Low on Gram flour, low on Atta flour so back to the huge Indian supermarket.
Literally the only white faces.Not just in the store but in the the whole Indian quarter.People seem to stay in strict demarcation lines.The white people you see on the way there don't seem that well heeled. So why arn't they going where the prices are best and the quality is better than the well known supermarkets?
I stock up on all manner of treats and ask an assistant about something I can't find.He takes me to where it is."Is there anything else I can help you with" he says.But he's looking at my husband when he says it.
Some men wolfishly eye me up as we go to my favourite samosa shop.I have been told that in a Bollywood/Indian movie the shorthand to show a woman is a whore is to give her blond hair.Mine is beach and sun bleached fair.
At the samosa shop i say "four of your lovely samosas".He says "no, l'll give you five"."I've put in a free one because you said they were lovely".I say thank you but what I'm really thinking (apart from "yum")is thank you for giving me the courage to keep doing this.
Its such a tiny gesture and I do go mob handed ,so to speak, with the six foot saxophonist who is built like a rugby player.But, here's the thing, I honestly believe that the more we see one another as ordinary ,everyday and like ourselves we put ourselves that fraction further away from a knife in the neck or a plane ramming a sky scraper.
I have this thing that people in service industries are under appreciated.I think that that for all the high handed,off handed and down right nasty people there ought to be some counter balance.
I do it with a batch of biscuits , a cake or a jar of jam.
I rock up to a shop, bar etc that I use regularly and say roughly what i said here and hand over whatever it is I've made and hop it before they have to think of what to say.
Gets me excellent service of course but that's not the point.
So this morning to the wholesalers for a half sack of onions.I already have my Gram flour so I'm going to grind the spices and make onion bhajis to brighten the evening of of the barman in our local pub.
The saxophonist says this is both mad and a lovely thing to do.
It takes a while to grind the spices and prep 3kg of onions plus add all the other interesting bits to the batter.
Hurrah! The whole house is suffused with spices and I am batter spattered.
Late on we head off for a pint, me with my basket of bhajis.
The barman hops from foot to foot and takes a bite from a bhaji.
We all have our share of negative nay sayers in our lives . You can either plead indifference or get vengeful.
But there's nothing wrong with sticking two fingers up at the sneerers and despisers and slicing a few onions.
NB He and his staff ate the whole basketful the same night.
There was a programme about the top ten Roald Dahl books. Each was advocated by an actor, comedian etc.
I missed Dahl for some reason.I suppose I was the wrong age or reading something else.
Now I want to read them.I have been picking them up in second hand bookshops.
There are gaps though and I want to read the lot in one greedy gulp.
We bomb out in one emporium I was sure would be able to help.We walk on in the little estuary town and come to an Oxfam bookshop.
Nothing. Not one. Disappointing.
We leave and I glance back at the window. There sits a big pile of Dahl books including a lot of the ones I'm missing..
Isn't it just the best feeling ? The serendipity of a find. Exciting.
Especially if it's after a disappointment.
I have begun with "Danny champion of the world".Danny's father reminds me of my own.
A man of great principle, always in the background, Liked to come in under the wire but generally always planning for or covering his tracks from another bout of gentle anarchy.
He seemed to lead by example with his daughter but trusted me not to get caught.
We went scrumping once.Baskets on our backs we scaled neighhbouring trees for the biggest, rosiest apples that always seemed to grow high up.
"Dad" I hissed "you'll have to help me, I'm stuck. "Can't do that" he said "I'm stuck too".
Some Sunday mornings he'd wander through and say "I've got an idea" and I knew that I'd better get practising an innocent expression and lining up a plausible excuse.They were both going to be handy that week.