Barbie time

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It’s typical that just as we host our first barbie in years, the weather forecast is terrible.

I have been taken up with things domestic lately. 

When I decided to turn my sewing room (aka junk dump) into our new winter bedroom, I don’t think I’d have started if I’d known what I was letting myself in for. Weeks later, here I still am, busily transferring summer things into the summer bedroom and winter things into the winter bedroom like some superannuated worker ant and still waiting for a mattress for our weirdly proportioned new bed (who knew 140 x 200 would be a problem?).

The plans we had for built-in wardrobes had to be shelved due to lack of cash, but we are still having the top floor closed off with a glass wall and door and the plan is that we won’t heat the top floor at all this winter and will go up there as seldom as possible. It’s between a third and a quarter of our floor space, so it should hopefully make SOME difference. 

Add to that the visitor influx that usually comes in summer, and my routine is totally out of whack. Not that they were staying in the house. We kind of gave up on that long ago, once our friends started having children, as it’s not really do-able with one bathroom, and if we have another one put in, our taxes will go up. Some friends just dropped in on their way to Brittany, while others who came last week and are coming again on Sunday are staying at a nearby gite, where the kids can play with animals and run around as much as they like. 

It made me realise afresh how dangerous this house is, too, with its two ponds, long drops onto concrete from high windows and open-plan layout making it impossible to shut anything off. Instead you have to watch young’uns like a hawk and hope they don’t blind, burn or gas themselves.

In honour of our visitors, we are having a barbie on Sunday, which has raised a few issues. The DH, under strict orders recently to get his cholesterol down, has lost a whopping 9 kilos in as many weeks and, having gone down four notches on his belt, is nearly the same waist size as when we got married (which puts me to shame somewhat, as I’m currently about a stone more). Consequently, he is pretty keen to avoid chowing down on anything too unhealthy (he is on a low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, caffeine-free diet). No sausages for him. 

One of our guests is allergic to alcohol, another is allergic to cheese and garlic; one is a veggie who eats fish, and one avoids red meat, nicotinoid vegetables and anything acidic. Four are properly vegetarian and the rest of us are omnivores, except I don’t eat wheat or grains. Which all entails some thought when it comes to a menu. I’ve loaded up on sausages, merguez, burgers, chicken fillets and will make a ton of brochettes from haloumi cheese that our veggie mates kindly brought from the UK (along with the essential supplies of kalonji, Dettol and crystallised ginger). And this morning, I will try my hand at veggie burgers for the first time in about 20 years. Wish me luck. 

Also wish us luck for the weather. After five or six weeks of almost unbroken sunshine, during most of which time we’ve chilled out under the new pergola, we are now due to get rain, which would be a bit of a bugger in the midst of a heatwave, would it not? 


In the end the weather was just fine…. 




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