Soup anyone?

Here’s a quick recipe:

1 tblsp olive oil; 1 carrot; 1 leek; 1 onion; 1 large spud; 1 cube veg. stock; 400g washed nettles; 50g diced butter; 50ml double cream.

Heat the oil, add the chopped veg and the diced spud, cook for 10 mins. Add the stock, cook another 15 mins. Add the leaves, simmer for 1 min. Blend, season, and stir in the butter and cream.

I wouldn’t use onions myself; horrible slithery, slimy things. I wouldn’t use the cream and butter either.

Nettles only grow near people – not in the wild; isn’t that interesting?


Real Neat Blog Award

I have been nominated by Carll @ The Pine-Scented Chronicles for this award. Here are the rules:

Put the award logo on your blog.

Answer the 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.

Nominate any number of people linking to their blogs and let them know you nominated them by commenting on their blogs.

Come up with 7 questions for the people you nominated.

So here are my answers to Carll’s questions:

Tell me more about your blog; what motivated you to start?

Two things: First, I had just published a book myself on Amazon Kindle and wanted to post excerpts from it on a blog. And secondly, I was tired of creative writing and thought I would post some poems I wrote a long time ago, and also write reviews of other books – which I love doing.

What inspires you to keep on blogging or writing?

I’m enjoying the process; I love to comment on other blogs; talking about books and writing is such fun.

Off the blogs you’ve written, which do you like the best?

I think I like best the review of Patrick de Witt’s first novel “Ablutions” because I love the book so much.

What book or movie best depicts your life?

Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac. She had a very strict father!

How are you coping with lock down?

I hate when all the shops are shut – it reminds me of Sundays long ago.

What three things have I learned during lock down?

I live alone and I love it, and during these days I’m very happy to have an excuse to spend more time alone. I hate wearing a mask – it steams up my glasses. There are two kinds of people – those who follow the social distance rule, and those who won’t.

Give one piece of advice to those who would like to begin a blog of their own.

Have everything clear in your mind; what you want to blog about, how often you want to do it, and learn from those you are following.

Thanks Carll @ The Pine-Scented Chronicles for the nomination, I appreciate it; it’s a real fun thing to do.

My nominees are:

The Travellothoner @ Bombay Ficus

João-Maria @ (CALIATH)

Jan Paul @ J. P. D. T.

Island Traveller @ This Man’s Journey

Sarvagya @ Desproticar

My questions:

  1. How much time to you spend blogging every day or week?
  2. How many bloggers do you follow?
  3. Have you more time to blog during lock down?
  4. Do you have a long list of books to read, music to hear, blogs to write?
  5. Who is your absolute favourite author/musician?
  6. Do you feel under pressure to blog, or write, or review, or read?
  7. Do you really enjoy blogging?

I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.

“Wee Sadie” an excerpt from – We All Die in the End

Sadie checked the plates, shifting bits of cheese and cherry tomatoes. She ate a crust of the bread and put the kettle on and then she stood with her ear to the door.

            “It’s a grand, wee flat above the shop,” George was saying.

            Sadie squeezed her eyes shut and held her breath. Madge was asking how many rooms there were. The kettle hissed behind her and she turned down the gas to hear better.

            “And I’d expect a bit of meat, you know, and maybe a drive on a Sunday. You can have that oul car, parked out there, teach Sadie to drive it.”

            Sadie raised the gas again. Her hands trembled as she filled the teapot. Calm, she told herself, be calm. But the tray shook when she took in the tea and she couldn’t look at either one of them. The knives and forks clattered and the teaspoons rattled and Sadie couldn’t swallow.

            “Have some more bread,” Madge said. “Fill the man’s cup there, Sadie. More cake, George?”

            George ate everything he was offered and kept saying everything was lovely and when the last cup of tea had been drained he asked Sadie to come and look at the flat above the shop with him.

            “Ah no, George,” she said, and backed towards the kitchen. “There’s too much to do – “

            “Go on,” Madge said. “Off you go. Can’t I tidy up? I’m not helpless, am I? Us old people are useful too, isn’t that right, George?”

            George agreed with her and offered Sadie his arm. She went with him although she knew the dishes would be sitting waiting for her when she came home and Madge would have had another couple of gins and she`d still have to make her a fry too.

            George put the key in the hall door beside the shop and stood back to let Sadie in first.

            “It’s up the stairs,” he said.

            There was a strange smell, the smell of somebody else’s house. Sadie held the banister and then let go of its stickiness. It would take her a month to clean the place, she thought. She stood in the middle of the living-room and looked at the fawn-coloured floor and the fawn-coloured chairs and walls and the photographs of George’s family.

            “Will you sit down, Sadie,” George asked.

            Sadie looked at the couch before she sat on it and George sat down close beside her.

            “Could you live here, Sadie? With me? What do you say? Will we set a date?”

            Sadie couldn’t speak. She hardly knew how she had got herself into this position. She remembered the first night when George had asked her to go for a walk, and after that it had seemed impossible to stop. And she didn’t want to stop really . . . only . . .

            She clasped her hands together and nodded once. And then George leaned over and kissed her hard and his hand clamped onto her leg. Sadie let out a squeak and got up, pretending to look  at the photographs. George laughed and slapped his two knees.

            “You’re the very best,” he said, “you’re a great, wee girl. Look around, Sadie. You can do what you like with the place, make whatever changes you like. I`ve done a lot of work already, replaced all the tiling myself, so I did.”

            He got up and led the way to the white bathroom. Sadie stood inside the door and looked at the new electric shower. There was a smell of plaster. George patted everything, the bath, the shiny taps, the cistern, the shelf beneath the mirror.

            Sadie put a hand to her forehead. Impossible to think of being here with him, to stand here in her nightdress and clean her teeth and George in his pyjamas – waiting for her to get into the bed – no! no! She wanted to go home, to tell George she had changed her mind, but he had his arm around her, squeezing her shoulder, saying he’d look after her, and her mother.

10 Tomes!

Here’s a list of the 10 largest books on my bookcase:

Shogun by James Clavell

A Pillar of Iron by Taylor Caldwell

Hawaii by James A Michener

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

and before you think I only read ancient books . . .

Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Does anyone want to add to the list?

Next time I’ll make a list of wonderful authors no one reads any more – a list of 20 this time.

From Scene 9 in “We All Die in the End” Siblings.

“Butter us a slice of bread there, girl, will you?”

            Sarah wiped a knife on her skirt, then buttered bread for the three of them. The back door opened and immediately two brown hens stepped inside, squawked and stepped out again when Sarah threw a towel at them. Martin darted in, smiling, showing them the eggs cradled in his jersey.

            “Good, good,” Sarah and Barney said together, nodding at their brother.

            They looked at each other as Martin carefully set the eggs in a bowl.

            “For tea,” he said. “Two each.”

            He sat down and ate porridge and bread and butter. Sarah poured strong tea and drank, watching Barney, waiting. Barney finished eating, wiped his mouth and felt in his jacket pocket for the card.

            “Look at this,” he smiled at Martin, waving it at him . “Do you know what this is? No you don’t. Well, it’s a postcard. A postcard, Martin. And do you know what it means?”

            Martin watched the waving card, smiling because Barney was smiling. He shook his head.

            “Well,” Barney began. “Long ago, you don’t remember maybe, there was a little boy used to come here to stay. A little cousin, he was, younger than all of us and we used to play with him and tell him stories.”

            Martin listened to Barney, staring into his face, frowning, concentrating, smiling and frowning.

            “Well,” Barney looked around for his pipe. “Well, he’s going to come and visit us. Won’t that be nice now?”

            Martin’s face began to quiver and squeeze.

            “It’s all right, Marty,” Sarah said. “It’s only Dicky bird – you won’t mind Dicky bird.”

            Martin nodded and smiled but the tears began to roll and his nose began to drip. He sniffed and cried harder and then he got up and went to the couch and hid his face.

            “He’ll cry all day now,” Sarah sighed loudly.

            “Godallmighty,” Barney looked at his watch.

            “I`ll have to get back – I’ll ask for the afternoon off – and – eh, we`ll . . . “

            He waved his hand around at the floor, the dishes in the sink, the shovel filled with ashes on the hearth.

            “We’ll – eh – tidy up a bit – for Dicky bird – and food, Sarah! They`ll want to eat. Can you nip down to Higgins` – get ham and a loaf, and . . . a few apples, that should do.”

            He buttoned up his jacket with an effort and went out.

            Martin was quieter now; his eyes began to close and his thumb went into his mouth. Sarah watched him without speaking. Her hand moved slowly towards her book; quietly she opened it. After a while the book slipped a little and Sarah’s head fell back against the high frame of the chair. A hot, close, muggy silence filled the kitchen and the bluebottle was busy again over the fresh spits of burnt porridge.