The cauliflower was delicious

Thursday November 2, 2006

A perfectly lovely Autumn day, sunny and bright. And at the start, very chilly.

I was up and about very early once more. Seems that by about five my bones need to be a’moving, to loosen the stiffness of the night. Six hours is about the limit of my sleep, and often it runs only a little over four. Six is fine; it has a good Napoleonic feel to it. Four is, to be honest, too scanty, and often means I’ll need to turn in again after two or three hours for a forty minute catch up.

Suits me well enough. Early morning is the time when I do the bulk of my writing, taking advantage of a quiet house in a quiet world. I can get a good bit of raw creative writing done in the evening, too, between my first and second glass of wine. Needs revision the following morning but it can be fairly decent original stuff. Gets a bit woozy after the second glass, though, so I turn away from the desk before I get over confident.

Today I was able to complete my early morning stint well before Graham wanted to be out. He’d run out of plugs and screws of the precise kind needed for a fixing job.

“More stuff?” I asked, innocently. “How on earth do you keep track of it all?”

“Oh, I generally know what’s what. And it helps to have small jobs to do as a break from curtains.”

“I can see that. I call it the jigsaw puzzle effect. Bits here and bits there and they all come together to make the picture.”

“Hah! I like that.”

And so I dropped him off at Focus while I did a provisioning shop at Sainsbury’s, and then picked him up to drive over to B&Q. It seems to be some kind of natural law that no single DIY store carries all the bits we need, requiring us to do at least two stores, one on top of the other. I was excused attendance and left to bask in the sun while he did his second pass.

Had no problem with that until the breeze shifted direction, to bring the tempting smell of fried onion from the fast food van over the other side of the car park. My mind immediately turned to thoughts of a sausage inna bun and my tummy rumbled. It’s too soon since my last indulgence, though, so I turned on my heels and walked away to seek Graham in the store scanning drill bits.

“You get bored already?” he asked.

“Not so much bored as hungry,” I said. “Are you nearly done yet? I could really do with my lunch but if you need more time I’ll just have to get myself a hot sausage.”

“What’s for lunch?”

“I got a nice piece of squidgy French brie so I was thinking brie and sliced grapes on rough olive bread. The bread was hot from the oven when I picked it up.”

“Oh, yummy. Right. I’ve finished.”

Strange that, isn’t it? Just drop a hint of something tasty for lunch and your average DIY shopper will almost always stop scanning the shelves, confident in the knowledge that he can always come back another time.

Lunch was as good as I thought it might be, the brie just at the right stage of softness and exactly the way we like. It was unpasteurised of course. The rustic olive bread was rather tasty, too, and the grapes were reasonable. Only reasonable, though. Why we can’t have grapes from Greece in the shops this time of year, at the height of their season, rather than the routine imports from South America I really don’t know. Same with oranges. The Mediterranean is flooded with oranges this time of year, falling off the trees and rotting on the pavements. And yet all I can find on the supermarket shelves are imports from the other side of the world. Something to do with keeping qualities, I imagine, though why anyone would want to keep delicious Cypriot oranges for longer than it takes to peel and scoff them down I do not understand.

Dinner was based on a heap of fresh vegetables and a small pack of pork and apple sausages. Sainsbury’s do a really tasty pork and apple sausage this time of year to take advantage of the new crop of Bramleys at their best. They know the trick of adding the secret ingredient—just a hint of cinnamon—to the mix along with a touch of fresh herbs, too, so you’re getting a really good country sausage.

Graham was well pleased with both lunch and dinner.

“I do like fresh food,” he said as he stacked pots and pans in the dishwasher. “Makes all the difference.”

“Yup. Takes a little longer to shop, prepare and cook but it’s well worth it. That cauliflower was delicious.”

“Sure was. Put your feet up and I’ll make you a nice mug of coffee.”

And that is what I did.

Today’s poem in my OMPOWRIMO series follows the ecclesiastical calendar one more time, from All Saints to All Souls. I’ll turn my thoughts to something else tomorrow—now that the first two days of November are done and dusted I ought to be able to find less introspective avenues to explore.


All Souls
Such souls as may wander here did not live
where my kitchen stands. Their bones will have been
older than that, and their homes long lost.
Marker stones are shattered, burial sheets
dissolved, and nothing left of the corruptible
but a fragile sub-viral mosaic, invisible to the eye.
Before my house raising this was a wilder land,
closer to wilderness than to pasture, and sometimes
more black salt mud than fertile Somerset soil.
Tonight, as remembrance and in honour of All Souls,
I shall leave cake on the table and drip wine on the earth.
It once was their grave and one day shall be mine.
John Bailey
Somerset, November 2006



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