Yesterday was “Blue Monday”. It’s supposedly the most depressing day of the year. However, it’s something developed by a travel company in 2005. Wikipedia calls it pseudoscience, and nonsense. That is charitable. Like so many things that have a presence on the web, it is plausible and has taken on a life of its own.
I can’t help thinking that if the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year you are not leaving yourself much to look forwards to in the remaining 347 days of the year. If you read the Wiki entry it is clear that the whole thing is nonsense.
I can believe that the middle of January isn’t the most cheery time of the year, It’s dark, cold and wet. You spent too much money at Christmas, put weight on and have just about broken all your New Year Resolutions. It’s not going to be a cheerful time of the year, unless you live south of the Equator, where it is midsummer, and a very different January to mine.
I had a more depressing time last week – four days off the road, large bill for car repairs and sprinkle of disappointment from work being refused by editors. That was depressing. Blue Monday was merely a dreary day.
It seems that April and May are the peak time for suicide, which tends to suggest that the most depressing day of the year might actually be there. It also seems that lockdown is affecting mood, with a quarter of people reporting at least one mental health problem during the first lockdown and one in ten having suicidal thoughts.
I had a great time in the first one – it was basically a paid holiday with Julia, in summer. We had no work to go to, no worries and, more importantly, plenty of space and no home schooling because the kids are out of the way. I actually feel guilty about this, because it must have been horrific for some people.
Lockdown 2 was a bit depressing, but number 3 is going OK. Not as good as Number 1 but I decided to approach it in a positive manner and so far it’s working. It hasn’t been as successful or productive as I wanted it to be, but it’s still been quite good.
If today was as bad as it gets, I’ll be happy. Somehow I think there is a lot of potential for things to get worse.
I thought I’d add a picture of a shopping list. Now that I shop online I don’t use shopping lists anymore. Who would have thought that shopping lists would be a victim of Covid?
Julia is on the phone to one of her needier clients. Again, I cannot describe the conversation due to issues of confidentiality, but it is circular. And long. And, as it is on something modern like an app or a zoom, it is loud and intrusive too. She might be working from home but technically this is a day off for me, even if I am treating it as a work day. Obviously in this context “work” is an expression of hope rather than fact.
I have researched a number of magazines as recipients for the articles I wish to write. I have read several of the magazines more deeply than necessary and I have made a list of possible articles. My plan is at the stage known as “getting there”. In other words it is a rag-bag of elements which don’t amount to much.
It is more of an intention or an outline. Time for some more work, but this time I will do it in front of the TV whilst watching Pointless. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Ironically that’s a very dull saying. Equally ironically, I haven’t done much work.
Having watched Pointless and failed in a few rounds – notably the modern music and the football questions – I meant to get back to work. Instead, I watched Eggheads. It is one of the dullest quizzes around, but we had tea and biscuits and I can never resist temptation to sit and drink tea, with or without biscuits. As a late lunch we had corn on the cob (Julia went out for a walk and, as usual, nipped into a shop to buy something. She can’t break the habit. Today she bought corn on the cob.)
I am quite hungry now and have just put the vegetables into the oven to roast. Carrots, parsnips, leeks and potatoes. I will put sprouts in when I put the pasties in. It’s a meal we have nearly every week but I never get fed up of it. Apart from being year round comfort food, it’s healthy and easy to make.
It’s been eleven hours since I started “work” and I have not managed to complete anything yet, apart from some TV viewing and three blog posts.
As I started this one I noticed my total was 2,000 which means I missed the chance to write a post about reaching my 2,000th post. I may have to plough on to 2,020 before marking the occasion.
I’m now going to put the pasties in and about 25 minutes after that will make the gravy. It’s only made with gravy granules, so is nothing exciting. Then I had better get the shopping ordered. I only have until midnight and it can be a slow process. I also get distracted easily.
I have already done the shopping list relating to the spice kits – we will be having linguine with prawns and rocket. I’m not sure why, because we make that anyway.
We are also having Iranian Vegetable Stew, which apparently takes its inspiration from Persia and North Africa. This tends to suggest it isn’t really Iranian or a proper recipe, just some vegetables to soak up some spices they wanted to get rid of. Pardon my cynicism. I keep meaning to give ras-el-hanout a try, so this is my chance.
Finally we will be having nasi goreng. I’ve wanted to try it since I read about it as a teenager reading my dad’s Somerset Maugham books. It’s typical that I’ve always steered clear of cooking it in case it didn’t live up to my expectations. Next week will be an interesting time.
I will try to take photographs before I eat everything.
I used to read a blog about found shopping lists. It was surprisingly fascinating. I have tried to find it to post a link but can’t find it.
I decided to uise mine as an example for this post.
I used to use a list to remind me t5o buy things, then I started using it as a way of keeping spending down. Now, poor and lacking brain power. I use it for both, but have had to start using extra means to keep me on the straight and narrow. Read on and you will see what I mean.
Top left is “Pills” with an asterisk. That’s to remind me to take in my Warfarin prescription. I’m not overly worried about the health aspects of missing the pills, but I am concerned that I have a blood test in a month and if I want to keep up the relaxed regime of testing every three months I have to make sure I take the pills and get the right results.
Next down, in the blue ink that marks the later additions, are two appalling sets of hieroglyphics that indicate I need chickpeas and chopped tomatoes. Chickpeas because I used them in last week’s veggie burgers and tomatoes because I need them for ratatouille. I’m likely to need a second can for the chickpea curry that is on my mental list to cook in the next couple of weeks.
Cobs – two lots. One lot for tomorrows lunch, one lot for Tuesday’s lunch. We don’t make sandwiches on Wednesdays because it is our day off. It would probably be cheaper and healthier to use sliced bread, but I like cobs. New readers who want to know what I’m talking about can press here.
Butter was a duplication for “Marge” lower down the lst. We use the terms interchangeably at times. Cheese – ready sliced Red Leicester for making cobs. The time saved and the cost saved by portion control make it worth paying the extra for the slicing.
Pies became pasties as I found Ginsters Cornish pasties were on special. I just bought two, because the list and the menu now prevent over-buying.
Now is the time to confess about the menu. It’s the bit in the top right. I have to use it to stop me buying random eye-catching stuff we struggle to use.
Y Pudd Roast
(Rat) x 2
Simple, eh? It stops a lot of bad buys, because I would often buy enough ingredients to make five meals in four days and some would end up wasted by the end of the week.
For those of you who don’t speak Quercus it means Yorkshire puddings and roast veg, haggis, veggie burgers, indicates that we will be having ratatouille with the burgers and reminds me to make a double helping, which we will have with baked potatoes. It’s already slightly wrong because I’d forgotten Julia was out on Tuesday night and forgotten that we are cutting down on sausages, so a pack now makes two meals. It used to be one meal for four of us and seemed to remain as one meal as we dropped to three and then two.
Thursday is a mystery as I’ve run out of inspiration. Julia is probably doing a Green Thai Curry.
Root veg means I am free to throw a selection of root veg in, onions means get packets of ready cut onions as it saves time and I’m lazy. And my knife skills leave something to be desired. I have far fewer cut fingers now I don’t chop onions and it’s easier on my back if I do less bending. I bought Brussels as well because we need greens.
Marge (see above), milk, cream cheese (for fish pate). I did select herbs and chillies but put them back later as there was a change in the fish purchase and because I have chillies in a jar.
Smoked Salmon is crossed out because there were no packets of scraps, just expensive slices. I like Julia but I don’t like her enough to make her expensive smoked salmon pate.
Eggs – easy. I buy eggs from caged birds as, whatever you may think Free Range is mainly a marketing gimmick and the birds aren’t really better off. Now that we have new welfare cage legislation caged birds are more comfortable than they used to be.
Seasoning was a lazy way of indicating I needed more garlic in a jar and some chilli powder. I forgot the pickled onions, marked them to remind myself and forgot them again.
Med Veg is Mediterranean vegetables – courgettes, peppers and aubergine. Or zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant for my American readers. Not Medium Vegetables.
Yorkshire Pudding (bought in a packet because it’s easier), beans (tinned).
Card is a card by my Dad – he’s due to be 91 at the end of next week. Tesco have a dreadful selection so I may get another one. Yes, it’s in pen because I forgot about when I made the original list. I’m a bad son.
Finally L & Lime indicates a lemon for the fish pate and a lime for Julia’s planned guacamole.
Spr Onion in the middle means I realised we needed some spring onions (or scallions) for the fish pate. I realy should grow some at home, and some chives, which do much the same thing.
One thing missed and one extra – bacon – sneaked in.
One day I will write about a more organised list. This one was written in a hurry – when I have more time I actually write them in order.
Breakfast was a touch bleak at 5.30 this morning – we burnt the toast and lost the marmalade. The first was due to the unwritten natural law that the chance of burning your toast rises in inverse proportion to the amount of bread available.
Thus, when you only have four slices of bread left you are almost guaranteed to burn it.
It’s the child effect – when they are both visiting, as they were this weekend, food simply seems to disappear. I’m sure we had half a loaf when I went to bed. I can’t even attempt to work out what they’ve done with the marmalade.
After that it was time to do laundry (and start a new book), go shopping, walk round the duck pond, answer blog comments, and cook for the evening (a highly untechnical dish of vegetables (mainly courgette) to be eaten with wholemeal pasta. Some times I’m so healthy I frighten myself.
It’s the first time I’ve been able to walk round the pond without my stick since April, so I’m happy with that, even if it is only 500 yards.
The ducks, I’m sad to say, were not very interesting.
The wooden sculptures are looking good.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It looks like things are getting back to normal, which is clearly a mixed blessing. I now have more domestic chores to do, but it’s nice being able to walk without the stick. Next week I will have to walk round twice.
The final picture is my shopping list, as people seem to like shopping lists.
You may notice that it’s not like other shopping lists that people show after finding lists that have been lost. There’s not much chance of me losing this list, and if I do, let’s face it, I will have more to worry about than lack of a list.
It’s not a proper list, just the things I’d forgotten from yesterday.
It’s one of those Saturdays where I had nothing in particular to do.
Leisurely breakfast, drop Julia off at work and take a walk round the park in the sunshine.
It’s not a bad life. I didn’t go shopping because there was a queue for the car park (which would have dispersed my feeling of well-being) and I couldn’t go on anywhere to take more photographs because I really needed to get to grips with something that looks like work.
Life can’t be all ducks and sunshine.
Arnot Hill Park – ducks and sunshine
My sister reminded me last night that I have a cookery book I haven’t used yet. She didn’t actually say that, she told me it was currently on sale at half price and did I want her to get me a copy. At that point I guiltily recalled buying it just before Christmas, flicking through it and putting it to one side for later.
I have two sorts of cookery books – ones “for later” and ones with food stains. Really I should get rid of them because these days I mainly get my recipes from blogs I follow or from the internet. That means one pile is redundant and the other is a health hazard.
Time, I think, to open the book, work out a menu and write a shopping list. Julia has already started it with three items. For those of you who like shopping lists, it reads:
Black Sloe Potash
You may gather that I have trouble reading her writing. It’s not a one-sided problem, as everyone has problems with mine. I have, over the years, managed to use a squiggle to replace most letters of the alphabet and developed a style of handwriting which even I have difficulty reading. This probably disqualifies it from being called writing.
However, bad as mine is, I still have to buy three items based on the list.
I’m off for another go at shopping now, before picking Julia up. I’m going to buy Lemon Tea, Black Shoe Polish and Beans. If there’s a problem I’ll tell her TESCO doesn’t stock Black Sloe Potash. Or bears.