Thursday, September 10, 2015

Making the Pesto and
Dancing in the Kitchen

"Nothing can replace the shock of pleasure
given by a small mountain of fresh basil
in the summer kitchen."

Eleanor Perenyi


Basil & Oregano

Getting Started . . .

Food Processor Magic!



When the Holy Spirit Danced With Me in My Kitchen

the first thing I noticed was his arms,

thick and hairy like a bricklayer’s

with a tattoo of an anchor

as Churchill had.


‘Coming for a spin?’ he grinned,

in an accent more Geordie than Galilee,

and he whirled me

through tango, foxtrot and waltz

without missing a beat.


‘You’re good,’ I said. ‘Thanks,’

he said, taking two glasses to the tap.

‘You’re not so bad yourself,

for someone with no sense of rhythm

and two left feet.’

He gave me a wink.


‘It’s all in the waist.

The movement has to start there

or it’s dead.’

‘You’ll find it applies to most things,’

he went on, grabbing the kettle.

‘Writing, cooking, kissing,

all the things you’re good at,

or think you are.’

He winked again.


‘You don’t mind me asking,’ I said,

‘but why are you here?’

‘I thought it was about time,’

he said. ‘I mean, you’ve been full stretch,

haven’t you, what with your job,

feeling like a taxi for the kids,

your family living far away,

and you ‘in your head’ all the time

as you said to someone last week.’


I looked at him and nodded.

‘Go on.’

‘I was going to.’

He got down some mugs.

‘Let’s say I was concerned about you.

The thing is, the three of us,

we like you a lot.

We think you’ve got real potential

as a human. You’re kind and humorous.

You’re also a little scatty.

We like that. By the way, that fish curry

you made on Saturday was first class.’


‘You know about that?’

‘Everything you get up to,’

he smiled. ‘It’s nothing to panic about.

Really. To tell you the truth

you could do with loosening up a little.

Try not beating yourself up the whole time.

A little less rushing everywhere

would do you good, too.’


‘I thought you might say that.’

‘Look at me,’ he said.

‘I came to say:

Keep Going, and Relax.

Also: keep things simple.

If you are doing one thing,

do that thing. If you are talking

with someone, listen to them,

do not blame them for being hard work.

Write as if you were not afraid,

and love in this way too.

Be patient with everyone, especially

your relations, who (I can assure you)

think you are rather special.

Make big decisions slowly, and small decisions

fast. Do not make bitterness your friend.

Pray (I will not mind if you use

made up words for this.)

Garrison was right: ‘Why

have good things you don’t use?’

What you have been given to do,

give yourself to it completely,

only by emptying yourself can you become full.’


by Anthony Wilson
from Full Stretch (Worple Press, 2006)

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