A week of lying low

I had plans. Very yummy plans. My fridge was – and still is – full to bursting. With my favourite fruit – nectarines and raspberries -, American bacon, American beef tenderloin, vegetables from my parents’ garden. But I mustn’t eat any of it. I feel deprived.

Last week at work I started feeling queasy some time after lunch, every day. Thought it was the abominable coffee at work. Then last Thursday I grilled a beef tenderloin in my new grill pan, enjoyed it very much, and then got stomach aches. Still blamed it on the coffee at work. The next night I made tomato sauce from a bag of multi-coloured tomatoes I got from my parents’ garden, enjoyed that, and got terrible stomach aches. OK, so now I had to concede it probably wasn’t the coffee at work.

I couldn’t eat a thing all weekend, every drop of water felt like a brick in my stomach, so I lay down and waited for the pain to pass. Monday morning came, and my stomach still hurt. So off to the doctor’s. Result: sick leave for a whole week due to a stomach bug. And I couldn’t touch any of the food I had at home.

And would you believe it – the tomatoes I’m growing on my balcony chose this week to go red. They’ve really taken their time this year to grow at all, then they were green for longer than seemed natural, and now that I can’t eat them they choose to go from green to red literally overnight.

This year I wasn’t very lucky with my herbs either. Every year at the beginning of March I plant seeds, and by the end of April I have fair-sized herbs. This year, however, I was quite unlucky. Due to spring being delayed until the end of April, my herbs first took ages to grow, then they sort of stopped midway and decided they wanted to be bonsai herbs. The sage, normally growing in abundance once it’s reached its full size on my balcony, sprouted about 10 meagre leaves. The basil, all of it – I had eight plants -, refused to grow to full size, too. I was able to harvest about two handfuls of leaves altogether. The mint hadn’t taken at all this year, so a friend of mine with a lovely herb garden dug out some of hers, and I planted it into a pot. Thankfully, that still lives. So does the little salad plant that you can pick leaves off, and it’ll keep growing new ones.

All in all, this year’s planting efforts were quite disappointing. Apart from a hydrangea and two lavender pots, and a couple of flowery things I couldn’t even be bothered to remember the names of, I didn’t have much flower-wise either. With the herbs being such a disappointment, I couldn’t really be bothered with trying my hand at much else this year.

But come this weekend, all disappointment will hopefully be forgotten. I’ll be cooking up a storm – or at least I’m fantasizing about it right now – with all the things from the garden and the treasures in my fridge. You will definitely read about the outcome here in the very near future. Meanwhile, as the weather has suddenly remembered that it’s summer, I’ll take my stomach pains into a deck chair and spend the remainder of my sick leave in the sun.

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