Watermelon

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 9 May 2018

The lawn looked as smooth as a billiard table until the petals started falling off the Tulip tree. But thats ok, the apple blossom is out on one tree and the other two are bursting their buds.

The pink azalea is resplendent next to the sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Which have all profited from the wet, wet, wet time we had.

Out came the lounger, red cushion in tact. Out came the swing set cushions, all have been left out over night because rain is not predicted - yet.

The courgettes have gone in, the pac choi, the spinach, runner beans and loads of lettuces. The old git made a may pole out of string and things so that the beans have a chance to climb. The peonies. raspberries, lilies and roses are waiting, just waiting for their time.

I've planted seeds in little green trays, I'll spray them every morning and have placed them next to a big flower pot of rerouted mint.

This morning I took three quarters of a watermelon into the garden. I had a clean tea-towel tucked into my sarong, as the watermelon juice went awol.

The last time I had a whole watermelon to myself was in 1971. I was on tour in Israel. We stayed in a fancy schmancy hotel in Tel Aviv. The breakfast buffet was fresh fruit, dates, more fruit and watermelons as big as Netanyahu's head.
I had never seen anything like it. The exoticism of it all.

The heat on the beach, the pink of the earth, I went wandering and ended up in a brick garden with chickens scratching around and a woman on her haunches kneading bread.

This morning, in my garden, the watermelon as sweet as nectar, the queen bumble bees buzzing, the fountain playing, the birds singing, and before you could say Trump's an ass, 42 years had passed.

And I can still remember the drive to Jordan, the one man in one room selling crystal clear water from one single tap, by his one single bed, the icy water sold in one single glass. He had Jericho eye, a condition brought on by some sort of insect bite.

I remember the theatre in Jerusalem and the smell of grilled meat in the old town. I remember the Sea of Galilee and the reviews I got because I was a young, Jewish girl, playing the piano for a group of anarchic troubadours who smoked, drunk and knew as much about gentility as I did Hebrew.

I remember the Wailing Wall and the cardboard boxes outside a shop in Nazareth selling crowns of thorns. I bought a tiny plastic bottle of Nazareth earth, which still sits on my bathroom dresser. The red earth as dry as the Wilderness.

I remember feeling confused at the sectarianism of the Jews and the Arabs, then the extraordinary generosity of the mixed groups in a Kibutz in Haifa.

I remember being tapped on the shoulder as I sat on the beach. Early morning, tapped on the shoulder to be told I had the shoulders of a Yemenite. Then the walk back to the hotel and the smell of watermelons at breakfast.

Tomorrow I may have yoghurt and apple sprinkled with hazel nuts, but that's another breakfast from a lifetime away.

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

Comments

1. At May 20, 2018 8:39 PM Lyn Misselbrook wrote:

We must one day exchange our memories of Israel. I was there in 1980: in December in Nueba (then Neviot) in the occupied Sinai, we heard the news that Lennon had been shot and killed. Later that evening, in the holiday village staff bar, we drank and played Beatles songs and I was surprised how much I knew every lyric and staggered again by their harmonies and how easy it was to identify which was written by Lennon, by McCartney & later by Harrison. It was a strange yet wonderful time ...

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