Monday, June 30

Rose and Apple

'A few drops of rosewater give apple juice an exotic edge. Add two fingers of vanilla vodka to make what shall henceforth be known as a Scheherazade.'

today's treat from The Flavour Thesaurus

Sunday, June 29

I just bought this book

the flavour thesaurus by niki segnit

It was supposed to be a gift but I have already read it too much, I will need to keep this one and buy another.

It will be indispensable on those days when think that I've not got the makings of a meal in the house and then I spot the watermelon and that bar of chocolate at the back of a drawer :

the sicilian dish gelo di melone is a watermelon soup thickened with cornflour, sweetened with sugar, spiced with cinnamon and flavoured with either crushed pistachio, grated chocolate or candied peel, or a combination of all three.

who knew?

Saturday, June 28

When another bottle of milk went missing - part 2

My mother redoubled her efforts.

across the road from their house there is a boundary hedge with a drainage ditch in front of it. The ditch is full of thistles and nettles and long grass and an ideal place to stage a stake out.  Embedding a camping chair in the ditch and dressing warmly, my mother set the alarm again, waited for the milk to be delivered and then went over the road and settled herself into the ditch at about 3am.

Nothing happened

Until 5am when the paper boy came along to deliver the newspapers.

Mum was concerned that when he passed where she was hidden, the boy might see her and be startled, so when he drew near she called out to reassure him

Hello... Hello there ... It's only me!

The boy looked around to see where the voice was coming from - but she was hidden from view and too deep in the ditch and too cold to get up and reveal herself

Dad called her in for breakfast at 6.30 and no more milk went missing and the matter faded away ...

... Until a few weeks later the postman came to the door and said you'll never guess what?... then showed her a video on his phone of a large retriever jogging up the road, carrying a square plastic milk bottle in his mouth.

(continued from previous post)

Thursday, June 26

I've been visiting my parents

and discovered that a great mystery has been solved

My parents live in a quiet farmy village surrounded by other quiet farmy villages. My mother circulates the village on a daily basis armed with a rubber glove and a plastic carrier bag in which she collects any litter she finds; two full bags of discarded wrappers and drinks cans in a single day and once when she pulled something unspeakable out of a tree, these things used to mark the peak of local criminal activity.

until the milk started going missing ....

The village dairy farmer delivers his bottled milk door to door in the early hours of the morning before going home to get the cows hooked up for the next milking.

When milk bottles started disappearing from people's front doorsteps suspicion was cast wide but mainly settled on road labourers and travellers working in the area.

After listening to the gossip, and having lost a few bottles herself, my mother decided to get to the bottom of the thing,  she went to bed early in the evening, set an alarm for 3am (milk delivery time)  at which time she went and stood sentinel by the bedroom window where she had a view of the front doorstep but dad said that her standing like a statue in the dark room was a bit weird and he couldn't sleep - so when nothing had happened by 4 she went back to bed.

... to be continued

Got a letter from the FBI today

NW WASHINGTON, DC 20535, 0001.


This is to acknowledge the receipt of an email from the Federal Ministry of finance Nigeria ... to notify you that I  and Mrs. Pamela Helen Brooks (The financial expert working with the World Bank) have perfected every arrangement for your approved fund valued 10.5 million usd. to be transferred into your nominated bank account without any further delay.

Gonna head into town and buy me some new celebration underpants

I also get letters from sexy girls who want to marry me - do you think it's because of all this money I have?

Tuesday, June 24

Giraffe Man visited the Brain Dctor yesterday

he came into the waiting room very slowly because his square-haired wife clutched him tightly and walked with great care - her dark glasses were very dark and I thought she must have gone blind but once she had sat down she took them off.

I asked her if she was enjoying our new hot summery weather

the hot weather makes it more difficult to walk because the straps keep slipping off my sandals

I could see that her feet were not-quite-strapped onto a pair of shiny-looking leather soles.

I said that I'd seen some rather good woven loafers in Debenhams but she looked sad and said that there were no shoe shops where she lived.

In the afternoon my favourite patient visited, dressed in Parisien Chic, she is very deaf and has Alzheimers. She tells me that she is about to move house, she knew she had to do it but she had got the date wrong and thought it was next month but in fact it's this month and now she must get rid of so many things

I had to give away my fairground horse

Friday, June 20

More words

from the Futility Closet today

my favourite is

n. a coward

A posse of black girls

in black and white school uniforms were at the end of the road when I set out for the Brain Doctor's.

Half of them broke off - racing to a lamp post and back. By the time I reached them they were back together, the sprinters breathless and laughing, a lot of chat with heavy swearing.

The tallest one was talking over everyone, über-swearily while bouncing on the spot, about a soon-to-happen race.

Her friend who hadn't been running interrupted her


you are so fucking ...

 (long pause trying to place the right word)



the hedge was wild and woolly

the baby birds are fledged

I clipped away at the vegetation to remake my invisible nudie spot at the back of the garden, uncovering this nest

designer's notes: sheep fleece woven among twigs accessorised with blue plastic string. Under layer made from the ginger fur that remains after a tomcat fight

It smells animal-ish

Wednesday, June 18

Best thing

currently in the Jamaica Street Artists studio is Rose Vickers' quilt made of old rulers

Tuesday, June 17

I got an emergency text

from the lady who can't fold things.

can you help - my mother is coming to stay - can we make the flat look normal

i wasn't sure what that meant

do you want me to make it look nice

no my mother would never believe that

Monday, June 16

A man who looked like a giraffe

turned up at the Brain Surgery today accompanied by a short lady with square hair.

Giraffe Man had long white legs with markings and white mid-calf socks pulled up tight and tan sandals, he also wore pale beige shorts with the waistband way past his navel area. He moved in that way giraffes move - like a swimming rockinghorse.

He parked Square Hair Lady on the sofa then he swam in to the Brain Doctor's consulting room. She told me all about her knees showing me which one bent and which one didn't

I've had it operated on and it's a disaster but the woman at the clinic said I shouldn't ask to have it done again because I might lose the leg or even die

Saturday, June 14

While I was away ants moved in under my plants

I've engaged in counter-terrorism but I suspect I might not win this one.

I thought my Lady Garden was all about growing things but actually it's nothing to do with gardening. I live at a comedy nexus, a street theatre leyline - the combination of junction, steep hill and lamp post outside my front door makes a natural stopping place - for passersby to collapse breathless or ramp up that argument that's been brewing the last half mile.

If I time my ant-bothering correctly I can watch the schoolchildren washing up and down the hill.

One group of boys comes down later than the others,  I hear them from the top of the hill practising their gangsta speak, one boy voice-raised trying to tell the others important things over their rapping lyrics and beatbox sounds. They come into view practising their moves ... head bobs, shapes with the fingers.

Arriving at my ant-ridden planters, they cluster together and work out the song that's brewing

mm chukka mm chukka mm chukka mm chukka mmmmmm

I'm chillin'    she's willin'    got the feelin'     it's reelin'    hey baby hey baby .... mm chukka mmm

Thursday, June 12

I passed Drunk Trike on my way to the Brain Doctor's

She's looking a bit porky

 I think it's too much junk food

Happy to back with the Brain Doctor.

A very old and tiny patient comes in regularly, today she peeped over the edge of my desk and pushed towards me a card that she had cut down from a card someone had given her.

On the back of it was written the address of someone she thought I might be interested in.

Monday, June 9

The passage to Dubrovnik

began reasonably well, the plane stayed in the air all the way to Split. We deserved to be ripped off by a taxi because there was a neat bus that went all the way to the doorway of the hotel in Split and we were too stupid to notice.

Next day at the bus station we caught a bus to Dubrovnik and discovered just how unhelpful bus-related employees can be. Also I discovered travel sickness for the first time since I was eight years old.

Shared Space Croatian Style

When a motorbike doesn't want to go in the direction of the one way system it gets onto the very narrow pavement behind a female pedestrian and trails her all the way to the junction.

Sunday, June 8

The holiday bungalow

in Dubrovnik is in the grounds of what should be an imposing mansion but the Grand Palazzo next door has menaced it into submission.

To get to there we have to heft open the gate-like-a-prison-gate then up steps-and-path steps-and-path  until we reach the door that marks the threshold of the path to the grove of trees surrounding the place where we will stay for four days.

There are windows around the walls and also big french doors all along one wall and windows are also in the ceiling. The bathroom and bedroom are divided off with walls that don't go right to the top so the light from all the windows can be everywhere. The bungalow is mainly painted in different shades of apple and lime green. Cobalt blue is added in the bathroom and the bedroom has a pink ceiling. The vegetation grows much higher than the roof adding filters and shadows to the sunlight that's trying to pour in.

Lottje is waiting for us, sitting at the white dining table set with a big bowl of strawberries which we must dip into grainy honey and eat while she tells us about buses and boats and also some sad stories.

this all happens before we take the boat to Starri Grad

Saturday, June 7

the old centre of Starri Grad has streets of polished marble

In the olden days all visitors and horses must have been fitted with special shoe covers to get the streets this shiny. Closer to the central church the streets get narrower and coming out into the big square brings on vertigo.

I chose the room in one of the oldest towns in Europe through my telephone. I liked that it was next to the church and didn't pay any attention to the size. We had to step down a deep step into the tiny kitchen, we two and our luggage could only just squeeze in to the space and we had to take it in turns to breathe. The bedroom was bed-sized and up against a glazed door next to the pavement. There was a net curtain but, as we could hear every inhalation of passersby, we were pretty sure they'd notice the Man's snoring.

The boat from Dubrovnik arrived in Hvar town at eight fifteen in the evening, the guide book tells us that Hvar Town is where the Jetset stay and all the paparazzi come here. Starri Grad is the other side of the island. I was sure there would be a bus to take us there.

There was not a bus so we took a taxi. The taxi driver assumed that we had made a mistake, he kept asking if we were sure we wanted to go to Starri Grad, when he dropped us off he said.

next time you stay in Hvar town, Starri Grad is very quiet.

No cars can come into the polished area so we had to find our way in by ourselves. From the outside you see the church tower but once into the streets they are too narrow and house walls too high to see.

I saw Ljublinka's silhouette - her daughter had told her we were coming so she went outside and waited - like a lighthouse to guide us in.

Friday, June 6

I left Starri Grad yesterday

Today I've been shooing out the strange odours that have taken up residence and been having a party in my home while I've been gone, some of them I tracked down straight away, the long-forgotten piece of broccoli, vases of not-quite-dead flowers that I hadn't the heart to throw out before I left - others are still evading me

I did some drawings. They might appear here
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