Hibernating

My daughter woke me up at 6.15am sounding much more excited than she usually does at that time of day to tell me we were snowed in. “There’s a load of snow out there, Mum, and it’s still snowing!” Was a snow day on the cards?

Several text messages and pinging on the station run WhatsApp group later, plus constant refreshing of the national rail website to check whether the trains were running, and my two conceded defeat. The trains were running, school was open, it was possible to get to the station in a 4×4 and our neighbour had room to take them in his. Off they trudged, up the path to the gate, rucksacks over their shoulders with a very hard-done-by air. I waved them off, poured myself a large mug of tea and felt relieved that I didn’t have to be anywhere other than here.

It is a pain having a broken wrist and there are things I can’t do but on the upside there are Things I Can’t Do. Like drive. And thorough housework. And anything that requires two steady hands. Luckily I didn’t have any work-work pre-booked in this month (which is good because it’d take me ages) so once the essential household chores are done, I have plenty of time to myself. I can read, watch films and chat to friends and I’ve been doing as much of all three as possible. In addition to the books pictured above, I’ve also read ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman and ‘A City of Bells’ by Elizabeth Goudge on my Kindle. I’ve been absorbed by them all but if I had to choose my top three, they’d be ‘Someone at a Distance’ (couldn’t put it down), ‘The Music Shop’ (lovely, lovely, lovely) and ‘A Man Called Ove’ (I absolutely loved Ove).

The two cookery books were Christmas gifts. ‘Black Sea’ is a fascinating food/travel book about the countries bordering the sea – Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia and Russia – and contains some delicious recipes like Raspberry Buttermilk Tart and Bedtime Pudding with Tahini Cream (there are plenty of savoury recipes too) and foods new to me, like börek (a Middle-Eastern pie) and bulz (a Romanian savoury doughnut). ‘The Art of the Larder’ has been on my wishlist for a while because I aspire to be someone who can rustle up a magnificent meal from packets, jars and tins when supplies are low. Also I want to save money on our food bills. When I’m back in full cooking action, I’ll definitely be making several of the recipes and I’ll report back. This not being able to cook (or, rather, not being able to cook independently) is probably the most frustrating aspect of being one-handed. I’ve a box of Seville oranges waiting to be made into marmalade and that definitely requires two hands! I don’t think I realised before how much a part of my life cooking has become and I miss it. It’s actually best if I stay out of the kitchen while it’s going on…

On to film recommendations, there are only a few because I’ve watched some seriously average films (on Netflix and Amazon Prime) to distract me from pain and to pass the time. Being irritated by a film can be as distracting as completely loving one, I’ve found! However, I really enjoyed watching ‘The Bookshop’ (starring Emily Mortimer and Bill Nighy), ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and ‘The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society’.

TV-wise, I’ve been glued to ‘Les Miserables’ on a Sunday evening (isn’t it fabulous and aren’t they all thunderingly miserable?!), am slightly annoyed by ‘Cold Feet’ on a Monday (I think this is probably a series too far), and have discovered Marie Kondo’s magic tidying series on Netflix. I’d like her to come and meet my house and my husband and children and work her magic here.

I am trying not to miss being able to get stuck in to the garden too much. Strolling around to check up on the snowdrop action and to spot where the bulbs are pushing through helps but there are roses and fruit trees to prune, a greenhouse to clear out, seeds to sow… These jobs will wait, though, and it hopefully won’t be long now before I can spend proper time out there. In 10 days it will be six weeks since the accident and I hope the plaster will be taken off. I’ve been doing my finger and arm exercises and eating bone-building food full of calcium, vitamin C and protein to speed things along. Fingers crossed (on my left hand!).

I hope January is going well where you are and that you’re having a good week. Bye for now.

 

 

 

37 thoughts on “Hibernating

  1. Yes! Someone at a Distance is one of my all time favourite books. (I admit I have not re-read it since my separation and I’ve noticed I’ve changed my mind about a lot of things since then, especially marriage!)

    Plus, it’s a Persephone book, and amongst the dozens I’ve read I’ve not come across a duff one yet. Through them I discovered Dorothy Whipple, and also the adult fiction of Richmal Crompton. We were all massive fans of her Just William stories and would sit in a parked car to finish listening to Martin Jarvis reading them. But Family Roundabout was a revelation and since then I have enjoyed many more. If you like Dorothy Whipple I can recommend her, and also another favourite of mine: Elizabeth Taylor.

    My garden in outer London is also under snow, and looking quite pretty. But I’m at work all day, and I expect it will all be gone by the weekend. All the bulbs and shoots that had started to emerge will be pretty confused, I hope they survive.

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    1. I, too, have yet to read a Persephone title and not thoroughly enjoy it. Have you read the Miss Buncle books? They’re brilliant. Thanks for these recommendations.

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      1. No – thanks, I will look out for them. Persephone books are such a pleasure to hold and look at as well, aren’t they? They have a lovely shop in London where they also sell a small selection of other books, and when I was there last it included the one I had in my handbag – The Blush, an excellent collection of short stories by Elizabeth Taylor.

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    1. I loved the book too but read it long enough ago to not notice if the film ruined it or not! Agree about The Librarian – didn’t like they way it jolted along without proper flow. Could have done with editing 🙂 But I really enjoyed the story.

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  2. Have you seen The Kominski Method on Netflix? Fabulous short series with Michael Douglas as an aging acting coach and Alan Arkin as his agent. Funny as all get out and very touching too with beautiful acting.

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  3. I nearly bought ‘The Librarian’ when stuck at the airport on my way back to Germany earlier this month. Glad I didn’t now! I ended up getting ‘We are all completely beside ourselves’ which was a good read.
    I have been making the most of the freezing weather to get jobs indoors done, so can understand your frustration. Hope the plaster can come off soon Sam!

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  4. ‘The Librarian’ started off so well but was a bit disappointing by the halfway mark. Loved ‘Ove’ (I read that when I was immobilised after my knee op: must have an orthopaedic link about it!)
    Fingers firmly crossed for your fracture clinic appointment. In my opinion, fracture clinics are unbearable so I shall cross more fingers simply to hope that you survive the waiting room..! X

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    1. I’ve been moved from Ashford fracture clinic to the Canterbury one which is much more efficient, thank goodness. Great for people watching 😎 We should all be a bit more Ove, don’t you think?!

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  5. I feel rather miffed that we don’t have snow!
    It must be very frustrating being out of action – we don’t realise how much we do with both hands until we can’t! I’ve noted your book reviews on my phone so that I can search the shelves in the library (if I can resist the temptation to press the buy button, which is just far too easy).
    Hope you’re soon back in full working order. Anne x

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    1. Thank you, Anne. It could be enormously frustrating if I let it but I’m trying to enjoy it (in a weird way!). There’s plenty of winter left for you to get your snow…

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  6. Yes, fingers crossed you’ll be back in action very soon, it must be frustrating to have only one hand. I’m glad you’ve had a chance to take things a little easy though. I wonder if someone else could make the marmalade under your direction… Or is this madness? Look after yourself. CJ xx

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    1. Thanks, CJ. I love making marmalade so I’m guarding the oranges and hoping I’ll be able to get cracking soon. Similarly hoping no one will do the pruning in the garden before I can because I love doing it!

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  7. What a lovely post- and exchange of comments. I’m going to note all those recommendations.
    I too loved Ove and Potato Pie, both the book and the film. Coincidentally, the composer of the film’s score is a ‘mum’ friend, who took herself off to the British School for Film and Television in her 40s – an inspiration!
    Do hope you’re back two handed soon, in the meantime, enjoy the enforced ‘leisure’ (!)

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  8. I agree about cold feet and as for Les Mes, I want cheering up what with the time of year and everything else depressingly going on around the world. We went to the pictures to see the ‘Favourite’ I wouldn’t recommend it, over hyped.Bohemiun Rhapsody was brilliant.

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  9. We seem to be getting severe weather warnings on a regular basis but so far the worst it’s been is +3C! And no snow. Just the usual horrible rain.
    Enjoy the time you have to relax, before you know it you’ll be up and about again and rushing around like the proverbial fly. It’s my New Year’s resolution to build in more reading time. Surely something I will look forward to might stand the test of time?

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    1. I’m definitely trying to make the most of this ‘rest’. Hopefully you’ll manage more reading time in between gardening 🙂 Hope it’s not too awful being home after your amazing trip.

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  10. Glad you got some snow. It is magical if tiresome sometimes. I’m wondering about your snowed-in measurement and whether it’s different in the south of England to up here in the north of Scotland! I think I would count a foot of snow as being snowed in as far as our road and getting out easily by car is concerned. We’ve had snow for over a week now, and it’s pretty treacherous with ice under the new snow that falls from time to time. I imagine our local fracture clinic is busy. I love all Elizabeth Goudge but have very limited tolerance for films – I get annoyed by them very easily. Off to look up your börek – wonder if it’s like the flija pie I’ve eaten in Kosovo? Love the idea of raspberries and buttermilk tart. We have a glut of rasps every year so this sounds an ideal recipe.
    Try to enjoy the enforced rest – if there is a bright side it is probably the best time of the gardening year for it, and you’ll return with renewed appreciation when you get back to it.

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    1. Ha ha, yes Linda – my daughter’s definition of snowed-in is a light dusting. But our village can get cut off if there’s enough to drift in the hollows. It hasn’t happened for a few years, though. I read Elizabeth Goudge’s Damerosehay trilogy last year and loved it – such gentle comforting books and her human insight is wonderful.

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  11. It looks like you are making the best of a not so pleasant situation. I think reading and watching films should be compulsory for all in January. All the books you mention today are new to me, thanks for all the suggestions. I remember a wonderful borek that a neighbour made for us once in Turkey. We didn’t know the neighbours at all and I thought the hospitality and kindness was amazing. Good luck at the fracture clinic, I hope the cast is coming off very soon.

    Thanks for your email, I am sorry my blog won’t let you write comments. xx

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  12. Your predicament makes for interesting reading Sam, leaving us wondering how we would cope in similar circumstances. When do you expect things to be back to ‘normal’? I have discovered Dorothy Whipple too – well worth dipping into. I seem to have made more impulse purchases since using a Kindle app which is probably expanding my horizons!

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    1. I have a fracture clinic appointment tomorrow and I am holding out until then. If the cast doesn’t come off I will possibly cry! Buying books on the kindle still feels odd to me as I love to feel the books and turn pages but it’s been very useful for one-handed reading. But, yes, a little too easy to spend money!

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      1. I still like print books too, for the same reason as you – they are just more tactile – but am now happy to buy ebook versions of things I am probably only going to read once

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  13. Thank you for your book recommendations, I think all of them are new to me. I’ve been going through a John Le Carre phase with my audio books. Have you read “Educated”, by Tara Westover? As for Netflix, have you watched Kim’s Convenience or Grace and Frankie? Or The Good Place? Roma (which is actually about a family in Mexico)? I watch a lot of Netflix while riding my stationary bike. That’s my excuse, anyway. As for your kids, you can tell them that in Chicago the schools are almost NEVER closed due to snow – it takes a blizzard dropping feet and feet of the stuff for people to get a snow day.

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    1. I haven’t read or seen any of these so thanks for the recommendations. We are completely silly about snow here because it’s unusual. I hope you’re safe and warm in the deep chill you’re having in Chicago – it looks amazing on the tv but I’m sure the reality of it is tough.

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