Jonathan: Denise and I are fortunate in that we share so many interests, and even more fortunate in that we’ve had the opportunity to make those interests the basis of our daily lives. But being interested in something is not the same as having the time to do it. We’ve had quite a ‘traditional’ married life in that I’ve been the chief bread-winner, and Denise has been the chief home-maker. I’ve predominantly worked outwith the home : Denise has had periods working in factories and offices and care homes, but mostly she’s been home-based. Most of our shared interests are of a homely character, and as I’ve not had much time to do them and Denise has, she has over many years been my proxy. Through her I’ve dyed wool by proxy, grown vegetables by proxy, made jam by proxy … and of course made pickled onions by proxy. But, whilst we both love onions, Denise has no liking for them pickled. So when onions have been pickled, she’s been doing it entirely for me. I’m grateful for that. But, change is afoot!! I have today pickled onions myself. Yes, I know … is this really sufficiently of interest to blog about? Well it is, because this is the first time I have ever actually myself – and entirely myself! – done any processing or preserving of our home-grown food. It’s always been Denise doing it, and maybe me assisting in some way – even if only washing up the pots afterwards. Why now? Well, I guess it’s thanks to my incremental retirement from engineering and construction. Apart from one final visit to Harris, in September, my time is no longer given over to other people’s grand designs or the nation’s great infrastructure: my time is now and henceforth entirely committed to our own affairs, and this morning, top priority was … pickling onions. Okay, pickling onions might in itself be no great deal, but to me it’s a turning point.