Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Tuesday, June 17 – Bread and potatoes

I came indoors after hanging out the washing, to find Martin chipping away at the bricked-up bread oven at the back of the inglenook fireplace. I started to protest at the mess of broken bricks and the fact that he’d let the fire go out, when he said he was trying to see if he could open up the old oven.
I’d always assumed that it had been destroyed when another room was built on beyond the dining room, but he said there was a cavity behind the bricks so perhaps the oven still existed. This is really quite exciting, even though he has been chipping away for most of the day and I’ve not been able to relight the fire at all. I’ve had to use the hall fire to boil water, but as the weather has stayed dry, we’ve been able to use the barbecue outside as well to cook black pudding and eggs.
And the other exciting news was new potatoes! We are so starved of different foods and flavours, that even though we are all eating well and have nourishing meals, we are all so thrilled at the thought of tasting delicious new potatoes. We’ll eat them tonight with some lamb chops and I’ll spare a little of our precious butter for them and make a mint sauce as well. Stephen dug up the potatoes today, but we all agreed we shouldn’t harvest many while they are so small, as we need the crop to feed us for some time. He thinks the next treat will be fresh peas.
Martin says he’ll finish clearing out the oven tomorrow and then try to figure out how to make it work. It will be wonderful to have a working oven again, even a blackened, sooty one like this.

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