… a baking day today and I’ve been hard at it today.
That is, such of the day that I saw because I had another long lie-in today. In fact, it was something like 10:20 when I finally saw the light of day.
After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone.
We were in Regency times last night, having a lecture about all of the dandies of the Regency days, how they set out to go gambling, womanising, all these other vices that they could have, how they had dissipated their fortunes and had to marry or seduce young girls who were heritees, all this sort of stuff. In the end it ended up with how the aristocracy amused themselves in the winter. We had like a game of darts with snowballs that they threw at a board and how they threw bowls at targets, all this kind of thing. We were well into these aristocratic winter sports when I awoke suddenly.
A little later on I was round at Stoke on Trent last night and met up with a former friend of mine. I was in a J4 van and we had a bit of a good chat. We ended up going back to his house, a big chalet-type place. We got back there and went in. I’d come down from London on the motorway. On the way down to London I would usually go all the way down the A5 but for some unknown reason I’d got on the motorway near Luton or Dunstable, somewhere like that, doing down the M1 a bit and off round the M25 anti-clockwise. But I’d always go home on the motorway. I’d stopped to buy a few things like a big bag of apples – I remembered this. I collected everything up and went to pay for it. I had to go into a little annexe type of place to pay for it. I went to pay with a credit card but it didn’t take cards so I had to pay cash which was a shame. I opened my wallet and there was loads of stuff in there like old ferry tickets, everything, so I took them out and binned them as I didn’t really need them. Then I got in the van and drove back to Stoke on Trent, parked up the van, went into this guy’s house and we could see out of the back. There were a few big hangars at the back. There was a load of old buses in one of them, double-deckers. Every time we turned away and turned back again there would be another double decker in it. In another hangar a bit further down was an old Duple coach from the 1960s. My friend was talking about this duple coach for I was extremely interested in it. The guy just did car repairs but that coach had been there for ages. Thinking on, he hadn’t seen the guy there for several weeks and was wondering if he was OK or something. These double deckers that were appearing were intriguing so we went out and started to talk to these guys about them. They told us a bit of a story. Just then my friend’s wife came and stood on the balcony of one of the bedrooms looking out, accompanied by Zero. I waved, and suddenly Zero came running out down the garden and leapt into my arms, saying “hi darling” so I swung her around for a bit. I thought “God I’m lucky. My lucky day here, isn’t it?”. We went inside and said hello. Someone wanted something and I realised that I had that in the van so I thought that I would go and fetch it. As I was about to go out, my friend’s wife asked “have you started to cook in your flat?” I replied “yes, I have”. “I was going to ask you to bring some fruit or something like that because I’m fed up of having just potatoes”. I thought “hang on, I have this huge bag of apples in my van. I’ll bring that”. I went out and I couldn’t see the van. It was like a no parking area in front of where he was living so I walked a little further down the street but couldn’t see it so I walked a little further up the street and couldn’t see it so I rang him up on the mobile phone “where the hell did I put the van?” “You parked it in the usual place” “Where’s that?”. By now it was pouring down with rain and I saw someone come out of his house. He started to run so I went towards him but it wasn’t him but another guy. Then he came out and he ran off up a completely different street so I set out to follow him.
As well as that, I transcribed a few of the arrears from when I was away and there are just two that remain. They will be done sometime later in the week and then I can bring them up to date.
After a bowl of porridge I prepared the dough for the bread. 250 grammes of plain flour with a banana, some desiccated coconut, sultanas, ground brazil nuts, dried fruit and a pile of sultanas.
Then 500 grammes of cereal flour mixed with several handfuls of sunflower seeds.
All of the dough, having been mixed with the yeast and water and kneaded together, was put on one side to proof.
Next was the sourdough. I took it from the fridge, strained off some of it and discarded it, prepared an equivalent amount of flour and water to what was left and mixed it all together. It didn’t take long to reignite either and by the end of the day it was bubbling away nicely.
Four oranges were then whizzed round in the whizzer and the juice extracted and put in my very large jub. Then the orange pulp was whizzed up again for several minutes and then strained through a fine mesh filter so that any remaining juice would then be added to that which I had separated just now. The remaining pulp was discarded.
The kefir that had been brewing for 10 days was then strained through my filter stack and added to the orange juice, and well stirred in. I then prepared another load of kefir with a fig, several slices of lemon, 40 grammes of sugar and about 2 litres of water. That will need to ferment for a few days.
The mix in the jug, I mixed it again thoroughly and then strained it through my filter stack and bottled it. That needs to ferment for 48 hours or so.
Once again, there ere people down there on the beach drying off as if they had just been in the water for a swim. Had I gone out a little earlier I might even have caught them in the water like I did with that woman yesterday.
But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they can go into the water all they like but they wouldn’t get me in there joining them. It may have been a beautiful, warm afternoon but it wasn’t that warm. The water would need to be about 35°C before I would want to go into it.
Plenty of people out there walking around this afternoon, both on the promenade and down on the beach too. And I’m not surprised in view of the beautiful weather.
From there I wandered slowly across the Square Maurice Marland and then round the walls back home where at the door I bumped into one of my neighbours who had gone out for a walk but was obliged to come back as she had forgotten her mask.
That’s two of my neighbours I’ve met today. I bumped into another one of them earlier on my way out of the building.
By now the bread had risen quite nicely so I gave it a good kneading again, shaped it and put it in the moulds. There was far too much fruit bread for the mould so with the excess I made three small fruit bread rolls. They should make a nice snack at some point during the week.
With some spare time on my hands I edited a few more photos from July 2019. I need to keep up with this project that I have let go for several months. They won’t be completed if I don’t do anything about it.
By 18:00 it was time to put the bread in the oven for cooking. I brushed the fruit bread and the little buns in milk and dusted them with brown sugar first. They’ll take an hour or so to be ready and so in the meantime I had a rather pleasurable session with the guitars.
Anyway, here’s the “after” photograph. The main loaf didn’t rise as much as I would like but apart from that it looks very nice.
On the other hand, the fruit bread looks really nice and I can’t wait to get stuck into that in due course. The little buns especially, with some strawberry jam as a mid-morning snack with my hot chocolate.
I’d been kneaded it on and off during the afternoon and now I rolled it out and put it on a pizza tray. I prepared my pizza and when the bread was cooked I took it out and put the pizza in.
And when it was cooked, my pizza was delicious. One of the best that I’ve made, even if I had to use tinned mushrooms instead of fresh because I hadn’t been to the shops at the weekend.
At the very end of the Pointe du Roc I had a good look out to sea across to the Brittany coast. It was one of those evenings where you could see for miles and the Brittany coast over there looked really beautiful.
Despite the wind, in the shelter of the bunker there was a good little spec to take a photo and even without the tripod the photo came out really well considering everything.
There, sitting on the ramps in the chantier navale is the yacht that has been there for the last couple of weeks. And alongside her is the second boat that we saw from a distance the other day. Now that I can see more clearly, I can see that she is the Ceres II, an offshore installation maintenance vessel of 11 metres in length.
Her presence here may be something to do with the proposed offshore wind farm that they are talking about around here and which there has been some commotion across the bay, some of which we were sucked into when we were out there on Spirit of Conrad a few months ago.
Mind you, whatever she is doing here, her AIS transceiver seems to be still in St Vaast around the other side of the Cotentin Peninsula
Nothing, in fact. It was totally dead everywhere. Not even a cat was out there tonight. The port looked quite tranquil, bathed as it was with artificial light. And that reminds me – with lockdown and curfew, I would have expected that they would have turned off most of the street lighting to save a few bob. But apparently not.
Having seen what was going on – or wasn’t, as the case may be, I turned round and ran for home, a darn sight easier than I have done and I reckon that I could have pushed on a lot more than I did.
Tomorrow I’m back at work again. I have two radio programmes to complete this week. I’m hoping that this time, for once, I could pull myself out of bed by the time that the third alarm goes off, pleasant voyages and pleasant companions notwithstanding.
Another thing is to find out how things are doing with Caliburn and hope that he hasn’t gone into lockdown for the foreseeable future. That will be a catastrophe and no mistake.