Boiling bones

All this business of making stock. It’s a conscious imitation of my father, but since I have a gas hob rather than an aga it would probably cost less for me to just buy a really good one in a bag. Still, I made a good amount today and now it’s cooling down before I freeze it. Better than the last time I made stock when I was on hungover autopilot pasta straining mode and I threw all the liquid down the sink before finding myself swearing and holding a colander full of horrible boiled bones. This time I remembered to catch the liquid.

Vegetarian dad would always stock up our chicken carcasses and make barley soup and it never struck me as a double standard. It kind of still doesn’t. He was mostly a vegetarian but he wasn’t going to let the bones of the creature go into a bin when they could be further used. I see pragmatism there, rather than hypocrisy. And we are all a mess of double standards. All the stuff people like to say about “he’s not vegan he wears leather shoes” – it’s all despicable. We aren’t extremists, or we certainly should try not to be. All that “she cares about the environment so why is she flying” crap? It’s just people trying to get themselves off the hook, and it’s cheap and transparent. “I’ve found a double standard in somebody who’s trying so I don’t need to try.” I see it all the time and somehow the people espousing the view always try to frame that idiocy like it’s clever. We really don’t like to have to change anything about how we behave if we can avoid it. The least we can all do is try. Do what we can, honestly try to push the boundaries within ourselves, and don’t be judgemental of those who haven’t pushed as far or who are pushing further but noisily.

My vegetarian dad quietly made barley soup with chicken stock.

I’ve made the stock, with his ghost in my ear telling me how. Now I just need the barley. I don’t have his array of canoptic jars full of dried pulses. But the pulses can wait because in the short term I’m going to freeze it. Because I’m getting out of London.

There we are again. “He shouldn’t be traveling.” You’re right. I’m not exempt. I’m not even a member of the conservative party. But I’m off on me ‘olidays for as long as we can afford parking permits in Brighton. And you can’t stop me.

I’ll be in my car. Yes, I’ll be careful refueling. I’m picking Lou up from vipassana before we go into bubble with each other by the seaside. Automatic fish feeder should arrive tomorrow morning to help regulate these lovely fish who already have day and night clicked on and off by a device. I won’t be gone for long because I don’t really trust a new device to keep my fishies fed. But they’ll be ok for a few days with it while I hit up the cold sea and the pebbles and switch off responsibility for as long as I’m able, which is usually about 24 minutes.

I’ve now watched the entire first season of the BBC His Dark Materials and I’m wondering who I have to kill to get a small part in the third season. I can send a tape from Brighton. I’m making all the determinations I can muster for 2021 and “much more telly” is high on that list, just below “sort my blimming life out”. It’s all gonna happen in the roaring twenties. I can smell it.

Or maybe that’s just my bath salts.

Maureen and me

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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