Routines and menu planning

28 March 2016
Sunday morning 7.30 and I'm trying to re-establish my routines. They used to work well for me in the past but were abandoned when I was writing; it's about time they pulled me back into shape again.  And shape is an appropriate word here - routines shape my day, they'll probably do it for you too if you give them a chance. I like to have all my regular, easy housekeeping finished by 9am. If I can do that, I can concentrate on a larger project from then until lunchtime. So the bed is made, bread is set to rise, the kitchen cleaned and lunch prepared, all before 9am. We have our main meal at 12 noon so I often get started on the prep before nine. If it's a slow cooked meal it might already have been cooking since the night before. Now that we're moving towards the cooler weather, when we have plenty of soups, curries, casseroles and roasts, one of then will usually be filling the house with home cooked aroma and reminding us that at noon, we'll be sitting down to a hot nourishing meal that will keep us going throughout the afternoon and evening.  Late in the afternoon we might have toast, a crumpet, fruit, yoghurt or tea and cake. We don't need much then. I find that having the main meal at lunch works better for me now that I feel tired in the afternoon. I know I've feed us well and cleaned up while my energy level is still high and it doesn't take much to prepare a snack later on.

We have a visitor here for the next week so I'll probably move the main meal to the evening but the cooking will be done well before then and I'll just have to serve and clean up. The dishwasher does most of the work that I used to do washing up by hand, so cleaning up after a big meal in the evening isn't the palaver it once was. Late yesterday afternoon I set out my meal plan and shopping list for the week. I'll shop today and look after Jamie, then during the week, with Hanno's help, we'll really concentrate on one of our biggest annual tasks - our new season vegetable garden.

Usually in the afternoons I do slower and easier tasks or work on my sewing and knitting, and later in the afternoon, just when the light is dimming, I like to go out to the garden. Connecting with the natural parts of my world never fails to remind me of my place here. I take off my shoes and feel the grass under my feet, I feel the soil for dryness and moisture and sometimes I water the plants while I watch the birds and listen to the sound of the neighbourhood. We are all surrounded by such artificiality. I really felt it while I was away touring with Hanno and Tricia. There was no grass to feel, no vegetables to pick, only concrete, bitumen, plastic, glass and unfamiliar, man-made noise. We are all part of the natural world and for me, this part of the day is therapeutic.

This week I'll clean out the fridge and organise one shelf of the stockpile cupboard a day until it's back up to scratch. Later this morning I'll clean the floors and organise the kitchen table and dresser.  Since we went away they've become dumping grounds, holding a variety of things that needed to be put back in their rightful places. They need to be tidied, with fresh flowers brought in, so it's once again a pleasant area to sit and talk. It will all get back to normal eventually, it just takes time and a bit of effort.

I have two Brisbane outings this week. On Friday, 1 April at 12 noon I'll be at Dymocks in Brisbane for a book signing. The address is 177 Albert Street, (Cnr Elizabeth and Albert), Brisbane. Please come along if you can. Don't forget it's Mother's Day soon, maybe the mother in your life would like to read The Simple Home.  Then on Sunday, 3 April at 4pm I'll be at Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St, Bulimba for a talk, crafts and afternoon tea. I hope to see you there but I believe the event is already booked out.