A suburban back garden

“Ten ways to celebrate the last birthday of my 8th decade

1.  Tidy the garden (with a lot of help).  Be glad that the bluebells, aquilegia, wallflowers, forget-me-nots and peonies had consulted and decided to bloom in concert.

2.  Shop for food…aubergines, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, vast quantities of onions and garlic, cauliflower, peas, paneer and chicken, green lentils, fresh coriander, yoghurt, green chillis, fresh ginger, spices … cumin, chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric.

3.  Sort out pans, bowls, dishes, spoons and cooking implements.

4   Wait.

5.  Answer the door to friend bearing spice grinder and special rolling pin (for the roti) and accompanied by her Punjabi friend who will cook up my birthday meal.

6. Friend departs leaving Baljeet in charge of the kitchen.  I hover and try to help but not help is needed.

7.    Five hours and many tastings later, the house is full of fragrance, the table laden with bowls of curries of different strengths and flavours.  The symphony of carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, peas and spices she simply calls ‘mixed vegetables’!  A pan of golden, liquid dhal rests beside a delicate dish of roasted and peeled aubergine, dishes of cauliflower and peas, chicken curry, paneer and spinach.  Mostly vegetarian.

8.  It is a cold day but all the doors and windows are open as Baljeet stands, sipping a cup of coffee, and begins the final stage. She mixes the roti flour with water, heats the griddle, rolls the mix into balls, flattens them as she cooks 26 (no, I don’t know why) perfectly shaped and browned roti (flat bread).

9. All finished.  Food cooling to be refrigerated until family get here tomorrow.  Huge thanks to Baljeet.

10.  Arrival of family full of energy, good hugs. Games in the park.  Great dinner.  Collapsed on the sofa watching Graham Norton taking the pee out of the Eurovision Song Contest.  Does anyone know why Australia was included?  And what about the fiery piano?  Even with VI I could see most of it!

Note:  sorry to keep going on about food!  Next blog post will be about Galsworthy.


Audio books

“The White Monkey” by John Galsworthy, narrated by David Case.  For me this is the most interesting novel in the Forsyte Saga because of its contemporary political aspects.  I’m sharing this reading with Liz and Ali who have already posted reviews.  Mine to follow.


Went to see Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” streamed live into cinemas all over the UK from the English National Opera’s production at the Coliseum in London.  Wonderful, satirical and extremely funny.  The policemen’s chorus had us falling off our seats.


“Those Who Leave and Those who Stay” by Elena Ferrante.  Read on Kindle. This is the third novel in the Naples series and becomes much darker and more concerned with the nature of relations between men and women both at home and in the wider community … excellent.  Can’t wait for the next one.


I am having serious withdrawal symptoms from W1A (BBC2).  Anyone else suffering?

This entry was posted in Age, Audio books, Birmingham, books, cinema, Family, Food, Literature, low vision, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Birthday

  1. Nordie says:

    oooh! oooh! I know this one! (thanks to the world service the other Friday who basically went “huh?”)

    Apparently only members of The European Broadcasting Union ( can take part in Eurovision. This includes Australia. If the list on the wikipage is to be believed there are interesting times ahead if everyone decides to take part.

  2. Nordie says:

    and happy birthday!

  3. Thanks! Interesting times indeed for Europe!

  4. heavenali says:

    Oh I forgot your birthday Bridget – I am so sorry. I love that picture of your garden. I will be reading Those who leave and those who stay too in due course.

    • This is a lovely tome of year for the garden. Shall be interested to know what you think of Those Who leave. Shall be writing White Monkey review this weekend but am a bit distracted by Villa and the cup final!

  5. Happy Happy Birthday! The meal sounds delicious.

  6. Thank you. The meal was great and, as she cooked everything her eyes lit on, there was enough for the freezer!

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