I’ve just looked up the definition of going like the clappers and found the phrase was first used by RAF pilots in WW2 and is defined as :
To go very fast, in a vigorous manner.
There was no illustration but I suggest they could use a photograph of me. I can’t recall a time when I have worked so fast or, indeed, with such vigour. Why? Simply because I can. I don’t have school runs to run and the kids are, all of a sudden and as if my some miracle, old enough to help or, at the very least, feed themselves.
In the past week I have painted my kitchen cabinets, made two new flowerbeds, sewed a tote, and shovelled a ton of sh*t (yes, literally).
The kitchen splashback was a major project and has been on the long finger since we moved in five years ago. The Moroccan tiles behind the cooker are from Fired Earth and, indeed, cost the Earth. I thought that extending them across the counter would be excessive both in terms of expense and pattern. I quite like metro tiles but I couldn’t add a second type of tile into the mix. I rejected glass as being too contemporary. To be honest, we hadn’t a penny left anyway so the question was moot.
All this time there has been a little idea ticking away in the dangerous recesses of my mind. My original thought was to have my most useful recipes stuck up where I could read them easily.
The family helped me to write, type and decorate recipe cards. We could have filled the whole space with recipes but there were dozens of souvenirs fighting for a place.
I’ve been gathering fragments for many more than five years. Some of these things were already in a frame over my ironing board. Some were stuck on the fridge. Some were pressed between the pages of cookery books.
The practicalities were very straight forward. I bought a sheet of 4mm plywood and a nice man at the builder’s providers agreed to cut it for me so I could get it into the back of my (quite small) car. Husband kindly gave it a coat of paint, back and front, which we hope might prolong its lifespan. Each piece was pasted on to the board with Mod Podge. Then I sealed it by brushing on five coats of Mod Podge. Five was a completely random choice. I was determined to make a good job of it but eventually got bored. Five coats was where I stood back and said, ‘enough, it is done’. My handy engineer secured the board to the wall and re-positioned my salt-ladle.
The placing of the pieces, on the other hand, was fun but difficult. I tried to balance the colours and create an even spread of pictures and text. (On a side note: can we pause for a moment to admire the gorgeous kettle I carried home from France. We can now add the staff of Ryanair, Bordeaux, to the list of people who think I’m nuts.)
Every square inch of this board represents a happy memory. There are menus from some of the best meals Husband and I have eaten together. There is the recipe for Pork A La Creme, in my mother-in-law’s handwriting, which was what we made for our very first dinner party. We poured so much brandy into the pot, it was practically a fire hazard. Can you see the birthday cake? That was a memorable surprise party for my nineteenth.
I have never made Eggs Benedict but I am treated to a dish twice a year, on Valentine’s Day and my birthday. Now that Husband has the recipe to hand, I might push for an anniversary plate. Only one of these pictures bears any relation to skinny-dipping. One’s enough, right?
My Granny’s recipe for Christmas pudding, in her hand-writing. That’s a photocopy. The original is carefully folded back inside the envelope marked Christmas Recipes that I found tucked in to her knitting bag. A final gift.
It would take a week to tell you every story that is illustrated here. I don’t have a week, I have spuds to dig, so you will have to imagine…