Terry Wogan said this morning, tongue in cheek of course, that it's not too early to put the sprouts on for next Christmas! It's one of his perennial jokes, but not so very far from the truth in my Mum's day. Whenever she cooked sprouts, they would be boiled for a very long time until they were a pale yellowy-green, and then popped into her colander and squashed flat with a saucer, so that you ended up with a sort of 'cake' of brussels sprouts which you could cut into slices! Sounds terrible, but that's how we used to eat them. No wonder we didn't like them much, though to tell the truth we never refused food - there just wasn't enough of it to turn anything down. My grandmother cooked her sprouts in much the same way, but she was a wise old bird - she used to pour the vegetable water into a glass, cool it on the marble slab in her larder (oh, how I want a larder), and then drink it before she went to bed. Of course she was getting all the vitamins that had been boiled out of the greens.
She was unbelievably healthy, and lived to be 95. She was completely independent until she was 93, living alone and doing all her own cooking, cleaning, shopping etc. She kept chickens and grew most of her own vegetables, so she had a very healthy diet. Unfortunately she came a cropper running for a bus (at 93!) and broke her hip. This meant that she ended up in hospital, and then had to go into a sort of convalescent home. She never managed to live independantly after that, but she was full of spirit. I remember going to visit her with my Father, and seeing her propped up in bed, looking very sprightly. She pointed out some woman who was hobbling along in the ward, with great difficulty and said "Poor old thing, she's not doing very well." My Father asked how old the woman was, and Nana anwered "75, I think." Not for a moment did she think there was anything funny about that, and the "poor old girl" was just about twenty years younger than her! She was a great girl herself. And sadly missed.
You will no doubt be pleased to know that I'm still getting special offers from HorseMart. I can't seem to get off their mailing list (and still don't know how I got onto it!).
Glory be and Praise the Lord, I'm actually thinking about writing again. I caught myself today drifting away into that space that I remember from about four years ago when I started writing a book. I can't exactly describe it, but I found myself working out how to move on from where I left off. It's strange, but D H Lawrence described the feeling when he was writing. He was convinced that the inspiration didn't come from him, but through him, and he was impelled by something outside himself to write down the words. He could feel, if not see, this presence, and said "Oh Ho, my Lad, are you there?" as whatever it was crept past him. (I came across this fact when I was doing research for my dissertation on D H Lawrence - fascinating!) I know it sounds odd, but that was just how I felt. We'll give it a bit of space and let's see if it bears any fruit.
Apropos of writing, I have to say that Blogging and all you lovely Bloggers are also an inspiration. Since last Summer I have been reading about other people's lives and have been amazed by their stories and their experiences. Everyone has a story to tell, and how wonderfully they tell it. What a privilege it is to be numbered among the Blogging Buddies..