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10) Cooking is therapeutic. I often cook when I’m not hungry, or when I don’t need to, simply because I need to do something with my hands. I often call myself a Kitchen Witch because there does seem like a certain amount of witchery is involved with cooking; the adding of the yeast, the kneading of the dough, the soaking of the lentils, the washing of the rice, the caramelising of the onions. I love watching my creations taking shape, and I love feeding the people in my life. Earth Mother? Yeah, probably.

9) When I was a little girl I made up a father and older brothers and naively boasted about them in school. I lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone else, or at least knew OF everyone else, and they knew I had no father (my father walked out on my mother and on my sister and I) and certainly I had no older brothers. My insistence that they existed (they did exist in my head, and I talked of them because I felt the need to be protected by more than myself; I didn’t count for much because I was too little and too vulnerable most of the time) made me the weird kid; I was the odd one out and categorised as a liar. I had very few friends.

8) I love fiercely and for always. I can’t seem to help it; it’s the only way I know how to. I am loyal to my friends to the point of ridiculousness (although I will tell them when I feel like they’re being self-destructive/stupid/taking the piss), and I often expect the same loyalty in return. I now have a handful of very good friends I’d trust with my life, and whom I know I can go to no matter what. If I no longer love you, you gave me a good reason to stop.

7) I love aeroplanes. I wish I could have learned to fly, but I am hopeless at maths (anything that isn’t basic maths is beyond my realm) and I was told a long time ago that in order to learn to fly I ought to be good at maths. I drive to the airport and park in a spot outside the airport from where I can watch ‘planes take off and land. That’s my thoughtful spot.

6) I love trains. I was never a train spotter, but you can love trains without being one. My idea of heaven is to go on a long train journey. One of my biggest regrets is never being able to travel on The Orient Express when she was operational; although I was travelling in Europe at the time I could never afford the tickets. I foolishly imagined it would be around for always.

5) I dream of moving to England and living there, but I also know that England has changed since I was last there; I could walk down any road or alley or street in any part of England and not feel brown, but I don’t know if it’s still the same. There are so few countries in the world where you can do that (apart from your home country, of course).

4) I want to be married and I want to settle down, but sometimes I go through moments of  compromising with life or the fates; I will say to them (in the privacy of my head): “If you give me my dream of being published then I will give up on the dream of a husband and children. If I can’t have both, then let me have this one.” Then I will tell myself I’m silly and laugh at myself. Who knows what life has in store?

3) When my father died I wanted to go to his funeral, but I was told in no uncertain terms that I would not be welcome; he married again and had a son and it seemed as if his daughters had never existed. I lost my father too, although he’d never been my father, but I wasn’t allowed to feel anything at his death because it would be abnormal to be sorry that a man who had ignored your existence his entire life had passed on. My father and I were only briefly connected by his genes, and the years he spent married to my mother, and yet when he died I had to take a while to come to terms with the fact that he was gone, and that the reconciliation I had dreamed about would never happen. Nobody wanted it. His son didn’t want it. His parents, my grandparents – they didn’t want it. His wife didn’t want it. His siblings – all of whom outlived him – didn’t want it. Did my father want it? I don’t know, and I can’t ask him now, because he’s dead.

2) I think the Mayans lost interest in their calendar. I suspect they’d be amazed at the sheer panic they’ve caused; I think it was all unintentional on their parts. What Armageddon?

1) I need another cup of tea.

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