Saturday in Plagueville

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Let’s call this…”life under discussion”

We all have time on our hands. And yes, the time should be an opportunity for updating things like this website. Goodness knows, it needs it. Or does it? Is it really what is important at this very moment? We are all confronting life on different terms, and in ways we’ve not encountered before. Slowly, slowly, I was told by a mentor. We prioritise and move forward. Yet with care and discernment. When we come out the other side of this pandemic, we will certainly create our lives differently.

The state I am living in at the moment is brilliantly summed up by Ben Dawson (a lovely whack-a-doodle pianist) who posted this over on twitter. Self-employment in a nutshell.

Schrödinger’s Career – where the gigs you have in your diary beyond mid-May both are and are not happening.

So here’s what I want to share with you.
Wiltshire (that’s the county I live in) had some glorious weeks before Easter, so Mr G (that’s my husband Christopher Gillett for the newbies reading here) and I went out and foraged bundles of wild garlic to made salads and pesto, and every permutation you can think of. Then we made litres of homemade chicken stock, so that meant clearing out the freezer! This presented interesting choices. Chop therapy kicked in and I grabbed a few frozen items and made Elderflower and Gooseberry Jam (it deserves the capital letters, believe me). Goosers had been picked at The Red House last June and vacuum packed, along with the blossoms. Such a perfect combination.

 

Being in lockdown and being a natural Do-er isn’t always comfortable. But there are plenty of “old wrinklies” to check in on in our town, and plenty in the music world, too who love to have a natter on the phone, so WhatsApp and Google Hangouts have been busy. (other apps are available…) AND this gave me plenty of opportunity to put care packages together *cue ribbons, pretty paper, and coloured pencils. There were Easter biscuits to send off to our kids along with spring time candles, linen scent bags, and family hand-me-downs found while achieving My One Drawer A Day cleaning regime. They’re only in London, but oh they feel so much farther away. Other biscuits and jam went to friends all over the country. The simple act of putting on the kettle, making tea, and sitting down to share a chocolate cookie and life’s woes would be very welcome just about now. Along with a big hug. Gosh, we miss you.

Mr G joined the online video frenzy and did a series of How to Make Your Own Sourdough Bread – he put it up on IGTV and had a load of fun sharing his knowledge and how to autolyse. The bread geekery is never ending! This year he made his first batch of hot crossed buns, too and I must admit, they were pretty darn delicious.

Chop therapy continued along with the freezer maintenance. I made some very tasty rosemary-infused quince jam tarts with crumbled marzipan. Then, it suddenly hit me that the leftover pastry needed to be filled with some chocolate custard, so whoosh – pie time! A vintage curved-edge Pyrex dish was just the ticket. Flavours and visions of my childhood feel rather comforting at the moment. Ironing is a chore I don’t mind, in fact I rather like it – weird, right? So I requisitioned the guest bedroom and turned it into my refuge, my ironing/sewing/mending room. The Cinderella top of the house view over town is expansive. I listen to the radio non-stop, from podcasts to The Archers (don’t judge), and the news. I’m a radio junkie, if truth be told. I guess it’s growing up listening to Armed Forces Radio every night to fall asleep.

Last week I think I really nailed making seedy crisp breads – I used a recipe from a super initiative spearheaded by Jennifer Johnston called Notes from Musicians’ Kitchens which is raising money for Help Musicians UK, so get in there and donate while receiving yummy recipes. Feed your soul, and others’ too. It helps. It really does.

So, while the chopping, cooking, and cleaning continues, I wait to see if my summer and autumn jobs will happen. The good people of Des Moines Metro Opera have already said that if they cannot hold the festival, they will compensate the artists. True class acts, so thank you, Michael Egel and Team. Well, if my first Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd cannot happen this summer, we will have some pennies in the bank, along with the hope of making more hot pies in the future.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay sane.  #lockdownlove 💙