Semi-meat meatballs

Wednesday February 15, 2006

After a fairly decent night’s sleep Graham decided he was over the worst of it, got up, dressed, and commenced a day of lurching about the house like a slightly drippy golem. He did have the good sense to say he’d not want to go out, which was a blessing because I’d slept far too long and heavily to make an early start to the day.

“In that case I shall nip into Spilsby for provisions,” I said. “I’m not keen to brave the excitement of Boston either.”

“What will you do with the day, then?”

“Not a lot. Practice my new piece on the piano. Read my book. That sort of thing. You?”

“Catch up on email and then I’m going to research your new laptop.”

“Don’t spend too long at a time hunched up at your computer,” I said. “I’ve got a theory that being all hunched up and static makes your system congested and that’s the last thing you need when you’re getting over a cold.”

“See what I can do.”

So, apart from a short trip into Spilsby, the little house by the fens was a quiet haven today, occupied by one cat and two blokes, none of whom were of a mind to seek out excitement.

Needing to get a clearer idea of my budget for the laptop, we had a discussion that settled the issue and, quite unlike us, went on to consider the question of the likely house equity we’ll garner from the sale and the amount we feel safe to add to it from savings so that we have a wider choice of houses from which to choose when we get back to Somerset. Graham went off to research laptops and I settled down to wander through the online listings of properties.

I came to the conclusion that, discounting the universal constant that the house you’d really like is always at least a hundred thousand pounds over the amount you have in the kitty, we shall be able to find a decent home within budget. At about the time when we start hunting, the pre-Easter property market will be stirring into life. There’s no clear indication as to the direction in which prices will go, either then or over the next year, nor the kind of property that will do best. So long as we can keep our house equity fund safe, and end up in a house with a little bit of garden, I have no firm vision of what it’ll be. There are distinct arguments in favour of a nice little house in the country, just as there are that make me lean towards a standard modern house in or on the outskirts of a town.

It’ll come down to seeing what turns up.

The laptop question, it seems, is much more easily resolved. After a couple of sessions at his computer, Graham determined that it will be an IBM ThinkPad, for reasons of solidity of construction, price/package balance, and a good keyboard that has a hope of standing up to my rather forceful touch typing.

“It’ll be a model in the R52 range”, he said. “Something like a 450. Ish.”

He went on to explain features and capabilities.

“Ah,” I said, “that sounds good.”

I was lying through my teeth, pretending to an understanding I don’t possess. I lost my grip on this particular plot a good way back. Having migrated over the years from typewriter to word processor to computer keyboards and systems of all sizes and flavours, I’m perfectly confident I shall be able to adapt to the hardware. The software and firmware, frankly, don’t really interest me any more.

I’ve developed age-related acronym aversion, I fear.

I picked up a pair of chilled convenience meals for our dinner, following Graham’s enthusiasm for them that survives from his stay in Somerset when, for the most part, he had to cater for himself. He’d recommended that I try the Co-op’s own meatballs and pasta dish.

The pasta and sauce were fine but I found the meatballs a big disappointment, being more like the pork stuffing balls you’d serve alongside a turkey dinner than a decent, chunky meatball.

“The problem is I can’t taste anything with this cold,” Graham said as we tucked in.

“It’s alright,” I said. “They don’t taste of anything much. All stuffing and no meat.”

“Meat is bad for you.”

“Mayhap. Tasty, though.”

Early in the day I took a call from the agent, reporting progress, which we discussed further over our meal. It seems that the last piece in the jigsaw, our buyers’ mortgage funding, is about to click into place and then we’ll all be ready to exchange contracts.

“Sounds like you’d better get over your cold pretty damn quick,” I said. “Things are liable to get busy round here.”

“Fear not,” he said. “Nothing like a house move to see off a cold.”

“I shall make a list,” I said.

“You always do. Just be sure it includes plenty of good hot tea.”

“That I shall. And something more tasty in the way of food than semi-meat meatballs, too. Not suitable provender when you need to fuel working blokes, is semi-meat meatballs.”



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