Sunday, April 27, 2008

On breakfast, cats and paving slabs

(Originally written on march 27th)
I’m one of those obnoxious people who generally irritates the “one of the guys” type person by being totally unmoved by, wine, beer, alcohol in general (except good single malt peaty whisky) top models, cars, sport, who won anything, politics and outsized breasts containing implants, and food. I could quite happily live on, and can’t wait till they start producing, food pills. Think of the time wasted in shoveling all that food down your gullet. So many other things to do. Having said this however, breakfast is something I would not give up. It is the only meal I actually look forward to. To lighten the mood after the diatribe on asthma, something a bit lighter is called for so...
Woozle’s perfect breakfast
Premiss: Breakfast must be consumed alone. Wives children, partners must be completely off the rack, phones must be off the hook and impending visitors discouraged. Breakfast in company can never be a really satisfactory breakfast. So the perfect breakfast consists of:
three or four, (depending on the hunger level) slices of toast at just the right stage of toasting – a light fawn colour in the middle with slightly darker toasting round the edges. Homemade bread preferably, ideally including a cup of crushed almonds or walnuts
A green banana. Not quite the green of the arrwow on the tool bar but getting on that way. The banana should be well mashed with no lumpy bits.
Nutella or inferior chocolate spread substitute spread on the toast so that it looks like an artex ceiling. Not too thick, not too thin. Fork , or spoon if you are common riff-raff, the banana onto the bread ensuring that the banana and for that matter the Nutella are spread right to the edge of the toast. This is most important. An optional addition could be cocoa powder or mint-flavoured drinking chocolate power lightly dusted on top but often in the morning this is a little too much and not appreciated.
Coffee. Extremely hot. Now having tried all sorts of coffee, Turkish, Greek, Italian, American, Senegalese (if I remember correctly) all prepared by natives and filter coffee in all its forms and plunger coffee and so on, I still prefer instant. I know living in italy this is probably sacrilege but that ‘s how it goes. One tea-spoon of normal instant coffee granules, a small token amount of sugar and slurp of milk in order to bring the finished colour to that of the up-side of a milk-chocolate digestive. The toast should be placed on table ready and the coffee extremely hot shoved next to it as soon as the kettle boils.
Entertainment. The stripper, TV or computer must be on and the/video/dvd/radio prog or internet prog must be ready to go at the click of a mouse or push of a button. Preferably, well almost compulsory for a really good breakfast, the program must be funny.
Woozle’s best programs for successful breakfasting (in order).
Stuart Maclean (vinyl café), Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard , Tom Stade, Bill and Ted's most excellent adventure (film)
Most successful breakfast listening to date:Fake interview with bush and often having to spit bites of toast out led to a dramatic five-toast breakfast with double banana ration.
Things not to do: do not wash the food down with coffee. This cloys the taste buds and is anyway something The Mater told me never to do (sound advice)
Variations on basic excellent breakfast. I cannot take credit for this as it was taught to me by Max the Piper. Coffee as above. (A wee note here, Tea, will not do. Tea does not mix with either the banana or the Nutella). Toast spread with a slightly thinner layer of nutella than above and, instead of banana, and here you can determine the absolute genius of this guy, spread with Jam. Practically the only jam suited to this is blueberry though other berry-type jams will suffice if blueberry is unavailable. The darker the substitute jam the better.
The best breakfast I’ve ever had. The best breakfast ever (of the out-of-house variety) was consumed in a café in Wooler in the Scottish Borders. This was of the full cooked breakfast with tea variety (in the days before I found that I hated milk in my tea). Up the steps onto the concourse, café next to the butchers (I think). The breakfast: two highly peppered excellent Scottish sausages, 4 rashers bacon, well cooked, double egg, two or three mushrooms, fried mashed potato, fried bread, 4 slices of toast, two cups of tea (one free), idle chit chat with an extremely pleasant lady about borders happenings i.e. the nooky bus, pub crawls, deer, the bakery, and, funny enough my family (from borders) hence the extra cup of tea all consumed in a convivial atmosphere in the warm at 7.30 in the morning if my memory serves me well after a hellish cold night in a tent on the campsite. It was all rounded off by a now rare event, hence worth talking about, a cigarette to accompany the final cup of tea. Well that’s it. Breakfast this morning was with banana. Still laying paving stones. Excellent job. I’m not using cement or sand. Just bedding the stones down with earth. There is an underlayer of modified clay in the valley, called red earth here which is ideal for laying things in as it sets quite hard but allows things to grow in it. I will seed between the stones with grass and violets and maybe primroses when finished. The excellence of the job lies in the fact that you can legally grovel on the ground and scratch the earth and touch it and get dirty and wipe it onto your forehead and get into weird positions with total impunity. In fact it is a must. The weather today was very warm 19 deg.Celsius so I was working in a t-shirt so I could get really dirty. The trees are beginning to bud, all the daffodils are out, and there are hundreds of them here with a scent which will knock you out if you breathe too deeply. Then there’s the violets, pinks, small purple things whose name begins with bur-something, daisies, primroses by the ton, the plum tree is in flower with an incredible scent too and the number of birds tweeting everywhere means that you have something to listen to all day. The ravens were circling overhead most of the day as were the buzzards. The ravens haven’t been around for a while now. You see the occasional one but no more than one until today. The wrens, and robins and blackbirds were going nuts in the afternoon. Ticking and tweeting and whistling. The cats are obviously on heat as well because there were three males all young and virile chasing Buggy. The story of Buggy’s name is quite interesting I think. She got it because when her brother popped out into the world the expression on his face was sort of “Bugger me, I’m born!!” So naturally, he was called Buggerme. Buggerme’s brother who had a similar expression, was called, again quite naturally, buggerme’s brother. He was never very sociable even just after birth and so we never got to touch him until the time came to get the whole array of cats sterilized. So we laid cat traps and eventually caught him. We couldn’t afford to sterilize all of them, we had dozen or so so we did the females. When I had sexed Buggerme’s brother at birth I obviously didn’t look too hard, or else the bits were very big as he turned out to be a she. The name changed to buggerme’s sister but that didn’t sit right so as buggerme ended up face down in a water butt the name buggerme passed on to her. Hereditary sort of thing. With English speaking guests about the place, when the cat’s food was served I couldn’t very well shout ‘hey bugger me!’ Without attracting unwanted attention so the name was shortened to Buggy. And so it has remained. Other cats names, Cilla (pronounced chilla), gatto rosa (pink cat) who was so named because I swear he was pink when born, numero uno (number one) because he was the first born, mini micio (little cat) because he was the runt, the smallest. The father was Simpaticone (lovely cat) as he had a really nice temperament. The best cat in the world. Unfortunately, like all the best artists, rock stars and generally talented people he got taken away, literally, by a buzzard. The sight of it still haunts my sleep. Any fluffies who reckon that mother nature is kind should think again. So anyway, grubbing around on your hands and knees getting filthy with the smell of earth and humus and the feel of it on your hands and down your neck and in your undies is absolutely the best feeling. When I was a kid I used to play with mud pies and my mum would get furious. Now I can do it with the wife’s approval. The best thing is when you get right down into it, digging a hole for example. Then you get total contact. Last summer I think it was, it was up in the 38-40°c mark and I was digging out behind the house making terraces and working in a swimming costume. I was already brown before but when I finished I was more afro-european in colour, but with streaks because of the sweat. Great fun. The feeling, especially the scent, is one I will remember well into my tomb. The other great thing about digging here is that, when we bought the house I started to find bits of pottery which I spent hours trying to decipher (now I am a bit of a local pottery nut) and then a coin or two so I bought a metal detector. So every time I dig anywhere, and I do a lot of serious digging, I pull out all the little bits of pottery and then pass the metal detector across everything I dig. The result has been astounding, but will have to wait until I get enthusiastic enough about that to scribble something down. I have to start giving myself a writing limit or it’ll end in divorce. Now off to feed the beasties and look at the moon and tonight, as there was a wind yesterday, the milky way.

No comments: