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Showing posts from August, 2014

It's all jam. Let it bubble.

'I'd never have imagined you in a place like this,' my brother-in-law said last year as we were walking through the apple orchard talking about fruit, new trees, bees and home-made jam. 
I've known him since I was about 12 years old. He married my sister when I was 17. He was on the sidelines of my 'glory' years in the 1980s: that's the superficial glory of too much make-up, big hair and a wardrobe bulging with party clothes rather than any particular achievement. Unless you call walking in 6 inch stilettos while wearing a strapless silver sequinned boob tube and 'spray-on' lycra lilac jeans an achievement. Actually, I'm beginning to think it was! 
30 years later. This summer my day to day wardrobe has consisted mainly of cut off jeans, a t-shirt and flip-flops or wellies, depending on the terrain. (Wellies terrain includes long grass with evening slugs, log collecting in the wet, the nettle choked bramble hedge that skirts the orchard and, occasi…

Belly laughing

"Pork belly," I said. "What did you call me?" Tony asked. This has been an ongoing gag between us ever since we were loading up the car outside Carrefour in Antibes around 2009 and Tony asked me to toss him a packet of freshly cut jambon so he could make an impromptu ham baguette in the front of the car. There were two different sized packets. "Big ham?" I said.  "What did you call me?" he said. Ensuing fits of giggles. 

For me the best jokes are those that arise from silliness because the laughter feels pure, healthy. We're not laughing at anyone, anything. It's all about joy, a lifting of the spirit. 
Hungry Writing Prompt Stand in front of a mirror and laugh for one whole minute. 
Then write about laughter

This was the above-mentioned pork belly. Rind cut off (for crackling), bones cut out (for extra stock flavour in the pan), rolled and ready to tie up.

After my first luscious slow roast pork belly experience at Sosban, Llanelli I've been m…

Out of chaos comes chaos. And the 'Wrapizza'.

Chaos doesn't suddenly descend on a writer's room: it's creeps in, like fog, or mould. There's nothing to notice at first. Then you're forced to acknowledge its small claims over the days, weeks, until one day you look around and realise why you feel so wired. There's no clear route from your computer to your door, the waste paper basket is overflowing, you can't see a single knot of wood on your desk top, loose sheets of paper and plastic sleeves that were once married are now littered everywhere in acrimonious divorce. 

I'm not advocating Pure Order. I like a certain amount of clutter but there comes a point when not being able to find anything leads to tidying up a bit. That point is now.
I wish it had been three days ago, before I decided to make jam from the first crop of Victoria plums from a neighbour's tree. I can't decide whether the chaos flavoured the jam or whether I just don't like plum jam. But there's something not right abo…

Butter butter butter

It's one of those words that starts to lose any meaning and sounds ridiculous the more you say it. Tony and I had a row, years back not long after we'd met, over a butter dish, one I'd bought in a Welsh pottery that he thought was particularly ugly. Okay, it hadn't been used in a while and was sitting in the dark at the back of a cupboard but that's no reason to throw out a woman's butter dish. 
'It's only a butter dish!' 'But it was my butter dish!' 'I'll get you another butter dish!' 'I don't want another butter dish, I want that butter dish!'
Read that lot out loud and you'll understand what I mean about the disappearance of sense and meaning. Although it's only hindsight that allows us to identify, and laugh at, the ridiculousness of those kinds of exchanges. And it was MY butter dish! 
I love butter but even I approached butter-overload yesterday after eating a couple of these apricot flapjacks.

I tasted them fi…