Saturday 29 April 2017

Something rather nice above the wood shed

This year, due to possibly a vast deluge of rain for a day followed by rampantly-hot sun for about a week, all blossom seems to be more copious and flamboyant then I can ever recall.
This Banksia rose that started as a modest twig with about six leaves on it a few years back obviously has a plan of garden-domination and I'm happy to go along with it . . .

Friday 21 April 2017

Dreams and acting on them

I dream a lot and usually remember them, well probably not all of them as there possibly are tens or hundreds per night?
Anyway, I woke this morning with one still present in my head which for a time (as I 'came round' - err, what day is it, etc,) that seemed so real I started to plan the day around it.
As in the dream, I would go to the dump, line up all the disposed-of fridges and spray-can paint 'Stop Le Pen' across them. It seemed like such a perfectly sensible and straight forward idea, something that could be achieved while doing the other jobs in that direction - buy dog crunch, go to the post office and so on.
Then as my brain caught up with the rest of me - already on auto-pilot, tea-making mission, I realised this would be more difficult than the dream suggested.
Our local dump doesn't keep white goods on the premises, (even though I think the guys there would most certainly be into the idea of the graffiti); most fridges are taken away when you buy a new one and end up . . . where? and Mark had the car for the day, meaning I would have to take the train to Carcassonne and walk about looking for a bigger 'decheterie' in which to carry out my political statement, also we had friends staying, food to prepare and all the usual jobs to carry out, SO, I opened for a ink and paper version.

Interesting that I imagined fridges in the dream and not wardrobes, old kitchen units or cookers - something glacial in the offing if, God forbid, she were to get in.

Perfect film endings

I was just adding a bit into my current book where, Hamish - main character - is deciding between watching Withnail and I, Singing in the Rain or the above. This must be one of the greatest film endings ever.

'Well, nobody's perfect'.

Monday 17 April 2017

Vide Grenier (car boot/garage sale) season

And we're off to a good start with this 1970s juicer in perfect working order and with a motor that sounds like it could operate a draw-bridge (think, or maybe don't) of the wood-chipper scene in Fargo . . . I asked the woman how much she wanted and she shrugged as only the French can "Beh . . . trois euro?" I asked if it worked and she eyed me in a friendly but defensive way, "Mais OUI!" It was a bit stupid to ask but I didn't want to lug home a giant piece of orange plastic to find out it would fuse the whole house.
And it didn't. We had fun with withered apples, celery and oranges and the machine duly dribbled out foamy and delicious juice, and deposited a nice brightly-coloured mulch of fibrous material in its box at the back which the chickens went mad over. Cleaning it was a challenge as the special 'key' was missing to demount the various bits but hero husband found a pair of scissors do the job admirably.


Other Vide finds: the lad found found a vintage phone to take apart to make a microphone from (?) and I bought an ancient wooden rocker blotter with which to blot my inky drawings with - the total sum: seven euros for a nice stroll about and a chat with stall-holders.
The last stall had a rather lovely plaster Madonna (Jesus's mum . . . not singer). I asked how much she was but he shook his head: "Pas a vendre, Madame." Apparently, she has accompanied him for forty years as young and older market man; placed out on his tarpaulin along with his goods, overseeing his health and fortune.
Going back to the juicer, think I might approach the Guardian re doing a new column about OLD kitchen gadgets. I love Rhik Samadder's reportage, but I think we need info about vintage, unloved useable gadgets too . . .

P.S: scroll down to find my poet-materialism site which I don't have time to do much on - more old stuff-usage, etc, on there.

Sunday 16 April 2017

Inflated things

I wonder what the daily domestic life of Mr Trump is. Now't I should imagine.
Maybe he should take up cooking to calm himself a little, find something to fire up his creative (?!) side; something to calm those twitchy nerves and divert himself from bigger, longer and more expensive things to fire off.
Egos can be quite happily inflated without having to spend, what was it, fifteen million dollars on that last penile display.


This is my first souffle. Cheese and apple, made with five eggs from our hens. How very satisfying it was to open the oven and take to the table this erect and smoking hot main dish.
Oh, the cries of wonder and amazement. How my ego swelled, and the whole thing only cost about seven euros including the cheapo souffle dish, corn for the hens, cheese, a plop of flour and some milk - maybe factor in part of the cost of the wood for building the chicken pen and perhaps a few pence for the gas used, BUT, it was pure testosterone excitement and totally harmless.
Give the president flour, eggs, a Nigel Slater cook book and a few sharp knives. Either he might whip up something quivering, tumultuous and tasty or perhaps slip on a butter paper and impale himself on a Sabatier, his last phone operation a call to the E.R rather than another victory tweet.

Sunday 9 April 2017

Meat and two veg

Or two veg and one meat, or six veg and no meat, and preferably as un-messed-about-with as possible.
I was fascinated to read Jay Rayner's review of 'Le Cinq' in Paris, a gastro-palace the likes of I am very unlikely to step inside even if I did win the pools which again is highly unlikely as I never do them.
If I did win them, or went out to celebrate the publication of my latest book and its handsome advance ;o) I would probably choose a good Indian restaurant or perhaps somewhere very beautiful with a menu of say forty pounds a head, or perhaps just the small fish restaurant I went to with my son the other day where we sat on a covered terrace looking over the sea and ate lovely fish that still looked like fish.
When did all this farting about with food really start? In the 70s? Nouvelle cuisine, I suppose, but then I just looked that up and Wiki told me that N. Cuisine was actually a movement away from over-faffed food - simpler, fresher, less rich ingredients, etc. So the stuff in eateries such as Le Cinq must be a combination of the two: old classic/ haute cuisine and nouvelle - rich sauces, marinades, gold -leaf, aspic droplets, stuff hanging off bits of other stuff and/or balanced precariously/sizzling, on fire, dry-iced and so on.
When I worked in a 'French restaurant' in Farnham in the early 80s, there was a lot of piddling about with food: placing small bits of meat on top of a carefully sculpted potato with a crescent of sauce, etc, but it still was generally food that you could recognise unlike some of the oddities in Mr Rayner's photos and other over-elaborate messes I've seen while trawling Google for Michelin signature dishes.
Then there's the cost . . . Which would you rather eat?
This fresh fish salad with goat's cheese which cost fifteen euros at the afore-mentioned sea-side restaurant.


Or this depressing lamb thing at a price of ninety-five euros


                      Jay Rayner iPhone photo

Okay, their overheads will be a little different - small town in Southern France compared to a spot on Le Champs Elysees but there must be a happy medium . . .

My favourite part of Mr Rayner's review - the bit about the chocolate pud:

A dessert of frozen chocolate mousse cigars wrapped in tuile is fine, if you overlook the elastic flap of milk skin draped over it, like something that fell off a burns victim.


And it's true. My son turns grey at the sight of milk skin, and I don't think most people find it that appetising, so why drape it (or leave it in a rumpled heap) on some dessert that was probably going to set the diner back sixty odd quid? The subtle use of an edible flower or a nice honest blob of clotted cream instead? But then what do I know? I get excited about a buttered and Marmited crumpet or home-made coleslaw. You eat to live, not live to eat . . .

Love this line I happened to read this morning in Will Self's Psychogeography Too tome:
'Food is just shit waiting to happen'.

Saturday 8 April 2017

Here and Now

I feel it's vital to remember, for us creatures roaming about over the earth and on/in the sea along with all the other mammals and fish going about their (much more sensible and less destructive) lives, where we are and to appreciate it even when dealing with the more tedious stuffs of everyday.
It's good to step outside of all that, into a field, park, or onto a mountain if you have one nearby; or gaze at a lake, a river, or even a municipal pond, just for a few minutes to remember where we are on this amazing ball in space. That's all we really have after all, this time, now, this instant.
A couple of days ago while climbing up into some hills above Port de la Selva in Catalonia, I turned to look at the sea and felt, more powerfully than I can ever remember before, one of those 'Here and Now' moments; points where you know a memory is being laid down, woven into your mind to be there forever, perhaps surfacing on a grim winter morning when everything is monotone and returning to bed with a hot water bottle seems to be an inexorable pathway.
It was perhaps a combination of the smells of new foliage, lavender I had trampled, the birdsong and the wedge of white-flecked sea in the distance. I had flung my arms up and shouted something, I've forgotten what but probably along the lines of 'Here and Now', and stood for some moments feeling the stretch in my arms and the tail of the Tramontana wind in my hair.
Luckily, no one else was about apart from a small hairy dog ahead of its party of walkers who appeared shortly afterwards. It might have smiled at me but it was difficult to tell through the beardy wisps framing its face.


Friday 7 April 2017

Hothouse soundscape

While doing a bit of in-tray sorting this morning, I stopped to listen to the interesting mix of stringed instrument playing going on. Usually it's piano (husband) and guitar/drums or bass (son) this morning's soundscape featured cello rather than piano in some bizarre free-improv thing where neither party were aware of each other.

Well, it was there on the preview .  . .? Maybe it'll turn up later - the video.