Thursday, 23 February 2017

Thinking inside the Box

Pascoe has always been somebody who thought outside the box.
Except on this occasion. Where his solution lies inside the box.

What’s in the box?
A cricket farm.
In other parts of the world, crickets have been bred for centuries as a reliable and low-carbon-footprint form of protein.
Looking into the future and seeing that the human race can’t go on as it is without exhausting its planet, Pascoe has bought some of these crickets.

Have you eaten any yet?
No – they’re not ready.
How can you tell when they’re ready?
They start chirping.
Ahhh!.....Where are you keeping them?
In a box in the sitting room where it’s warm.
What do your housemates think about this?
Well two of them are Chinese and in Chinese culture it’s good luck to have a cricket in the house.
But is it good luck to have hundreds of crickets in the house?  And then, is it good luck to eat them?
Have you given them names?
Well, I heard a couple of the crickets talking and I think one of them was called Ralph, but now I can’t tell exactly which one that was.  I hate to say it, but they all look just the same to me.

Ralph (I'm 80% sure it is Ralph) has just entered her final instar and turns out to be a lady cricket... 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Too mature by half

Now that the twins have reached the grand old age of 22, life is less fun for me.  It is far harder to get a rise out of them, for example, see this Whatsapp conversation between myself and Perran concerning his next dance performance.

16/02/2017, 21:32 - clarehobba: Looking forward to your dance show.  Have booked Saturday matinee.  That leaves us free to come to the after-show party with you.

16/02/2017, 21:42 - clarehobba: Looking forward to that after-show  party.  What shall I wear ?

16/02/2017, 21:44 - clarehobba: Nigel looking forward to dancing at after party.  Am ironing his white jeans.

16/02/2017, 22:57 - clarehobba: What will you wear, Perran? Perhaps we could match.

Finally, in the wee small hours, a response.

17/02/2017, 01:30 - Peb: Only mesh garments allowed at the afterparty
17/02/2017, 01:30 - Peb: Any non-mesh garments will be burnt

On the bright side, that very possibly constitutes an invitation.

Monday, 13 February 2017

A Touch of the Poldarks

Carenza came with me to visit her grandparents in Cornwall.  In the car she asked if we could go for a walk on the cliffs. 
Of course I said “Yes”.
Over the next few days, she helped me to research my novel set in Newlyn.  She took notes in the archive and photos in the streets.
She helped me to shop and cook for my parents.
She listened to their reminiscences with attention, even when they had a somewhat familiar feel to them.
Over the whole time, the weather had been hostile.  Sleet on the journey down, icy rain as we plodded the streets of Newlyn, and an East wind like a bone-handled knife.
“Are you sure you want to go up on the cliffs? Could be blowy.”
This was British understatement for “Himalayan” or “Baffin Island”.
But she still wanted to go.
So we went.
There was a baby seal on the beach.

Hundreds of gannets  were diving like spectacular skewers onto a shoal of fish beneath the cliffs.
On the cliff path, a bold pair of stonechats hopped just ahead of us, and a raven cruised past.
As we returned, the sun came out and a skylark sang high above.
Back at the car, rock pipits hopped round our ankles as we drank hot chocolate.
So it was worth it really.

But it was still a bloody cold wind.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Let them eat hedgehogs

One of the things I most value about having children is that they create new worlds for me to explore.  Would I ever have learned to love contemporary dance if it hadn’t been for Perran?  Kept up-to-date with developments in Synthetic Biology if not for Pascoe?  Learnt about new perspectives on feminism if not from Carenza?

And more to the point, would I ever have attempted to make a hedgehog cake, if it hadn’t been for the twins’ birthday this weekend?