Sunday, 2 October 2011


What an inauspicious beginning to October. I went out to buy some odds and ends to make lasagna, and am now a little sunburned. As a result of sunshine in Britain. In October. I always find that sunburn makes me a bit lethargic. So do high temperatures. It was about 24/25 last night, and is again tonight, and today it was about 30 Celsius for ages. If we discount the consumption of ice lollies (which is up considerably), then my productivity has inarguably fallen.

Add to that that I am feeling a bit of general burn-out, and you can see this will be one of those chatty updates, not graced with pretty pictures. In defence of purple, prolix prose, I have just been stumbling through Gibbon's tenth chapter, and had to give up because the heat has made my brain too fuzzy. Er, see! That proves my point. That sentence was supposed to be about Gibbon being verbose, and that his rhetorical style, with its balanced Tacitean structure, was making me all wordy. The heat's sabotaged my brain to such an extent that sentences sidle subtly off, slipping out of sight to change their appearance.

Aye, I was meaning to do some work on some 6mm Napoleonics I have had sat about for ages, but I just can't summon the will. Nor can I command myself to get back to the Livery Stable, nor those Basilisks. Nothing in that line appeals. Gibbon is hard work for my heated head, and I don't fancy watching another film. I've been watching Westerns and generally trying to get through all the films in our library - OK, not Tomb Raider 2 or Titanic - so I've got film burn-out, too. Pale Rider is an interesting Western, well worth a look. Having just watched it the other night, I shan't be following my own advice, so where's that leave me? I'm too muzzy-headed to read, and disinclined to fiddle with plasticard or balsa, to paint anything, and even to watch a film. It's the wrong time of day for a walk - well, maybe not: at least I can't get more sunburn at this hour! - so I'm running a bit low on ideas.

In this moment of inaction, all that strikes me is to have a glass of wine. It's quite pleasant, which is a surprise, as red is generally not my preferred hue of fermented grape. Then again, I don't believe I've tried a Chianti before. Film aficionados take note: I am not eating anyone's liver with some Fava beans. Where'd I find this Chianti, you ask? Well, when I went out to pick up bits and bobs, it was because I had a hankering for lasagna, so I had to head over to Hanley - blessed with a Holland and Barrett and a Sainsbury's (as well as a Tesco's too annoying to visit), it's the closest place this side of Manchester where I'm likely to acquire all I need. Granted, the only two things I could not have collected in my own town were the vegan cheese and this wine, but I stand by my desire to go have a drive! My irritation with Tesco's in Hanley, by the way, springs from the requirement that one get a ticket on entering the car park and have it endorsed at the till prior to leaving. The branch of Sainsbury's is blessed by an absence of such a niggling detail.

Having thus ambled about in the appalling sunshine and hellish temperatures (refer to my picture and behold my ginger hair and pallid skin, should my dismay at sunlight and heatwaves amaze you), I headed home, but already the touch of the son was apparent, and I have put off my lasagna until tomorrow comes.

When it does, Portobello (isn't it nice that there's more than one way to spell that word and yet my internet spell checker knows none?) mushroom, red onion, garlic, basil, garlic, thyme, tomatoes, stock and pepper will unite with vegemince, and then be sunk into layers of lasagna, before the whole is coated with a concoction of vegan cheese and soya cream and soya milk. I do like having a poke about the kitchen, although in summer (and I call an October day with 30 degree highs summer!), I am rather frightened off by the Aga we have.

Perversely, we're turning it off when winter starts so as to save money. It strikes me we shall thus be mirroring my old school's practice: ensure that the heating is not turned on until as deep into winter as possible, yet keep it on as long as possible when the weather improves. Perhaps the staff were secretly cooking children, and covering it up by using the radiators as a distraction. It seems unlikely, I agree. Right, I'm going to stop now. Fingers crossed next time I update there'll be pictures and so forth. Farewell, readers!

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