Thursday, December 5
The paraffin heater makes a popping noise, but by lighting it in the dining room in the evening we have one really warm room now. Elsewhere in the house it is very cold, but I’m sure we can survive with hot water bottles and extra blankets. I remember frost on the inside of windows in my childhood and misty breath in unheated bedrooms and think we shall have this cold snap for a while now.
Martin was being unreasonable today when I asked if I could have some of the old jars he has been saving for nails and screws. I am desperate for jars to make confit and potted meat and he has a whole box of spare jars, as well as the full ones that already line the tool cupboard. In the end he grudgingly said I could take a few, when I pointed out that he was hardly likely in the current circumstances to come across a new supply of nails or screws to fill his wretched jars. I’ve sterilised them with boiling water and will hide them from him in the larder.
I also need some jars for the chestnuts. Even though none of us like marrons glaces, Deirdre pointed out that they could be a very good thing to take to the barter market, as we are beginning to call it. Some people might be very glad of a few sweet things nearing Christmas, so we are both making a sugar syrup to preserve the cooked chestnuts. I am a little concerned at using up so much sugar, but Deirdre has given me some of her surplus, as she didn’t make all the jam she had planned to prepare this autumn. Anyway, sugar is not an essential food, so we are better off without it.
I only got two eggs again today. I’m wondering if they have enough food. I used to give them mixed corn and layers pellets, which we can’t get now and there are very few scraps to spare for them.