31 Aug 2009


So I gotta write something long and reasonably put-together about lemons. The thing that, naturally, immediately sprang to mind when someone mentioned this challenge was gin and tonic.

So I had a G&T. While I thought about lemons. Yellow, sort of spherical shaped, shiny and uneven, like a pock marked face. Yes, a jaundiced pock marked face. That's it exactly.

So I had another G&T. While I thought about lemons some more. Make you suck your cheeks in. Your pock marked cheeks that is. Ahah - cheeks. Baby's bums with dimples in them. Hmm - don't know much about that - no kids.

So I had another G&T. God. Why didn't I ever have kids? What have I missed in life? I'm gonna cry. I am crying. Tears the shape of lemons. I need another G&T.

I'm in the hospital. I got up to pour another G&T and slipped on the lemon and twisted my bloody ankle. The ambulance men were nice though - they had lemon coloured jackets...

25 Aug 2009

The House

The sky sunk like a hot, wet blanket, smothering the day into darkness; the fields, trees and the hills beyond merged into one another like paint running on a wet canvas; but still it didn’t rain.

I was about half a mile from the house, fascinated as I always am at the changes wrought by the weather on the landscape. My T-shirt stuck to my back in the humidity and I felt sweat trickling under my hairline as I gazed towards the shadowy horizon, trying to make out the shapes of the low hills that populated it.

I leaned back against the stone wall, trying to soak up some coolness from the rough surface, but even the stones themselves seemed to radiate warmth as if in attempt to keep any coolness they contained to themselves.

It had been four days now. Four days of unremitting clammy heat. The whole of nature seemed to be holding its breath, waiting to be released in one great, gasping gush of cool air.

I pushed myself away from the wall with an effort and turned towards the gate to walk up the slight incline that led back to the lane. The lane ended at the house that had been my temporary home now for two months and I approached it, as always, with care, making sure everything was as it had been when I’d come out three hours ago.

But this time something was different. I moved to the hedge line and stopped, trying to work out what it was that had alerted me. The gate was shut as it should be. There was no sign of any car. The house rested in the turgid air, silent and watchful. But something was wrong. I took a couple of steps forward, still keeping close to the hedge, gaining some cover from the drooping branches. And there it was; movement caught briefly where there should have been none; and from inside the house.

20 Aug 2009

Chimneys and Broadband

I’m sitting in my kitchen with the laptop, no broadband and no phone and my house is over-run by strange people and loud noises.

We’re having the chimney lined after all sorts of scare stories about the risk of chimney fires, the chance that the interior brick lining of the chimney’s going to crumble away etc. etc. A couple of months ago when we had the chimney swept I had a good look at the stuff that came down – huge chunks of black, vitreous stuff, the product of too many pine logs burned in the wood burner. It’s quite possible apparently for this stuff to catch fire in the chimney so I put a ban on use of the wood burner until we had it done – much to the disgust of my husband who was convinced it wasn’t really necessary but just a ploy of the chimney sweeping company to make a sale. But he does love his wood burner when the days get cold so eventually, with winter just over the horizon and the thought of another exciting delivery of logs, he gave in. How many people like stacking humungous amounts of logs tidily in the wood shed? Must be a guy thing!

It’s pretty well a whole day’s job and the room where the woodburner’s located is in the middle of the house so I get stuck either on the side where my study, bedroom and loo is, or in the kitchen. Accepting the fact that I’d be spending most of the day making cups of tea and coffee for the workmen, I decided to de-camp to the kitchen with my laptop.

The young guy is up the ladder on the roof, feeding a bloody great silver tube down the chimney while the boss of the operation’s in the sitting room yelling up the chimney to his mate and guiding the silver snake round the inevitable bends (why do they always put bends in chimneys?). While the young guy’s on the roof I get him to dig up the pine tree that’s decided to take root in the brickwork at the top of the chimney. My husband’s been threatening to do that for nearly a year now, since it was just a little tiny treelet, but the pitch of the roof and the fear of heights seemed to put him off. They tell me that if we’d left it there it would eventually have become a full-grown Scots pine growing out of the middle of our house (or what little would be left of it). Actually, thinking about it, it sounds quite fun.

While all this is going on the BT man turns up to try and sort out my broadband which has decided it doesn’t want to share a line with the telephone thank you very much and huffily switches itself off every time someone picks up the ‘phone. That and being abysmally slow (half a megabyte would you believe due to the distance we are from the exchange!) has been thoroughly tweeking my nerves of late.

Now I have broadband back and the phone works too. The chimney’s lined, the roof tree’s been removed and everything’s back where it oughta be. I’m off for a walk with Misty!!

4 Aug 2009

Sea Bass

My hands leaning on the bench either side of the wooden board, I looked down at it. It looked back at me, its single, bright, black eye unblinking.

Rounded nose, a good 18 inches long; this was undoubtedly a wild fish - a wolf of the sea - grown long and sleek, powered by its voracious appetite for young and smaller fish in the warm water around the shoreline. Greenish-black and silver scales clothed the once-powerful body that had spent its days prowling the surf, forcing through the breaking waves, riding the currents, hunting food to provide fuel for energy.

I picked up my filleting knife and started work on the line-caught sea bass, one of a boxful that had just been delivered from Cornwall, all of them tagged so they could be traced to the fisherman who caught them. I took my time, not wanting to give anything but my best work to this beautiful fish. As the flesh came away from the bone the aroma of ozone-laden sea air wafted upwards, a promise of the intense flavour that would reward the diner who had just ordered this simple but exquisite dish of pan fried sea bass fillet served on a bed of sliced tomatoes from Spain, sweet and drenched in sun-ripened flavour.