A couple of days ago Jackie had achieved a first. Seeking a small table for use in the garden, she had unsuccessfully visited various shops in Highcliffe. A wave of inspiration led her to try her luck in the Efford Recycling Centre, purely as a shopper without the excuse of having something to deposit. There she purchased a table, three hanging baskets, a chair, and some shelves. She also spotted something on which she wanted my opinion before buying it.
This was a somewhat rickety garden bench, not old, and in pretty good condition. It was still there when we visited the dump for the purpose of dumping. We bought it and tightened up its bolts when we got home. We also came away with a couple of cast iron sides to another bench for us to assemble; two window boxes, and a plant pot.
The Castle bench, in its assembled state, is now very heavy indeed. However, we inched it along to make room for what will forever be termed the dump bench, which is facing the opposite direction. This means that those sitting on the Nottingham Castle replica have a shifted, and rather more attractive, perspective in view. Here Jackie sits on the new acquisition admiring the scene from there.
In repositioning the Castle bench we realised that its bolts also needed tightening. So, like any self-respecting motor mechanic unable to lift what he is working on, I crawled underneath the seat with a socket set and a couple of ordinary spanners
for the two longer bolts. Trapped in that position I was prey to the paparazza, who had a field day.
Incidentally, I owe my apparel to Sam and Louisa. The trousers, excellent for carrying all kinds of stuff in their numerous pockets, were cast off by my son sometime in the late 1990s. I suppose it is acceptable for a father to wear hand-me-downs from his son. It must have been around the year 2000 that Louisa spent some time in Sydney in Australia, with her friend Rebecca, and brought me back the T-shirt from Manly beach.
In January 2008, soon after Sam and Holly’s wedding in a Margaret River winery, Louisa, Errol, and my granddaughter Jessica Thompson, revisited my daughter’s Sydney haunts. By coincidence, I was wearing the same souvenir from Louisa when Errol took this photograph.
Having successfully tightened up two benches, I had the bit between my teeth. Off we drove to Travis Perkins in Milford on Sea and bought a supply of Red Grandis eucalyptus hardwood; nuts and bolts; and a bolt cutter to sever some that had been rusted into their holes. We needed 19 four foot lengths of timber, and a kind young staff member called Nathan volunteered to cut the much longer strips to the required size.
I got my head together to work out the process of measuring, drilling holes with precision, and assembling the sides of our other dump purchase, and, with a little help from our resident D.I.Y. expert, began the construction. Then it rained. Heavily. With thunder and lightning. We grabbed tools and made a dash for cover.
There is no limit to what, given gestation time, and a certain amount of nurturing, a sausage casserole (recipe) can develop into. Thus the liver casserole of a day or two ago, evolved from the sausage sauce (and one sausage) being supplemented by more onions, mushrooms, liver, and tomato puree. By then the juices were richer and even fuller of flavour. Tonight it became the liver and bacon casserole, which Jackie termed ‘the evolution of the sausage casserole’. Absolutely delicious. Maybe it will carry a few chillies tomorrow. With her meal Jackie drank Hoegaarden. My choice was a Cotes du Rhone Villages 2012, brought over from France by Mo and John.