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Showing posts from June, 2015

Just a sandwich

It comes back to me as I'm spilling rocket onto a wholemeal wrap, slicing cucumber and spring onions: my sister, Shân, asking me if I'd like a salad sandwich.
It was hot that week during the summer of 1984. I was still living in Jersey and had come home to Wales for a visit. My nephew, Gareth, is a baby. My niece, Sarah, is seven. My brother-in-law, Stephen, has driven the four of us here, 65 miles from Port Talbot, in their racing green mini: the M4, the A48 to Carmarthen, then west along the A477 past the farms of great-grandmothers we are yet to learn about, towards Pembrokeshire and Freshwater East, to the first floor flat with a tiny balcony overlooking the bay. After dropping us off he has headed home again to pack the rest of the week's necessities into the little car. 
Hungry Writing Prompt Write about packing the car for a road trip
This is the only photo I can find: me and the kids outside the flat's front door just before sunset one evening. But there are more, I…

Appetite: Mara Bergman's New York poems

On the flyleaf of the Everyman anthology, Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, poems about food and drink, it says:
Eating and drinking and the rituals that go with them are at least as important as loving in most people’s lives, yet for every hundred anthologies of poems about love, hardly one is devoted to the pleasures of the table.
And yet without food and drink there would be no love. Literally, on the fundamental levels of survival and the biological impulse to procreate, but food is also bound to our emotional, psychological and intellectual experiences, to our memories, to the people in our lives. The sound-bite 'we are what we eat' transcends our physical compositions: we are what we have been fed, what we have shared with others, what we have offered as sustenance. 
I like reading about food in people's stories, novels and poems. Feel bereft, and irritated, when characters meet in restaurants and the writer overlooks the menu completely! Food gives us a sense of who a person i…

Grow

I am learning it all over again: the delight of picking and eating something you have grown. But perhaps it's not 'all over again', maybe it is for the first time. Dad has kept a vegetable garden since the late 1950s, ever since they moved into the house he and Mam still live in, so as a child I was used to a home-grown harvest of runner beans, broad beans, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, and onions with their tops bent over to help them dry a little while still in the earth before being plaited into strings and wintered in the dark of the redundant coal bunker. But 'delight'? No - I took it for granted. These were the years when most people grew something in their gardens; there was nothing unusual about it. It was part of life, part of feeding yourself.
The year after I moved in with Tony he ploughed up half an acre in a field at the front of his house and planted enough vegetables to feed a small village, if they'd all been famished on exactly the same day. The i…