Early last week Gillian H came over to watch me make bread. I thought most recipes for bread were fairly standard, but evidently the English ones differ in several respects. They (Caroline was with her, being out of school for mid-term) exclaimed over the greasing of the dough before the first rising. Maybe that’s why the loaves here are so crusty and dry!
In return, I asked her to teach me to make tea, and she said, “Why, that’s so simple!” Might be simple to her, but there is a ritual to it. She brought the water to a boil, poured a little in the pot to warm it, poured that out, measured about two teaspoons for two cups of tea, poured on water, stirred it, and let it steep two minutes. Then she poured milk in the cups! She claims it makes it taste different to put milk in and then pour the tea, but says her husband disagrees with her. I’ve tried it several times, but it doesn’t taste as good as when she made it, and it was done here with my own tea! They disdain tea bags. Tea is poured out leaves and all; you just don’t drain your cup. If you were having tea in the sitting room, you’d have a bowl handy for the “slops” she said, if you’re having a second cup right away.
We had our interview at Fair Dene school. While waiting on a stair landing for the head mistress, who should come up to speak to us but Mary L [from church]! She is the Latin teacher at that school! The head was young and very pleasant.
Two days we had snow flurries and woke up to white on the ground Friday. Everyone exclaimed over it; normally none sticks until after Christmas. I had never seen snow with fall colors still dressing trees nor snow on hydrangeas.
John had been after me to get the geraniums in the house, so I finally did it. It would have been comical to watch; there I was in the old horse-blanket poncho digging away while the wind blew the coat over my head. John $ was in tears as fancy company began arriving across the street for a school fete of some sort. The final indignity was blowing rain! I got half in the pots when a particularly stiff breeze came along and knocked them all over. Since I got them amassed on the desk in the guest room, I haven’t dared go near them. They say plants can feel when a threatening force comes near.
We went to Inger L’s for a proper English tea. Never mind that she is from Finland! We had toasted cheese sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, fancy biscuits (cookies), mincemeat tarts, and jellies (jello). She had put her old high chair out for $, though it looked finer than ours the day we bought it. Also had a plastic bib, cup and plate. He ate everything in sight!
The new Silverstone cookware got me in trouble. I was doing crepes one day when I noticed how slippery the pancakes were in that fine pan. I was tempted to try flipping them in the air. The first one flipped all the way over and landed in the pan, but on the side already cooked. The next one didn’t want to let go, and there I was gyrating with the pan while the crepe held on with 100 feet. The next to the last one did a beautiful flip, went right past the pan and landed in a heap on the floor. Tasted good, though, to the birds.
One’s burning ambition for an only son is not that he become a garbage collector. John $ has! At least it was clean garbage this week – he chewed on a discarded sliver of soap.