Well, this week’s blog has a tawdry, hungover, morning-after-the-party, stale-coffee-and-cigarette-coated-tongue feel to it.
I mean, the last few days have seen a birthday, Easter, a royal wedding-cum-public holiday, the seriously underdressed Beltane festival on Calton Hill and a new series of Doctor Who. After all that, I guess the only thing left is to fold away the bunting and wait patiently for Christmas. (Somehow a referendum on adopting the alternative voting system on Friday doesn’t set the heart a-skipping in the same way – can’t imagine why.)
I’m writing this a day early, on Sunday, May Day, as I have to be away from home for a couple of days (so apologies, I won’t be able to respond to any posts till mid-week at the earliest). Many years ago I used to be a Morris dancer – think bells and cudgels and real ale – so May 1st is always associated in my mind with getting up at 4am and driving off to Brackley market square to dance the sun up, which usually happens around 5.35am. We’d get a surprisingly decent crowd shivering on the cobbles, then it was into the pub for a cooked breakfast (ah, bacon – the curse of vegetarian taste buds) and some music.
Some years we used to “beat the bounds”, an old custom where you process around the old parish boundary, marking key points with dances and beats of the drum. (Because your parish was the most important unit of local government for centuries it was vital to know its limits.) Delightfully, these days the old boundaries are often obscured under housing estates. Few things are more satisfying on a cold morning when you’ve got up at 4am, than to stroll into a housing estate at a quarter to six beating drums and shouting – and when people come out to complain, thrusting a collecting hat under their noses! (Of course, Britain has rigorous gun laws – I don’t suppose it would work so well everywhere.)
Still plagued with this persistent cold – I no longer have to look phlegm up in the dictionary, having a daily yellow rohrschach test in my handkerchief – I have ploughed on with the gansey, and am well advanced down the sleeve. I’ve just reached the tipping point, the moment when feel you’ve decreased enough to really get the effect as you knit, it all starts to speed up like a spider zeroing in on the centre of its web. Also, I’m still on my second 500g cone of Frangipani 5-ply yarn – only just, though. I’ll still have to break into the third cone to finish it.
The bread this week is a toothsome ciabatta, a very soft dough that is ideally mixed by machine. Not being able to afford a machine I relish the challenge of doing it by hand, though a stranger observing me through the window may have wondered why I was making love to an octopus (as in the great Simpsons mafia joke, “No, I didn’t say he was dead, I said he sleeps with the fishes…”).
As I say, hopefully I’ll catch up on Wednesday. Till then, enjoy the Spring and good luck with the Easter chocolate withdrawal symptoms!