Saturday, May 15, 2010


Still struggling along with this cold. I didn't even go into work yesterday - I felt slightly better than the day before but decided that getting better was more important than slogging through a day at work (not to mention not wanting to listen to the Germans moaning about me infecting them all). I dozed until midday and then got up to heat up some soup and put a wash on. By the time I'd managed that, I was really glad I hadn't gone into work because as soon as I was up and moving, the sniffles started. Sniffles is too mild a word for it really and I'm really missing mansize tissues. I can only get boxes of ordinary size ones here. Usually I use cloth hankies but I don't have enough to deal with a bad cold and after all the reading up on how to deal with flu that I did last year, I'm fairly convinced on the hygiene aspect of using disposable tissues when you're really sick. Similarly I would switch back to disposable loo roll for the duration if I had diarrhoea. Of course, using paper tissues means I'm having to deal with a sore, red nose at this stage. These things happen.

I called in sick to the garden today and also to let them know I wouldn't be there for the next couple of weeks due to holidays and I cancelled on choir as well. I feel slightly ashamed of myself for being relieved that today I sound much more like I'm snothered with a cold. There was definite disbelief in the voice of the colleague in work who I phoned in sick to yesterday - just because I didn't sound hoarse enough obviously. So it was nice to get a bit of sympathy this morning from both the people in the garden and my choir conductor. Feels like my little pity party isn't just me anymore :-)

I did go out for a few minutes today to post a birthday card (four days before the actual birthday - that must be a record for me although given that two of those days are the weekend I'm still not sure the card will arrive on time) and to buy some mince from the organic butchers up the road. I am so grateful to be living on a street which has everything I need within a few minutes walk. I also went into the bio supermarkt to get some onions for the bolognese and got some ginger while I was there. My choices were small ordinary onions from Egypt at something like 1.50 a kilo, shallots from France at over 5!!! euro a kilo and huge giant onions from Spain at 2.10 a kilo. I got two of the big ones from Spain but the quality was not great, they were the only two I would have bought at all out of the box of about twelve and if I hadn't known I was going to use them immediately, I wouldn't have gotten any at all. As it was I had to discard some bits once I had peeled them. I've obviously been spoiled by the freshness of the produced I buy at the market. Still, the ginger, honey and lemon tea was very nice. The ginger was all the way from Thailand - I must ask Herr Lessing from the fair trade shop if he can source it from somewhere. The thing is that keeping fresh fruit or veg isn't really too feasible for him. It has been great to be able to get bananas again and he has them most of the time now but traditionally Germans are just not prepared to pay a lot for food and the fair trade prices (50c per banana as opposed to maybe 2 euro a kilo for example) are a bit on the steep side for a guaranteed customer base for fresh stuff all the time I imagine.

I took all the tomatoes and tomato sauces out of the freezer this morning and made up a quick bolognese sauce. The two big onions, about half a bulb of garlic sauteed in some goose fat that also needs to be used up. Then the mince browned and thrown into the pot with the onions and garlic and a small packet of bacon bits that I picked up in the butchers as well. Then all the various tubs of tomato from the freezer:

I doesn't look like that much in the photo but that's about four litres worth of sauce there.

I ground up a good bit of pepper and threw in a small dried chilli as well - something spicy should help this cold along as well I think. That all went in along with the last handful of beansprouts I had left in the fridge. Bizarre addition to bolognese perhaps but it seemed better than throwing them out. Had only one carrot left but it was beyond useful so just didn't bother and also had to throw out the last piece of chard left from last week, which I was supposed to add to my stirfry the other day and completely forgot about. I've just about cleared out the fridge and freezer now and the bolognese is definitely going to keep me going for the week - my 13 litre stockpot was nearly half-full. I threw in the best part of a small jar of chutney as well just to see what it would be like as well as loads of dried herbs. It smells okay (what little I can smell through this stuffed up nose anyway) and tastes okay too I think (my tastebuds aren't working too well either at the moment). Finished the rest of last week's soup for lunch and have had the bolognese simmering away for a couple of hours. Couldn't feel less like eating now though. The cough part of this cold is starting to get bad - don't need to be coughing a lot but it really hurts when I do. Oh woe is me. I stopped at the chemist earlier as well and got a cough syrup for night time as I havent slept well the last two nights so I will be having an early night I think.

Hopefully I will feel better enough tomorrow to be able to go into work tomorrow for an hour or two. Not going in yesterday is going to put just enough pressure on my last week before holidays that it would be good to get a bit ahead before the week starts. I have a document to edit that should probably take about an hour as well as a fee breakdown to compile which I had started last week already. I just need to copy the invoices from last year and then do the actual breakdown, which should normally be the quick enough part of the exercise. It's the digging through five years of files to pull the information out that's time-consuming and that is mostly finished. But I'll see how it goes. I also need to get my tax return done as that has to be submitted by the end of May which means I need to get it done before I go away. I still haven't done my 2008 one, which should have been submitted by the end of May 2009 but when I went in in December (I thought it had to be done by the end of December you see) they told me I should have had it in by the end of May but to submit it anyway and see what happened. Of course instead of doing it immediately I have procrastinated (actually, mostly got sidetracked by having my lodger here and getting depressed but procrastination is accurate enough on the whole I think) and now am under pressure to do both. Both years involve the major expenses of my having moved here so if I have any hope of getting something back I really need to do them. I'm slightly nervous of ending up having to pay more taxes but am not really sure if that's likely to happen to an ordinary worker with no other income. Just need to get it over and done with - it will be a load of my mind if I can.

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