I'm a bit of an addict ...
I'm addicted to cookery shows - there, I've confessed ...
I made a deconstructed rhubarb crumble this morning. That is, I cooked the crumble mixture separately rather than on top of the crumble to stop it going soggy in the juices and then put it together. It's the very last of the rhubarb I'll be getting from Janet's garden because the house doesn't belong to her any more.
We have spent the last 5 days solid moving her worldly possessions around the corner to the house she will be staying until the work on her new house has been completed.
I am BROKEN ...
Five days of emptying cupboards, packing boxes, runs to the tip and charity shops, cleaning, running up and down her stairs, running up and down the stairs in the new house, carrying boxes, furniture, rubbish bags. Trundling a trolley from one house to the other with a handle far to short for me so my neck and my back are killing me and my calf muscles have completely seized up.
But - IT IS DONE!!!
I'm in pain and I'm sun burnt after yesterdays unexpectedly lovely weather. I'm sad that I will no longer be able to perch on the side of Janet's fish pond in the sunshine and admire her lovely garden. I'm sad that when they go away I'll no longer be able to pop over to feed her fat white cat Mouse or utilise her exceptionally long washing line to dry my sheets on. I'll miss the bounty of fruit and veg she shared with me and the endless supply of plants she grows in her garden.
I'll miss HER dammit!
We have been friends for so long - my eldest son is the same age as her youngest and they went to school together. Funnily enough, her youngest is now Miss Mac's boss at her Saturday job.
She's been such a good friend over the years and although we will still keep in touch, I will go and see her - well, it just won't be the same.
This week has been hard on all of us but there have been one or two bright spots. Finding the pocket watch that belonged to her late husband and that she thought had been lost - BIG bright spot!
On Wednesday morning I was on my way round bright and early when I saw Sue lurking in the front garden of our noble secretary. She was talking to our esteemed leader (the chair of the parks committee) in her very earnest way waving her fist at him.
Why she was lurking there I didn't know. Our noble secretary is on holiday for the next week so she appeared to have no reason for her lurking.
There was no avoiding them, I had been seen!
'We were discussing cracks' Sue proclaimed a I drew nearer. 'Cracks and damp patches' she gestured waving her arms about randomly. 'I haven't even begun to get on to my hot spots yet!'
Our esteemed leader looked thoroughly perplexed as people often do when talking to Sue.
It was clear that he was keen to escape but she was gripping his sleeve with her suprisingly strong hand.
'We are in a bit of a hurry' I told her - 'Lots to do over at Janets' and I tried to prise her hand from his arm.
'It won't do you know' she told me bringing her face rather closer to mine than I would have liked given her 40 a day habit. 'Our noble secretary isn't here you know and he's my whipping boy! When I've finished with him I pass him on to Mary and she carries on where I've left off - he's not here and it just WON'T DO!'
She loosened her grip and our esteemed leader made a hasty escape. As I made to follow him she called me back and, in a conspiratorial whisper she told me:
'I have hidden the hyacinth bulbs in the bird seed box' - she looked at me solemnly while I tried to work out if we were talking in code and I might do better to nip home and don a beige rain coat with a belt that I could do up at the back and pick up a cigar to chew the end of while I nodded knowingly.
'I'm wearing red pants' she called after our esteemed leader who hurried on head down pretending not to hear.
'I'm not showing them to you though' she bellowed down the street - 'You've already examined my cracks and damp spots - we will save the pants for another day!' (for those who think pants are trousers - well, no, not in England they aren't!).
'I've only seen 2 frogs' she whispered turning back to me - 'one had been run over - did you see the skeleton under the wheelie bin?'
I stared at her lost for words ...
'I think the other had been frozen - I haven't seen anymore - HAVE YOU????'
I admitted to not having seen any frogs at all, squashed, frozen or otherwise.
'Lets keep THAT news between ourselves' she nodded suggestively and winked at me.
I made to leave.
She picked up a spray bottle of weed killer and proceeded to give Mary's Jasmine (that she loving tends and which has been growing all over the front of her house for as many years as I can remember) a thorough dousing.
'I don't know where you live' she shouted after me 'and I don't WANT to'.
I silently echoed her sentiment.
So yes, in between the back breakingly hard work there HAVE been a few bright spots ...