Saturday, April 27, 2013


In the blue light of the evening terrace, a picnic last night, ready for transport to the roof (always slightly fraught, after the Flying Pig incident). The last of our home-cured duck breast, freshly pickled field garlic from the March batch, my chicken liver mousse (in the jar), just-made garlic mustard pesto - which will be fed to my BBG foraging class, too; the obilgatory saucisson (since Vince and I really met because of saucisson) and greens from the roof, dressed with very good, syrupy balsamic vinegar.

I found myself eating my own, surreptitious picnic at lunch, yesterday. Soft white bread - left over from my cucumber sandwich craving early in the week - spread with some mayonnaise, rolled up around single spears of canned white asparagus. This funny, 50's era snack belongs to one time and place: an annual family picnic at Maynardville, in Cape Town, which always preceded an outdoor production of Shakespeare. When I was a teenager, the only thing that gave me courage for the play was the prospect of this picnic, with coffee (and brandy!) at half time. My Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Reg would drive in from Paarl in their diesel Mercedes, and Yvonne always made a large tupperware container full  of these white bread, mayonnaise and asparagus sandwiches. I used to wolf them. I loved them.

I craved them yesterday, and made three roll ups for myself.

Forty-five minutes later I learned that my Uncle Reg had just passed away, in Paarl.

So it was a sad picnic. We looked out over the water, at the harbor, the boats, the air cold after the sun had set, and sipped our wine and looked at planes landing and flying far away, and at the earliest stars.

Every time he saw me, Reg would say, with delight, So how's Brooklyn? And without waiting for an answer would tell me about the time he had visited Brooklyn, when he was in the navy, long, long ago.

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