I call out to visit an old neighbour, when I can get him at home that is. His social life at 87 years of age is better than a 27 year olds! He lives beside our old house, and even to this day ED and YD are convinced that he and his late wife were an extra set of grandparents.
Last week I dropped out to see him, and brought the poor man a jar of my home made chutney. He is, as far as I can ascertain, still alive and feeling no ill consequences. I have become interested again in home cooking. Three years of a tiny kitchen here, and about six months of lack of access to all my kitchenalia, I lost the grá and cooking became basic. I am back with a bang and my James Martin cook books are getting great use. Chutney [a glut of apples is great incentive] and apple jam and apple sauce and apple...you get the picture. I still have friends, apparently, all of them having survived their pots of chutney!
So, back to my visit to Tom, chutney included. Being the Miss Marple type, my deductive powers went into hyperdrive when I saw the skip outside what used to be our marital home. Loaded to the brim. The wardrobes from our old bedroom [only three years old at time of sale], the interior doors, and my kitchen. All thrown higgledy, piggeldy into the skip. A wail went through my mind as I sat, to all appearances searching for something on the floor of the car, taking in the contents of the new owners skip. A marital lifetime of choosing with OH the perfect doors, the family friendly kitchen. The kitchen where all my friends headed for, nevermind a sitting room with comfy sofa and roaring fire. The kitchen where ED and YD studied, indeed learned to write and draw, the kitchen window which gave birth to this blog The View from the Kitchen Window....all in the skip. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
Taking a moment to calm myself, to resist the urge to go and bang on the hall door and demand to ask what the hell she was thinking of throwing out the best kitchen in Ireland, the wardrobe that was good enough for...ah what the heck, I told myself. She paid her money for the house, you're benefitting from that money and aren't you thrilled with your new dishwasher...she can dump what she likes honey. You don't own it anymore.
I trotted up Tom's driveway, weakly rang the door bell and tottered down the hall into his kitchen. "Are ye upset alannah?" the ever-noticing Tom chuckled; "nooo, well not now Tom, I realise that different women have different kitchens, but it gave me a start to see my pride and joy out in a skip all the same" I breathlessly returned. "Well, ye see, tis like this, as I see it...once you'd left that kitchen, the spirit was gone out of it and she'd have to get a new one". Love that man! No wonder he had 52 years of very happily married life to his beautiful Sara, Lord rest her.
Yesterday I had a phone call from Tom. "Is it yourself that's in it alannah?" He hails from Tipperary and Irish is his first language. "Hello Tom, are you ok?" I asked, because at his age, every day he is still in our lives is a boon. "Faith I am", he said. "Yer wan next door has gotten a new hi-fi kitchen in, and the lad that put the plumbing in told me it cost €24k. God help us, now I'm wondering can the woman cook at all?". "By the way" he added, " Mary from number 61 took your kitchen from the skip, and has had it installed in the flat she built in the back garden for her young daughter and son in law, they love it". May Mary's daughter have as many happy hours cooking in her new kitchn as I had. I must give her a James Martin cookbook for a housewarming gift!