Every year we plant lots and lots of mixed varieties of lettuce, as a “cut-and-come-again” crop. Sown and then planted out at three-week intervals, they pretty much guarantee us – Biblical-style plagues and pestilences aside – a crop of salad leaves all summer long.
The beds are full of delicious red and green leaves with various textures and of various shapes. We also plant some spinach to use in the same way, but we never get a full season out of it as it always bolts after a few weeks.
This year, more than any other, I have been glad that we filled three-quarters of a bed with lettuce. We’re gonna need it.
Last week, our oven packed up. Or should I say, our other oven packed up. The top oven has been touch and go for a while, and now the big bottom oven has joined it in some kind of protest at being over-worked.
To call these ovens “classics”, or “vintage”, would be kind. “Clapped out” would be a more accurate description. Cue a Monty Python “Dead Parrot” kind of sketch.
It is probably a little older than the pyramids, but not quite mid-18th century. Seriously, I think it’s circa 1980, so it owes us nothing. But it does mean that getting lunches and dinners ready for five people has suddenly become more interesting.
“How will we cope?” says Mr E.
Interesting use of the word “we”. I used to hate it at high school when teachers would catch you out about something and say: “Hmmmmmm, now what are we going to do about this?” Of course, it actually means: “What are YOU going to do about this, because I’ve already decided what I’m going to do – give you detention”.
Anyhoo, I have taken this epic oven fail as a sign from the electrical appliance superbeing that it’s time for a change.
And not just a change of oven. I am taking this as a sign that I should push for a whole, brand-new kitchen.
The kitchen at Shoogly Towers is of the same vintage as the oven, and is not wearing well. Although, as the oven has now ceased to function altogether, the kitchen is looking quite sprightly in comparison just now.
Oh, a new kitchen. I imagined running my hand over the butcher’s block work surface, the gentle whoosh of the soft-close drawers, momentarily forgetting which door the built-in larder is behind. Bliss.
And 3, 2, 1 ... I’m back in the room. The same room as before, the one with the ancient Egyptian units and the pre-historic, positively Stone Age, stone cold oven. Sigh.
So it’s a trip to B&Q and a consultation with the lovely and very knowledgeable Rachel, the kitchen designer. Now to see how the sums, and the kitchen units, stack up.
In the meantime, the hob soldiers on, so pasta dishes and curries are still on the menu. But mostly, we are eating salad. Lots and lots and lots of salad.
And if it wasn’t for the never-ending (it seems) raised bed of green stuff, we would be spending precious pennies that could go on a new kitchen on fancy wee bags of expensive greenery.
Thanks, Mr Fothergill.