Saturday, 28th August, 2021

[Day 530]

Today dawned as a beautiful bright summer day and it looks as though we are going to be in for several days of fine weather. Meg and I were left a little to our own devices today as our son and daughter-in-law were off to visit relatives, not being back until tomorrow, so we have a day or so to organise a wild party. Instead, though, we headed for the park where Meg and I met up with our University of Birmingham friend and another mutual friend – whilst they were chatting, I went off to collect our newspapers and buy a birthday card for my sister. As the Bank Holiday will take place on Monday, today was the last day on which, if I got the timing of the Post Office collection right, I could almost guarantee that the card would arrive by the appointed day which is next Tuesday. Our is-called Post Office is now embedded within the local W H Smiths so, having written the card in Waitrose where it was bought, I could get down the High Street to get it posted in the main postbox. Hopefully, this will arrive OK. I take the opportunity to pop into one of our many ‘Health and Beauty’ shops to buy a couple of items and then made my way back to the park.

Lunchtime was going to be quite experimental for me as a cook. Firstly, having bought some venison in my quest to buy (and consume) some iron-rich red meat, I wanted to cook it well to maximise its flavour and not to overcook it (to which I am prone, I must say). So in my brand new lidded casserole dish, I followed the same basic instructions as per the fish that I cooked yesterday under the instruction of our domestic help. This involved getting a small amount of rapeseed oil to a high level heat and then ‘searing’ the meat by cooking it for 2 minutes on one side and then two minutes on the other. The idea, of course, is to get the mere seared (and sealed) on the cooked side whilst leaving it still somewhat ‘sanglang’ i.e. bloody) on the inside. This worked out well but instead of serving the meat as a ‘slab’ I cut it into quite thin slices that were then layered against each other. The vegetables (broccoli and some fine beans) were then steamed for a total of about minutes which left them a little ‘al dente’ but incredibly flavoursome. So the whole meal, completed with some jacket potato, did not take too long to prepare and was incredibly flavoursome, so I must repeat (or rather put into practice). Incidentally, I decided to see what was the official NHS advice on the eating of red meat and this is to restrict the quantity that you eat to some 70 gram (approx. 2.5 ozs) per meal. Although this might not sound very much, Meg and I felt quite satisfied by the end of the meal so we must get ourselves accustomed to eating very small portions of red meat on the occasions that we do indulge ourselves. We now have enough venison for another couple of meals so I don’t have to panic if I do not see any more on the supermarkets selves for a week or so.


his evening, as it is a Saturday, we attended our ‘normal’ church service – this is normally over in 35 minutes which means that we still have a nice long evening in front of us. On the way in, we stopped by our plum tree bordering the communal green area in front of our houses. Several of the plums were ripe to the point of falling off and one or two were actually on the ground. Nonetheless, we collected about eight pretty ripe specimens and had these with our tea this evening, accompanied by some raspberry ripple ice-cream and some natural yogurt. So this was bonus number 1 for the evening. The second pleasure was watching ‘Today at the Test‘ where England and India were locked in an interesting conflict, the Indians having capitulated in their first innings but made a much stronger showing in their second. However the English bowlers were superb today and the Indian team were blown away and so England won by an innings. The third pleasure was turning over for a few minutes of the paralympics and seeing Team GB athletes securing gold in both the swimming and the cycling arenas. Tomorrow we should start to see the start of the athletics competition where some well-known stars from the last Paralympic games in Rio should be self-evident.

Tonight, I read that Italy had described to scrap quarantine regulations for double-vaccinated travellers from the UK as from 31 August. This has come too late to ‘save’ the booked holiday we had to go to Rome – but the organiser is hoping to organise a similar one next January to March so there may be some hope left for us in the New Year (although we have booked up for a few nights in the Brecon Beacons once the Rome trip was cancelled)