The illogical kitchen

Monday November 6, 2006

I was just reaching the peak of my morning writing session, about 9:45, when the phone rang. It was my doctor, calling about the first of my six-monthly medication reviews.

“Since we’ve yet to meet, I’d like it if you could call in. Can you make it this morning?”

Gulp. Calculates time needed to make self presentable. “Sure thing. Give me half an hour and I can be there.”

“Good. Shall we say 10:20, then?”

It was a light-hearted interview, during which he checked blood pressure and lung function, and took a blood sample to test for cholesterol, liver function and glucose levels. Prodding the impressive display of varicose veins in my left leg, he pronounced me fit and well, and we exchanged views on the best way to live with arthritis. Ended with smiles and hopes for a happy relationship.

I like the bloke. Young, but not too young. He’s had most of the bloom of youth rubbed off him but seems to have survived the process without becoming brittle and over-assertive. I suspect he likes a controlled modicum of drink and a lot of laughter just as I do.

Outside, on a very foggy morning, I decided to press on and get my daily provisioning done. I hadn’t planned on going out until a little later, when the traffic load had diminished, but it seemed sensible to add the supermarket loop to my trip, containing the mileage.

I found the link road to the supermarket to be closed still as the site is surveyed for safety and for forensic purposes. It seems that the fire was set by three youngsters, out on a Guy Fawke’s rampage like as not. There was no physical injury to anyone but these are three lads who will have their lives blighted by a charge of arson. So far as I understand they have been interviewed and released from arrest on police bail to await a decision on prosecution. I could almost hope that they’ll be subject to no more than an official caution. Arson is, rightly, treated very seriously under English law however, so that’s unlikely. Such a stupid waste for the sake of a misguided prank.

The only impact on me other than regret was the need to drive further round than usual and I shall take a different route over the next few days until the link road is open once more. Looking at the fire-gutted building from the supermarket carpark I suspect it’ll need to be completely demolished, clearing the ground for a little more Bridgwater development and improvement. I shall view that with great interest.

My diversion took me close to the town centre. Close but not directly through it. It’s been a while since I took a trip into the centre, despite the need to visit the bank and the post office, neither of which are situated to fit conveniently into my daily round. I shall see if I can’t persuade Graham that a Costa Coffee trip is a highly desirable diversion. Not too much chance of that this week. He’s more interested in doing stuff to the house.

The fog stayed with us all day, and threatens to be a feature of the weather for the rest of the week. Graham would like us to rent a van and trip up to IKEA to fetch the remainder of the storage furniture needed to set the house to rights. I put it to him that driving in fog isn’t a terribly good idea so he is, surprisingly, content to leave it until next week. That suits me. In bad driving conditions it’s best to leave the roads to those who really need to be on them.

I fancied something a little out of the ordinary for our dinner today so, finding a couple of nice little bacon steaks I opted for grilled gammon with pineapple, topped with a good helping of mature cheddar. The cheddar was no problem but I blanched at the cost of the pineapples and opted for a can of slices in juice instead. Nice enough but not like the real thing.

Used to be that a greengrocer would cut a pineapple into two or four pieces for sale to those who have no use for the full fruit, just as you could buy just two eggs in the grocers and half a loaf of bread in the bakers. I miss that. The supermarkets do the best they can and it really is pretty good but I miss the happy daily provisioning trip along the high street, calling into the shops and exchanging a few words with each shopkeeper in turn. Perhaps next year, when I’ve had time to explore the ground more thoroughly and find convenient parking, or public transport, I shall be able to do that more often. If I can find a suitable bicycle, or trike, it may be possible to do it that way. We shall have to see.

Back home I found the kitchen in total disarray, with Graham fixing the new over-counter lighting. He’d had to empty several cupboards to get the job done so lunch was delayed until he’d finished. Then we had a happy session with him putting stuff back into the cupboards and me rearranging it all back the way I like it. He keeps threatening me with a complete kitchen cupboard and drawer reorganization, saying that I’ve not done it logically.

“What’s logic got to do with it?” I said as I served him his dinner. He tucked into his pineapple-and-cheese-covered gammon steak and a great heap of steaming vegetables with his usual gusto, mumbling something about work triangles and time saving work paths.

When his plate was empty, always gratifying, I caught him in a weak moment.

“What did you just eat?”

“Ummm. It was very nice.”

“Well, thanks. But what was it?”

He thought for a moment, hard. “Ah,” he said. “Sliced pig and pineapple. Very tasty. The veggies were good, too.”

“Right,” I said. “Well done. See what I can do with my illogical kitchen?”

Today’s poem in my OMPOWRIMO effort, number six of thirty, is about the fog. I like fog.


The limits of vision
The fog came today before daylight broke,
settling between and over the houses,
dampening the pavements, dripping the wires.
It is a world without hills and without horizons,
encasing my doings in a bubble defined by
nothing more than the limits of vision.
Beyond that, spectres. Shapes that could
be anything, almost, benign or malign.
My eyes strain to make them out, and fail.
John Bailey
Somerset, November 2006



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