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First thing this morning, Jackie drove me to New Milton for me to do some banking. After this she continued with planting and repairing storm damage in the garden where I carried out minimal tidying and dead-heading.
This afternoon I worked on the next section of ‘A Knight’s Tale’.
This involved editing and re-ordering much of my post ‘Maureen Potter And Plasticine’,
and inserting these two photographs.
I also used extracts from ‘Yesterday’s Bread’, with this illustration;
and from ‘Miss Downs’, adding these two, not included in the post,
and this photograph from ‘Auntie Gwen’
This evening we dined at The Smugglers Inn in Milford on Sea.
Having made the mistake of ordering two belly-busting courses last time we were here, we each just had one tonight. Jackie enjoyed ginormous lemon chicken, chips, and salad.
My choice was superb sizzling sirloin steak served on a bed of onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes set on a steaming dish alongside the plentiful chips, onion rings, and salad on another enormous plate. I drank Doom Bar and Jackie drank Amstel. This time we consumed everything except a few of Jackie’s chips. The lady behind the steam thought this an artistic portrait.
This morning I took my usual walk to Milford on Sea and back. Above The Solent, a weak sun peeked through gaps in the clouds, while on the cliff top the ever-present hooded crows trotted about.
In the nature reserve squirrels avoided the muddy footpaths by leaping across them from tree to tree. Bracket fungus on a tree by the stream supplied a convenient stepladder for wild life, while orange mushrooms brightened the leafy carpet beneath.
As, at lunchtime, I tucked into lovely fresh bread, crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside, I marvelled at Jackie’s technique for keeping it in the condition in which it came off the supermarket shelf several days ago. She freezes it after each meal and defrosts it in readiness for the next. This is a method she learned as a carer of elderly women living alone in the 1970s. Most of her clients did have fridges and freezers, but they preferred their bread bins. The contents of these were invariably green with mould which was transferred to any new loaves that were added. Gradually, she managed to persuade some to use their modern technology.
Yesterday I wrote of the 1940s without washing machines. Life was hard for everyone in those post war days. Please do not imagine you can hear violins playing, that’s just how it was. Other white goods unavailable to the ordinary family at that time were fridges and freezers. My mother, however, had no need to preserve loaves that, with her growing family, stood no chance of surviving a day. In fact, she would send us to the baker’s to buy yesterday’s bread which was cheaper and, being less scrumptious, lasted longer. I seem to remember a figure of 4d. that we handed over for each purchase. That is four old pence, roughly equivalent, if my arithmetic is correct, to 2p. today.
The hot summer of 1947 was particularly problematic in keeping milk and butter from going off. Bottles of milk were kept in cold water in the kitchen sink. Butter simply became runny. I couldn’t bear that, so I would only eat Echo margarine, the single oily spread that was at all impervious to the heat. This, of course, is really only fit for cooking, and no way would I consider it today.
This evening Jackie drove us to The Red Lion at Milford on Sea where we dined with Giles and Jean. My meal was steak and ale pie followed by plum tart and custard. Jackie chose hunter’s chicken followed by treacle sponge and custard. She drank Peroni and I drank Spitfire. The food was good and the company easy and enjoyable.
It is still hit and miss whether or not we have internet access. Fortunately WordPress backs up and saves my work when the connection drops, otherwise I would be tearing my hair out when trying to produce and send my posts.