I feel pleasantly content this Bank Holiday Sunday evening. I have pottered around the house today, clearing up, reading the papers, I have washed all the dog beds and blankets, and prepared some of the food for tomorrow's lunch.
Whilst I was cooking, I found myself doing a Viennese Waltz around the kitchen, to Richard Strauss's Wine, Women and Song. I oould have done Strictly Come Dancing proud. Such little things make me realise I am on the road to recovery.
Two of my guests tomorrow are special friends. They have been so kind to me this past year, and two weeks ago, the day after my birthday, they took me to Glyndebourne to see Rusalka, and treated me to a delicious dinner there in the restaurant. I have always loved the music of this opera, but this was the first time I have seen it performed. It was magnificent, the scenery and staging of it quite wonderful. There was a feeling of infectious enthusiasm from the cast, and they had a long, standing ovation at the end. The audience went wild. Most opera stories are very slight, but the great scenery and atmosphere this time, made it seem more meaty. Quite fantastic.
The kitchen is warm and steamy - I have char-grilled a pile of red peppers to slice and drizzle with olive oil, and then criss-cross with big fat anchovy fillets, I have poached fragrant ripe greengages, pureed them and will layer then with greek yoghurt and then will crumble soft brown sugar over the top, several hours before we eat them, and it will melt into a puddle of brown gooey sauce. Tomorrow I will roast a huge hand of pork, rubbing olive oil and then coarse sea salt over the skin to make crisp crackling, a large dish of home-made apple sauce,a huge dish of caramelised and roasted sweet potatoes, red onions, carrots and butternut squash, and a large dish of palate cleansing watercress. little new potatoes and runner beans from a friend's garden. This will be followed by a cheeseboard, already set out so the cheese runs.
I have spent quite some time trying to hack open the wooden box containing the red wine, eventually successful, it is standing in the kitchen waiting for us for tomorrow. Chateau Rocher Bellevue Figeac St Emilion Grand Cru 2005. I love good wine - five years ago, I treated myself to a few cases out of a legacy I received. Each time I drink a bottle, I salute the kind person who made the purchase possible! The next best thing to buying it, is sharing it with good friends who really appreciate helping me to drink it. Unfortunately, there is very little left and there certainly will never be the funds to continue to buy such wine. Oh, but how I have appreciated and enjoyed the experience.
I feel exhausted - please God, do not let Billy wake me at 6.30am tomorrow morning.
4 hours ago