27 December 2002
One by one, I guess, our vanities are stripped away from us. Generally in public. I have for years flattered myself that I was a halfway decent cook; it is now clear that this was indeed just flattery. Christmas lunch came in about two hours later than was promised, on account of the bird(s) taking twice as long as was calculated. I was inclined yesterday to blame Kate's oven, loudly and I fear monotonously; I still say that it is a weird thing and should have been condemned at birth (well, I mean, an oven that's hotter at the bottom than it is at the top? 'Tis flying in the face of nature, so 'tis...), but a smarter man than I would have dealt far better with it. Me, I just got stressed and kept chasing the hot spot up and down and up again, to the detriment of everything except the guests' tempers. They were saintly, and even managed to be nice about the food when they eventually got it. Hmph.
And Jean tells me that if you toast hazelnuts in a low oven, the skins will just rub off. Makes sense to me. Unfortunately, I took the skins off first and toasted 'em afterwards. It seems to be my week for idiocy.
Four days left, to finish the story of Luke. Today I wrote about half a page, and went for two long and fruitless walks in the rain. Something really isn't working at the moment, and it would appear to be me. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to retire to my bed now and nurse my sorrows. I have two, and they are warm and furry. (Actually, one of my favourite books - 'The Hotel New Hampshire' by John Irving - has a dog called Sorrow. It ends up dead, stuffed and impossible to lose, which seems appropriate. And my teddy bear Softly was once misnamed Sorry in the national press, but that's another story.)
© Chaz Brenchley 2002
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.