Whilst driving through the countryside this morning I was momentarily overcome by the unalloyed happiness that is afforded me by just being here. It’s the way that each day is spent not looking forward but just looking. An edible metaphor would liken each day to taking lunch in a favourite restaurant that offered a simple set menu with no choices. Occasionally there will be disappointment, occasionally there will be severe diarrhoea but most days I will thoroughly enjoy at least three of the four courses, which is standard fare in any bistro or cantine offering menu ouvrier, and on occasion all four. I have started to chew each day thoroughly before I start the next. The metaphor has more than a hint of truth as we eat at home from a very similar palette, although our own palates lost their taste for meat some time ago: mine still allows the occasional slice of butchery but it is rare….as is the cooking. Yesterday I had potatoes and eggs with which to conjure….as I look up from my writing I see the washing line stretching across the pool to catch the end of day rays. A still, white sheet is embroidered with the shadow of an olive tree, each leaf of each branch clearly drawn, black on white, the whole reflected in artificial swimming pool blue…the blue whitener.
Back to thoughts of food for supper. The choices that I have been busy denying come thick and fast when I am writing because writing reflects reading which reminds me of recently read words that have moved me. Alan Bennet’s “Writing Home” is, like the pool, something that I have been dipping into regularly over the past few weeks as summer starts to make a fist of being who it says it is. His piece on Andrew Motion’s biography of Philip Larkin has made me spit out my wine with laughter, made me wonder at the fluency and ease of his prose and made me lament the loss of the emotive “cunt” to the spoken English language. The zeitgeist would seem to find racial prejudice preferable to the abomination that Messrs Bennet and Larkin both use with care and wit….and back to the potatoes. Nigel Slater is more careful with the written word and it is from his pen that I give you the recipe for this mouth wateringly good recipe….with which we had oeufs mayonnaise and a very good tarte au citron for pudding.