Monday 15 June 2020

Blackbirds and Pecan Tart

I have been out in the garden removing slugs from the lettuce in the raised bed and stomping on them. Death to slugs. In happier news, almost all of  the beets have sprouted in the trug and another runner bean seedling has appeared.

Sunday morning was unusual in two respects: first, the Warrington Mass wasn't transmitting for some unknown reason, and so Benedict Ambrose read the prayers and readings for a Missa Sicca. Second, I noticed a fluently Polish comment on my article about President Duda and his Family Card, so I searched online for references to it in the Polish media. Instead of a reference to the article, I found a video of myself giving an interview to Polonia Christiana.

As yet I have been too embarrassed to watch it although not to embarrassed to report it to work, my mother,  my Polish tutor, my Italian teacher, my French & German-speaking brother, and my Facebook friends. Back in October, when I gave the interview I thought I had done so badly, PC24 decided not to air it. Apparently not. One of the comments delightfully says "How did the lady learn to speak Polish so well?"

There are two answers to that. The first is that the lady has committed ego-suicide with the knife of embarrassment over and over again for several years. The second is that the lady contacted her parish's current Polish altar server and collaborated on her remarks. Polish is hard, becoming fluent in Polish outside Poland is harder, and speaking Polish in Rome is so hard I abandoned it mid-interview and we switched to English.

And so I told my Italian teacher over the phone yesterday in Italian.

But that was after 6 PM. After we failed to find the Warrington Mass and Benedict Ambrose did his laymen's best, we ate delicious local bacon sandwiches and then went on a country walk. First we took the bus straight to our favourite countryside hipster cafe (strange but true) with its great sacks of Canadian flour ("Manitoba White") and French flour. There we purchased two cappuccinos and two slices of pecan tart and took them away to a sort of alcove in the stone wall running around the forested part of a market garden. After we ate them, we revised our walk plans.

We had meant to climb the local hill, the ancient stronghold of the Votadini, but B.A. decided it was too misty and rainy to appreciate the view.  So we went for a walk around the fields and alongside the river, aiming at a pretty stone-built village we had never visited before. The local cafe was open, so I bought a bottle of water and learned that they had just reopened that very day. Then we walked to East Linton, rather swiftly, and got to the bus stop within six minutes of the once-an-hour bus's arrival.

Yesterday I also finished my slow-reading of The Eagle of the Ninth, and this reminds me of the importance of details for setting a scene.  Thus I will add that the damp trees were alive with blackbirds cheerfully singing away, and that we saw a white-throated dipper flicking and and fluttering on a stone in the river, and that one of the fields was full of pea shoots. B.A. plucked a little to taste, and I wailed about pesticides. It had been raining, though, so presumably the pea shoots had been rendered temporarily organic.

I thought about The Eagle of the Ninth constantly and tried to imagine what had been where the potato fields and Brussel sprout crops are now. Trees? Scrub? Next Saturday we will go to Trimontium and imagine Marcus and Esca meeting Guern the Hunter in the ruins of the fort. Today I will post off copies of the book to my pupils.

Two of the beautiful stone house in the village were for sale. When we got home, though, we discovered that both owners want over £400,000, which is rather outside our budget.

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