Old Pots….

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 17 December 2013

I've been juggling the senior cats dish with the junior kittens bowl.

Solly runs up to Emmy who hisses. She comes and watches as he eats from HER dish and hisses.

So I pick up the ten week old, who squeaks like a kitten, and take Emmy's dish off the window sill. When she's finished I open the sitting room door so the senior cat can run up to our bedroom. I then close the door and put down the little idiot who hangs off the christmas tree, bites the fairy-light wires, climbs up my legs and attempts to eat anything he can find including stray leaves and bits out of his litter tray….

Then King Solomon finds a place on the top of the settee, and hides in the most expensive blanket in the house, and before you can say SOLLEEEEEE he's flat out. Paws in the air.

Emmy scratches on the door to be let in and then darts to the cat flap and before you can say EMMMEEEEEE she's gone. Honey the little scruffy dog, from next door, clatters through the cat flap and now eats both dishes of food, whilst Mr Cat from the other side visits when none of us are watching and secretly knocks tins, jars and whatever else is on the draining board onto the floor.

Then when everything was dead quiet and calm, the doorbell shattered the peace. I jumped out of my seat. The two children and mother from next door asked if they could see the kitten.

'No', I said, he's in London having his jabs.

So tonight I have been on my own with the senior moggy who relishes the quiet as much as I. We have enjoyed each others company, a documentary on the Great American Songbook and 'Last Tango in Halifax.'

The silence of Sussex was welcome after my day.

I had a voice over. So I took the train which was late, and meditated until I got to London Bridge when I decided that life outside my head was marginally better than the madness that was going on inside it.

Walked from Charing Cross to Regent Street, took a right under the arch into Air street then into Golden Square. One of my most favourite London equilateral rectangles.

But the music shop is now a bike shop and the place I was going to is now owned by even younger shavers than before. Either that or I'm getting older.

I have lunch in THE NORDIC CAFE which is still standing in the Square. It's small, wooden tables, dark walls, with a low level Estuary mumble and an occasional laugh, not anything like the soundtrack that can be heard in Tunbridge Wells, which tends to be high pitched and nasal. The ambience is cool. Very cool. There are three Scandinavian girls, all blonde haired, skinny hipped and smily, working behind a small counter which is fill of dark rye smørrebrød covered in smoked salmon, egg and herring, salami, colours all very muted and Swedish. The buns are traditional and the cinnamon cakes are sweetly shiny. The coffee is only one shot because it is strong, as strong as a Viking on a dark night in Målmø…..

I ordered egg and herring, my one coffee, and a bun with cardomumma in. I sat and ate alone.

I was gripped by the picture of my sitting alone in the cafe, eating the food of my courtship. The 'oosbind and I travelled on the Orient Express, from the frozen North to the warmer South, we were touring Sweden, I fell in lurve with him over a round knackerbrød in Lund, the rest is ancient Norse. Being without Jim for so long suddenly got to me. Eating Swedish food alone without him got to me. Drinking dark coffee in a dark caff without the 'oosbind got to me. I gripped the table, wanted to tell somebody but they were all talking in 21st Century work speak, and anyway who wants to here the tales of an old woman waxing on about Waxholm, the Island where we recorded our first record.

Record!!! That certainly tells the time when we ate Princess cake and crayfish, 37 years ago and I can still taste it.

I finished my food, wiped the table, with the brown paper napkin - something that old ladies do I even took my dirty plates to the counter - and pondered as to whether to buy the recipe book. But I'm never going to make yeasty buns however delicious they are. Eating out is what you don't ever cook at home isn't it?

Into the voice over studio, brick walls, vogue magazines casually thrown across the low coffee table, wicker chairs, and a long wooden table with Christmas fare. Mince pies, nuts, fruit, chocolates. I'd already eaten. I sat for a bit then was called upstairs to the studio. Up two floors. Past two internees who were sorting the post, wearing really expensive clothes as they stacked the letters. I've forgotten what its like to dress for work. I only ever wear me dungarees.

Was given the script and asked what my part was. The delicious producer from South London looked at the floor and said

'I don't want to say'

'Why?' I asked

Clearly embarrassed she giggled.

It turned out that my part was not the spoon or the fork, the shiny new saucepan or even the snazzy knife I was the…..


I laughed.

My voice had to be calm, clear, comfortable and warm. The Old Pot was the voice of reason. I've played many things in my life, from a caterpillar to a Genie, but a battered, old saucepan is a first.

Remember just because the pot is battered and ancient, doesn't mean it can't still boil a pan of beans…..

Done and dusted I left.

Walked to Grouchos, Daisy May on reception said how well I looked and hadn't I lost weight. I must be ill, I thought. When I got home and looked at myself sideways in the mirror, it was quite clear I hadn't lost any weight at all, I'd just dressed well. I was really happy too see my fat belly, clearly I was as heathy as a butchers dog.

Tomorrow I am invited to a media party, which my homeopath says I have to go to and that I have to stop hiding myself away.

I may just stay at home and text her from the kitchen telling her what a fine time I'm having in Kentish Town. Or I may just go and and enjoy all the young ones looking up to me, although given that I've lost a coupe of inches over the years, they may just be looking down on me.

One step at a time.

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


1. At December 18, 2013 12:57 PM Lyn Misselbrook wrote:

Baby steps it's called ... or maybe pigeon steps or maybe one day at a time or maybe - Stop! Stop! this stream of consciousness stuff (ostensibly unedited) is so irksome.
Love the blogs & miss you all! L xx

2. At December 18, 2013 2:14 PM June wrote:


It's so lovely to share a lttle bit of your world. Your blog always puts a smile on my face. I loved the narrative of the cat's meal times. Also I had such a vivid picture of you sitting in the Nordic Cafe missing him indoors who isn't indoors. You always paint such graphic pictures Jeni.
Hang on in there darling girl Jim will soon be home.

Much love

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