V’s been reading my old blogs from my days in Prague and asked me why I don’t write about my life any more. I said that it wasn’t that interesting, and that as I bored myself writing about it, I dread to think what anyone else will make of it. She disagreed. The upshot of all this is that I’m going to try to write a full record of this week, and see if it’s in any way readable or interesting. Please let me know what you think, usually-non-commenting page-hit-people.
The last day of the week (or perhaps it’s the first) is my only proper day off, a day to relax, attempt to do some things I’ve been meaning to, hang out with the wife and baby and generally relax. Usually I waste it doing something fairly pointless and end it swearing that next week will be different. Today was fairly typical.
As usual I get up at 8 and take care of the baby for a while. A while later, when he’s handed over to V’s mother, I get working on transferring all the video clips from my camera to my hard drive, and sorting them into different folders. V wants to go outside to hang out for a while, but it’s freezing out there, so I don’t go. No more outside fun until (probably) March. She comes back ten minutes later, now agreeing with me.
After lunch – a hotpot with lots of grated radish and big chunks of bone the size of your ankle – I get back to the computer and edit together an eight-minute compilation of clips of the baby, to send to various relatives. I manage to get it done in a few hours, which is pretty good going, if I say so myself. Next year I must find time to edit the many other gigabytes of camcorder footage which is sitting unused on my external hard drive.
At three thirty I go out with V to the supermarket just down the road. On Sundays one of us tries to cook something unusual and today we’re going to try making bread. The supermarket is packed full of people, worse than the day before a national holiday, and no clue as to why. We buy yeast, peanut butter and milk, queuing for upwards of ten minutes. Outside V buys ten kuai’s worth of chestnuts for her dough. Sounds more like a cake than bread to me, but since we’re trying to make separate efforts it’s all fine. Apparently it’s a competition, but we can’t decide on a neutral judge.
V makes hers first. It’s a very small kitchen, and there’s not enough space for two recipes. Then I get mine in motion – since we lack a proper tin I try making some focaccia, not sure if this is overambitious or a cheat, but it will do. Everything goes ok, the only problem being a shortage of olive oil – there is a bottle in use but apparently it belongs to V’s dad who needs it for some unspecified health-based reason. The focaccia is ok, a bit hard and dry, but edible enough – better than would be expected for a first effort. V’s mantou is also good (though I don’t really ever like mantou, so perhaps it’s not for me to say), but there’s another problem with the buns she was trying to make. As we get to the end of the process we discover that she doesn’t know what temperature we should cook them at, or how long they should be cooked for. A little bit of research on the internet tells me 20 minutes at 170 degrees, but the buns are slightly underdone, and have cooled down too much to go back in. This is apparently my fault.
I want to watch a film in the evening, but V is busy getting M to sleep, then spends ages reading about how to make better bread. In the end we just watch the film I edited earlier today. It’s a bit of an annoying way to finish the night, and I don’t feel like going to sleep, but I must.