Saturday, 26 May 2012

Senses and sensitivity

In case anyone hasn't noticed, it has become very warm.

Lovely, some people think.  Too hot too soon, other people think.
Let's get the "barbie" out, quite a lot seem to think.

Hold your nose time again. I think

What is it about the first few sunny days which causes half the human race to lose its mind.

Why is it a good idea to sit, sweating profusely in a group of equally sweaty, pale-skinned (from living under a stone all Winter), people of all ages types, sizes, shapes and tastes, in order to celebrate the return of the sun to our cold and drafty island?

Having been talked into communal eating al fresco, regardless of dietary peculiarities, and the obvious penchant of the local insect population for greasy smelly food, it is deemed odd, or fussy to say in a small, uncertain, wavering voice "Er, I'm a vegetarian".

Reactions can vary from "Ooh what do you eat then"? to "well, you won't mind eating (burgers, sausages, etc) just this once will you?" or even sometimes "We know that don't we, so we've got you some (invariably salmon) fish.

If I dare to say, which has been known, "I'll have a jacket potato with some cheese" they look pityingly from their sweating, glistening with fat, faces, "you don't know what you're missing". they say.

Neighbouring barbeques compete, with the smell of chilli predominating.  Smoke rises from a dozen gardens.  Pongs fit to make your eyes water fill the hot humid air and everyone is suddenly silent as they/we stuff our faces as though food were going out of fashion,

The gardens which, in the early morning were full of the scent of lilac and soft Spring fragrances are reminiscent of some North African street market,  Even the birds have departed, overcome by fumes.

Luckily, this type of weather is comparatively rare in our hallowed land and the public feasting phenomena
equally rare, so as I remove the clothes-peg from my olfactory organ and escape to the comparative cool of a silent empty house with all its windows open, grab a huge glass of water and heave my hot feet onto a footrest I muse in blessed odour-free, silence on the strangeness of the 'reserved' British at play.


  1. love the responses you get to being vegetarian - we sympathise completely having constantly had them in the past and no doubt still got plenty to have in the future as well.

  2. So that means you won't be inviting me to a barbie anytime soon, Ray? :-) When the children were young we had a tiny barbecue, but it's long gone as I grew so tired of spending hours cooking something badly which I could have cooked perfectly in minutes in the kitchen.

    I can certainly see how being vegetarian would make you odd woman out in such a carnivorous setting. You have my sympathy. I'm not vegetarian, but eat little meat and very often choose the vegetarian option when eating out, as I did yesterday (it was delcious!)

  3. Hi Jane, my standard reply to the "what do you eat if you don't eat meat"? is "everything else".
    By the time they've worked out the implications of this, I've usually moved on.

  4. Hi Perpetua. It's not that I object to anyone else eating meat, we make our own choices, but it is the total lack of reciprocal understanding that sometimes gets to me.

  5. Regarding lack of reciprocal understanding, your neighbors remind me of those parishioners who, upon hearing that my spouse lives 500 miles away right now, as me, a priest, if I commute on weekends.

    Community is a mixed bag, isn't it?

  6. Of course, you could start a barbie under the spooky Transylvanian Yew trees in the churchyard you feel bear a malign presence. There is one new use for the dreaded bar-b-q

  7. As you say Penny, a mixed bag. It seems imagination goes only so far and if you dare to step out of the box they have assigned to you, you risk being labelled "not fit for purpose".

  8. Good idea Constantina. Just need to be sure the bats, who seem to have deserted the church, have not taken up residence in the menacing black yews.
    Then, just a touch of my trusty flame-thrower and up they go.