Tuesday, June 09, 2020

When you can't find them for looking...


My husband has lost a pair of glasses of late.

I often wonder what its like, being able to lose a pair of glasses.

As one whose vision is not only enhanced but made sense of with the occultation of some mighty weird lenses, this blithe disregard of the whereabouts of such an essential piece of equipment is - well, as fuzzy a concept as my eyesight should that misfortune ever come to me.

He thinks it might have happened on the weekend.  No, the one before - it was after that Friday anyway.

Just before "this bloddy thing" hit back in March, my deteriorating ability to read combined with separate pairs of not-quite ideal glasses was upgraded - at a premium - to one pair of multi-faceted light-sensitivity-tinted you-beaut glasses.

My eyesight does not come into that category that fits neatly into any sort of specials that Optometrists and health funds delight in - used to delight in.  It is the sort that requires ADDITIONAL cost to ensure that it doesn't end up so heavy it will fall off your face.


I had a run in with the poor girl who was my first attempt at making a transaction.

I have a type at Optometrist Dispensers.  Well, I would like to have a type.  The type I would like is one that would tell me exactly which one would suit me at the most inexpensive price and this is how the ordering process should occur - as opposed to the type that is actually attracted to me - the boss you about, take you for a fool, employ industry slang and jargon to bamboozle and then jump you with the bill.

I am sure that the poor young thing was just as jangled as I given the circumstances of the almost hushed atmosphere of mid-March pre-covid.

(Ah, remember then?  Hand sanitizers and food shortages and gob-smacked at Italy, France, the UK and Spain,)

She made one move - said one thing, the wrong thing, the wrong way and I was a jangling ball of anxiety about the impending requirement of being grown up enough to navigate Health Funds, Diarising, Budgeting, Fashion and Fast Lunch-Breaks.  Like a young horse I bolted and cowarded out with an "Can I take a Quote Away and Think About It?".

I have parked in a different spot at the shopping centre since then.  I don't like to walk past in case she might pounce.

He thinks that he may have left them in a shop.  Don't know which shop or why.  On a shelf somewhere.  Imagine being able to navigate life without them.

But I don't want the operation.  I have no problem with other people doing what they like with their eyes, but there are moments when I don't mind being unfocused.

That and I don't want someone sticking a knife into my eye.

Every time I see a pair of his glasses lying around the house, I tell him.  I say "oh, honey, I saw a pair of your glasses on the bench/in the bathroom/in Paris' room/downstairs" and he says "which ones?"

He's so funny.  As if I could tell them apart.  They all look like men's glasses to me.  His eyesight is such that Optometrists not only offer him deals, they GIVE HIM glasses with no gap! 

Me, the pair before the last lot, I got hoodwinked by a modern edgy Optical Dispenser who managed to give me a quote for nearly a grand for two pairs because I had been lulled by the possibility of sunglasses (imagine, sunglasses - I have NEVER had a pair of sunglasses that I could see clearly through without contacts, and they are a pain in the butt - well the eyeball, but whatever) before she got to the "oh, we don't do that deal for your prescription, you need to pay an ADDITIONAL cost to ensure that it doesn't end up so heavy it will fall off your face."  Like a very grey mare I shied and cowarded out with an "Can I take it Away and Think About It?".

"Oh, thats the pair that I keep for the garden" he tells me when I find yet another pair in another spot.  Or maybe they are the same pair that he just keeps rehiding on me to send me crazy.

The pair before that, the older, respectable matronly Optical Dispenser not only talked me down from the fact that the glasses were giving me instant migraines whenever I wore them, she made me endure another week of hell because she thought it was because I wasn't wearing them enough and I should just battle through before calling in the learned one.

The next week she allowed me into the inner sanctum.  "Oh" the Optometrist said - giggle - "we've put the prism in upside-down.  These would have been of no help whatsoever - leave them with me for a few days." as he ushered me out the door.

But she was in wait for my leaving, because she bamboozled me with being grown up and navigate Health Funds, Diarising, Budgeting, Fashion and a Lunch-Break to be terminated with a return to the world's worst workplace.

She tricked me by offering the possibility of sunglasses and had led me well down the path and turned with the  "oh, we don't do that deal for your prescription, you need to pay an ADDITIONAL cost to ensure that it doesn't end up so heavy it will fall off your face."  Like a startled foal I started and got the guts to "Cancel what the Witch Suggested" (aided by the dire state of our finances a the time - my embarrassment has made me pay for far more stupid things in the past).

"No," he said, when I held aloft a pair found secreted on a cluttered horizontal space "those ones only have one eye."

I wonder if there are many pairs of one-eyed glasses hidden around the world in the houses of those who only require a half-view?

Anyhoo...  do you get Optometrist Anxiety too?

I always feel like I am going to fail the test that I have been called in to sit for.

They ask such dumb questions.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Queen Jean and lardy larder lures

I learned how to make lard pastry on Sunday.

My lovely next-door neighbour - Queen Jean -  is a dab hand at pastry.

She is an amazing lady.  She is the same age as "the other Queen" and I swear, there is a portrait of her somewhere.

But she has had an interesting few years - her life has been made up of interesting years.  For a lady who had hardly left her neighbourhood for over 40 years, the second half has been a whirlwind.

She had only recently returned from a few years of interesting, and the sudden transition from being constantly in the presence of others to - nothing - with not enough books and not enough dvds - to keep her from rattling, well, she has been rattling the cage and discovered where the rungs are most malleable.

But one thing she had not turned to during this time was cooking.  

Her daughter had arranged for meals to be delivered which meant that she did not technically have to venture forth for too many grocery items and she would be not be nutritionally bereft.

Last week, I asked to write down her pastry recipe.  

She has always done pies due service (and above) - even when we first met, she would sneak over her offerings (and sneak away from her fourth husband (but not her best)).  There was this one sausage and egg pie she once gave V that has folk song status in our house.  

When she admitted she had not cooked a pie "for years" she got in mind to get a few apples and making a pie.  She did - it was fantastic.  I begged that she let me know how she did it.

It is amazing how offhand she can be about her signature dish.

"Take a cup of flour - it doesn't matter what sort - and half a cup of fat" she starts.

"Butter?" I ask.  "If you must", she responds, "put a little butter in to make up the quantity of " and the word gets lost somewhere in the last 94 years.

"And you must have a beaten egg - in a cup - to the side.  Some is to go on, and a little bit in with a bit of liquid - but not too much." 

(You and me both Ed)

"How about I show you" she says.

We wash our hands.

QJ: About a cup of flour.

Me: What sort of flour (she has used self-raising)?

QJ: Any sort, it doesn't matter.

The secret is light fingers.

We wash our hands and  take off any rings.
QJ:  Don't overwork the dough.

Rub the flour through the fat.  Just your fingertips. 

Oh, and you should have the oven on at about 180.

A dash of milk in the egg.  And its the liquid - only a bit - and some of the egg mix.

QJ:  Mix it - I use a fork - until it comes away from the sides.

Onto a floured surface, roll out enough for the base.

I am using a wine bottle as my rolling pin now.

Don't push - just roll across until it is the right size.

Use a little of the grease on your pie tin.

Try to get it over the middle.

Fill it with stewed apple that has had just a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar.

Roll out the lid and pinch the edges with your fingers.

Brush it with the egg wash.  (I always just use my hands)

Put a few slits and cut some heart shapes - like this (roll a rough circle, cut into quarters and make hearts - just like that)

Find a jar of Robertsons Fruit Mince (from the secret larder) and make a little Fruit Mince Pastie.

The Pie.



Thank goodness I found that the punnets of pansies that she planted out in the last few weeks (for their glorious burgundy flowers) were actually planted out in the punnets, so I could repay her benificence with some gardening work.

"I like making them, but I am the only one here and I have nobody to give them to" she said.

It is such a pity that being the only people she could give her pies to has such weighty consequences.  But then again, I am sure that I could broker at least one household a week that she could share her talents with, because those pies.