, , , , , ,

Pancake day came about by needing to use up perishable foods before Lent. Eggs, butter and even to some extent, flour, would not survive the 6 weeks of Christian fasting and were used up in a feast before the famine.

Our feast had lasted two weeks. The Epicurean indulgence lasted four days but good meals still featured every day until David went back home to Exeter. We sent him on his way with some pancakes made with the last of the Yorkshire pudding batter.



He looks a lot more awake than I do on these pictures. Or is it just that he isn’t carrying quite as many years on his shoulders?




The photographs also reveal that good intentions are being put into effect. The cereal boxes are out again. The frying pan is back in the cupboard. The egg rack is empty. My body is craving less and a greater percentage of this lesser amount to be fruit and cereal.




There is no new year resolutions about this. No new regime that will fail at the first hint of temptation.This is simply listening to the body and giving it what it wants. There is no discipline. If I pass a packet of Christmas biscuits, I open them and steal two or three. I want to shed a stone but I’m not over bothered if it goes in a week, a month or a quarter.



David enjoys eating the pancakes. I enjoy making the pancakes.

Being once more a two coincides with us both being working people. Every breakfast is shared after the early morning dog walk. We have a mug of tea at 5, walk Jolly at 5.25 and enjoy a little breakfast together at 6.30. Every day this week we have toast and marmalade. I rate it very highly as a breakfast. It is a nice mixture of fruit and fibre. Almost certainly higher in sugar than is perfect for all the year round, but it keeps you going til mid morning and the taste factor is very high indeed.



The last of the beef provides David with good sandwiches for the train journey and an excellent Sunday supper with the sharpest, crunchiest pickled onions I have ever made.




Pork makes sandwiches for the return to school and a simply made Tuesday roast tea.



I simply boil some new potatoes and peas and serve slices with the rest of the gravy from Saturday.



We have a few crackers and some cheese for Monday tea. Lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are packet soups in a mug. These are supposedly superior, being branded by top TV chef Ainsley Harriot. They serve as a light snack but they are not particularly nice. The quality is summed up by students arriving for Friday afternoon’s lesson asking if I’ve had a pot noodle for my dinner.



On Thursday I’m home a little earlier than T and cook the last of the Aldi Christmas treats. And these really are something of a treat. The four whole quail advertised on the box are exactly what are in the box. They cook up beautifully in 40 minutes (it says 25-30 minutes on the box, but this wasn’t enough in my oven). Once again I keep it simple with new potatoes and peas left over from Tuesday and a few rashers of bacon in case the quail proved disappointing. They did not. We had cats doing abseiling exercises and a dog performing tricks to get a share of the simple feast.


I feel a little guilty as Frances and Steven keep quail in their garden. The Aldi ones are raised specially in Spain. They are a real treat and are highly recommended. Last time I looked they were being sold at £2.99 a box.



On Friday we do without tea but treat ourselves to a few chocolates. We have a challenge between the fanciest Aldi sold on the right and Prestat chocolates bought in the sale at John Lewis or Waitrose (same thing).


Both are nice but the Prestat are an exceptional brand. They are a good deal nicer than most chocolates and there is no shame in Aldi coming second to them.



A still life of my Friday morning. Dog walk, diary, mug of tea and a half grapefruit which was simply the most enjoyable thing I have eaten all week. I had a particularly nice day on Friday. I’m sure the grapefruit played its part.



On Saturday we spend a good part of the day at the cinema. Marks and Spencer provided us with a little picnic to eat between films and a light snack on returning home. After watching 100 films last year, it is nice to be back to watching without keeping count. Having said that, we watch two films and get the balance about right.

First we see Robert de Niro, Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman and Michael Douglas add some good performances to what could otherwise have been a lightweight film about old people raging against the dying of the light. In the event, it proved thoroughly enjoyable 90 minutes with at least ten laugh aloud moments, which is pretty good value for money.


The second (and it was well to see them in this order) was The Railway Man. It tells the story of survivors of the Burma Railway and the terrible legacy it had on their lives and how one found redemption through love. There are really good performances from Colin Firth (we have come to expect nothing less) Jeremy Irvine (we didn’t think he had it in him after woeful performances in Great Expectations and War Horse) and Stellan Skarsgard. Nicole Kidman was miscast and, though very lovely, put in her “Others” performance of lots of telling silences as she tried to work out the eternal mystery. It is an amazing story and this story comes across strongly. Therefore, it is a very good film. The audience left in silence.


I’ve eaten much less than normal this week. I’ve missed out quite a few meals altogether and I feel a lot better for it. Half the stone has gone. The other half can hang around until the days get warmer and I come fully out of my winter regime.