Saturday 18th April 2020 – Day Twenty Six

Good afternoon all – hope that your day is going well so far?

Did anyone else watch Phantom of the Opera last night? It is one of my favourite theatre shows – I have seen it three times. The last time I saw it, it was part of a whole romantic proposal – drinks, theatre, dinner and then on one knee……oh well, did not stop me enjoying the wonderful music and special effects last night

Do YOU have a favourite theatre show, would love to hear from you? Why it is so special to you….

What can I share with you today? – FOOD / SHOPPING

From Chris: Following the launch of its essential food boxes, M&S received some mixed reviews. While some shoppers praised the brand for its initiative to provide boxes filled with store cupboard essentials and some sweet treats, others claimed they did not contain enough fresh produce. However, that has now changed, as M&S has announced the launch of three brand new food boxes – and they’re all packed with fresh fruit and vegetables.

From John: Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup

This homemade carrot soup recipe is ultra creamy (yet cream-less) and full of rich, roasted carrot flavor! It’s the best carrot soup you’ll ever have. Recipe yields 4 bowls or 6 cups of soup.


2 pounds carrots
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, to taste
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
2 cups water
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, to taste
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, if desired. To prepare your carrots, peel them and then cut them on the diagonal so each piece is about ½″ thick at the widest part. Place the carrots on the baking sheet. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Toss until the carrots are lightly coated in oil and seasonings. Arrange them in a single layer.

Roast the carrots until they’re caramelized on the edges and easily pierced through by a fork, 25 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway. (Heirloom carrot varieties will roast in as little as 25 minutes, but regular carrots are more dense and typically require 35 to 40 minutes.) Once the carrots are almost done roasting, in a Dutch oven or soup pot, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and turning translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the garlic, coriander and cumin (if following a variation, see recipe notes for additions). Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour in the vegetable broth and water, while scraping up any browned bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon or sturdy silicone spatula.

Add the roasted carrots to the pot when they are out of the oven. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, to give the flavours time to meld. Once the soup is done cooking, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender, working in batches if necessary. (Do not fill past the maximum fill line or the soup could overflow!)

Add the butter, lemon juice (or lime, if following the Thai variation), and several twists of black pepper. Blend until completely smooth. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary, to taste. Add another tablespoon of butter if you’d like more richness, or a little more lemon juice if it needs more zing. Blend again, and serve.

This soup keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about four days, or for several months in the freezer.

ART & CULTURE – From Beryl: John I’d like to suggest a movie to watch. It’s ‘Goodnight Mr Tom” starring John Thaw. I must have seen this over 20 times. It’s set in an idyllic village in Dorset in 1939 at the beginning of WW2. It’s the story of a young boy from an abusive home, who is evacuated from South London to the village of Weirwold. This film is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. AND, the acting of both John Thaw and Nick Robinson (who plays the young evacuee) is brilliant. My ‘Must have go to TV program’ is Channel 4 weekdays at 4pm, ‘Escape To The Chateau’. I love it. It’s a dream which Angel and Dick Strawbridge have brought to life. Every home should have a Dick and Angel. That would be my dream.

From Chris: Sounds of your world. During this time where we’re cooped up at home, we’ll all be missing something. The big things go without saying. Family, friends, loved ones. But what are the small comforts that you’re finding yourself longing for? Your commute. The bustling school gates. The triumphant thumbs-up when you find a free table in a busy pub. While the British Library has gone quiet for now, their sound archive is still open, sharing with you recordings and stories from across their audio collections. And they’ve compiled a few sounds you might be missing, to give you a taste of what our archive has for you to explore.

From Nicky: Being a bit of a textile addict I have started playing around with Shibori – a Japanese dyeing technique. You fold your fabric in various ways and then dip in indigo dye – a bit like tie dyeing, but less hippy and with a Japanese flavour and geometric patterns. I have also cheated and used your bog standard Dylon Navy rather than the organic Indigo. Will move onto that more expensive medium when I am an expert! I now have a navy blue kitchen, navy blue hands and some lovely bits of old cotton sheet to upcycle! Well, keeps me sane!

From Dominic: 12 new skills that you can learn from home and how to get started. From learning first aid to painting portraits of your pets and learning how to grow plants in small spaces – there are plenty of different skills you can learn from home.

With the lockdown extended by another three weeks, many of us will be looking for new ways to keep our minds busy and more importantly, find a sense of purpose. If you’re looking for some inspiration to keep you going whilst you’re at home, then consider learning one of these 12 skills.

From Theresa: The Royal Albert Hall presents: Beethoven 250. The planned celebration of the music of Beethoven at the Hall was sadly cancelled due to coronavirus, but they see no reason why the show still can’t go on in some way, and are delighted to present this as part of our Royal Albert Home series.Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason and violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing will deliver exclusive sessions from their homes, along with a word from conductor Moritz Gnann, all of whom were due to take to the Royal Albert Hall stage on this evening. The only name missing from the original concert line-up is organist Peter Holder, who is unable to fit the Royal Albert Hall’s 9,999 pipe Grand Organ in his home! This session will be broadcast for free on this page at 19:30 BST on 18 April 2020. Select ‘Notify Me’ and add your email to receive a reminder

INFORMATION – Arun Mailik (Macmillan Cancer Support) is working on a project at Macmillan trying to understand different people’s experiences of the current lockdown context, and in particular, how people are finding escapism/distraction at this time. He is specifically looking to speak to women who are 55-74 and fairly engaged. Arun will be looking to do 30-45m phone calls over the next 2-3 days, so if you think you would fit the bill and be interested, please email and I will share his details.

If you have not done so already, please could you take the time to complete the questionnaire, your suggestions, comments, ideas are really important and useful to us.

You can contact me ANY TIME on 07759 646507 in case of an emergency

Be safe


Shared by Jerry – today’s wisdom and humour: Hey creative community! Just a reminder that Shakespeare was quarantined for the plague when he wrote King Lear. No pressure!!!