There’s something about a roast chicken. My mum and my grandmother used to do them all the time. I still have their carving knives and their chopping board. They always used to have wishbones drying in the kitchen, waiting for the right wish. If I were to give up meat I think roast chicken would be the last thing to go. Making it at home I’ve got to an almost ritualistic simplicity where I smash it all out and it all tastes divine. I sometimes even make it when I’m home alone. I know it’s not going to go to waste. Today I didn’t have to do anything though, which was sheer bloody luxury.

Flavia roasted one round hers. She wouldn’t even let me do the washing up, so I just chilled out with Ivo and played with his Transformers. He’s into the 1980’s cartoons, and has a toy of “Blaster” who turns himself into – among other things – an eighties style ghetto blaster, complete with removable cassette. Hours were spent incompetently trying to transform him into his various guises. It’s a brilliantly articulated toy, but you need a degree in engineering.


We all had a very civilised lunch around the table, and then decanted into the living room to watch a movie. “Oh look, Lalaland is on Netflix,” said Flaves. She’s about to go out there. I was thinking I would try to get back out myself for a short time around mid February, but it’s not looking practical for me this year. We put it on. Watching that hymn to that crazy city made me feel the distance. I miss the rescue dogs I lived with, I miss Mark and Laural, the Guildhall and Factory crowd out there, the Brits in LA, the people I met on my little strange excursion.

I could use some of that positivity. Some of that sunshine. Some of that vitamin e. The end of the film is terrifically sad, to me. About all the things that could have been in love. It always makes me weepy, and Flavia was much the same. Ivo picked up on it and started howling. Eventually his mum got to speak and asked him what was wrong. He explained: “I’m SAD. AND I DON’T. KNOW. WHY.” Welcome to February, kiddo. Welcome to February. It does that unless you force yourself to reframe it as sexy.

Darren just got home from working security at a rave. We’ve both been those mashed up kids in the past, but right now the idea of it doesn’t appeal to either of us. “I was looking at them chewing their own faces off and I just thought ‘Thank God I’m on this side of the fence”.

We found ourselves talking about loss. We’ve both lost parents which is hard enough, even if sometimes you inherit a chopping board. But Darren lost a kid, and recently too. I can’t imagine. The tendrils of a loss like that must go deep. I’m glad he’s in my room for the moment. This flat has a peace where people can reconstruct themselves. And Brian is in Essex so I get his bed…


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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