The ups and downs

As I begin this entry it’s close to the end of the month and the weather has been amazing. I’ve had BBQ’s on my terrace and I’ve caught the sun too. I can’t recall ever managing to do either in February before here in France. Today I made naan breads to cook on the bbq and they were very good. Perhaps my skills with yeast and flour are gradually getting better. Today’s menu was tandoori chicken, a great accompaniment to my naan bread. The chicken always cooks so well on a bbq with nice crisp parts of concentrated flavour. I’ve modified my marinade over the years and it’s so good even if I do say so myself! Now after only 20-30 minutes in the marinade it’s full of flavour with heat too. Yesterday I cooked some pork ribs and a chicken thigh. Both soaked in brine first and then a marinade of garlic, paprika and cumin. I am so relaxed and happy at times like this. Eating more salads and less carbs in warmer weather is much more enjoyable and healthy than in cold wet weather when I need comfort food. The good weather continues with a forecast of 23C in two days time but then cools off, so pullovers not packed away just yet.

Apart from feeding myself with tasty food I’ve been doing some gardening too and cleaned my terrace. I have a plot of land below the terrace which I have considered attacking the over grown weeds and thorny bushes. Emphasis on ‘considered’ just now. I’m uncertain if I will get to plant vegetables and take care of a garden if I work again through the summer.

New day new regime!!! I weighed myself this morning and not so happy with the figures that glowed in red digits on my bathroom scales. It only displays in red and not as a danger sign in case you are wondering what type of scales I have that mock you in that way haha! I know this happens during the colder months and I expect to gain a little weight. But this morning when I had a shower I couldn’t help but notice an increase in certain body areas that I would be happier if they hadn’t. So lunch today had no rice with the chili con carne. I did weaken to three slices of lovely garlic bread. Well it’s a step in the right direction and I am sticking with that for now on the basis the nights and mornings are still chilly.

This afternoon I will check which seeds I have already to grow some herbs in tubs in the event I don’t get my garden to a useable state this year. Of course this is purely a food related activity, but I am sure you know by now it’s one of my main interests. Thyme and rosemary plants now on my terrace and parsley, oregano and flowering ground cover plants by the house. Batches of seeds for more herbs and flowers for my hanging baskets in germination pots in my warm cellar.

As one of my aims this year I am trying to get out and socialise more. Since moving to this town and living as I have chosen, I believe that I have avoided socialising in general due to a lack of confidence. I am now more grounded in who I am and feel that it’s time to deal with that and attempt to build a better social life for myself.

With that in mind, there is a project in the town that I like the concept and idea of. In short I have now been to my second meeting in a French language environment – and it was tough tonight! Not due to the language but the slighty random way in which it worked. I have to admit that the language was a slight issue as I still struggle when a few people are talking and use words I am unfamilier with. It’s a kind of catch up game where I work out what is being said. I began to give up slightly about half way through the evening. Our group, one of three, were apparently finished while the other two worked on for another 20 minutes or so. I had lost my fizz by that time and didn’t feel like revisiting certain points. I may avoid a couple of people next time I go. In principle I still think the concept is worth supporting. Maybe I will elaborate in another article.

All good things come to an end and so has the warm weather. Cloud, rain and strong winds are on the way for the next week. Back to the heating on and windows shut.

The last paragraph for February and a reference to the featured photo and the one above were both taken in the summer of 2017. I travelled by car to the Languedoc with Bertie to a house bought by old friends in England. I had been asked to fit a kitchen and couldn’t leave Bertie on his own. So, on three ocassions we made the trip, a drive of six hours minimum each way. Bertie slept most of the way waking when I stopped once or twice when I would give him a little treat to eat. He is the most travelled cat that I know. But right now I am struggling writing this without tears. He is fast asleep close to me while I type and nothing like his former self. Looking at the photo reminds me of the special cat that he is. I am amazed at his determination and tenacity in his current state of health. He cannot jump onto the chair he sleeps on or my bed as his body mass is so slight that his bones are evident beneath his fur. Yet he has moments of alertness and activity that astound me. He is not ready to give up just yet!

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