Both Babette and I were very touched by the response to Babette's update last week. And perhaps in particular, the common thread that so many picked up on was the episode with the porter and the way in which Babette managed to get him on side again. It struck me quite forcefully how we all want good relationships, whether they be close ones, or as in this case, quite transient. To take a quote out of the Arthur Brooks book "Love your enemies", he observes that "people are rarely, if ever, insulted into an agreement", and yet this is often so easy and tempting to do when we feel wronged. And this reminds me of my promise to you a couple of weeks ago to tell you what the Dalai Lama said to Brooks .
As a reminder, Arthur's question to him was "when I feel contempt for another, what do I do?" The Dalai Lama replied " practice warm heartedness". You may well catch yourself thinking, it's all very well for someone in the Dalai Lama's position to say this, but that out in the real world it's all very different?
Well, the Dalai Lama was in his teens when the Chinese army walked into Tibet, in 1959, and as a result has found himself living in exile, in northern India, ever since. And yet he prays every day , that the Chinese leaders live good and happy lives. I think I might be pushed to do that for someone who nicked my beautiful Alpina, let alone my home and my country. The Outrage Industrial Complex has no place in his heart, that's for sure! **
Incidentally you may have seen that one of the lovely responses, that Babette received, was from Shrilla who actually works at East Surrey Hospital and very touchingly apologised for the porter, on behalf of everyone working there. I had two responses to this. Firstly, "Ooops maybe we shouldn't have made it so obvious where this incident took place, because the purpose was to show what any one of us can achieved in mending or creating good relationships even when it seems like a bit of an uphill struggle". My second one was this, and I want to say this to Shrilla and her colleagues. It is that Babette and I have often been overwhelmed at the level of care and love shown to us both, by the people at East Surrey. People such as Liz and Felicity on the oncology side, by the unrufflable and caring people in A&E, by the Ambulance crews, ditto, and the nurses and doctors particularly in Chaldon & Holmwood wards, that Babette's been a customer of recently. So a very big thank you to all of them.
Now, sorry to go on about things medical but earlier this week the Covid shadow came knocking! Jeanne had quite literally walked in the door from working all day in Banstead on Tuesday when she got a call from Eve, who also works there, to say that her younger brother had been in contact with a friend who just been diagnosed with Covid. She (Jeanne) with great presence of mind went straight into our front room, which is known as the warehouse in our household (because it still is!) and 'rang me' to tell me this news. This seemed to me quite a complex issue and so she and I spent some time discussing what we needed to do in terms of protecting as many people as possible from any further contact and assessing whether we could safely open the shops. In the end we managed to keep Reigate and Cobham open. Jeanne, Kate and Denise did a deep clean of Banstead when they got in (and again when they left) and then we had to sit back and wait for the PCR test results from Eve and her family (before we could allow her back) and in fact it also affected Andi and Em as a couple, as Andi had been working in Banstead for a couple of hours that morning and as Em manages Reigate, we couldn't allow her back either until her test results came through.
In the end all was well with Eve and her family all reporting negative, but in the process Paul T volunteered to come in on his day off to cover Em, and Linda also volunteered to cover for Jeanne, but it could have been far worse and as an exercise in how to deal with the unexpected I think we handled it, and the stress, quite well.
In case you were wondering what happened to Jeanne on Tuesday evening, fear not. We took her food and wine, into the "warehouse" and when we sat down to eat in the kitchen, I rang her so that she didn't feel excluded from the conversation. I did it more or less as a joke, but in the end she stayed with us the whole of the meal time , demanding refills from time to as the meal progressed. A good time was had by all, all things considered!
Since then Babette has had to return to East Surrey because she'd become a bit breathless again and they wanted to check her over to see what the cause was and deal with it. As I write this on Friday morning she's still there.
Now to flog you something....From the Joseph brothers come three new(ish) lines and 2 offers. Let's start with the latter.
Index Board Large
The first one is a part of the "Index Board" range. It's the current Index Board Large, which if you're not familiar with them, is a set of 4 colour coded chopping boards 13" x 9" (33cm x 23cm) made of "soft plastic" (so as not to blunt your knives) stored in a smart dark grey plastic box/stand, that allows you to have your boards easily accessible and you can, should you feel so moved, use for one Veg, one for Fish, one for Cooked meat and one for raw Meat. Or you can just go on using them until you've no clean boards left, leaving you with the choice of either flinging them in the dishwasher, for which they are safe, or washing them by hand. The working area of the boards is ever so slightly lower than the edges, so making it a little less likely that stuff rolls off , they are also double sided and the corners have very small but effective rubber feet to prevent slipping.
A thoughtfully designed product that is usually £65.00 and I noticed is on offer on their website at £52 and on Amazon at a very Amazon price of £50.77!
Our price is £49 and it gets a little better than that, as you will see later.
Cut and Carve White
Next is a product that has been in the range for years, namely the "Cut and Carve Plus". I can't remember now what the plus stands for, but it's a carving board on one side with spikes to hold the meat and on the other a plain surface on which you might cut pretty well anything that you would be holding whilst cutting. Both surfaces are sloped towards the back and with a lip around three sides so that any juices are retained within the board.
Another quite clever and simple idea from the Josephs that just works.
In white only RRP £22 our price for this offer is £15.95
*....Tip : Don't cut on hard surfaces, such as 'glass worktop savers', 'worktops' and 'hard plastics', as this will blunt your knives very quickly. Use wood or "Soft" plastic.
Spot On Set of 2 Silicone Trivets
Next we have a new line that I just love the look of. It's a pair of Silicon Trivets in black and medium grey. They interlock with each other, which is probably a waste of time because actually they take up very little space in the drawer stacked together or not, but there's just something about them that when pulling them apart or putting them together is quite addictive...can't explain it any further! I'll let the pictures do the talking. Just over 6" (16 cm) in diameter. £10 for the pair.
Grip-Pin Ergonomic Rolling Pin
Penultimately, we have the Josephs take on a good heavy wooden rolling pin. This, I think, is a lovely thing. It is a nicely made Beech Wood rolling pin, which has a good bit of weight to it and the point of difference is that the handles are raised slightly above the normal position for a rolling pin, making it easier to use, with less wrist strain. Again I think I'll let the pictures illustrate what I mean. I did, admittedly, ask Paul what he thought about it, and he wasn't keen. Not sure whether this is habit or whether he has a genuine point. So I don't understand, but neither can I remember the last time I rolled any pastry out, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask. The idea however still appeals to me enormously. £22. Other points to bear in mind are that you can hang it up for storage and it won't roll off the surface because of the raised handles.
Pivot 3-in-1 Can Opener
Lastly, there is the new Pivot can opener. Unlike their other models, this has a more conventional movement, in that it's a cutting wheel that cuts directly into the top surface . This doesn't catch the can lid when you've cut all the way round, so depending on what you are opening you may not want to cut last centimetre or so and the edge of the lid will be sharp. But, when we used it, it worked very well and effortlessly courtesy of the reasonably long handles. It will also remove "Ring-Pull" can tops and "Crown Bottle Tops". Just fold the handles back on themselves which reveals the tools to do this. Again the pictures on the website should make this all clear. A really good simple product substantially built. £12.00.
Overstock on Le Creuset TNS Deep Frying pan 26cm (No Helper Handle)
We have an over stock on this 26cm frying pan from Le Creuset's ever popular Toughened Non Stick range. The pan in question is an offer that Le Creuset came up with a while ago and it's full price (albeit with a helper handle on the far side) is £130. Le Creuset's offer price is £89 and for this weekend I'm making them £79. So depending on which way you look at it, it's either a £10 saving or a £51 saving.
Either way it's a pretty good deal on a top quality frying pan. Its downside is, like all the TNS range, it's a bit slow to heat if you are using it on an Induction hob.
Use code TNS10 if buying on the website.
That's it for the this weekend, so I trust you have a good and peaceful one.