Tuesday, June 30, 2009

all points north

On Sunday there was a family party chez Signs, given exclusively for the family members of Mr. Signs, as many as could be gathered on that particular day, some of whom I had never met and he barely knew. There were about eighteen of us in all, Mr. S being disappointed that more were not able to come, and me relieved. While they looked at old photograph albums and generally caught up with each other on the patio, I put finishing touches to the buffet, drank spritzers, rolled a couple of Golden Virginias and lectured the daughter about the evils of alcohol and cigarettes.

The day before, I had discovered that some of the attendees were extreme vegans, so no chance of cocktail sausages and tinned pineapple chunks with Gouda cheese cubes on sticks, or a vat of Coronation chicken. Googling vegan fingerfoods was useless, it all required making from scratch. But still, I am now in love with Discovery fajita powder and wholemeal wraps. You just sautee a large quantity of veg, add powder - and wrap. Tinned chick peas and assorted beans are also, as everyone knows, a good vegan thing – I uncanned and mixed with with “oriental” tahini dressing (made up on the hoof). There was also bulghur wheat tabbouleh, sushi and guacamole dip with crudités plus other things for carnivores and fish-eating, gluten-avoiding vegetarians. In the end there was far too much food and I offloaded a quantity onto my lovely vegan neighbour. I used to do this sort of thing a lot but am out of practice, not just with the catering side of things but gatherings in general, unless they have some clearly defined focus such as choral singing or poetry. It has to be said that I am no longer (was I ever?) a party animal – unless it is a party where I can sing Bohemian Rhapsody on karaoke. Just saying this in case a couple of people look in and wonder if I was just pretending to enjoy myself at the garden party the other week. No, look, I am contradictory. I am not a party animal but sometimes go to parties and have a lovely time, especially if someone else is doing the food.

I could complain about the heat but won’t as the weather is due to change soon and then I will be complaining about the rain. In any case, Mr S and I are going to Caithness the day after tomorrow to stay with Ms North and partner in their lovely house on the beach where you can sit in bed and look out at the sea. Ms North and I will be doing The Writing while Mr. S explores the terrain, reads and relaxes. We also plan to eat, drink and talk to seals. There is one who has recently taken to hanging out on that bit of beach and I am hoping s/he will stay around and let me come close enough for some eye contact.

Whenever I go to my hairdresser she asks me where and when I am going on holiday. She and her husband have about seven a year so no sooner has one holiday been taken than the next is within sight. You must like Scotland a lot, she said last time. Because you keep going there, don’t you? Yes, I do. And I do.


trousers said...

I knew someone who was from Caithness, she showed me many photos and told me a lot about the place. It sounded beautiful. I hope you have a lovely time there.

By the way, isn't the phrase "extreme vegans" tautological?

(I don't really mean that, but I couldn't resist)

Reading the Signs said...

good point,Trousers, and these weren't the most extreme (otherwise they wouldn't have sat eating with carnivores). I don't think they eat honey.

Zhoen said...

Good food doesn't have to have meat, as you've proved.

There are all gradations of vegetarian. I've never gotten the no garlic rules, though. I like vegetarian meals, but am not averse to eating meat, either.

Reading the Signs said...

Zhoen, no garlic? This rule I have not heard of. Whatever next!

Kahless said...

I had to google where Caithness is; now I am somewhat more educated.

Seals? How wonderful. I hope you get to speak to him/her. Dont forget to take piccies if you can!

Reading the Signs said...

Will do, Kahless.

Anonymous said...

My hairdresser - or barber - doesn't talk to me. That's why I keep going back. He leaves me alone to think while he shortens my already short hair.