15 January, 2008

battling the elements

I know. In the grand scheme of things, a driving rainstorm at 8 a.m. when you're trying to get your child to school is NOT a tragedy. I agree. But when you're really not a morning person to begin with, and then you're waiting on the corner for a taxi and cars fly by splashing you and there are no taxis and THEN your child remembers that her backpack is in the car, two blocks away, and it's still raining... so you rush to the car, realise that by now you'll be late if you don't just DRIVE instead of finding a taxi, but then it occurs to you that you can't read to the little Form Three gulls that you enjoy so much, because you now have a car that you'll never find a parking spot for in the RAIN... then it officially becomes a day that has not started off auspiciously.

So I drove Avery to school in total silence because she's 100 pages away from the end of "Little Women", and for some reason has focused on finishing the book before her St. Paul's interview this afternoon. Why? So she can say, in case anyone asks, that she's read "Little Women." I know, I don't get it either.

Isn't this a pretty photograph, anyway? I didn't take it, but someone who doesn't live in London where rain is not a thing you greet with open arms did, and you can see lots of other lovely photographs on his website. The page where I found the photograph is called "An Appreciation of Rain." Well, ask anyone in England right now about rain and you'll be in for an onslaught of invective. Flooding expected today in all the poor spots that were flooded in the summer. This is one of the few days when living in London just isn't all it's cracked up to be.

It's going to be one of those days. Two hours and fifteen minutes from now will find me back at school trying to find her, to get her to Brook Green, find something to feed her so she's all sparkly, then get to the school for her interview at 1:15. I wonder what I should do with myself for however long it takes? Will it have stopped raining by then? I am chagrined that I have reached a stage in my life where my day consists merely of getting someone else to the thing that she needs to do. Do I ever actually DO anything myself, or do I merely wash clothes for, feed, and transport someone to do things? This shall remain a rhetorical question for today, because right now just ferrying her where she needs to be and being ready to respond to whatever happens at 1:15 is task enough. What will it be like, an interview at the top London girls' day school? Rumours, amounting by this point to urban legend, are flying around the school. "Lucilla had to identify a picture of a gourd and say what it reminded her of, and she said it looked like her bottom," is one story, and "Juliette says she was asked to describe the significance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," and "Have you ever heard of a painter called Gauguin? Because Molly was shown a picture of a naked lady by him and had to describe the emotional content in it," are some of the choice morsels. These children are 11 years old!

Ah well, by 3 o'clock, doubtless, it will all be over. Until the next big exam on Friday. The stories surrounding last Friday's exam are already the stuff of urban legend. "If you sneeze, or anyone else sneezes, and you make eye contact with another student, the proctor will come and RIP UP your exam, right in front of you," and "One girl was sitting her exam, and the roof started leaking, right onto her paper, and they wouldn't let her move." Honestly, what we will all talk about when this process is over I cannot imagine. We may, horror of horrors, have to get lives of our own. That prospect is actually beginning to sound appealing.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to concentrated on the World' Greatest Bedtime Snack. As you know, I am a night owl, and it's very tempting for me to stay up until all hours reading, watching Miss Marple's Nemesis, talking on the telephone to people living five or six hours earlier than I am. But being in charge of the morning routine has meant a strict curtailing of all late-night pleasantries. Well, not quite. Midnight last night found me with:

Double Gloucester Omelet with Duchy Back Bacon
(serves one mother who should be asleep)

1 tsp butter
1 organic Harvest Moon egg (from the farmer's market of course)
1 tbsp single cream
sprinkle Maldon sea salt
a dozen strokes across a grater of Double Gloucester cheese
1 slice Duchy Original Back Bacon

Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet (like the massively heavy Le Creuset one you got from your perfect mother in law for Christmas). Whisk together the egg and cream with a fork and gently pour it into one half or so of the skillet, leaving the other half for the bacon. Lay the bacon on that spot. Leave over a gentle heat until the egg is nearly cooked (just bubbling a bit) and grate the cheese over the egg. Turn over the bacon. Now, when the cheese is melted, fold the egg over on itself two times. Turn onto a warm plate with the bacon.


Obviously this is not a RECIPE per se. This is a celebration of perfect ingredients, a quiet household, the peace of midnight, and a wish that you could be there in Iowa with the ones you love to hand them the warm plate, kiss their cheeks and make everything all right.

Well, my chores beckon: turning warm cats out of beds and making them, scrubbing the omelet skillet, the inevitable laundry. Stay dry, everyone, and wish Avery good luck this afternoon. She may well need it.

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