Friday, 2 November 2012

My Autumn Stores

Top shelves of my stores: coffee; meringues; last year's panettone;light bulbs;spaghetti; oatcakes; flask; wicks; rice; Smash; cous cous; Dorset cereal; matches; Tina Fox's vegetarian calendar with recipes; oatmeal for porridge; oatcakes; honey; apricot jam; Twinings herbal tea; chocolate biscuits; iron cleaner stick; herbal teas; plate display gadget; triangular glass dish; electric room freshner; spruce room spray; powdered lemon tea; hemp seeds; mint humbugs; Maltesers;Snickers bars...

Bottom view of my shelves: oven gloves; Twiglets; Pringles; Christmas cake; cake tins; drying up cloths;
Last week I showed my autumn mantelpiece. Today I show my shelves. This may be a way of shaming myself into putting things into proper order. I moved out of two houses in Dec 2009, and into this one in Sept 2010 so I am two years into the process of getting things sorted out. My dining table is now clear of assorted debris, thanks to Sally Tait, and I am giving a cautious lunch party for three uncritical friends on Tuesday to force me to learn how to use the cooker and discover how many plates I have got, check numbers of knives and forks etc. I often praise this house, which is easily the best and most convenient I have ever lived in. I have lived in: a house my father built in Kent; a flat in Curzon Place W1 (with Vidal Sassoon); a flat in Basil St , SW3 (with John Cleese); a house in Paultons Square next to Kathleen Raine, lover of Gavin 'Ring of Bright Water' Maxwell; a dacha in south Lanarkshire and now here in Millburn House. The reason I need to discover how to use the cooker is that the house has two kitchens: one upstairs which I use all the time, and one downstairs which I have only ever used the first Christmas I was here ie Dec 2010. Christmas lunch was a complete disaster. I had fondly assumed that we  - my two daughters and their respective spouses and children - would gather like Hannah and her three sisters in that Woody Allen film doing Thanksgiving - chatting as we peeled spuds and sprouts, someone playing the piano and someone singing (it was the grandfather and grandmother in the film). As so often happens in real life, things could not have been more different. For a start, in total contrast to my childhood and what I remember about Christmas when my children were young, no one really wanted to eat anything. This quite literally knocked the stuffing out of me, and the whole event. The cooker was quite antiquated, and since then my generous landlord has supplied a new one which I now intend fully to get to grips with. 

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