Jam. Making it is not rocket science, but the food fairies in Whangarei have come down on a charity shop run by and for the local hospice. Seems the hospice has been selling home-made home preserves - jams and pickles - that weren't made in a special kitchen. The Regulators have decreed that if you're preparing food to sell, it must be made in a seperate kitchen. So, the jams and pickles are off the shelf. A pity, because the hospice was clearing a solid 15 grand a year from them.
Now, if I were to buy a pot of home-made jam from a charity shop (something I've done many a time) I understand that it's been made by someone's granny who's been making jam for 900 years, and who knows how to sterilise a jar. And if a bug gets in, well, I knew it was home made. That's the risk you take with home-made food. Actually, I eat home prepared food every day, and yes, it will probably kill me. Something's got to, after all.
This is, as they say, petty bureaucracy gone stoopid. Everyone who buys that damn' jam will know its provenance. And I really don't want some shiney-bum with a clip board telling me what common sense is.
Marmite. The world is split into four main people-groups: Them as what eat Vegemite, them as what eat Marmite, them as what don't particularly care for either, and crazy Norwegians, who eat pickled herrings. Actually, they may pickle them at home, under dangerous conditions, so they can't be sold to raise money for the local seal hospital. Who knows? Who cares? The only thing that is for real and damn' sure is that the TV commercial for Marmite is, quite possible, the best TV ciommercial I've seen in the past year. Bravo.
Marmosets. These are strange creatures from a strange country that probably isn't Alaska, although it is hard to think of a stranger place than Alaska. And I've just realised I've made the rather startling claim that Alaska's a country, which I am sure will be news to anyone who lives there. But the point about marmosets ( and pink iguanas, which have just been discovered, appropriately enough, on the Galapagos Islands) is that they wouldn't, shouldn't, and couldn't exist except for evolution. It's good to keep these things in mind in the year we celebrate Darwin's 200th birthday. Here's looking at you, old chap. But let's not forget Wallace, who was coming to the same conclusions at the same time, and who graciously bowed to Darwin's greater scholarship.
Thursdays. I am pretty sure that best day of the week is Thursday. One: there's no-one named Thursday that I can easily think of (Tuesday Weld, Wossname Mundy the killer, Joe Friday, Man Friday, and I'm sure if I really concentrated I could come up with a Wednesday... Yes! The startling woman who had a parrot named Pavarotti. It'll come to me...) And two: It's the day before Friday. I get to spend Friday selecting books for a gazillion people who can't get out of their house. Hell, some of them can't get out of bed. I've sold one of my customers on John Connolly, which has to be a good thing.
Reading: Not John Connolly, although he's publishing another kid's book. Read about it here: The Gates . Gosh - I think I've made a linky thing. No, I'm reading a Hellraiser comic book, and Sophia McDougall's "Romanitas". It's my third attempt: wish me luck.
Listening to: Led Zeppelin, "Mothersip". And I don't feel old at all.
Word of the day: Jam. Make it. Eat it. Allow charity shops to sell it.
“She can't read, you know,” said Mum.
“I thought we'd had this conversation, Mum. She's a teacher at kindy,” I said, as gently as I could. Mum gave me a withering look, and wagged a finger. “Not Lady Diana,” she said. “Wendy. She can't read. Got something wrong with her brain, and can't see words straight.”
“That's what it is.” she agreed, nodding. “Now, what say I mix up a batch of ginger crunch while Wendy's doing the dinner?”
“Oh, Mum, would you? That'd be marvelous.” It looked as though I was going to Princess my way out of doing any work at all for my special night. I went out to the garden, to help Wendy.
I found out a little later that when she had to room to herself, Mum grabbed the phone, dialed the Vicarage, and made some arrangements of her own.
Within minutes, it seemed, the kitchen was a-bustle with activity. Mum mixing and measuring, Wendy frying, peeling, and slicing. And sure as eggs are ovum, Russel came in to see what the smells were all about.
“There's nothing I like to see more than women, hard at work in the kitchen,” he grinned. See what I mean? Useless. Wendy turned around to see who was talking, and I heard his jaw hit the ground. “Crikey, Wendy! Who did that to you? Was it Johnno?”
“No, it wasn't Johnno. Why does everyone want to blame Johnno?He'd never do this sort of thing.” She was close to tears again, and I waved at Russel, hoping that he'd tone down the smart-arse comments.
“Sorry, Wendy.” He sounded genuinely contrite. “But who was it? Jeez. Are you all right? Sorry. Silly question.” He was starting to trip over his tongue, so I interrupted.
“We found Wendy a little earlier, Useless. She's OK, and she doesn't want to talk about it. She's going to stay with us tonight, and help us out with the party.”
He shrugged, accepting that there were things a 15 year old didn't need to know, and grabbed himself a can of Coke from the fridge. I was itching to know about the game, but didn't dare ask. I was really conflicted about the whole thing. I was genuinely and passionately opposed to the tour, but I still wanted to know how well our teams were doing against the Springboks. And today's match was a special one: Taranaki was a team that Chutty followed with a passion – he had been born in Hawera - and he made sure that we were all supporters as well. If the Taranaki team ever came to Hamilton, just up the river a bit, we'd be the locals who were cheering for the visitors. None of us expected the Taranaki boys to beat the 'Boks, but we hoped we wouldn't be thrashed. And I also hoped against hope that the protesters had managed to really disrupt proceedings.
By the time 4.30 rolled around, we were pretty well set. The curry was gently simmering, and sending the most delicious aromas around the house, all the vegetables were peeled and prepared, and Mum's ginger crunch was cooling on a wire rack. I put the coffee-maker on, broke out the sherry for Mum and green ginger wine for me, and we all relaxed, chattering like magpies. All we needed to do now was cook the veges, and that would be that.