Shoes Glorious Shoes

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It all started when l was buying a pair of school shoes in Clarks with my Mum. I was probably about 7 years old and fell in love with a pair on the spot. They were shiny patent black, with a small strap, little pattern on the toe, and, best of all, a ‘magic key’ hidden in the sole. My mother, being a no-nonsense, practical type of person who bought ‘shoes to last’, refused my wishes, and l ended up with an unremarkable pair that l would be disappointed to put on every day.

Of course, when l reached the grand age of 15 and my mother was offering to buy me pretty shoes, l was clomping around in Dr Marten’s and army surplus boots, doing my best to imitate Courtney Love. When she had finally given up nagging me to look ‘ladylike’  (at about the age of 20) l came home from university wearing the pointiest, highest stiletto ankle boots known to man. They were camo-print though, so not perhaps what she had in mind.

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Shoes, Glorious Shoes.

Since that time, my slight (!) obsession with shoes has grown and grown. I love a beautiful shoe, no matter how unwearable they are. My husband, understandably, gets more than annoyed that every house move is accompanied by several boxes full of shoes that l never wear. They are usually labelled “Shoes that are never worn”, “More F-ing shoes”, or “Why do you keep buying shoes?”. So, he was not best pleased when l returned home from ostensibly shopping for a few essentials with not one, but three more pairs of (beautiful) shoes that l stumbled across in the Zara sale.

"More F*ing Shoes!"

“More F*ing Shoes!”

After the ‘conversation’ that followed, l duly removed the pairs of shoes that l have bought, but rarely wear from the wardrobe. I was supposed to get rid of them. I have moved them to a suitcase underneath the bed for safe keeping. Shhhhhhhh…..

A Plum Crumble Of Sorts

It is always a mistake to send the Husband to the supermarket without an itemised list. As he disappeared though the front door l shouted the word ‘FRUIT’ at him whilst trying to stop the Boy eating cat food. On his return l scoured the bags for the usual weekly selection of apples, kiwis, bananas and possibly a mango, only to discover a net full of ‘honey oranges’ and a head-sized bunch of what could only be described as oval persimmons. The sticky label on this mystery fruit said, quite simply, ‘Plum’.

An oval persimmon type of fruit.

An oval persimmon type of fruit.

Never one for turning down a new taste experience, as well as being subject to a ravenous pregnancy based hunger that yesterday saw me mainlining BK fries as if l had not eaten in weeks, l popped one in my mouth. The skin was persimmon thick and tart, but the soft flesh was sweet and juicy. I ate several more, pondering what to do with the copious amount of fruit that now sat on our kitchen table. Only one thing sprung to mind – a crumble.

Crumbles are my favourite dessert. There is something about buttery sweet clods melting into a slight tart stewed fruit, perhaps with some custard, that makes me feel warm on the inside. Not entirely befitting for tropical heat, but hey, thats why air-con was invented, right?

So this morning saw me rubbing flour and butter together – l use more butter as l like a bit of a melty stodgy crumble – and mixing in some brown sugar to create a caramel scented crumble mix. At the same time l simmered the ‘plums’ with a little sugar, water and allspice. The skins separated from the flesh, so before assembling the dessert for the oven l blitzed the fruit with a blender. Once in their baking dishes, they baked in the oven for 10 minutes until the tops were golden. Or a little sunburnt in a couple of cases.

They were tasty. Damn tasty. Tart and sweet, a tropical version of a traditional plum crumble. Something l would make again if l (a) could identify the fruit and/or (b) knew how to ask for it in Thai. I am not sure that ‘it looks like a persimmon and tastes a bit like a plum’ will cut it somehow. Anyway, if you can’t get hold of these so-called ‘plums’ any fruit will do. Oh, but not banana, l tried that once. Disaster.

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The Hiatus

There has been a hiatus in my writing, the pause button has been forced on for the last few months. I really wanted to write, ideas for posts would flit through my mind, but l just couldn’t. Instead, most evenings, l have sat huddled under a fleecy blanket staring blankly at the wall/the television/the Husband, desperately trying not to throw up and counting the moments until l could go to bed.

You may be forgiven for thinking that l have been struck down by a terrible tropical parasite, and that is partly true. I am, in fact, with child again. Which is obviously wonderful and very exciting news, just a bit of a ….. surprise. I have always scorned those women who are somehow shocked to discover they are pregnant, wondering how the physical signs could possibly be ignored or mistaken for anything else. My karma came in the form of the Husband pointing out that my ‘car sickness’ and cravings for anything McDonald related (l usually avoid those golden arches like the plague) was perhaps the sign l should be peeing on a stick. Humble pie humbly (ish) eaten.

For some women, the first few months is full of happiness, excitment and an overall blooming contentment. Not me. I cling on to dear life just willing the time to pass until l can look at a plate of food without wondering how long it will reside in my stomach. My head is full of cotton wool, every limb feels heavy, my temper is short, my skin is spotty, my hair dry. l feel bloated, lethargic and generally hate the world. Kate Middleton l am not.

Thankfully, time has passed and the hormonal fog appears to be clearing. I don’t have to try and hold my stomach in anymore, or try and dispose of my alcoholic drinks in more and more creative ways, nor try and justify my frequent bathroom stops as a ‘persistent bladder infection’. I am, in fact, starting to feel pregnantly normal again. Just in time to have a breakdown about the fact that none of my clothes fit anymore.

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