Honoured by the Portsmouth News for the New Year.

Humbling to be named amongst others by local newspaper Portsmouth News (front and inner pages).

A wholly unexpected conclusion to a good year.   At last, after five long years, I’ve made physical and mental progress after the accident (thanks to Chas; www.cksportsinjury.co.uk) and got most of the legal stuff done and dusted.   On the Baking Blind side, the book is printed, website working, cooking demos and recipes flourishing and more speaking engagements on track.   Designing the new garden shed and secondary double glazing was super-rewarding: more space and comfort at home.

Our attempts to support some lady Ukrainian refugees with their gardening venture has made us much more aware of the disastrous situation they have fled and the inadequacy of our efforts to make things better.

Post-Covid, social life is still slowly emerging.   It is good to see friends and family again in actual home settings for the seasonal parties and a big family gathering.   Was it only 12 months ago that Christmas entertainment took place in the garden to avoid the bug?   Life is certainly better but busy, crowded public spaces still feel strange.   Now we have other challenges.   Multi-layered clothing, lower boiler temperatures, fewer lights and that double glazing are the order of the day.   I’m looking into solar panels as yet another way of cutting costs.   But whatever has happened to the NHS?   It seems incomprehensible that the Head of NHS Strategy has only just realised that more aging baby-boomers are going to have more health needs so that the right amount of funding, nurses and doctors, beds and more are needed.   How can anyone lead on strategy without having some understanding of demographics, census results, numbers, counting (even on fingers) and planning ahead?   Perhaps we could save money by replacing those who are supposed to be forecasting the future with tea leaves, fir cones, seaweed, crystal balls or whatever works better.

On a more positive note, The Christmas holiday has been time for those activities that get overtaken by life.   Wax gathered from the beehives over the year has been “rendered” (melted in an old pressure cooker pan with a little water so that debris floats to the top).   Once cooled, most of the muck (dead bees, the odd leg and wing, pupa cases and more) are scraped off the resolidified wax disc.   Another melting and filtering later, the wax was poured into the silicone candle mould and night light containers, already primed with their pickled (pre-dipped) wicks.   Word to the wise: make sure that the elastic bands holding the mould together aren’t perished.   Surprising how much wax flows on to every surface in those few seconds of panic.   Thank goodness we’d covered everything with sheets of that newspaper.

One good result: tomato soup as requested by the Farnborough College students.   We needed the tin for the secondary melting vessel and how else could I use the contents?   A delicious, warming supper after far too much gluttony and self-indulgence.   The next free cooking demo is at 1030 on Monday 9 January and features a different sweet crumble for fruit and a savoury version for vegetables or leftovers.   Keep both in the freezer for quick and easy meals.   Register for free by clicking here. 

Finally, the sous chef is doing the “plank challenge” to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s charity.   His first effort is on You Tube and you too can make a donation by clicking here. 

Happy New Year to you.

© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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