It was like they weren’t there.

A draw against Chesterfield was a great result for us and pretty much a fair judgement of the game. The teams seemed very matched even though their positions in the league table would indicate something not so equal.

But there was more than just football on the agenda. Aided by a Chesterfield supporter who Sleazy knows, we went into an excellent little pub just down the road from the ground where away supporters are welcome. Mind you, after a quick glance, I thought the sign above the door said Violent Person which is possibly not who you’d want for a licensee of a pub near a football ground. Except maybe at Millwall.

Violet Pearson clearly knows her job. The beer was excellent, the atmosphere very friendly and the company even more so with lots of load and lovely chat going on. It was nice to see that Heather, who joined us, was included in everything, with people talking to her and making her feel part of the group. It’s a testament to the group, if you ask me. It is, after all, the same group who have made me feel very welcome for over a decade.

After drinking our own weights in beer, we then decided to look for something to eat. Because Colin is doing a dry January, he went out looking for possible food establishments and came back with a list of one. As Caesar would no doubt have said: Erat turca, prope erat, ivimus.

And there followed a raucous meal with much meat and salad which reminded me of the Turkish place we went to in Sweden. There was also a lot of beer and four cans of cider which Nicktor had secretly smuggled in.

At one point, Sleazy complained about the draught coming in through the door, which refused to close completely without a little shove. Big Pete solved this by using my walking stick to push it the finla few inches. After this, we would entreat each person leaving to PLEASE shut the door. It worked really well, and we soon had the entire restaurant helping. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it did feel like it.

Finally, it was time to leave. This coincided with me realising just how pissed I was. For that reason, I’m going to have cut this post off at this point. I don’t actually remember it, you see. Though I did take this photograph in an underpass.

We somehow made it back to the hotel, though we did lose Sleazy a few times who was our guide. But, given I woke up in the hotel bed proves we made it…even if I don’t know how.

By the way, there is a club for twisted spires. It’s called the Association of the Twisted Spires of Europe and is French. Nicktor will probably join it.

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Covid went and killed the radio star

Meatloaf died today aged 74. The biggest surprise to me was the fact that he was 74. Mind you, the fact that he was an anti-vaxxer was also a surprise. Not for any reason, mind, just because I didn’t know. And why should I? Or, in fact, why should I care?

Apparently, a lot of people on Twitter care. They have suddenly stopped enjoying his songs, his act, his entire existence. They want to erase him from their musical history lives. All because he had a choice and didn’t choose the same one as they did. Weird, isn’t it.

I know people are frightened and this makes them do odd things but, to my mind, I’d rather remember Meatloaf for his music and things like this:

That to me is a real indication of the man rather than if he wanted to have the vaccine or not. I don’t buy into the whole get vaccinated to save other people nonsense, particularly given how people can still get and carry Covid even after vaccination. As I understand it, being vaccinated protects you by lessening the effects. If you then get it, you are more likely to survive.

For the people who are not vaccinated, they get the full strength Covid and, obviously, it kills them. Like Meatloaf. In effect, you pays your money, you takes your choice. And that’s exactly what he did.

Anyway, trying to remove him from your cultural memory is stupid.

Though, not as stupid as people who don’t know how to sit on a park bench.

Prick of the week

This is not some mindless, sulky teenager trying to impress teenage girls by defying authority. No, it’s a man with muddy shoes, making the bench useless for anyone who knows how to use it properly. As a race, we have thousands of years of sitting experience, and this is how he sits on a bench.

What a total, inconsiderate, thoughtless, prick

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What to call the moon

This morning, the path into town was strewn with frost, just waiting to send any unsuspecting, walking stick bearing man, slipping into a white oblivion. As a consequence, and from bitter experience, I walked most of the way on the grass and frozen mud. I also cursed the fleet footed dashing by me without a care in the world, as if the ground was hugging their feet in some sweet embrace denied to me.

All that white stuff in the photo above is treacherous. Well, it is to me.

As a consequence, I walked home via the less appealing, but more stable, East Street. This had the equal benefit of checking out the progress at the East Street Development. Or, as I call it, the Should Have Been a Park Development.

It looks completely out of place and far too big. Whoever designed it needs to go back to Design School, in particular the class called How to Make a New Development Blend in Rather than Going For the Ugly Architecture Awards.

It looks so awful that my camera refused to work. So, instead, here’s a photo a bit further along the footpath.

I do prefer it when you can see the sky as you walk along, rather than be shaded by unnecessarily looming buildings and scaffolding. But that’s probably just me.

The other thing I noticed on my walk into town was the last of the big old Wolf Moon beaming down on everything. It made me wonder why the full moon had a name and led me to discover that it has a different name each month.

Most of the names come from the native Americans (or True Americans, as I call them) and signify various changes in the cycle of nature. Along with the Wolf, there’s the Pink Moon, the Beaver Moon, a whole host of them. Well, 12 to be exact.

There’s also alternative names, some of which are far more appealing than the accepted one. For instance, my personal favourite is the Broken Snowshoe Moon in April.

I like to think its derivation lies with a furious True American, tramping across the frozen wastes, trying to get back to his home, a bison strapped to his back as evidence of his hunting prowess, a full moon lighting his way. His name was possibly Great Bison Hunter.

One sliding step at a time, he moved his snowshoes across the top of the solid pack of snow covered ground. He was happy; he felt he was close to the end of his freezing and laborious journey.

Then, suddenly, as if the gods of his ancestors were mocking him with their arbitrary spite, one of his snowshoes snapped with age, wear and tear. He fell to his knees, he ripped the remains of the shoe with fury, tears starting to freeze on his face. He raised a fist to the heavens and cursed them and everything in them.

He managed to reach home and related the story to a crowd of giggling listeners. Like Homer Simpson, he tells them how he swore at the moon, blaming it for his misfortune. From that day forward he was called Broken Snowshoe Hunter. And, as the generations drifted by, the name stuck with the April full moon, and Great Bison Hunter was long forgotten.

That tiny white dot is the Wolf Moon.

For the actual, possibly real explanation for the Snowshoe Moon, click here.

It occurs to me that snowshoes would have been a good option this morning.

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Battles on the high seas

Mirinda went into London today. She had to have a face to face with her Exec. She was picked up at 06:15 and didn’t get home until after 10pm. It was a long day but exciting. My day, though, wasn’t. Which is good, really.

I did get to take the girls to the park rather than go shopping. It’s been ages since I’ve taken the Flika-stik© and Emma for an exhausting bout of chase the tennis ball and we both enjoyed it very much.

Freya, naturally, thoroughly enjoyed finding squirrels and giving them some exercise across the grass. Mind you, at one point she became very confused.

She always gets to the park first (she walks faster than me) and, today, she spotted a squirrel almost instantly and was off, after it. When I arrived at the park, I flicked the ball for Emma and headed towards where it had landed because she’d missed seeing it land.

Meanwhile, Freya was looking for me. I could see her, turning her head back and forth, desperately searching. Eventually, a man with a dog the same colour and size as Emma (not as beautiful, obviously) appeared around a corner behind Freya. She immediately headed for them, clearly mistaking the dog for Emma.

Imagine Freya’s surprise when the Emma look-a-like turned out not to be Emma – it was, in fact, male – and the man wasn’t me. I let her fret for a bit before calling her to me. She immediately turned towards me, her tail started furiously wagging. Then she looked back, almost in a double take.

When she reached me, I’m sure she wanted to tell me what had happened, but I assured her, I knew.

Back at home, my day was basically about housework and admin until 6:30pm when it was time for my first Society for Nautical Research live lecture.

Each year, the society awards the Anderson Medal for the best maritime publication. The medal is ceremoniously handed over at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, followed by a lecture by the author. The lecture is about the creation of the publication. I attended one a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, as I’m sure the author did as well.

Since the pandemic, SNR has gone virtual, and so the 2019 Anderson Medal winner was invited to give his lecture online rather than in-house. And, given Mirinda was going to be out and I didn’t have to make dinner, I ordered a ticket and joined the room, ready to hear the wise words of Professor Evan Mawdsley.

His book, The War for the Seas: A Maritime History of World War II, is his take on, you guessed it, the Second World War naval history. The prof is an authority on Russian military history and has a very short Wikipedia entry.

I found the process, as he described it, very interesting. The way he broke the war down into various periods, which made up the structure of the book into parts. He explained his reasoning behind each section, succinctly, I thought. Given I claim to be a writer (of sorts) I was very interested in how he planned the structure, and then, wrote the book.

It was interesting contrasting this lecture with the WFA webinars I sort of regularly attend. Of course, the WFA has been doing them a lot longer so you expect them to be a bit slicker but, even so, I thought the SNR did a good job.

Sadly, there were only 51 people attending, which dropped off to 40 by the Q&A session. Speaking of which, I actually asked a question, something I rarely do.

My WWI knowledge is so meagre that I can never think of a question during the WFA webinars and the people that do ask (there’s many of them) are almost as informative as the lecturer and make for some lively discussion.

Not that I claim to know very much about the maritime aspects of WWII but, I did read a book about the Russian submarine that torpedoed a liner full of refugees and, given the prof was an expert in Russian history, I thought I’d ask about how important the Russian submarines were in the Baltic.

The answer was simple: they weren’t.

Essentially, while Russia had the largest submarine force in 1941, it was mostly a coastal force and didn’t stray far from home. The prof gave a clear and concise answer. And I felt quite proud of myself.

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Run Forrest Goat! Run!

We had to get a few signatures witnessed today, so we asked Neighbour Dave if he’d obliged us with his moniker. He was more than happy to (his words) and turned up at 3:30 on the dot to do the job. Whenever we have to get signatures witnessed, I often wish I was ambidextrous. That way, I could sign as someone else, which would save us a lot of problems. Mind you, I don’t think Mirinda would approve.

Not that it’s really a problem asking Dave. He’s always happy to help.

While he was here, he told us his goat story. Actually he asked “Would you like to hear my goat story?” Obviously, we said yes. I can’t remember what prompted it.

He worked in Saudi Arabia for a while. He was teaching the Saudis…I don’t know what because he didn’t say. He lived in a compound with a bunch of other people, which is where and how he met Gail. She was out there teaching midwifery.

He treated the Saudis like normal people, while other English ‘trainers’ were treating them like illiterate fools who didn’t know anything. It’s that old colonialist attitude of teaching the ignorant natives to be as ignorant as the people teaching them, shtick.

Dave’s attitude went down rather well with the locals and, in return for his excellent work and manners, they invited him and his workmate for a special meal in the desert.

Out they went on the particularly day, stopping between a couple of dunes where a poor, quivering goat was tethered to a pole. It was clearly going to be their meal. One of the Saudis produced a huge knife and held it aloft. He was blessing the goat and offering it as sacrifice to a god that still liked that kind of thing.

At this point, Dave was a bit concerned for the poor goat. He was also not keen on the man slicing the animals throat and sending great gushes of blood everywhere. All in all, he didn’t like the idea one bit.

The guy lowers the knife and turns towards the goat, the blood-lust in his eyes,” He continued. “I looked at the poor goat only to see it running away into the desert! It was a blessed relief for both the goat and us.

I can only assume the goat chewed through whatever inadequate rope was tethering it to the stick. As we all know, goats will (and can) eat anything.

Mirinda asked him what they had for dinner instead of goat. He said they had chicken, but it was already dead, so they were spared the ritual slaughter.

And, of course, I have a goat story as well. It is here.

We didn’t have goat for dinner. It was one of our two veggie nights so I dipped once more into the Ottolenghi book and made two small dishes: braised kale with crispy shallots and seared fennel with capers and olives. They were both delicious.

It was all very fiddly but worth it. I didn’t get the shallots crispy enough, so I’m obviously going to have to give it another shot. For anyone wondering, the white blob in the fennel dish is ricotta. I was surprised but delighted with its use. It cut through the kecap manis brilliantly.

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Tickets to a field in Chester

While I’m not happy with the way Australia has reacted to the pandemic, it’s nice to see that they don’t toady to the rich the way Britain does. The whole thing with Novak Djokovic proves that it doesn’t matter how much money or influence you have, if you don’t follow the rules, you are treated the same as everyone else. That’s what Australia should be about.

And then, this morning, the French were saying he wouldn’t be able to play there either because of their rules. Of course, he’ll be more than welcome to come to Britain exactly because he’s wealthy and, therefore, influential. A Tory JD.

In the meanwhilst, tonight we had Persian roast chicken for dinner. Odd for a Monday, perhaps.

I try and plan my meals a few days ahead. Apart from anything else, it helps with the shopping. Sometimes the plan goes a bit awry. For instance, this week my menu was to be: Friday, Salmon with dill and walnut crust, Saturday, Lamb chops and salad for Mirinda and, Sunday, Persian roast chicken.

Then, unexpectedly (and pleasantly) we went to Bel and the Dragon, Churt on Friday. Then, of course, everything had to change.

The considerations were tempered by the use by dates of the various things. Because we try and only eat things organic and drug free, they don’t always last that long. I reckon you can stretch a couple of lamb chops an extra day or two, but I wasn’t sure about the salmon.

One option was to freeze the chops and make Mirinda the salmon on Saturday. Then Mirinda asked about the use by on the chicken. It was fine if she didn’t mind having a roast on a Monday. And so, that was the new plan.

Of course, it meant a lot more work for me than I’m used to on a Monday but, still, it was delicious and well worth it.

As worth it as it seems that the rain was earlier in the year. It feels like we went through the deluge in order to have glorious days, one after the other. As the man who lately learned to walk, remarked to me in the park “It’s a cracker!” after I said Good Morning.

What isn’t a cracker is the Chesterfield Football Club website. A lot of us are going to watch the Aldershot game there on Saturday and, as usual, Nicktor was the one to buy the tickets. Seven tickets, to be precise. All the cricket fellows from ‘oop North’ are coming.

I had a sudden, plaintive email from him full of frustrated swearing, saying he was unable to make it work and could I try.

I did manage to do it, but not without a fair bit of swearing myself. The thing was that, in order to buy more than one ticket, I had to create an account for myself then add everyone as my ‘friends’ and/or ‘family’. It turns out that they all live in my house and have random birthdays. Then I could assign them to the seats I was ordering tickets for.

I really have no idea why these things need to be so complicated. I understand that they don’t want people buying more than one ticket (because of possible scalping?), but then they create a situation where I did just that. And it could be a lot more user-friendly. Who knew you had to go through the Home link rather than the Away one?

Anyway, I managed to do it all before bed and slept soundly in the knowledge that we will all be going and be sitting together. It’ll be just like the cricket.

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