MISSION-ROOM 41

The deep coloured greenery swelled out and spilled over the top of the plastic carrier bag, which had been handed to me. Hidden beneath the massive aromatic foliage were more interesting items. There were three Pak Choi and one splendid white Mooli.   It was lunchtime when I made my visit to the care home, carrying this abundantly overflowing bag.  In my spare hand I held a pack of raspberries, a treat.  I got curious looks from the care staff and some polite smiles.   I was on a visiting mission. I knocked on the door of room 41.

© Elegant Veg

She immediately wanted to know what I was carrying. I got her to feel through the foliage and the thin stalks. Still not sure, I encouraged her to nibble at a little of a leaf. Yes, it tasted of something but what?  She sniffed the green bunch and stroked the stalks.  Realisation; her mother used to grow this and use it in soups, make soup with it and put it with meat and gravy.  She couldn’t remember how long ago, but it made for a good flavour.   Did the Mooli have a sharp and hot radish flavour, she wanted to know and could it be boiled or steamed.  What about the other one, the Pak Choi?  She was thinking and asking questions while I gave my ideas for preparing the two vegetables.

© Our Yellow Beetroot.  Pak Choi it is not.

We shared savoury and sweet  recipe ideas  for the best part of an hour, and the time passed pleasantly and quickly. The raspberries, which all got eaten, evoked thoughts of home made cakes; puddings; jam; outings with an enamel bucket used for collecting and cooking the raspberries, in times long past.

On my way out, staff asked me about the greenery I was carrying.  One, a Bulgarian lady did not know Pak Choi, but bemoaned the fate of her garden back home without her.  A local carer had no idea about any of it.  A Chinese carer squealed with delight when she saw the Mooli and was thrilled to hear we called the other little vegetable (the Pak Choi) the same name she knew it by.

 

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GETTING UP A HEAD OF STEAM

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When you really want something you know you have stored somewhere, that’s when you can never find it. So it was today, I hunted high and low for a canvas bag I wanted to use. Anyone within earshot of me would have heard me muttering all sorts of unrepeatable phrases. There probably was also a steady head of steam around me instead of my usual equable aura. I peered in places I knew the bag was unlikely to be, I pulled out stuff that had been shoved, er, fitted, into tight spaces. Could I fit them back; NO. They were forced back and the door was quickly shut.

Time for a break; just then hubby returned home. He made helpful suggestions of places I had already looked and one or two I had avoided. A few packages fell out on top of me as they do when you’re ploughing through a pile of ??? years’ collection.

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One more look in the cupboards, I decided, then I was going to give up. Yeah okay, you’re already there. I found the bag. It was lying neatly under a h a t. (I’m not even going to go there. The bag was found and there’s an end to it).

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One of the local charity shops is going to benefit from some of the howking out of long forgotten bits and pieces that I thought might come in useful one day. The haul includes a couple of carrier bags of wadding, created from reducing over-stuffed pillows, good for quilting and other craft work. Another stored bag contained weird shapes of fine wool fabric in two colours, together with flattened pieces of brown paper. Many memories flooded into my mind when I remembered what it was all ‘attached’ to. It made me a little wistful. Someone might get some use out of a dressmaker’s brown paper pattern and the left-over material of the garment that was made, which has long gone.

Memories of Easters Gone By

As kids we used to boil and dye eggs when we were of a sensible age. We also painted eggs, it kept us pleasurably absorbed for hours.

I have memories of sparkly sugar eggs being introduced at some point. They had windows in them with scenes of mini chicks running around. I think we had them for two or three sequential years, then that type of confection disappeared. Chocolate eggs of all sizes became ubiquitous as post war austerity lessened. Our real fun was to awake to find a few coloured hens eggs scattered around on our bed covers. Anything else was an added extra.

SILENTLY WAVING GOODBYE

In the 1970’s I was given a third hand moquette three piece suite. it was made with a beechwood frame; the suite had generous arms and very deep supportive backs. However, it did need re-upholstering. Till I could afford to do that, it was covered in a man made fibre, wine red (probably a Shiraz!) coloured stretch covers.

I did consider buying another suite, but at that time, one of a similar quality cost vastly more than the proposed re-upholstery. All the furniture frames needed tightening up. The wadding was still good, and encased, as the old suites were, in a horse hair cloth. Where a bit more wadding was needed it was done with newer materials. I was sitting on framing if I did not add other loose cushions because the originals seat cushions had disintegrated. It was imperative for new ones to be made.

About thirty-three years later, during which time, there were toddlers and children doing what kids do, (steam cleans in-between were great) the well-worn and well-used furniture suite was in need of revitalising again. We adults were physically changed and found the low level seating quite awkward to raise up from. Additionally, the deep supportive backs were beginning to show signs of shape-shifting.

The furniture could not be passed on to anyone else because it did not meet present day fire certification standards. Regretfully, we had to see it go to a local official tip. I silently waved goodbye to a lot of memories.

:wave:

MAKING A ZEST FOR LIFE

Those of you who know my blog, will also know that I rarely post a video link. When I do, it is because it is something truly original or very, very special. The link being posted here comes, I believe, into those two categories. It is a beautifully devised and poignant piece spoken in English,(made in Ireland) with sub-titles in Italian.

http://en.qoob.tv/video/clip_view.asp?id=13056.

EXPERIENCING THE TUBE

I got to thinking about my experiences when travelling on the London Underground Tube system (metro by any other name) in the last few years.

In one month, the Central Line, was totally disrupted by people throwing themselves in front of trains. I kid you not. (That’s the orange one on the tube map that goes from east to west and vice versa). That line, sadly, seems to have more than its fair share of such episodes.

We passengers were kept informed as much as was decent and sensible. There is every attempt to stop trains partially or fully overground,if possible. People talked to one another. One guy phoned his work to explain why he would be late in for his Sunday shift at Harrods. He admitted to me he wasn’t a good timekeeper and the work response wasn’t too sympathetic. We got to talking about other routes we might use to reach our destinations when we got to a station.

At Bond Street, a member of staff told me what he knew about events. Some people’s responses when such incidents occurred, he described as diabolical; like “finish the job off and keep moving.”

On the same line, late morning, on a school day,I have seen a smart young guy, say twenty-ish, push drugs at very young kids, who were there for the purpose. One tiny kid (possibly thirteen years old), was well away. I distracted my young sprog, who was with me, by chatting to an older girl who was not buying. I often wonder what her role was. Maybe she was the ‘look out’.

On the Northern Line, the black one, that seems to go just about everywhere and anywhere except where you think it will, but essentially serves North to South, I have chatted with a senior Caribbean lawyer on holiday; some African ladies in the most glorious of costumes, off to engagements or weddings; been offered a kiss by a dyslexic for helping him on his way; and was given the opportunity to ‘read’ an early development model of an electronic book. I don’t know who the manufacturer was. Its potential was obvious.

At a busy interconnecting station I have seen a sick person on a platform, a number of people besides me, checked what help if any could be given. Everyone, was careful not to get too close, but they were genuinely concerned and let their trains go. In her conscious moments she was able to talk, saying her friend was getting assistance.

I’ve had really little kids fighting to sit on my suitcase so they can peer over their peers, rather than be lost and frightened at below knee level, or be bumped around where no seats existed for mum or aunty or whoever, to seat them on their laps. We’ve had some great chats about the ‘pictures’ on the trains, and one time, a very bright little soul was beautifully describing what he had seen above ground. His mum apologised for the nuisance.!!!!

MISSION – ROOM 41

The deep coloured greenery swelled out and spilled over the top of the plastic carrier bag, which had been handed to me. Hidden beneath the massive aromatic foliage were more interesting items. There were three Pak Choi and one splendid white Mooli.   It was lunchtime when I made my visit to the care home, carrying this abundantly overflowing bag.  In my spare hand I held a pack of raspberries, a treat.  I got curious looks from the care staff and some polite smiles.   I was on a visiting mission. I knocked on the door of room 41.

© Elegant Veg

She immediately wanted to know what I was carrying. I got her to feel through the foliage and the thin stalks. Still not sure, I encouraged her to nibble at a little of a leaf. Yes, it tasted of something but what?  She sniffed the green bunch and stroked the stalks.  Realisation; her mother used to grow this and use it in soups, make soup with it and put it with meat and gravy.  She couldn’t remember how long ago, but it made for a good flavour.   Did the Mooli have a sharp and hot radish flavour, she wanted to know and could it be boiled or steamed.  What about the other one, the Pak Choi?  She was thinking and asking questions while I gave my ideas for preparing the two vegetables.

© Our Yellow Beetroot.  Pak Choi it is not.

We shared savoury and sweet   recipe ideas  for the best part of an hour, and the time passed pleasantly and quickly. The raspberries, which all got eaten, evoked thoughts of home made cakes; puddings; jam; outings with an enamel bucket used for collecting and cooking the raspberries, in times long past.

On my way out, staff asked me about the greenery I was carrying.  One, a Bulgarian lady did not know Pak Choi, but bemoaned the fate of her garden back home without her.  A local carer had no idea about any of it.  A Chinese carer squealed with delight when she saw the Mooli and was thrilled to hear we called the other little vegetable (the Pak Choi) the same name she knew it by.

 

LOVELY AND LUSCIOUS…

What a shiny, lovely and luscious cabbage it was! We saw it lying on our grass, just beyond the six foot chain link fence that separates our garden from the path where the farmer passes with tractors and carts. S/he must have thrown it over the fence; it was undoubtedly, a high quality cabbage. The cabbage evoked memories of times long gone.

The chain link fence stops farm animals from wandering in to visit us. Before it was erected, the hens used to leave us their eggs in not quite secret places. A goat or two would curiously wander up to the pram in which the baby slept and snuffle at the blankets and the baby. I have memories of superwoman, who had never been near a goat in her life, taking firm hold of the rope or strap attached to the collar of the goat and take the animal for a walk in the opposite direction, chatting to it, while hubby, anxious to protect his offspring, was still jumping up and down, arms waving everywhere and shouting at the goat to frighten it off. This athleticism was worthy of Olympic status. For some unknown reason, the sheep nor their lambs ever paid us a visit.

There are still hens on the farm, Sheep and lambs. Occasionally there are young cattle for minding, sometimes also for fattening up before they move on. The farmer no longer keeps goats. And there is the chain link fence to keep the animals within the boundaries of the farm.

I peeled off five superb, large cabbage leaves and prepared them for our meal. The juiciness and the flavour all lived up to expectations. It is so big, the cabbage doesn’t look as if it has been touched