The Great Hot Plate Debate

      2/12/2020       Next-->

Is it only our home that is dogged by a desperate plea for hot plates

HeeHoo undoubtedly has a fetish for a hot food plate for his breakfast and for his supper For most of our forty years of marriage we have had the luxury of a warming drawer, but his pursuit for hot food has been growing as the years pass by. Modern stoves do not include this luxury of a warming drawer and he yearns for our good old Monarch Cooker, which has a deep, very hot warming drawer beneath the two substantial ovens.

Me Well I am a woman after all and my desire for hot food went out of the window on the birth of my first child. No self respecting mother EVER has the luxury of eating hot food!!

Sweden practices the art of Balanced Living - LAGOM. This obviously does not include the luxury of Hot Food!! I admire the Swedes for just about everything - they are disciplined, minimalistic, beautiful, balanced and happy.

But they don't do warm plates!!

Which is surprising because they pursue all things warm, all things light, and all things comforting. The Swedes are totally disciplined, where you and I would huddle indoors at temperatures below freezing, the Swedes will be out there, in the full force of freezing nature - jogging, walking, (even swimming) kids in tow, togged up to the nines! There is a Swedish saying - there is no such thing as bad weather - its just bad dressing!!

When HeeHoo and I drag ourselves out into the fierce elements, we look like Little Marathon Men, as broad as we are tall. SO MANY CLOTHES!! Three layers they tell us, is all you need.........By the time we have attired ourselves in all our clothes, its time to go home!!

Their homes are astounding, lamps in every window, candles flickering in every nook and cranny, its dark by 3 pm daily and only light again at 8 am, so if you cannot find any sunlight, you make your own!!

We live on a glorious Island, with cruise ships passing by daily in and out of Stockholm harbour en route to Helsinki and beyond. The frost has to be chiselled off the car every morning and although it has snowed a couple of times, the main snow falls are yet to come. There is a snow plough in the shed!! The roads are scattered with sand most evenings when ice is imminent. The cars are required, by law, to be fitted with studded snow tires by the first of December...

So different to the tropics where HeeHoo and I grew up....

The environment is very important to Swedish people. One never sees litter anywhere, ones trash bin is half empty weekly but then one makes frequent forays to the recycling centre to deposit paper, plastic, cans and bottles. And one cannot cheat !! Oh no, bottles cannot be dumped en mass into a recycling bin, one if forced to turn them in ONE BY ONE, into a small hole !! (Its also forces one to take a good look at one's wine consumption) Blush!!

Paper, cardboard must be reduced and flattened to minuscule proportions, plastic deposits are the same, and the environment is treasured, nay worshipped to an extreme. Yet Sweden is not known for its extremes, the people are normal, no one is overtly rich, no homes are openly opulent, colours are subdued, white is normal and above all life is minimalistic.

I returned home from my tiny hairdresser this afternoon, (my second haircut in the whole year!!) it was pitch dark at 4.00 pm. HeeHoo gallantly came to fetch me (walking at minus one degree !) through the forest as he thought I might be nervous!! There were however excellent path lights every few meters and once we entered the beautiful suburb of Lidingo, every garden was already swathed in white Christmas lights, every window was un shuttered and brightly lit with candles, lights and stars. The Swedish people, extract every tiny bit of light they can, there are no curtains and one can see into the window of every home, beautiful tall, blond haired Moms busy preparing the way towards a Swedish evening.

The Swedish windows are very cunningly designed for the summer days when it only gets dark at midnight . Double glazed windows for the intense cold, and sandwiched between the two panes of glass are tiny venetian blinds!! How clever, no dusting, no complications with the mechanism, and pretty good at keeping out the light when necessary!!

But I digress, let's get back to the desperate hot plate scenario!! Our Swedish kitchen is not vast, its functional, sleek lines, totally ergonomically correct, white of course with a black counter top, warming drawer and no place for a warming tray!!

SheHooMustWearKevlar is becoming quite an accomplished cook, her delicious meals cannot be ruined by heating them up in microwave, consequently, HeeHoo continues to trawl the internet seeking the perfect size heating mechanism for the family food.



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Letter from the amazing Zimbabwe Legend - Meryl Harrison

I am now living in sheltered accommodation in a little village in Somerset, for the first time since returning to the UK, I have got a ground floor flat which makes such a difference.
I will be 82 in Feb, so sadly not able to do much in the way of animal welfare these days, but still keep in touch with many old colleagues in animal welfare groups worldwide..

My many heartfelt accolades go to Bulawayo SPCA, especially their Manager Berry Oosthuizen who took over from me when the farm rescues took over my life!
Berry is doing a fantastic job, obviously under very difficult conditions these days, - she has always been totally committed to the animals in her care - and whilst there are times when one may think that her decisions are not necessarily made in the best interest of people, they are always made in the best interest of the animals that she has cared for, for so many years now............she deserves a medal!!.

In closing, just wanted to tell you I was over the moon last week, when I walked into our little local village shop, and to my joy, saw that they had Blueberries whose "Country of Origin" was Zimbabwe! - I bought two punnets straight away, was so chuffed that they had been grown with the Zimbabwean sun on them, in Zimbabwean soil - silly, but I felt quite emotional - they were slightly smaller than the usual ones that come from Mexico and Peru, but stayed fresh longer!

Take care
Meryl Harrison