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A Taste of Honey

  Sat 20th July 2013

After we got in from dancing, I kissed Trina goodnight and left her to a peaceful night of bellowing away in my room, while I put a quilt on the old sofa cushion in the living room. The lodger's noisy fan bores its expensive drone through the ceiling.

An hour or so later, there is a loud noise at the door, revving my heart with every bang. I immediately think of bailiffs. I pretend to be asleep, but someone shines a powerful torch through the chink in the curtains, so the game is up.

I pull my trousers on and blinkingly open the door. It's two police officers. They ask about Gail, the girl who squatted here for three weeks last year without paying a penny in rent. Relieved, I want to be helpful, and my speech adopts the middle class register I use in times of bother. I say that although I don't know where she is, I can give them the name of the pub where she used to work. They nod, repeat the name of the pub back to me, then apologise for bothering me at 4.30am on a Sunday morning.

The following morning Trina, the lodger and I have a conflab, and we surmise that they'd bad and urgent news to impart; if they were after her for something criminal they'd hardly have taken my word about her whereabouts without searching the house.

My phone beeps and it's Karen, the one with "nice tits"--a phrase that became a leitmotif of the weekend we all spent together a while ago. She is after something you can't buy in a supermarket. I reply.

Hello you sexy girl--lovely to hear from you. Hope all's well in the wilds of W----. I am afraid that the cupboard is a bit bare at the moment. I'd love something myself but if I hear of anything I'll let you know. I'm trying to get something organised for a friend's do next month so if that comes off I'll let you know. In the meantime we could just have sex instead though. JOKING! :) Take care XXX

First though, I send it to the receptionist at the girls' school, with whom I'd been talking about an administrative matter a minute previously.

Karen doesn't reply.

"'Honey'," I say to myself.

In further Ramadam news, my china quiche dish is returned. It is crowded with bhajis, pakoras, samosas and vegetable rolls. I must find out, from a reliable Guide to Muslim--Infidel Etiquette, the appropriate way to repay such abundant neighbourly generosity. Or I could just be honest with them and ask them if they're allowed to eat anything I make, or whether the sauce of unbelief fatally mars my provender.


Comment from: isabelle [Visitor]

You and your text messages ! That’s funny.
I’m beginning to wonder if you need glasses? Or perhaps it’s just the layout of your phone that seems to encourage a mix up of texts?

(Years ago I shared a house with a family from Bangladesh. Their culinary hospitality knew no bounds, and to their credit they even ate the chocolate cake I made for their sons birthday even though it was sunken and squidgy.)

Sat 20th July 2013 @ 13:02
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

Now it would have been funny he the mis directed txt got a positive reply.

Sat 20th July 2013 @ 21:54
Comment from: [Member]

Isabelle—it’s this new phone, which is a dauntingly modern 2005 version of a mobile phone. I can’t really work it.

Next step for the Infidel–Muslim Cook-Off will be my ace chacce khole (sp?) – basically chick peas in a ginger, lemon, garlic and mustard seed sauce. Let’s up the ante now!

F: Nothing so far but I’m sure she’s chewing her pencil in a coquettishly hair-flicking way about how to reply to me. (I think not).

Sun 21st July 2013 @ 15:50
Comment from: [Member]

you should most definitely continue the food gifting! the next big Muslim holiday is Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). They will slaughter a lamb, sheep, or cow - and the family only keeps a third of the meat. One third is given to friends, and another third to the poor. You could be in meat products for a long damn time if you play your cards properly!

Sun 21st July 2013 @ 18:15
Comment from: [Member]

Oh dear—I hope there’ll be none of that malarkey down Acacia Avenue!

Sun 21st July 2013 @ 23:01

I’ve been WONDERING about the whole bailiff situation but I certainly wasn’t going to bring it up. Glad it wasn’t them but a harrowing door-knock, nonetheless.

When you say “joking,” it’s understood that you’re not. Well, I’m sure it gave the receptionist something to yammer about with the girls.

I’m actually kind of touched by their gesture. You must find the proper way to acknowledgement. This is détente!

Mon 22nd July 2013 @ 12:18

I hate to be a bastard, but you could always try some curried pork sausages.

Tue 23rd July 2013 @ 06:01
Comment from: [Member]

UB: Yes, I’m going to make a massive portion of Chick Pea Thing (it’s actually very nice) AND—the secret weapon, leave it overnight and then take it round tomorrow. It’s delicious the day after.

The bailiffs are in hand–it’s a long process but they’re back behind the fence temporarily, before I banish them on the pen > sword principle later in the year. But I must make sure everything is absolutely in order before I do that. You’ll hear it all first here of course!

TSB: Hurrah! The Man Whose Name Sounds Like a Bank is back! Excellent news. How we have missed your dispatches from the lunatic asylum.

Tue 23rd July 2013 @ 11:08
Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

Late, I know… but I can’t leave here without remarking that ‘..the sauce of unbelief fatally mars my provender’ may be the finest nine word ending to a blogpost I have read ever, anywhere. It also sounds like the title of a great lost progrock concept album.

Sun 28th July 2013 @ 21:46
Comment from: [Member]

You do say some nice things Mr Crinkly. I’m sort of aiming at the imaginary intersection between Borges, George Eliot and Laurence Sterne, rather than at the lyrical confluence of Hawkwind, Tangerine Dream and the Grateful Dead, but I appreciate the comparison in any case.

Sun 28th July 2013 @ 23:19

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 57 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.

There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
Chinese man I met during Freshers Week at Lancaster University, 2008

The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
James Meek

Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
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Using words well is a social virtue. Use 'fortuitous' once more to mean 'fortunate' and you move an English word another step towards the dustbin. If your mistake took hold, no-one who valued clarity would be able to use the word again.
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One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
Mick, The Golden Lion, Lancaster, 21 Mar 2011

The Comfort of Strangers

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