Naughty gee-gee

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 17 May 2013

A pot of liquorice tea next to me.

Fennel and tarragon soup made and ready to eat. It's a delicate pea green. Or should I say its a delicate fennel green - no because the bulb is white.

Red Thai curry paste, home made, in the fridge, ready to smear over the fish which is sitting in a bowl of lime and orange water. Pollock smells too fishy for my liking so I've disguised it with citrus.

Tonight B and her besty are getting drunk to watch The Eurovision song debacle. I dare say I will get roped in to provide nibbles and comment.

I thought I may just start the evening off with fresh asparagus from the asparagus farm. IMG_0494.jpg

As you would expect I chose the bent and curly over the jumboIMG_0495.jpgIMG_0496.jpg

I nearly bought hollandaise sauce to go with them, but it's not my favourite taste. Too vinegary. So just a paper bags worth for whoever decides to sit and eat.

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Griddled in olive oil with a fresh farm egg fried in just too much butter, and slipped over the top.

That'll go down a treat, which will be more than I can say for most of the European offerings that will be hurled at us by Mr. Norton over the telly waves.

Yesterday I drove to Crawley for the funeral of John, a gentle, artist, who loved his three children to distraction as well as a bit of huntin', shootin' and fishin'.

I met Jackie, his ex wife, when I was 13. She was a skinny little thing with very straight hair cut in a school girl bob with the customary fringe. Being tiny she gave the imression that butter wouldn't melt. She was as bossy then as she is now. We got on famously.

She thought I was an anarchic rebel; no proper uniform, ladders in my regulation thick, Lyle stockings and a refusal to take my 'Ban the Bomb' badge off.

She later discovered I was the poor girl whose parents couldn't afford to buy the uniform, and that my anarchy was less about challenging authority and more about a total lack of a grasp on reality.

We couldn't be more different. She from an upper middle class family with a wooden panelled hallway and me from the East End with a market trading father who had a propensity for wood chip.

We've been friends for 53 years.

I arrived at the Crematorium, the sky low and grey. The first sign I read said absolutely NO artificial flowers to be used anywhere at all. The second sign was blue-tacked on the window of the waiting room.

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John's children wanted to honour his love of horses. He loved to hunt - I told you we were chalk and cheese - but his eldest daughter always discouraged him saying that he couldnt ride well enough to navigate ditches and fields. So as a final tribute to him she hired two horses

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with John lying in state in a fancy carriage.
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The children walked behind the sombre procession.

The wind was cold and the assembled mourners shivered as the horses slowly walked to the chapel and stopped outside the doors.

I asked if I could take pictures and the general consensus was a massive yes. The left horse started pawing the ground with his hoof. The Boss, who walked in front of the carriage, looked up at the coachman who was actually a woman under a big blanket, and nodded in dismay.

Was it the weather, the occasion, too many people? Whatever it was the horse took it upon himself to lighten his load at the proceedings.

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It went on for at least a minute. The mourners couldn't help themselves, even the desolate children had to laugh.

'John would have loved it.' said jacky.

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As the puddle got bigger Jacky's brother said.

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'Well at least that horse isn't suffering from any prostate problems.'

And then it was all over. IMG_0492.jpg

John's best friend told the story of John's fist visit to Jacky's family.

John was an artist with long hair. It was 1969, he wore flares and a vest, not to mention a row of beads round his artistic neck.

He took his seat at the family dinner table.

'We wear ties when we sit and eat.' said Jacky's father. 'We don't do armpits at Sunday lunch.'

The following week John turned up in his vest, beads and flares with a tie perfectly tied around his naughty neck.

He and his father-in-law became firm friends.

I left the Effingham Park Hotel leaving the gathering to their smoked salmon sandwiches and fancy pastries. The smell of cheap soap and cigarette smoke was too redolent of my years on the road staying in, empty anonymous hotels.

I took a promotional booklet from the waiting room. 'ASHES into GLASS'. The creation process explained in detail of how to 'Hold your loved one close to you always'.

Your 'loved ones' ashes can be made into rings, pendants, cufflinks or earrings and all the prices include engraving and VAT.

I wondered whether to have God's Gift made into a paperweight? That's assuming he goes before me. If I pop my clogs before him there isn't a hope in hell that he'll have me fashioned into a pedant. He says I've been a weight round his neck for 36 years. 'So why change the habit of a life time' I simpered.

Till death us do part eh?

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

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