“It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.”
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Guest: “What exactly is in this soup?” Me: “It’s pumpkin soup.” Hubby (encouraging): “It’s an early spicy pumpkin soup.” Guest: “Unusual taste.” Me: “Yes. I’m afraid something went wrong. You don’t have to eat it.”
It was almost a case of ‘Nyamazela-at-the-Church-do-with-the-pumpkin-soup’.
“Fish,” he said, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.”
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
One of the enduring memories of my childhood is lying on the back seat of our family car, in the still cool dark hours of pre-dawn, still in my pyjamas, toe to head with my brother, and wrapped in a blanket, listening to my parents quietly chatting to one another, as I dosed and they drove.
It’s a peaceful memory, filled with potential and promise. Early morning. Pad kos. The open road.
Note: I don’t do early mornings. I love my sleep. To this day, I’m only really prepared to get up early for a road trip. .. and the promise of tea.
“No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart.”
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
I stood on a rock shelf at Black Rocks staring out at the breakers, Hubby beside me. We could taste the salt on our faces. Every 6-wave set rolled eagerly towards us. The sound was terrific. But as each wave came within a few metres of the rock we were standing on, it met a retreating wave and lost some of its power. Defeated, it poured out onto the rock at our feet, not quite reaching our toes. So much energy to start with. Such anticipation. So much promise.
“If Red breaks that leg again,” Howard said soberly, “it will cripple him for life.” Alexander told him that maybe it was better to break a man’s leg than his heart.”
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
I increase my pace. In my head the blood in my veins pumps audibly. My chest burns. I love the sense of freedom that running (or rather a good run) can offer. I watch The Adjustment Bureau on the small screen. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt dash across a busy New York street. On the treadmill to my right, a man in his 60’s slaps his stomach intermittently as he runs. Is he trying to spur himself on? Is he literally smacking away the tummy fat? Does he like the sound of it? I try not to pay too much attention to him. He’s also pushing his body.
I think how grateful I am for a healthy, relatively fit body.
I think of Hubby and the fateful fishing weekend.
“I’m not interested in what happened,” said my Husband “It’s what didn’t happen that’s infinitely more important.”
“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across the these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up, near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen)
“We paid £3 for a haircut in South Africa,” we told our flamboyant, full-of-opinions, Irish hairdresser in London some years ago.
[This, when he quoted Hubby £45 for a men’s short back and sides.]
“WELL! … I don’t exactly live in a frickin mud hut, do I?” he pointed out.
“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Brain: There’s that animal I’m very familiar with, with mane and big teeth! Brain’s word identification software: Lion! Mouth: Goat.