There was a time when not a day would go past without a visit from the postman, even though half of what came through the letterbox went straight into the recycling. Now the postman calls on perhaps three days a week. There was also a time when the telephone seemed never to stop ringing - but now we can often go days without receiving a call. Then yesterday the phone rang no fewer then five times! Granted, two of those calls were expected as I had asked the callers to ring me. Two of the others were welcome but the fifth (and last chronologically) was some Italian lady trying to persuade me to order Italian food from her - in Italy, I gathered. She was very gracious when I explained that I am "quite happy with my present arrangements, thank you" and ended the call. Which is more than can be said for so many cold callers who try to keep talking over me as I tell them to **** off.
I may well have seemed a little abrupt when responding to three of the welcome calls, all of which came at slightly awkward times. First there was my son's ex-mother-in-law, offering to come and sit with the Old Bat for a while to give me a break. It was very kind and thoughtful of her but as I was trying to get the old duck to the table to eat her "lunch" at the time, it was not a good time to talk, especially as I had to explain that the Old Bat sleeps or dozes most of the time and needs (wants) nobody sitting with her. I called back later to explain.
Tony, a fellow Lion, called as I was trying to stop the sausages burning in the frying pan - more of which anon. He was calling me back to confirm his availability to do the driving for the stroke club people this morning. I had managed to get myself a little confused as at one time I had been down to do it this month andI wanted to make sure I wasn't still expected to do so.
I had removed the sausages from the pan (in accordance with the instructions in the recipe) and substituted the potato and onion (the recipe called for leeks but I had none so used onion instead) and they were sizzling away merrily when Julian rang. He had heard "from various sources" that the Old Bat is unwell and rang to check up. I was very touched that he had made the time to call as he is quite possibly the most overworked person I know. As well as running the farm single-handed and looking after the deer, cows and sheep, he also does the butchering of the meat which he sells from the farm shop. All this while caring for his wife, who is now completely immobile with MS. And he finds time to chair the parish council.
The other call was from a doctor. I had become so worried that I rang the surgery, hoping to speak to our regular doctor but it was his day off. One of the others rang back and expressed a little surprise that we had not yet heard from the hospital as our GP had asked for an urgent appointment. She promised a house call today, possibly from the regular GP.
And as for the sausages, well, I was trying out a different way of cooking them, a recipe from a one-pot cookery book. This involved frying the sausages in olive oil for about 10 minutes then removing them from the pan. Add more oil and fry thinly sliced potatoes and leeks for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the sausages diagonally and grate some mature Cheddar cheese. When the vegetables are done(ish), add the sausages and horseradish (I didn't use that) and mix well. Leave for two minutes, then remove from the heat, sprinkle the cheese over it, stir and serve. And very tasty it was.