Sunday, January 04, 2009


I haven't gone to bed yet, so I can pretend it's still yesterday and come in under the wire.

The cat's still ill and worse but unconnected, I forgot my PIN number today. I tried it twice then stopped I don't want to lose my debit card. I'll go to the bank and get it changed tomorrow. When I've been to the vet.

One thing I did do today though, was cook! I made Lasz (a vegetarian dish similar to Goulash) but served it with conchiglie instead of rice. Best of all, I did it without following a recipe (although I did use a recipe as a basis for a shopping list).

Here's the recipe:

Slice a big onion and fry it in sunflower oil for five minutes. Add three half peppers chopped up (I used one each of red, green and yellow). Add 250g of fresh mushrooms peeled and sliced. Add a big spud, diced and two cloves of garlic, crushed. cook it for another five minutes.

Then put a tin of chickpeas and a tin of peeled tomatoes in another pot with a little chilli and a lot of paprika. Add the contents of the frying pan and simmer for forty minutes.

Cook the conchiglie separately (takes about ten minutes) and when it's al dente, add it to the pot. Stir for a couple of minutes and then serve. It serves three. My family liked it, even when I told them it was student food.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Memory 3

I don't know how old I was but probably very young. I remember the dark of a black cab. I remember the glow of the streetlights and the old vans with the Evening News logo. I don't remember getting into the cab or out but I imagine the ride was from Victoria to Grove Park, Camberwell, where my grandmother used to live.

I remember my grandmother's black hair and parchment skin. She had a very strong resemblence to Madame Jiang Qing, and this resemblance grew stronger as both my grandmother and Jiang Qing, both grew older. When we were around her, she and my father would talk about spiritual evolution but it was always more Blavatsky than Teilhard de Chardin, but at that age, I'd heard of neither. I thought my grandmother very wise for a very long time.

I guess we all think our forbears wise until we grow into our own wisdom. I hope mine isn't long in coming.

Sometimes it's hard

Sometimes it's really hard to find anything to write about, but that's what I've promised myself I'll do. It's Saturday. I stayed in all day with young Tashai crawling all over the place, demanding attention and even worse, disturbing P-P, who has a swollen face from being attacked by another cat.

P is a most unhappy cat right now. It could be worse though. Last week, he had a visible tumour growing on his head. This has now fallen off, and I've examined him closely. It's no longer there. The scarring from the other cat's claws though is deep and probably painful. I'm going to have to take him to the vet. I remember the last time I took him. He's a heavy cat, and his carrying cage is big enough for an ocelot. And then I'll get to the vets and find it full of dogs.

Let's hope he gets well soon.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Memory 2

When I was young, I taught myself to read from my father's science fiction magazines. I cannot remember not being able to read and I even remember my first day at school, when I could read but not understand numbers. The teachers showed us the numerals 1 2 and 3, but I saw the 3 as an E, and couldn't understand how it was different.

It wasn't dyslexia but a simpler problem I share with my mother, namely I have difficulty understanding the concepts "left" and "right". I even thought my name was Ebwards because I had seen it written like that (or thought I had).

Anyway, back to the memories. We lived in a council house behind the Secondary Modern School. There were some lovely French Doors, leading out to a back yard (which would these days, no doubt, be called a patio). Beside these doors, there was a bookcase that seemed to be made of bamboo and it contained many editions of Astounding Science Fiction, which later became Analog, as well as the Rosicrucian digest (since my father was a member of AMORC ) I didn't read the Rosicrucian Digests though (even though my own name originated from the fact that Alcuin of York was mentioned in the February 1960 edition.

I did read the SF magazines. I read not only the stories, but also the editorials. I remember John W Campbell's opinions on society, on science, and on writing and for a long time in my writing, I have been trying to write a story that Campbell would buy. Except that Campbell would not have bought a story that was 50 years out of date so I was barkign up the wrong tree.

The love of SF though, and not just fifties SF, but both older and more recent material, has stayed with me ever since.

Logging on

It's hard to think of something to write about every day, but I intend to try. Today may be difficult because I did not go to work, or even leave the house. What I did do, as every day, is logon.

My home page is the default for my provider, Virgin Media. I usually wizz off somewhere else while it's still loading but occasionally, I read some of the articles. They're invariably about celebrities, music or movies but I think the editor may be on holiday today...

Today, there was an article entitled "How to give a good blowjob". As a connoisseur of such pleasures, I can attest that the advice given was sound, but that's not the point. The presence of the article raised a question for me. Do I feel all prudish and offended, or do I admit that I wished certain people had been given the information years ago. In the end, I settled for nostalgia and heaved a heavy sigh in mourning for my lost libido.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Memory 1

I was three years old. The room in the house was painted a pale blue. I woke up and my mother was not there. Instead, there were other ladies there who I vaguely knew but could not have named.

I had to go and stay with my Auntie Mave, and I remember having to share a bed with my cousin Linda. I thought she was 12 or 13 at the time, but in reality, she was probably younger. I can't picture her now. My only image of her is from after her wedding, obviously much later.

Anyway, we stayed a while, and my Auntie Mave taught me to play three card brag even though I was still shuffling around on my potty, and then I went home again after a week or so. My brother (Adrian) also returned from wherever they had taken him and my mum returned with a new brother (Craig).

Onward and Upward

Today is new year's day and the time has come for new year's resolutions to remain unkept. As is my wont, I have failed in all three of my 2008 New Year's resolutions. I have not been to an introductory Krav Maga session. I do not speak Bulgarian. My next novel remains unwritten (although I have extensive notes for several).

The problem with writing a novel is the stamina it requires. Basically, I would have to keep writing every day, adding a few pages and never approaching the precious goal. The trouble is, I find I have to have substantively written the thing in my head before I can sit down to keep writing it every day, with a point to aim for and a known finishing point (both of which I have found invaluable in my career as an amateur long-distance walker).

Any resolution is likely to end up as an excuse to beat myself up, which in turn results in me putting down the work and abandoning it. So. I've thought of an easier resolution. I will try to write here every day. This is today's entry. In addition, whenever I feel able, I shall write another post with a memory and another containing some random writing.