March 1st

Severely put to the test last night. Friends of mine had a joint birthday party, with food. Johanna offered to cook for me one of the mackerel we had caught together in the Firth of Tay last summer, with veggies from their garden, and the event was to kick off at 7pm. That sounded great and didn’t break any rules! So I didn’t eat too much all day – just one of the potatoes I dug from James next door’s garden in return for the digging, for lunch about 1.30pm.

What I didn’t realise was that dinner was preceded by two hours of the most succulent and delicious-looking “canapes”  – which of course I couldn’t eat! I sipped at the home made elderflower wine I’d brought and realised I was getting light headed, and my stomach was making funny noises, so I went back to water. All the while this table full of food beside me…. anyway, I perked up considerably after wolfing down my mackerel, cauliflower and peas – and Johanna insisted on donating me the other 2 mackerel fillets they had defrosted, so I had one for breakfast. Had to disappear to the loo when the birthday cakes and the After Eights came out – more than the heart could bear.

Mercifully the hens have decided to start laying again, so I shall have some hard-boiled eggs to add to the slowly drying apple rings as snacks. I think I will just use the hazelnuts as snacks, too, rather than try to make them into a meal. Rose wanted rid of another cockerel yesterday who was brutalising her bantams, so I think I have no problem really with protein, and the hazelnuts are just a treat at times.

I had the cockerel hung up to pluck and draw this morning when I discovered the cupboard under the sink was full of water so was distracted by the need to do some filthy plumbing. By the time I had got that fixed, the cock in the freezer, tonights dinner (pheasant, leeks and a potato) in a slow cooker, and tomorrow’s vegetable stew for the food flask (I work a 12 hour shift on Mondays at the college), not to mention cleaning and drying the kitchen, it was late afternoon. So much for foraging! I’d have loved a pot of tea (how I LOVE tea), but had to settle for a wild strawberry leaf tisane, which is… acceptable.

I have my curd cheese hanging up in muslin to drain; and another pan of sycamore sap on the stove, and the house is tidy but I’ve had no time to relax this weekend. So pretty exhausted tonight, craving chocolate, or a mug of Horlicks, a biscuit…. I think I’d better go to bed.

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