IN the great spirit of togetherness, WoS has been borrowing reporters from our sister paper the Echo without shame over the last few weeks - mainly because our own staff have been dropping like flies.
Somehow Nathan managed to contract a nasty case of pneumonia and we are all wishing him well while secretly hoping he will be back at work soon (Withers, for one, is anxious he makes a swift recovery because apparently he lent Nathan his Seinfeld box set).
You may also wonder what has happened to Monsieur de Le Boussier. Well, the yacht-owning, posh-talking, perpetually suntanned young bon viveur is currently enjoying the joys of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, having landed one of the much sought-after MeejaWales training places. He assures me he is now up to 70 words-a-minute shorthand and loving every minute at his temporary home, though what the ladies of the Bigg Market make of the monocled mutineer with the posh, twit-of-the-year show accent I cannot guess. I imagine they will eat him for breakfast.
The Fab BB is now settling into his stride in the big smoke, having landed himself a glitzy pad in the re-born East End, well within the sound of Bow Bells. Next time I see him he will probably be speaking and dancing in the manner of 'Arry 'Awkins.
Mind you, it didn't all go to plan early on, I am told, particularly as he realised the boiler was situated next to his head in the airing cupboard of a bedroom that he is paying £700 a month to live in. Aah, London, how I miss it.
The first few weeks you couldn't get him off the phone. Methinks he was angling for a quick return to WoS but I am sure now the dust has settled he is enjoying himself a bit more. Last I heard from him he was at a Men Dressed As Ladies Night in Vauxhall. Didn't say whether he was in the front or the back.
So that is three members of staff out of the loop leaving Catherine Mary Evans, The Voice of God and the Wonderful Withers keeping the WoS flag flying. We are all working like dervishes, but thankfully in the new spirit of cooperation, Nicey has been extra nice and lent us some of his staff. First we had Gavin 'Des' O'Connor, then Katie "the body" Bodinger and this week it's Katie "stormin'" Norman. Hope they have enjoyed their spell on the newspaper equivalent of the Marie Celeste. We've enjoyed their company.
Last night I made my way straight home. Thankfully Wren's technical acumen has meant that I have a few new sounds on my portable music thingy (forgotten what you call them, was thinking it was an MVP player but then realised that suggested you walked around with an American Football Player hanging off your ears). Have added The Editors latest album (no not him! the band), plus the second album by the Kings of Leon and somewhere, I believe, I also have LCD Sound System, but I have yet to find the daft punks.
I got out the new Nigel Slater book that Wren bought me for my birthday and found a really good Nigella Lawson recipe inside for chorizo with potatoes. Just to make it a bit more substantial I added a tin of chick peas.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped into small cubes
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
One large chorizo sausage, sliced
3/4 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in half
Tin of chick peas
100 mms of dry sherry (but I used a good couple of sploshes of Madeira wine)
hot water to cover
salt and pepper
chopped coriander to garnish
Heat oven to 180 degrees.
Put ovenproof saucepan on hob, add oil and heat up.
Then add the onions, cook on medium to low heat to sweat for five minutes.
Add garlic and cook for further two minutes.
Add sliced chorizo and continue to cook and stir.
Pour in madeira or sherry and stir. At this point I sprinkled over a small amount of flour to thicken the sauce.
Add potatoes, then hot water to cover. Add chick peas.
Cook for five minutes, taste for seasoning and add if required.
Cook for further five minutes then transfer to the oven.
Cook for half an hour then serve and garnish with the coriander.
It makes a really nice, tasty winter snack which can be eaten with crusty bread, though I found it was enough on its own.
After that watched Manchester United grab a late, late draw in Lyon in the Champions League. On the other side, Celtic put up a brave fight (so I'm told) before going down 3-2 to Barcelona at home. They won't be relishing the second leg because, according to most unbiased critics, it was a football masterclass.