I’ve been happily cooking sous-vide meals for two weeks now, producing superior steak, lamb chops, pork chops, wild boar sirloin, salmon, haddock, shrimp and chicken. Today, I’m doing my first long immersion cooking stint – 10 hours – to produce duck leg confit. This morning, before I even had my coffee, I prepared the bath, fired up the immersion heater, seasoned the duck legs and vacuum sealed them in a bag. Interesting to be preparing supper at breakfast. If this works out, then the next thing will be to make ribs sous-vide. That would be a two day immersion. But not only is the texture and tenderness of the food worth the wait, it also allows me to make the rest of the meal at leisure, since sous-vide only prescribes a minimum and a maximum cooking time, which means I have some, or even plenty of leeway.

Since I’ve started to work full-time from home as a writer, I’ve known that I needed to make my working environment more congenial and conducive to good health. Yet another study said that sitting all day in an office is as dangerous as smoking. I believe it. I can feel it in my back, my butt and everywhere else after a long session of writing, even though I walk my dog every day and try to intersperse work with other activities.

Yesterday, I finally got around to cleaning up a lot of the crap that had been accumulating in the home office over the years and clear some space. That meant I had room to replace an old desk, used as repository for computers and peripherals, with a proper sit/stand table that would allow me to raise it up so I could work standing for part of the day. It didn’t come cheap, but it not only gives me the ability to vary my posture at will, it also gives me more room to work comfortably. In case you’re wondering, Ikea came to the rescue for this one. It’s motorized, so I can adjust the height at a touch of the button.

I’m about one third of the way through my editor’s comments on Like Stars in Heaven, and the fourth Decker adventure sits at almost 48% complete, so even though it’s hot enough in my now updated home office (we have no air conditioning!) that I often work just wearing swimming trunks – the joys of self-employment including a very lax dress code – progress has been steady. I still expect to see Like Stars in Heaven published by the end of August and Howling Stars by early November.