Alexander Averin

Friday, 18 May 2007

Friday's musings

Dear Diary,

The roses are for Lesley.

I actually wrote this yesterday but as it was my ‘long day’ at the library, I haven’t got round to bashing it out till now, so some bits, like the next snippet, may be ‘old news’.

I enjoyed the Thought for the Day on the Today programme on Radio 4 by Dr Giles Fraser but now I have forgotten what it was about so I cannot tell you the subject of his talk. I must check if they keep transcripts. I don’t know what/who he is but remember being touched by his words.

It was actually a quiet day in the library yesterday, the first day for months when I was able to catch up on jobs and dull but necessary paperwork which I hadn’t had time for before. I had a good tidying and dusting session as well. When I started working there my sister in law asked me if I would have to dust the library (strange question I thought) but indeed I do. The cleaner only has time to empty the bins and do a quick hoover.

Changing Rooms.

As you can see I have gone blue, (no not from cyanosis but on the page). I was bored with the plainness of the white and felt like a change. Typically female M would say, we are always moving round furniture and changing rooms. I have to say he is right there, it is something we women love doing, do you not agree? Even my first granddaughter was telling us the other day that she wants to move her bedroom around.

Do you like the blue or did you prefer the white? As if you care :>)?

Thank you for reminding me that today is the Big Weed day At 4 o’ clock I will be out in the garden for the pulling session (perhaps I shouldn’t use that word?) and we shall all be thinking of Blossom and of course Lesley.


Good news which my son received yesterday. I won’t go into details but it was to do with his work.

Duvets. Do any of you remember the days of sheets and eiderdowns or quilts? And those awful candlewick bedspreads? Whoops, I’m showing my age again.

Reading glasses, methinks they should be number one blessing as I couldn’t function without them. It’ll be a hearing aid next :>)

My three beautiful granddaughters who are the light of my life. They are growing up too quickly. Bless them.

Emails. I am probably repeating myself but how dull life was before this wonderful way of communicating.

Post Offices. It may be a contradiction to the last blessing but we still need these, especially here in these rural backwaters. Why is it that everything we value is under threat? Here I go again. Perhaps I/we should start a rant list?

N, my writing tutor who is so wise, points out the glaringly obvious and guides me in the right direction.

Which leads me on…..

We are lucky if we have people like this in our life and of course those close relatives or very dear friends who act as ‘guides’ in a personal capacity, often without realising they are doing so. People whose opinions we respect when we can’t see the wood for the trees. We have our spiritual guides too, our unseen helpers, of that I am more than certain.

Garlic. Can’t imagine life without it, yet when I was growing up it was unheard of, well in S.E. London suburbia anyway!
I feel a list coming on but it might have to go on the CCW page. We have a big ‘comments’ total to beat there. Famous people, I didn’t join in there, I was feeling a little disgruntled about something, nothing to do with the site, so I didn’t get drawn in. I used to live among the ‘rich and famous’ land (Surrey/Sussex borders) before we escaped to Wales. People I loved like Eric Clapton, (I have always been a great fan of his), Phil Collins etc etc. Phil lived opposite a very dear friend of mine who I lost to breast cancer (God bless you June) and he was always in her kitchen having cups of tea. Their sons played together. It was when he was at the height of his fame. She was completely unaffected; she wasn’t even into pop music and couldn’t understand why people raved about him. His then-wife offered to help me one day when I was struggling with my shopping trolley o in the supermarket, she didn’t know me. A sweet lady. Phil did a lot for our primary school, he is a real sweetie too. Both Phil and dear Eric were more than generous when I was fundraising for our playgroup. As was Mike Rutherford who drove up to London especially to get a gold disc to donate to our celebrity auction. Several of the celebrities in the area donated stuff, I won’t list them all. Penelope Keith donated a measly nothing-special headscarf which I thought very amusing. Mike Reid (Read?) the DJ didn’t reply. When I was in my first job I made tea for Terry Scott, remember him? As a child I walked my dog with Peter Sarstedt, remember him? Where do you go to my Lovely? His brother was Eden Kane, remember him? They lived just down the road.

Talking of Eric Clapton, it reminds me of a true story. An old girlfriend of mine, G, (a Barry Manilow fan, which might explain a lot of what follows!) had a husband D, who was a very keen fisherman, as of course was Eric. They met up when D, a plumber, was working at Eric’s house, got chatting and decided to go fishing together, to somewhere on the South coast, I forget where. Roger Daltrey’s fishing place I think. Anyway they spent a day, just the two of them, fishing and on the way back stopped at a pub for a swift one. They then finally got to talking of things other than fishing and D, who, although not at all old, was a real old fashioned thing, asked Eric

‘What do you do for a job actually?

And Eric said ‘I PLAY GUITAR’ (how’s that for

And D says ‘Oh, are you in a group then?’

I think D dined out on that story for quite a while.

Food Matters

We may live without poetry, music and art;

We may live without conscience,

and live without heart;

We may live without friends;

we may live without books;

But civilized man cannot live without cooks.

Owen Meredith, 'Lucile’


It’s like the subway

In the middle of rush hour

Where some year old mayonnaise

Nudges yesterday’s tuna

For a place in this coveted no-man’s-land

Where leftovers reign supreme

And for this food

It’s the end of the line.

Ellen Fuchs

(Note the the poet’s surname, I’d change it wouldn’t you? :>))

Back to garlic and lists now.

Shall we share our favourite foods/meals/can’t live without ingredients. Might be useful for those days when my mind goes blank and I can’t think of a single meal to cook.

(Does anyone know why dogs whine when an harmonica is playing? I have one playing on the blog and Finn is howling in accompaniament).

Oh thank God it is Paul Weller now, one of my faves. He was in Jam, as was a son of someone I know.

My first granddaughter K is a list maker too like me. I can see a lot of myself in her, except for the fact that she is blossoming in a happy childhood with her own two wonderful parents. K’s Moon is in Scorpio too as is mine, so emotionally we would be similar. I am a great believer in astrology. For my sins I am married to a Scorpio :>))

I do actually have lists of recipes (well I would wouldn’t I?)
and lots of cookbooks on the shelf but I’m sure you know the feeling. When M asks ‘What’s for dinner and I haven’t a b***** clue, I pretend I am on Ready Steady Cook and throw a meal together. Or I say we have got bread and pullet!

My first three must-have ingredients would be garlic, onions and chilli sauce. A special sauce from Barbados which my brother and sister-in-law bring back from visits to their son and his family who live there. No other sauce is as good and S and I are addicted. Chilli IS addictive but it is good for you being anti-bacterial, anti-fungal/viral. S has a friend studying in the Caribbean, Grenada, and she also brought back a nice sauce, almost as good as the Barbadian.

My fave recipe may well be the onion, bacon and potato hotpot a la Pauper’s Cookbook by Jocasta Innes which I mentioned in a previous blog (perhaps I have the taste for potatoes as I am Irish).

I am drawn to vegetarianism (I hate that word, you don’t have meatarians do you? Don’t get me started…) I didn’t eat meat for two years and if I lived alone probably wouldn’t eat it. However I do enjoy a good roast dinner and sometimes it seems to be what I need to eat, do you understand? I smelt my daughter’s lovely roast pork dinner cooking the other day, she was preparing a special meal as it was A’s birthday and it reminded me that we haven’t had a roast for ages. I do enjoy them. Especially in the winter.

(Talk of the Devil, Phil is singing to me now, I Wish it would Rain. No actually Phil I wish it would stop. We have a weeding session later…)

Perhaps I will post this in the main page.

A Call for Recipe Suggestions.

No-one has commented on the boring Purplecoo skool dinners by the way. Who is going to be brave and stand up to Headmistress? Has it to be me? See my blog for suggestions, ideas we could pass on? Let us know your favourite must-have ingredients and also your favourite meals. As for breakfasts, I volunteer to make the porridge in future, I don’t want to brag but I am a connoisseur and you would never guess that I use soya milk. Some of us are lactose-intolerant! I promise to add golden syrup and how about masses and masses chocolate chips? And a huge lacing of Irish whisky?

I’ll sign off now.

Enough said.

But there is just time for a poem. I have decided every blog of mine needs one. It feels undressed without it. Quotations are all very well but they are not filling enough.

I love it but it is wistful for me, not actual, probably about grandmothers I wish I had known or met.


The scent of my Albertine roses
Reminds me of
Ancient linen cupboards owned by great
Dark shiny wood, the aroma of ancient polish
Old fashioned eiderdowns
Lavender talcum powder
Ironed, lace-edged, monogrammed handkerchiefs
Ottomans full of long-forgotten children’s clothes
Mementoes between the layers
Folded tablecloths and marching napkins
Afternoons drinking tea with aunts
Ham sandwiches with the crusts off
Flowery teacups, saucers, silver teaspoons
Sunday afternoons
Windows with lace net curtains
Windowsills bright with red geraniums
A wireless on a special shelf high on the wall
The way my grandmother said “No thank you I’ve
Had quite sufficient
Her papery skin, her Irish eyes.

Julia Fairlie

Bye for now,


Suffolkmum said...

I like the blue page - but then it is my favourite colour. I can remember when duvets first became fashionable when I was little and they were always called 'continental quilts!' I was vegetarian too for a while, and, like you, still think about becoming one again often. But I'm the same - just sometimes, I relaly want a roast dinner or a nice beef stew! I'll have to have a think about my favourite recipes, but I know garlic and onion would feature strongly. That hotpot you mention sounds good. I have porridge with soya too - and maple syrup!

Verityx said...

I like the blue too. V

Faith said...

Coo, that was a long blog! The blue page is fine. Anything I can read is fine! where do you go to my lovely is one of my fave songs - you hardly ever hear it now. Funny you walking your dog with him. My mum had a candlewick bedspread on the spare room bed right to the end. Those sort of things might be naff, but they are comforting. Fave recipe? Anything someone else cooks! But everyone thinks my lasagne is pretty good.

Inthemud said...

I like your blue page! :-)

Loved reading of your reminising of Eric Clapton, "My hero" I adored him, but never met him, & Phil & Mike , I was a great Genesis Fan. You must have lived in Wisborough Green then or very near? I'm just down the road 5 mins.

Being famous must get to be boring, such a relief to be able to be himself and have a cup of tea with someone who doesn't care about fame!

Inthemud said...

Ps Sheets, blankets and counterpanes,Eiderdowns I remember well, I loved being tucked in really tight at night and I'd hardly move, I'd slip out of bed in the morningand no one would know I'd been in bed. Then the advent of nylon shhets, yuk! They were too slippy and didn't tuck in so well, and then of course the duvet ehich always falls off! I have to have a top sheet as well as duvet so I can tuck in! sorry I'm rambling!

muddyboots said...

boy, that was a long one! l enjoy R4s Thought for the Day, despite not being a christian. It was a weird on if l remember, something to do with being nervous before broadcast.. nope it's gone.

l love garlic. fab if you roast a whole head of garlic in oven then eat with fresh bread & olive oil.


I remember meeting my firs tduvet in germany when I was about 10 quite a shock! I thinkwe shold add malborugh hot pot to the menu! I got it form a country living recipe eyars ago and love it still !

Frances said...

Good evening from New York, Cait.
How I do love what you write. It is all over the place, but always in a very good place.
When I am reading what you have written, I do want to have a conversation with you, but do not want to interrupt your train of thought!
Sometimes, you make me realize my age, and sometimes you do make me feel a bit young. (This is a compliment that I will not explain.)
Forgive me if I have asked this before, but did you see the German "Wings of Desire" with Bruno Ganz and our own Columbo, Peter Falk. (Good music too.) How I loved that movie and its celebration of the library.
I owe much of my evolution to a library card. Perhaps many others feel the same.
The color that you choose for your page is very good, and entirely your choice. It is the words that you write upon it that transcend the backdrop.
About school dinners, I have no experience of such from my school years decades ago in Virginia. Mostly, I opened up a metal lunch box and found what my mom had packed for me earlier in the day. I never threw anything away, because I knew that thrift was good.

Pondside said...

I really like the blue, Cait but it is my favorite colour.
Ingredients I always have on hand: onions, garlic, eggs, canned tomatoes, rice.