Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe ...

The kitchen is warm. No - it is actually unbearably hot. The erstwhile poet/musician, transformed for the nonce into Domestic Goddess, is hard at work. The oven is purring, for she has begun the day by roasting beetroot. There are still ominously red drips splattered over the white sink, as if Lady Macbeth had been washing her hands there, and sticky red blobs show where the cranberry sauce was poured, splashily, like a fine wine, into the warmed jars. (The DG was unhappy with the first batch, the cranberries having been over-long in the freezer, and has ditched it and made another lot.)

The heat is loaded with smells, individually rather wonderful, but together somewhat worrying. The burbling from the cooker-top indicates that it is time for the spiced prunes to come off the heat - star anise, honey smells - and it is time to find the preserving pan. Why, in the name of Christmas, the preserving pan? Well, the DG is very fussy about marmalade, and has just opened the last jar ... Ok, she uses tinned oranges, but there are a couple of red grapefruit to chop up (red again, and sticky) and careful calculations to be made about quantities of water, sugar ...

Why does she never write these things down? Why, indeed, did she not make the marmalade last week? Well may you ask. Could be the same penchant for distraction that has Mr B the musician back at the piano tinkering with an arrangement (don't ask) instead of getting to the church while it's still daylight for a spot of practice. He has already seduced the DG into running through a particularly challenging alto line (Tavener) for Midnight Mass - the other two singers are turning up tomorrow for the (only) rehearsal.

The DG finds herself thinking of Monty Python, as she shrieks at Mr B, currently in full composer/arranger/performer mode. 'Get up to the church!' (He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!) She tests the marmalade, which seems to wrinkle in a satisfactory fashion, slops it into more warmed jars, screws on the tops and leaves them to cool before attempting to wipe off the sticky bits. (More stickiness ...) The preserving pan is incandescent, and defiantly sticky. She fills it with hot suds and leaves it on the stove for when she feels stronger ... Oh God. The brandy butter ...

A friend asked me this morning how it came about that I felt I had so much to do when I was going away on Christmas Day. Quite apart from the fact that all I'm not cooking is the main course - and I always did that with a glass of champagne in my hand - I think part of the trouble is that just right now my head is full of poetry and music and I want to write and sing and .... and ....

Maybe I really need to be a student again. And 45 years younger.

But then I might have nothing to say.


  1. Christine, this made me not just smile but laugh aloud. How many times in the past have I had similar days in the run-up to Christmas? I hope you can soon leave behind the DG bit and get back to the music and words which are calling you. Incidentally, there's nothing wrong with being a student at any age. It's all in the mind....

    I hope your Christmas will be joyous and peaceful and I bet the Taverner sounds wonderful.

  2. Nothing to say. You. Nah, not at any age!

    Mind you I always listen - possibly not agree, but listen.

  3. Wow! I'm sure it all worked out in the end....I hope you had a lovely day.