Sunday, November 14, 2010

The rich have suffered enough*

Small child's well constructed view of the sky, the clouds and stuff like that.

Conversations with my small grandchildren are generally more rewarding than the external regular adult kind I endure most days. Yesterday we wandered around the Foggy Foggy Forrest mulling over numerous important topics mostly stick related. In a wood sticks seem to be of most importance to kids with lots of wild speculation about their properties; who would win in a battle between two people fighting with sticks if one stick was a sword stick and the other stick was a gun stick? That’s tricky, it also assumes that nobody will come along and imagine a hand grenade stick or cruise missile stick and so on. One upmanship is only tolerable up to the point that the game allows, not quite like the real world. Most of today’s sticks were regular swords however, best suited to trashing any remaining nettles, attacking innocent stone walls and testing their metal [sic] against other sticks, normally those still attached to their parent trees.

Above our heads an aircraft was circling in a curious manner, three times it passed over at quite a low altitude. The pilot was in an airport queue no doubt but you can’t help thinking that maybe he needs some where to ditch, a field for a forced language or a clear piece of road to use as a makeshift runway. Thankfully not the case today.

Once the stick debate ran out we moved onto woodland animals, which was the most dangerous? Badgers always seem a bit menacing to me despite their “Wind in the Willows” image and of course foxes, but the ones that actually cause the most trouble to us mere humans are pheasants. Completely stupid and with no road sense every journey around here means trying to avoid the scrawny females and the bright but seriously dim males. As this unravelled we rapidly moved up the animal scales with comparisons of animal battles. Who would win between a lion and a tiger? Seemed to me like a straight draw but if the tiger has his tail on fire then he’d surely be mad as hell and just shave it. Not sure who would be setting the tiger’s tail alight however. Then there are the trolls currently based under bridges looking for a toll or a forfeit, small kids love this idea though they tend to dispute the under-bridge areas as totally troll habitat preferring some ogres or goblins to be under there. Trolls need to sell themselves a little more aggressively in modern film and literature.

Vampire Zombie grandfather (far right) floats around supporting cast of grand kids.

Eventually we moved on from sticks and the call of the wild, random aircraft observations and troll watching back to the house. Here I was about to make a cauliflower cheese. It was something I had been fantasising about for a few days all based around a blurred and recurring childhood memory (that had returned like a long lost postcard back into my head) of eating cauliflower cheese at home with my parents as a small boy in the fifties in black and white. It had been burned in places (a good thing) and contained some of the green parts of the vegetable, these had been coated in cheese and were, as far as I was concerned particularly sought after. I resolved to replicate the suddenly memorable dish from my middle-aged flashback. It seemed simple enough; from ASDA I purchased a cauliflower for a pound (and thanks to a BOGOF offer also received a green and sprouting bunch of broccoli for the same cash), I was all set. I knew a tub of unloved cheese sauce lay hidden in the freezer so I copped that and boiled up the chopped cauli. Then for the cheese topping, this was to be a combination of those exotic cheeses that sleep, untouched in the bottom of the fridge following some cheese and crackers feeding frenzy many moons ago. Those left over flavoured bits with no clear purpose or inherent natural attractiveness, next to the half tub of Philadelphia. These same pieces were duly grated and set to one side, as all the good cooks say. Everything was plopped into a casserole and left under the grill to brown and congeal nicely. Unfortunately when the time came I could not devour the meal with the vigour and enjoyment I had anticipated, in fact I didn‘t touch it at all. Too much home made soup before hand. Maybe tomorrow.

*please ignore irrelevant blog title, allegedly a quote from Peter Mandelson.

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