"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Get a pen and paper, and a pair of rubber gloves. It’s nettle soup time. Small neighbour Tarran has harvested the crop, and we made a soup which really is splendid – recipe follows in a bit….
Less fulfilling was a long drive to Hugglescote in Leicestershire for an interview which did not get us the job. Charles Monkhouse and I hoped to do public art there involving poetry, but someone else pressed Hugglescote’s buttons more vigorously, so good luck to them. My workshop in Macclesfield was more successful – cake, raucous laughter and some very interesting poems.
Fourpenny Circus is almost upon us, and we had two days of nerve-racking rehearsals in Congleton. My fellow circus freaks are skilled and serene. I am terrified that I will let them down by standing up when I should sit down, taking my hat off when I should be putting a red nose on, or forgetting to take off my bra (it will all become clear when you see the show). Meanwhile friend Roger was working on my boat, ready for my epic journey which starts on Friday morning and may end on Friday afternoon if something blows up, floods or sinks. At least the electrics should be fine, and in theory I should be away from Macc until the middle of July at least.
For the first time in ages I saw friends Jonnie, Victoria and little Tilly, who awaits the arrival of a sibling in June with Machiavellian calm. I was on a visit to That London for a workshop at the Old Operating Theatre with Tamar Yoseloff. They have a very nice river in London – not as beautiful as the Macclesfield Canal, of course, but almost as busy.
The Old Operating Theatre is a curious little museum which happily is very near the Borough Market, so we were able to gorge ourselves on lovely produce.
Speaking of which… that recipe for nettle soup. Chop up a little potato and a little onion very finely, fry them gently in butter for a minute or two with a clove of garlic. Add about a pint and a half of chicken stock, put a lid on it and simmer for a few minutes. Now put your rubber gloves on and pick two handfuls of nettle tops (only the young tops, not the lower leaves or buds). Stick them in a sieve, pour boiling water over them to clean, de-sting and de-bug them. Chop them finely, lob them in and stir the whole thing about a bit. When you’re ready to serve, take it off the heat and liquidise it for a mo if you can be bothered, then stir in a cupful of single cream. It’s bloody marvellous and also good for you – lots of iron. It doesn’t keep, so eat it the day you make it.
I’m off boating on Friday and will be blogging as I travel the waterways of Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffs and whatever the other county in the Four Counties Ring is – but can only post it when within reach of Wi-Fi technology so bear with me. Onward!