The traffic isn’t as quiet but the people are definitely louder. I wish I’d maintained a graph of the exponential increase in sociability during the last few months – it would have been a wonderful antidote to those awful official Covid ones.
Over at our local Blackbrook Park, there’s a new community life thriving. When we first ventured there in March while even breathing in the same square mile as anyone else seemed too dangerous, other walkers were distinctly chilly. As time has passed, distancing still stays social but exchanges have become happily chatty.
Dog-walkers are easy prey for anyone seeking some human contact: the smallest pooch generates a whole conversation from age and breed to obedience and energy. Familiar faces have graduated from a bare nod to exchange of greetings. Even the local teenagers can be persuaded to swop a few sentences. Even on a damp grey November afternoon, the park literally hums with people talking to each other. We may not be putting the world to rights (yet) but we are all living, breathing proof that man and womankind is a sociable species that relishes interactions – even at 2 metres distance. Perhaps we can build on this new community spirit for the future and find the silver lining to the Covid cloud.
Simple suppers this week with my favourite smoked salmon mousse:
3 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water.
500g smoked salmon pieces (ideal for this dish and less expensive than posh slices).
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
Zest and juice of a lemon
(lots of) ground black pepper to taste
Pour off most of the water from the gelatine and heat in a medium microwave until dissolved.
Whizz all the ingredients in a food processor to make a thick and fairly smooth paste.
Adjust the seasoning with more black pepper if needed.
Spoon into serving dishes, cover and chill.
Serve with bread, toast or savoury biscuits plus a slice of lemon.