Went out in rainy autumn weather and tried out local goats cheeses wrapped in vine leaves or ripened in ashes, creamy, complex cheeses good with salty crackers or salads of rocket and fennel. Most enjoyable. The valleys are rainy and green at this time of year (we are a winter rainfall region), vineyards sere yellow, oaks now turning from red to beaten copper.
My neighbour whom I shall call Joubertina because that is not her name, a farmer’s wife in her late 60s, is going back to hospital to have a knee replacement redone. Worrying because the doctors don’t know what is wrong. She asked me if I can make a big dish of lasagna for her when she comes home, so she can feed herself and all her visitors. My version of bechamel involves simmering the milk with sliced onion, cloves and a bay leaf, which oddly makes the dish lighter and more fragrant. Often I use lamb mince rather than beef because our lamb or mutton out here is very good. But at the end of the day a big dish of layered pasta, meat sauce and a cheesy bechamel topping is always welcome and no need to fine tune or fuss much with the basics.
Blogging interrupted by stiff upper-lipped Dutch Reformed minister arriving to ask for pastoral contributions from non-parishioners and to say that the oversized dog should stay outside in a kennel so as to learn his place in the order of created beings. Dog enamoured with this show of churchly authority, myself less so.
The somewhat deaf neighbour in the house down the road playing the hymn ‘O Love That will Not Let Me Go‘ at a penetrating volume and I listen while outside tending to my herbs and watching dogs play on the grass. Here I stand in the garden, unbelieving, doubting, credulous, filled with tender nostalgia and hopefulness.
Gratitude. It surprises me at least once a day.