So what have I been doing during this long sojourn, an angry reader asks, implying that my absence from my blog is some kind of insult to my readers. It isn't of course. I appreciate my readers, because when you are a struggling writer it is very difficult to get anyone to read your work, let alone provide feedback! That people return again and again is a wonderful compliment. As long is someone is reading me, I will carry on writing.
Most of my time and attention has been focussed on the craziness of Donald Trump. I listen to and watch news all my waking hours, even when exercising and making jam, which I have now taken up - I only make small amounts as I need it, sooo much nicer than preserves. But tis true I should be focussed on the craziness of Boris Johnson, and in the past I would have been, but Trump has taken lunacy to a whole new level. I have been watching his nightly press conferences in fascination, actually in shock and awe. I despise him, but I can't look away. There is nothing he will not do to grab attention and headlines, he is, in his head, smashing his oppoponents for the entertainment of his base. Like Jerry Springer, he is just 2 seasons away from removing the chairs so they will have more room to fight. He is empowered because he has got away with not revealing his tax returns, Russian interference in the 2016 election and impeachment. He feels free to do whatever he wants.
Right now the USA is in the midst of the pandemic and all the science shows it is not going away. The infection rate is slowly going down as a result of the shut down. Re-opening would start it up again. The same thing happened during the 1918 Spanish flu - when people started to go out again there was another wave, much bigger and far more deadly, and it wasn't the last. The scientists, those not watched over by Trump, are very clear, the pandemic is far from over.
Trump has said that other people, not himself, would advise 'get back up on the horse', 'take it on the chin', 'let the virus do it's worst', after all most people get over it. It is obvious those 'other people' are indeed himself, and he is just using it as a ruse to get those ideas out there. And it's working, some of his supporters protesting the shut down carried banners that said 'Sacrifice the week' (sic). The weak are a sacrifice Trump is willing to make in order to re-open his hotels. Unfortunately he was told that 2 million lives lost was a worse case scenario, ergo, anything below that he will consider a success.
I am hoping that before Trump fully launches his genocide, that the doctors, generals, scientists et al, who waste 2+ hours each day standing behind him, or sitting on the sidelines during these critical times, will face the fact that the President is stark raving mad. That his promotion of untested drugs is wrong (and dangerous), that encouraging civil unrest is wrong, that claiming the coronavirus is going away is wrong. I always wonder what Trump has that demands such grovelling and subservience from his underlings. All I can think of is, he's got something on them. That's a tough one with Dr. Birx, but he may be holding her family hostage.
Boris Johnson is convalescing in Checkers, a stately home for the relaxation and enjoyment of Prime Ministers, a place where they can take a break from public and media scrutiny. Lucky him, I am sure our reporters have quite a few probing questions, my first would be 'so how do you feel about taking it on the chin now?'.
My kindest wishes to all who still look in, and I hope that you are keeping healthy, mentally and physically. I am trying to stick to healthy foods, 7 fruit and veg a day! Not easy given the bare shelves and all, but achievable if you put your mind to it and like lentils! And yes, I am counting my homemade jam as one of my 7 a day! So too the piece of dried up old lemon I added to my G&T. Where previously I would have turned up my hooter, I am eating bread hovering on the eat by date and a weird variety of soups/stews, chillies and curries, all a mystery until I defrost them because I didn't bother to fill in the convenient labels when I froze them. I really want to throw them out but my conscience nags me, they were in fact put in the freezer 'in case of an apocalypse', and deh, here we are.
The shortages are actually making me creative on the cooking front. I can get potatoes, I can get cooking oil, I have a heavy bottomed saucepan - I can make homemade chips! Egg and chips has always been in my top ten of meals to have should I find myself on death row with multiple menus. And we kids of the 60s know that homemade chips can turn anything into a scrumptious meal. My dear old dad mastered the art, and declared that forever more, chips should be cooked 'his way'. That is, they should be cut into chip shapes, raw, dried off a bit with kitchen roll, then plunged into oil so hot that it bubbles when the chips are added. They should be fried for approx. 5 minutes, until just before they begin to turn brown, then removed from the oil from a couple of moments. allowing the oil to get back to maximum heat, then the chips should be plunged back in, for approx. 2/3 minutes. They will brown immediately at this point. Take out, drain on kitchen paper, then keep warm in oven while you cook the next batch!
I had hoped to end this blog with something poignant and meaningful, instead I give a recipe for chips! Should you attempt them, that is making chips without a bespoke chip fryer, as we did in the old days, ha ha, make safety your top priority. That is put the pan with oil on a back burner and never leave it alone untended, even for one moment. Dry the chips off with kitchen towel before lowering them into the oil, water makes hot oil splash. And make sure you turn the gas off when done. Making chips takes 15/20 minutes, give it your full attention and the result will be delicious.
If you are looking in Bjorn, I was heartened to see Princess Sofia volunteering to help health professionals in a local hospital with coronavirus patients. Not the glamorous stuff, but the cleaning, cooking and care, what a wonderful example she is!