Once more, yesterday’s planned exchange of contracts on the house purchase didn’t take place. To compound the issue, the date for completion has been postponed by the seller’s solicitors who aren’t very good at answering their phone or responding to messages, meaning that we would need to put furniture into storage with the consequent additional removal fee. Our preparations were based on a completion date given by them. When not actually doing anything else, I have therefore spent the day expressing our frustrations about this and urging people to honour previous undertakings. I can’t be bothered to detail all the to-ing and fro-ing, except to say that no promised phone calls were received after 3 p.m., which means nothing probably happened today either. And now we have the weekend………
Early this morning we drove back to Hordle Beach to deliver the photograph taken two days ago to Richard. He was not at his hut, so, as advised, I placed the print in a box inside a clear plastic recycle bag and stuck it behind the decking lodged at the front of the hut.
As is clear from the shingle still piled up around neighbouring huts, Richard has done a magnificent job since we left him. The structure at the front of the building provides a platform over the pebbles when it is occupied, and a protective shield when it isn’t.
The incoming waves continued to push the shingle uphill as they struck home and climbed over the wall they had created. Further along the coast it was easy to see, from the spray bouncing off the breakwaters, how the banks holding the higher huts had crumbled.
It was only today that I realised that Auntie Gwen is responsible for my desire to make good pictures of incoming waves. I remembered that my godmother had one painting which wasn’t a devotional one, like The Sacred Heart. This was a large, long, seascape that fascinated me because of the iridescence captured by the skilful painter. The picture held pride of place when Gwen still occupied rooms in her parents’ now demolished house at 18 South Park Road, Wimbledon. I don’t recall seeing it after she moved to Latimer Road.
As we were preparing to return home in the courtesy car supplied by Wells Garage, I received a call to say that Jackie’s Modus was ready for collection. We therefore diverted to Ringwood and swapped cars. The garage have done their usual thorough job at marginally less than the quoted price; fixed the passenger door without charge; and quoted a nominal fee for the loan of their vehicle. As usual when they do a job for us, they gave the car a thorough clean as well. It is good to know that someone at least sticks to the time quoted and doesn’t bump up expenses.
Thinking of expenses, given that we are already paying income and purchase tax, the amount of stamp duty and VAT for services that has been added to the cost of both the house purchase and car repair seems exorbitant to me.
One illustration to my post of 26th was of the ingredients of a vegetable base for soups. Today’s lunchtime chicken and vegetable soup put that to good use. Here we present the method of creating it:
If you have frozen your pre-cooked vegetable base don’t forget to defrost it in good time.
Stir-fry your chopped chicken pieces, onion and garlic. In the meantime poach, in chicken and vegetable (one cube of each) stock, any previously uncooked vegetables you may wish to add. Today’s additions were carrots, mushrooms and, in the absence of lentils, chana dal. Finally, add the thick vegetable base, thinning it with the stock, and simmer for a while. When you feel like it toss in the left-over vegetables from last night’s meal, making sure to bring them to the boil. Ours were red cabbage and brussels sprouts. Please yourselves as to quantity. You may add pepper, but if you have used stock cubes they usually contain enough salt.
If, like us, you have enough prepared for the next day or two, you may care to add further superfluous vegetables from subsequent meals. You never know what you’ll have by the end of it. I can assure you this already wholesome fare improves with keeping.
Moving on to our evening meal, we enjoyed a delicious sausage casserole (recipe), crisp vegetables and swede, potato and onion mash. I drank Languedoc reserve 2012, and Jackie imbibed Roc St Vincent sauvignon blanc of the same vintage. It is worth mentioning that both this Languedoc and the Bergerac of a couple of days ago come from the French Connection Classics sold by Morrison’s. And very good they are too.