On Saturday, I planned a trip to the post office to mail my ballot. I thought Dave would enjoy a trip out too so I suggested he come with me and we could stop for coffee. As we sat outside, (across the street from the pick up window of the coffee shop), Dave said he had heard Barnes Noble was open. Did I want to see if it was empty enough to feel okay to go in and browse? I dithered.
there would be people…
I don’t know if..but then…
We went. Masked of course.
The parking lot was almost empty. We looked in. The store had been reorganized and the layout was far more inviting…more spacious in feel, while at the same time, more intimate. It was very nearly empty.
I spent the next giddy hour ducking and weaving among fellow patrons whilst selecting/rejecting/clutching books. Books that had not been preread by strangers nor purchased online, but fresh new books. Just for me!
After stalking the mystery section a time or two – along with a brief foray into fiction, (election season in a pandemic has quenched any thirst I might have had for both horror and nonfiction), I realized I was carrying the equivalent of my bimonthly grocery budget. Several deep cleansing breaths later, I narrowed my final selection to a far more reasonable number and almost – but not quite – skipped to the car. To round out the day, we had pizza for supper. Yay!
(a brief aside….Massey’s Pizza is the best! Being gluten free takes a lot of yum out of pizza for me – but Massey’s has a cauliflower crust that is great!)
And Sunday. Well nothing much done…. but watching NOVA and reading. But still pretty darn great.
From October 9, 1996 to September 28, 1999, the BBC ran a wonderful cooking show called Two Fat Ladies.
I love cooking shows. I remember Mom watching The French Chef – not the reruns mind you – but as a brand spanking new weekly series. Mom marveled that the teeny tiny kitchen that produced those French gastronomic beauties was indeed Julia Child’s actual kitchen. It wasn’t until I was much older that I came to appreciate the show: recipes, petite kitchen, not to mention Julia Child herself. After Julia came a succession of cooking shows I enjoyed and watch(ed) loyally. Among the many titles and chefs, there is one series/chefs that has a special place in my heart: Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson aka the Two Fat Ladies.
The premise of the show is simple: Clarissa and Jennifer travel throughout the U.K. cooking for large groups of people. Each show has a food theme such as cakes or one episode is simply titled Meat. These two completely unscripted women are bold, intelligent, outrageous, funny, and incredible cooks. (They were also throughly unique individuals. Their lives make a fascinating read.). What’s more, this dynamic duo do their traveling via Jennifer’s vintage motorcycle with a sidecar for Clarissa – which leads me to my virtual vacation: Last Sunday, I dusted off my Two Fat Ladies dvd set and settled down for a nice little trip.
I rode with the ladies along the waterfront of Mevagissey, Cornwall sniffing the the catch of the day, moved on to Hallaton, Leicestershire and marveled as they creamed butter and sugar with just a spoon. The drive to Lennoxlove House in East Lothian, Scotland took my breath away – as did Lennoxlove House. I had just sworn (for the umpteen time) that I would make those chicken breasts with walnut l’aillade, (surely my cooking skills are up to that recipe?), when my DVD player hiccuped. Unfortunately, like all hiccups bouts, the pops and burps continued sporadically until I admitted defeat. Or rather an extended pause – I ordered a new dvd that afternoon.
I hope to continue my lovely journeys with Clarissa and Jennifer very soon. I say give them a try!
Thank you for reading and stay safe!
I stayed up late last night to finish a book, A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths. I happened to buy this book in January – or was it February – before the pandemic had been declared. I realized, at the time, this was the fifth in Ms. Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series but decided to buy it anyway. I was actually rather proud of myself: me? start reading a series out of order? Unheard of! I congratulated myself for such rebellious behavior and plopped the book on my ever expanding ‘to be read pile’.
A couple of weeks later Dave and I went to the library. I happened to see The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths – the first in the Ruth Galloway series. What the heck…I checked it out. Read it. Loved it. A dandy mystery with a wonderful lead character. Dr. Ruth Galloway, an archeologist, is a stand out in the genre. A great character and a very interesting story line. Being a mystery lover, I am always delighted to ‘discover’ an intelligent and engaging series. (I know this one has been out for quite awhile – I’ve come to the party a tad late.)
By then, our governor had closed all non essential businesses. No more trips to the library or bookstore for my entertainment – I would have to make due with the umpteen books sitting/piled around my house. What to read? Revisit a comforting old favorite? That would be perfect to sooth the nerves. Or… As I stood in front of my overcrowded bookshelves, my eyes landed on book number five in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series.
I ordered books two thru four from thriftbooks.com. Devoured them. Loved them too. So much so that today I have ordered the next three books. (And a couple from James Doss. His were easy to rationalize, I can’t find them in my library branch.) I’ve learned my lesson. No more random starts or stops – begin at the beginning and stay the course. A lesson for our times.