Sunday roast 

Yesterday had been a distraction. I had been tired and also supplied unexpectedly with a number of movies I wanted to watch. These were movies that are not strictly available yet, but ones that I will end up buying anyway so I felt bad, but not bad enough to say no.

I went to bed late with the course reading I need to get done but who was I kidding? Before I had even turned the page, I had turned off the light and was on my way to the first good night’s sleep in a fortnight. Perhaps that was why I awoke with such an enthusiasm to tackle a number of items on my to-do list.

The first thing was to read a module of course work. This typically includes links to essential reading and activities, but I found if I ignored all those, I was able to power through (Top Tip, students!). After I walked the dogs, I wanted to sort out some food. Now that I am back at work with no extended holidays in sight until September, I want to get back into the swing of the food regime that helped me shed a good few kilos last year, and this means I needed to be organised.

A quick audit of the fridge revealed a yellow and a red pepper that were in need of cooking, and some baby corn. I also had a big bag of baby aubergines that I had bought last week with the intention on making a veggie moussaka.

I started cooking, batch frying onions and peppers and corn while the aubergines sat in a colander being salted. I also cooked off the dogs’ chicken and made myself an omelette while I was at it.

My husband appeared. He is rake-thin and normally needs to be force fed.

‘What are you cooking?’ he asked, ‘You are after half-driving me crazy for breakfast with all these smells.’

Did I mention he is Irish?

I cooked him an omelette with peppers, mushroom, tomato and cheese, and he sat outside with the undivided attention of the dogs, who are well aware of the limits of his appetite, but who optimistically refuse to believe that he will stick to his rule of never feeding them while he is eating.

The weather was hot, heading up through the thirties without a glance back. I ran out to the shops and bought a batch of fresh veggies and fruit so I could finish the dishes I was doing and have enough for next week. By the time my husband was ready to leave for work I had a stir fry dish done and the component parts of a massive veggie moussaka done – well the bottom half.

I put all the electronics into ziplock bags, grabbed Lucy’s water Kong and Archie’s life jacket, dropped hubbo off and headed to the river. By now the temperature was nudging 40 and I was looking forwarded to a cooler climate.

The river, though was mobbed – yacht clubs and yacht lessons in full swing as we arrived – and families barbecuing to escape heating their own kitchens. It was cooler down there, but not by much.

The river itself was the colour of rust – a result of the recent heavy rains that pushed water through along in some cases with bits of road it tore up as it flowed through. My dad had jaundice many years ago. I remember him being confined to bed, his skin yellow and the white of his eyes yellow too. Whenever he talks about it, though it was his pee that he remembered – the colour of iron filings.

That was what the river reminded me off today – a dark blue on the distant surface but a rust colour at the edge, and the sand gritty with the rough dust of thousands of fragile shells crushed in the flow.

We walked the couples of kilometres to the little beach and Lucy swam and swam, retrieving her kong, while Archie rolled about in the sand next to a dead fish to try and camouflage himself – as what I am not sure, but he seems convinced of its power. I was hot but didn’t get in – the water was so different to the clear waters I had been swimming in a week ago and was also really warm so did not promise relief from the heat. That came a couple of hours later when I got back home and finally got into the shower after bathing the dogs and rinsing their leads and collars of sand and river water.

The dogs are now lying, tuckered out on the couch and full of chicken as I sit in the air con waiting for my second shower of the day. The last thing on my list tonight, after finishing off the moussaka was some aggressive tree lopping. It was that or vacuuming and I hate vacuuming so that can wait until tomorrow, along with the ricotta topping for the moussaka base which I had for dinner tonight and which, even if I say so myself, is a bit of a triumph.

Busy week ahead; today has set the pace, bring it on.

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