Spaghetti Junction


Here is the recipe for broccoli and stilton soup I had hoped, last night, to be able to provide this morning. Thanks to our caterer-in-chief:

Take a largish saucepan.

With approximately 2oz butter and 1 and 1/2 oz plain flour make a roux.

Then add 3 to 4 oz crumbled stilton to taste.

Meanwhile, heat a pint and a half of water in a separate pan, into which dissolve two good quality (e.g. Knorr) stock cubes, one chicken and one vegetable. If possible these should be low salt because stilton can be salty.

Simmer chopped broccoli and/or cauliflower in the stock until soft.

Gradually stirring it in add the broccoli and stock to the roux and ‘cook for a bit more’.Broccoli and stilton soup

We had some for lunch. It has a delightful piquancy.

Before that, we had driven to Knights ironmongers in Lymington, where we bought a number of practical items, like sink plugs, door locks, hacksaws, chisels, and a preparation for clearing the blocked shower. I had used Bullitt before, but couldn’t remember the name. The very helpful young man in the shop went straight to it when I described our needs.

Bullitt is 95-97% sulphuric acid and claims to dissolve pretty well all organic matter that can legitimately find its way into pipes. It comes with considerable safety warnings, and emitted a steam, which we are advised not to inhale, on application. Unfortunately, whatever is down there, it seems impervious to sulphuric acid. I suppose it could be fossilised. After following the instructions and scouring the scummy tray, there was no speedier a trickle down the plug hole. I applied another dose and walked away without much hope of success. Jackie, on the other hand, made a good job of fixing sink plugs and door locks.

My first car, bought in December 1966, was a red Hillman Imp. During our courting days I was able to drive to Jackie’s family home in Beckenham, sometimes with Michael, sometimes leaving him with Mum in 18 Bernard Gardens. Always a keen photographer, I kept the camera in the car. One afternoon in September 1967, I stopped at traffic lights, and glanced to my left. There a window cleaner was engaged in polishing a large sheet of glass under the gaze of a baby in a pram inside the room that it was lighting. I grabbed my all-manual Kodak Retinette 1b camera, and, in the seconds before the red light turned to green, snatched the shot. Baby and window cleaner 9.67It remains one of my favourite ‘posterity’ images. Judith and Barrie will, no doubt be intrigued to recognise the roof of my car reflected in the window of the room.

Aficionados may be able to identify the make of the pram. Window cleaning has now become much more sophisticated. Does anyone still use a ladder, chamois leathers, and elbow grease?

When she was here last week, Flo observed that we had our TV in a funny place. This was because it was behind Jackie’s chair and consequently rather obscured from view. Users guides and remotesThis in turn was because I was too scared to attempt to set up the Sharp Aquos TV; BT Vision complete with the Powerline adapters required because the Home Hub was far enough away from the telly to need it; and the Bose 123 CD/DVD player complete with its bulky Acoustimass module.400px-Spaghetti-Junction-Crop

The Gravelly Hill interchange on the M6 at Birmingham is the original spaghetti junction. This is a nickname given to a network of connecting roads that appears a tangled mess. It could equally apply to the wiring system focussing on the seven year old TV. Television set-upWith constant reference to the various users guides that came with the equipment; to the tags at some stage or another attached to the various wires; with some of the tentacles still attached at one end to the relevant gadgets; and with a good deal of foraging among a container labelled ‘phone wires and stuff’, a miracle was achieved. We can now watch telly, choose a programme from BT vision, play a DVD, or listen to a CD.

Whilst I was grappling with technology in the living room, Jackie successfully did so in the kitchen, where, on her induction hobs, she produced a lamb jalfrezi (recipe) as good as ever. She served it with wild rice. I finished the merlot.


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