Sunday, August 17, 2014


I started off this week feeling a bit down with all I was hearing about in the world.  By comparison to others, I had little to be sad about.  I think life sometimes has a way of putting on the brakes, a sort of slow-slow- slowing down for time to take stock.  So, I did take stock.

Those darn trees from next door that were making a dark canopy over large a corner of our garden were too high and too physical for me to attack. Nothing for it then, the neighbours must be asked if they minded some thinning out to allow light through. It was absolutely no problem, the neighbour said in fact as he was free, he would give me hand with it! Like the genie of the lamp he appeared in overalls, with a tall ladder, a hefty branch lopper and saw. While he lopped off big branches from on high, jumping from ladder to wall, back to ladder again, I set to work at ground level reducing the size of the branches with my light weight lopper.  Number one son put in an appearance to give his dad a hand, I was almost redundant. There were two trailer loads of tree branches taken to the tip, (their trailer, we don't have one).  Offers to at least pay for the petrol used were indignantly refused, 
"We're neighbours, you'd do the same for us".  I 
mumbled that I would if I could.  All that physical work gave me awful back-ache, but, it and the kindness of neighbours did lift my spirits. 

Taking things out to make space to put things away in a kitchen cupboard has potential pitfalls. Just as you think you have got it all done, a small 
pottery bowl overbalances and with reflexes working fast, I break its fall. There's a glancing blow onto the edge a breakfast dish in its path, which fractures at the point of impact.  Oh great!  (Except that is not what I said).  Taking stock, I rationalise it could have been worse, I could have broken a perfect dish; this dish was already chipped. The bowl was not perfect either, I notice it has a chip too.  The defrosting fish still in a bag can continue to defrost in the dish after that I will dispose of it.

I have decided to make a tomato sauce for the fish with all sorts of things in it including chopped 
fennel. I left the sauce simmering, just a fraction longer than I should have. I just caught all the ingredients sticking to the pan. After the rescue - the sauce was in need of a fair bit of hydrating - it  was various shades of reddish brown. 

 Hubby wanted to know why I was not going to add olives to the sauce - "They would," he said, "give it a certain je ne sais quoi".

Me -"It will have a certain je sais quoi, when I have finished with it".

What to do to..........I  sprinkled a liberal amount of mild curry powder into the reconstituted sauce 
then chopped up a few fresh tomatoes and added them. This time I kept a beady eye on the simmering sauce and the fish steaming in it.  Hubby ate his meal with real relish and announced that the sauce was "excellent!"

We have an unexpected item to put into our goody bag which I have packed for our self-catering break.  Our farmer neighbours threw a fabulous large white cabbage over the fence into our garden, it is the size of a football. The cabbage, now wrapped up in a bag, is sitting in proud isolation like it's ready for kickoff.

What a strange and varied week it has been.  I have to smile.


Anonymous said...

Marvellous to have good neighbours like that! It makes such a difference and I can well understand how their cooperation lifted your spirits.

I managed to burn our dinner last night too ... so our new potatoes were also served a la je-ne-said-quoi. Actually they didn't taste too bad. Your rescue effort sounds delicious.

Anonymous said...

je ne sais quoi ... of course!

Anonymous said...

It may well have been a strange and varied week but I think that you did well out of it what with the tree pruning, a good sized cabbage and a smile.
I like the sunflower pictures.
Enjoy your break. Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Thanks Mr F,

We've started on our journey, so far so good.

It was quite an interesting mix of happenings, I agree xx

ZACL said...

It is uncanny that we were 'creating' in unison.

I have been very touched by the neighbours' response and the additional surprise of getting a good looking cabbage!

Snowbird said...

It sounds like you have good neighbours, not many would be so quick to oblige, that cabbage sounds good too.
So glad you rescued the sauce, adding curry seems to have saved the day! Must try adding curry to tomato dishes!!!
The news is hideous, I can barely listen to it any more, the world seems to be a dangerous place at the moment. I love those cheering. Now you have a wonderful

ZACL said...

Hello Snowbird,

The world is in a worrying state. The sun flowers cheered me up no end, so, I thought I would photograph them. I did take rather more pix than is canny, but I was so keen to get that special pic or two.

Curry added to tomato sauce based dishes does work well, according to taste. It is not necessary to risk the sauce's integrity by scorching it though!

The cabbage is lovely. :)