It's been, so far, an excellent weekend for the most part. I had a somewhat stressful day on Thursday, worrying about the chat the office manager was aiming to have with my colleague and texted her to find out how things went. She came back to me later to say not to worry because it hadn't been a day especially conducive to chats. Phew! I imagine she'll try to have a chat tomorrow instead when there isn't anyone else in the office. Hopefully, all will go well.
The weather was glorious so I sat in the reserve reading for a couple of hours until my friend came to collect the lamb and a couple of other things necessary for yesterday's meal. He was on his way home from 10 days working in Essex and detoured here for an hour. It was good to catch up as I hadn't seen him since Christmas.
On Friday, my birthday, the weather again was beautiful and while I wanted to be outside, I didn't want to walk, so I took myself to the closest shop, bought a picnic of sorts, and headed back to the reserve where I spent most of the afternoon reading. I initially couldn't figure out why it was so busy (comparatively), then of course remembered that it was a holiday, the good weather driving folks outside now that restrictions have eased a little. I didn't have to go far to find a bench to sit on. There's one not far inside the reserve, a little way down the 'wrong way' path (the reserve is open and has set up a system of one way routes). I can set myself up and hardly see anyone. There were loads of birds around, too, so it was the perfect relaxing spot.
Saturday I met up with my cousin for a walk and a birthday lunch. We took her dog, Bonnie, off to the forest and spent over an hour getting caught up and getting in a decent walk at the same time. Cows and ponies aplenty, as well as others out getting some proper exercise. The weather was cooler than I had anticipated, so it was good to get back to her place although her boiler isn't working so it wasn't a whole lot warmer there either! Ha ha! She'd made a Moroccan Tagine which was delicious. I've never had one before, but it's super easy to make and is something I need to add to my recipe cache for cooler weather.
I finally posted a parcel to my sister too, that I've had hanging around for a few months (because I can't be bothered to go to the post office...). I posted it at the village post office near my cousin's house. It's nothing too exciting - a blanket and my knitting bag/bits that I don't use and are just taking up space here. My sister said she'd take them off my hands, so it was just getting around to posting them that was delaying everything. It's good to have done it and have three fewer things cluttering my flat.
I'm probably not the only person who's been decluttering during lockdown. I imagine, much like last time, the charity shops will be overrun with things. Some of them had requested appointments be made for donation offerings and I imagine it will be much the same this time. I know I've got a box and a couple of bags of things to get rid of. Not sure what they're doing about books - many were not taking these - so will have to see. Maybe there are some options online to get rid of them. It's part of the reason I don't buy books anymore and just read on my Kindle. Some libraries aren't taking donations anymore, and the thrift shops are regularly overwhelmed with them. Anyway, only a few more days until re-opening and I'll get an appointment if I need to. I'm getting desperate for some new duds, too, so keen to have the thrift shops open again!
Yesterday's lunch was excellent. There was aperitifs, lamb, salmon (for me), a beef broth with homemade tortellini, salad, lentils, roast potatoes, cabbage, wine and lemon mousse cake. The five of us did very well to get through a sizeable portion of it over about three hours. I had my usual 'inch' of wine to start and that was it for me. It was a dry white wine, quite lovely, and now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not actually sure I even finished it! Ha ha! I remember putting the glass on the window sill behind me and then simply forgot about it.
The cake I made was a hit - a lemon mousse cake. I've never made one before, never mind just a mousse, and wasn't sure it would work, as when I took it out of the tin in the morning it started to 'melt' a little so had to put it back in (!). It went into my friend's freezer for an hour or so when I arrived for the meal, then into the fridge for a couple of hours after that. That seems to have worked as, while it was a bit softer than it was supposed to be (a volume issue, I think), it hung together well and was quite delicious, although sweeter than I was anticipating. One of the guests had two pieces and is apparently still talking about it this morning, so I'm pleased it worked out so well. Fortunately, there are some leftovers in my friend's fridge so he's welcome to them.
The warm temperatures of last week have halved today, and it's cool and cloudy. I'm not sure what I'm feeling like doing and how motivated I am to do it. Reading, probably, now that I'm fully re-engaged with it. I finished reading a book this morning - the Dales Detective Series, by Julia Chapman, if you're interested - and now have to wait another year for the next one. It's one of my favourite series and the biggest annoyance is that it takes so long to write! Ha ha! Characters, story, plot, and multiple threads of intrigue, mystery, romance and glorious descriptions of the Yorkshire Dales.
I've whizzed through a decent number of books in the past couple of weeks (you can see them there on the right-->), some good, some not as good. I'm trying to read more non-fiction, but I don't always get it right. Obviously reading is subjective (writing is an art form after all), and not everyone will agree with my assessments, but I still have a long list of reviews to get done this year. I'm not one, however, to keep reading something that I'm not enjoying - life is too short for that. I used to, but now it's simply not worth it, not when there's so much that I really want to read. I've sadly given up on about four books already this year, while others have surprised me.
I hope you're all enjoying your long weekend as much as you can.