Monthly Archives: August 2012

Holiday Beer Goggles

This is just great, look at this.  It’s so much better than the way I live my life at home and I know why: because it’s simpler and there are only 2 rings on the kitchen stove. Why do I think I need more? Mostly for resting another unfinished pot on, but you wouldn’t do that if you lived here. You’d just eat everything straight away and you wouldn’t eat so much because it’s more delicious and there would be no Fox’s biscuits in the cupboard.

And you wouldn’t eat Heinz and Hellman’s because you’d be so pure and carefree, the food wouldn’t need it. You’d just grow all your own veg and it would be ripe all the time and extra-nutritious and when you felt hungry between meals you’d basically eat nuts. And you would go hours- days- without even thinking about chocolate and, if you did, it would be the 100% cocoa solids type, which is the equivalent of picking the bean off the tree in an organic way.

And you’d have so much less stuff and bed linen. You wouldn’t have a drawer full of miscellaneous items (why would you ever need rubber bands here?) or a box of wrapping paper or extra bathroom wotnots because you’d just use the essentials. That’s why you’d be so happy and friendly to strangers.

And none of your energy would go into soft furnishings. You wouldn’t need cushions or throws and nothing anywhere on the floors, unless it’s a really practical rug for collecting the water off feet or an exquisite one woven in good colours. And another reason why everyone here is smiling is that they know you just need a few effigies of Mary the Mother of God on the wall or a locally-made ceramic plate and absolutely no photographs.

And you’d be uber-relaxed the whole time because people here don’t do admin. They don’t have car insurance or diaries or passports. In fact, I bet hardly anyone here has a bank account- you just wouldn’t need one.  Because say you went into the city to buy a floaty dress or some stylish sandals or to eat at a restaurant with delicious ancient recipes and white tablecloths and cold wine glasses, you’d definitely have enough in your beautiful leather wallet.

Everything you’d be doing would be so natural and simple and authentic.

And when you went to buy flowers from the market- which you would do every morning, with your long hair- you would just swap it for the passata you’d made or the singing you’d do for them at the Christening of their niece.

And you’d always be tanned and laughing because you wouldn’t have to remember family birthdays and if you did it would be in a really genuine way, where everyone celebrates by dancing till 1 in the morning under the stars; it would have nothing to do with ordering from Amazon.

And you’d be drinking local firewater but not so much you’d have a hangover- more a dizzy swirling of bees above the head, like in cartoons. Yes, hangovers would be comical here. You’d have a laugh about them!

And you’d mostly wear white and you wouldn’t need to go to the hairdressers and you’d never have to de-tox because you hadn’t been eating tomato ketchup or thinking dark thoughts.

And the days would be longer and emptier and you’d be full of energy and inspiration to pour into a creative project- a meaningful, single-minded one, like re-creating the anatomy of a bee using minute mosaic tiles hand-painted by an old master craftsmen in his charming, decrepit studio on the outskirts of the village.

And the kids would run wild and free and grow bleached hair. They’d never need to learn an instrument or stroke plastic toys and they’d stop being interested in computers because they’d be tripping along with sticks and hoops in the local squares, licking ice-creams all the time.

And when they got a bit older they wouldn’t get into any trouble; they’d just jump on Vespas with other good-looking teenagers and drink Fanta till 2 in the morning, cracking jokes and doing cheeky dances in their long shorts and plimsolls and knowing what it feels like to feel alive inside.

And ‘so long’ to Facebook because no-one here has ever even heard of the internet- you can tell. I think the stove-top rings and soft furnishings and Facebook are at the heart of what gets me down at home. People might think the swimming pool helps but I think that if you lived here you could strip it right down and pretty soon all you’d need would be an espresso machine and a lipstick.

I wonder if I could move my entire life here with no Facebook and be in one of those articles about people moving their families to the coasts of Guadeloupe and rubbing sand into their children’s body all day and night, in-between eating oranges and not looking at Facebook.

I wonder if I could leave every worry and fear right back there in that dishwasher guarantee direct debit standing order pile and start living a real life here, buying all my meat from large, cigar-smoking men in candy-striped aprons who’ve wrestled the animal to death themselves while smoking.

I’d never need to go to the doctor or sleep with the Vicar or pay taxes or argue with anybody ever and I’d hardly need an income because I’d be eating figs all the time and being content.

And it would be even better if I could get rid of the whole family and just live in a tiny apartment with shutters and walk around in leggings like Jeremy Irons at the end of Damage, where he manages to survive causing his own son’s death by carrying a string bag and eating comte.

So if I can shade the screen of the iPhone from this perpetual sun and when it has cooled down and is prepared to do more than make emergency calls, I am going to Google some local property prices and pretend you still get 4 Euros to the Pound.

And if it still seems a bit expensive and I can’t figure a way to get rid of the family and the creative project sounds like it might turn me a bit mental- albeit in a natural and authentic way- then I am totally and most definitely going to eat only fruit and yoghurt for breakfast every single day when I get home and only do Facebook at certain pre-designated times.

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From Garden to Plate (via self-congratulation)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pema Chodron: ‘Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.’

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You’ll Never

Last week I stood in a queue to get a drink from a coffee van on Worthing seafront.

A nondescript middle-ager was in front of me. An un-beautiful young man in combat shorts and trainers was serving, sporting a tattoo in writing around his left bicep.

So the service is quite slow and we’re all standing in line, then the chap in front says to the coffee guy:

‘Some of the writing on your tattoo is upside down, mate.’

‘What?’, says the guy.

‘It’s upside down, the writing on your arm.’

‘Yeah,’ responds the other, as if he’s been here before. ‘You’ll Never,’ he traces on the top of his arm, with a hand freed from his duties; then, shooting the same arm up into the air, finishes,Walk Alone.’

The chap stares at him.

‘People like me doing it,’ he adds. Then he repeats the routine with the sound on mute (trace along top, arm in the air, trace underneath, on no-longer-upside-down writing).

‘Oh right,’ says the middle-ager, apparently unmoved.

So we all carry on standing there, until the coffee guy turns around to confirm quite plainly, sans emotion, ‘I told the tat bloke to do that. It wasn’t a mistake.’

‘Oh right,’ says the middle-ager, apparently unmoved again.

And we continue the rest of our wait in silence, save for the necessary requests: ‘Cappuccino, please. Got any marshmallows?’

Throughout, there was not even the trace of a smile from the serving Liverpool fan, his interlocutor or anyone else in the queue.

I still can’t work out the key factor in this exchange that transforms it into an anecdote.

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