My calendar, filthy liar that it is, is trying to convince me that it’s April. But that can’t be right, can it? How are we already a quarter of the way through 2021? How can time fly when none of us are having any fun? It doesn’t seem fair.
As it’s April Fool’s Day, I should really try to fool you with a ridiculous tale, but I worry that readers are so used to me saying stupid shit that you’d all just believe it. Case in point: I’ve spent my afternoons this week updating my recipe spreadsheet – oh yes, I have a spreadsheet that compiles all my favourite recipes (and recipes I want to cook but haven’t yet got around to), organized by ingredients. So when we have a glut of courgettes, for example, instead of looking through each of our many, many cookbooks, I simply look up courgettes on the magic spreadsheet and it’ll tell me every relevant recipe, along with the book it’s located in and page number. Like courgette fries with sumac salt, which is on page 61 of Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour. Or spiced carrot and courgette fritters, which is on page 276 of Tender by Nigel Slater (and is, of course, also cross-referenced in the ‘carrot’ section of the spreadsheet). This spreadsheet – which I made back in lockdown 2020 but needed to update with all the cookbooks we got for Christmas – has now blossomed into an 1100-line beast. It makes me so happy. It may be my finest achievement.
I mean, why make up an April Fool’s tale when my real-life crazy is so entertaining?
There’s really not much else to report here. It hasn’t snowed this week, which is progress. But the forecast is threatening a bit of snow this weekend. (A right kick in the fanny, considering the UK is by all accounts enjoying stunning weather right now. Good for them, of course. God knows they deserve it. But I want my share of al fresco dining and mild sunburn.)
Because of the weather, we’re quite behind with our seed-sowing, having only sown the most urgent stuff so far: tomatoes, chillies, parsley and lettuce. There’s been little point starting anything else, unless we want to be overrun with pots and compost in the house. (Rob promises he’ll soon finish the rustic greenhouse that he started last year.) And we haven’t even started prepping the veg beds yet – weeding, adding a fresh layer of compost, etc. The garden is a terrible mess, to be honest, and it all feels a bit overwhelming. But I have to remind myself that it always feels like that at this time of year. As soon as we get out there, get our fingers in the soil and feel the sun on our forearms, it’ll all make sense again. We’ll remember that we actually like gardening, and, while the garden sometimes feels like a burden (I’d be lying if I said it didn’t), it gives so much more than it takes. We just need to get back in the saddle, so to speak…
In the meantime, we’re planning to sow more seeds this weekend. Snow or no snow, we’ll be doing some indoor gardening and trying very hard to get into the gardening bore mood. Expect more gardening talk next week and a breakdown of everything we’re planning to grow this year. I promise not to create a spreadsheet.
For now, I leave you with this photo of a very Bulgarian bus stop, spotted outside Troyan Monastery the other week. For my non-Bulgarian readers, this chap is Vasil Levski, Bulgarian revolutionary, national hero and – I can’t be the only one who thinks this – a bit of a babe.