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24 May: Sunday

Hampstead Heath, England: Somehow, without doing much, another day has passed by. We had an outing this afternoon though. So exciting to leave our resort! (I know this joke is getting old... but we are getting “three weeks to the gallon” in our Jeep!

Dave’s oldest friend in the world, Mark (high school track teammate), and his wife, Debbie, have returned to the desert part-time. They recently bought a brand-new house in one of the new 55+ developments not too far from us, and will use it as their winter home. They are in town for a few weeks to have furniture delivered, get the landscape settled, etc., and they invited us over to see their new digs.

Very impressive, and everything is so nice and shiny and NEW! Bright and so much light. They chose gorgeous flooring, window coverings - and furniture. It was great to see them again (masks and anti-social distancing - it’s so awful to not be able to HUG them). While there, we FaceTimed with Lisa and gave her a tour of the new house as well.

Speaking of Lisa...

Our Girl is getting out of control with her appetizer platters. Several nights a week, she is preparing amazingly gorgeous trays for her family.

One sad note: Though the costume for Lucy’s ballet recital has arrived, the recital is indeed cancelled:

Tiny Dancer

We returned late from Debbie and Mark’s, and I didn’t have enough time/energy to cook the three-course Chinese meal planned, so fell-back to an old quick and delicious standby: Jamie Oliver’s Creamy Pasta with Bacon & Peas. (Hey, Mark, you can make this!) I know I’ve made this countless times, and maybe you are tired of it, but we are not. I used 3 strips of turkey bacon, frozen peas, Parmesan, and fresh mint from our garden pots. Maybe Oliver has changed this recipe up over the years, but I just add extra pasta cooking water and a splash of cream or half-and-half when finishing the sauce, (no crème fraîche) and always make a smaller portion (1/4 pound of pasta, 1/2 cup peas, a few strips of bacon, splash of cream, handful of cheese). The key to this recipe is to always retain a bit of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce. I usually use orecchiette pasta, but really, any small pasta will do. Kids really love this combo. If you are vegetarian, just omit the bacon and double-up on the peas. The mint is nice, and I rarely use lemon these days.

Since we have SO MANY TOMATOES, I served another tomato salad - tonight with sweet onion, grape tomatoes and Kalamata olives, drizzled with EVOO and flaked sea salt.

My Driver is a thief. Every evening he heads-out into the neighborhood, scissors in hand, and cuts flowers from the vacated campsites nearby. He makes a pretty arrangement for our table, and then by the next morning, they have all limped-off/died, so he repeats the process prior to dinner.

Stolen blooms

Gosh, I hope the security guards do not run-him-in.

Until my next update, I remain, your carbo-loading correspondent.

PS: For everyone troubled with the ads covering the copy, until I get this fixed, try refreshing the page. This is working for me in my Chrome browser. Thank you.

5 thoughts

  1. Thanks! refreshing the page made those intrustive ads go away! Now I can enjoy without grumbling!

  2. Do you remember where you purchased the flower vases? It’s very attractive.

    1. It was a gift from a friend several years ago. She found it at World Market. It was sage-green, and after a while, I painted it black. I usually use it in the kitchen to hold fresh herbs. So cute!

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