Sunday, 18th June, 2023

[Day 1189]

Well, what a day turned out to be. As is normal for us on a Sunday, Meg and I got ourselves up and parked in front of the TV for the Politics shows starting at 8.30. The great talking point today was the video clip which appeared on the Daily Mirror website of a party going on in the Tory Party HQ at the height of the lockdown with drinking, dancing and doing any other than observing social distancing rules. Michael Gove was the govvernment minister sent out to defend the indefensible this morning and naturally he condemned what he saw (and repeated his condemnation on two channels) The Tories say that some of the people concerned had been ‘disciplined’ (whatever that means) but even more sigbificant is that of the people in the party were awarded honours by Boris Johnson. You would have thought that that there was a good case for rescinding the awards once given but apparently this is hardly ever done. Meanwhile the police are ‘investigating’ and I wonder if they will issue the sort of standard fine that applied to the partygoers in Downing Street. The whole of this sort of episode is the attitude in the governing party that rules are ‘not for us, just for the little people’ and that they themselves are not subject to the same rules as the rest of us. After we had our fill of politics, Meg and I jumped into the car in order to collect the Sunday newspaper and then got on with the serious business of cooking for our cousins due to arrive later on this morning. I had already had the base boef bourbignon cooking in the slow cooker overnight but what I needed to do was to fry off some shallots and mushrooms and then add this mixture to the pot, thickening things with a little cornflower. All of this worked out OK and I busied myself making sure that the mashed potato, small new potatoes, carrots and broccoli were prepared and in most cases parboiled and ready to be finished off in the oven. Our starter today was going to be a really innovative one that our domestic help had told us about but I had never done it before. It involved lining some ranekins with smoked salmon, putting some chunks of smoked salmon in the bottom and then adding a mixture of eggs yolks and cream to each ranekin before all four of them were out into an improvised ‘bain marie’ (actually in my case, a deep square frying pan which held a good inch of water) and then baking in the oven for 30 minutes. I put this lot in the oven 15 minutes before our guests were due to arrive and they turned up just on time. This was ideal because by the time they had got themselves into the house and we had demonstrated the facilities of our new ‘music room’ to them, it was time for the salmon to be taken out of the oven. I have to admit that as a starter, this turned out to be brilliantly successful and I will certainly try it another time. Meg’s cousin helped me to dish up the meal which actually was extraordinarily helpful as the beef plus four veg and the starters took some doing. We finished off with a strawberry trifle complemented by some actual strawberries courtesy of Waitrose and cream and, although thrown together, this too was very successful. We would have liked a longer time together as the husband of Meg’s cousin had to fly from Birmingham to the Paris Airshow and so had to leave us on the dot of 3.00pm. Nonetheless, we had a lot of family news to exchange with each other, including the condition of our cousin’s mother (Meg’s actual cousin) whose health problems seem to be deepening although the rest of the family are wonderful in the support they are giving.

Meg rather crashed out this afternoon and spent the afternoon in bed. Perhaps it was a bit of a strain for her interacting with her cousins over several hours but nonetheless she has just about recovered in time to come down and join me for the finals of Cardiff Singer of the World which is on BBC4 this evening. I must say, I have worked pretty hard this afternoon and the washing up ws not completed until 6.30 this afternoon. As is always the case, I seem to have a mountain of food left over but a lot of it will be eaten up during the week and I have promised our domestic help some of it to sample as she has following my culinary efforts, giving me encouragement and support along the way. Although today has been a busy one, I have rather enjoyed myself. Our son delivered a highly appropriate Father’s Day card yesterday and I was pleased to get the bit of tidying up done in the garden (which in the event was not really needed because there was a sudden rainstorm so we could not get into the garden anyway) But I used a blower to whisk away some pesky holly leaves from the holly trees that we have, so this was another another bit of tidying up which had needed doing for some time.