2334. Healthy eating

Anne and Peter had long retired. Occasionally their peace would be shattered by noisy and loveable grandchildren, but generally they lived a quiet, yet active, existence.

“We should really cut down a bit on our meat intake,” suggested Peter one day.

“Meat is certainly one of the more expensive foods. It would save a bit, and besides, less meat is apparently a more healthy option,” said Anne.

“Less meat it is!”

Anne found a recipe for beans and other vegetables that when cooked and minced up looked exactly like ground meat. Because it was the first time she had used the recipe it took a little longer than it normally would. She had followed the recipe meticulously. It smelt lovely. In fact, it actually smelt a little like ground beef. She arranged helpings on plates with mashed potato, and a cucumber and shallot salad.

“Come and get your healthy meal!” called Anne to Peter. He was reading the paper in the next room, ensconced in an armchair. “Everything’s ready!”

Peter continued to sit. He was dead.

2333. Cranberry sauce

Ailsa was a reasonable cook. The thing was, when she cooked a turkey for some special occasion or other, what she was most secretly proud of was her cranberry sauce.

It may not seem much, said Ailsa, but it’s a recipe the early colonists to this country would have used. I got the recipe out of a really old recipe book that was being sold with other used books at the Farmers’ Market. It doesn’t put all this other nonsensical stuff in like oranges and lemons and the baby and the bathwater. It’s simply fresh cranberries and sugar.

This year there was no cranberries in the stores. Ailsa searched from store to store. In the end she bought a jar of commercially made cranberry sauce. I shall place it is a dish and serve it as if it’s mine, thought Ailsa. But everyone will know it’s not as good as the traditional recipe. I’ll simply say I branched out a little this year and attempted to make something more modern.

Oh Ailsa, gushed Candice almost bordering on the salacious. Your cranberry sauce! It’s wonderful! It’s so much better than all the other years you have been making it. Did you change the recipe?

2332. Peanut butter

Ruth was the practical sort. She had no patience for those who insisted on being miserable. “Self-appointed martyrs” she called them. So when neighbour Brent developed an allergy to peanut butter, Ruth had no qualms at dismissing “such nonsense” immediately.

“Don’t fool me into thinking you went for fifty years and then suddenly out of the blue you can’t eat peanut butter. It’s all in the head,” she said.

To prove her point she made a tin of delectable chocolate and coconut balls with a surreptitious spoon or two of peanut butter in the ingredients. “Once he’s eaten it and survives,” said Ruth, “I shall tell him in no uncertain terms that this peanut butter nonsense is all in his head.”

Brent’s funeral is next Friday.

2331. Berries

Jakov Kouwenhoven-Eenshuistra had to give a talk at school on any topic he wished. Here is his talk:

There are strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, mulberries, loganberries, huckleberries, chokeberries, juniper berries, boysenberries, salmonberries, and dewberries. The list goes on and on.

Thank goodness the English word for “berries” is not “Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung”, otherwise it would be strawkraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, raspkraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, blackkraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, goosekraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, mulkraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, logankraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, hucklekraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, choke kraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, juniper kraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, boysenkraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, salmonkraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs, and dewkraftfahrzeug-haftpflichtversicherungs.

The teacher gave Jakov an F.

Poem 111: Fettered

(The form of this poem is a diamante. I thought I would try to compose one and and possibly will never try again, although a diamante does have fairly strict rules – which is something I like!)

muddy, mucky,
rooting, snorting, grunting,
pigged-out, unfettered, stylish, carefree,
galloping, cantering, trotting,
saddled, haltered, fettered,

To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.

2330. The best laid plans

Rudolf thought he had planned his wife’s murder down to the last detail. He would strangle her with his bare hands and then hang her from the garage rafters to make it look like suicide.

The strangulation was easy. Everything went as planned. He had studied it in detail online. That was one of the advantages of the internet – you could find most things on it, and how to strangle a spouse popped up on his screen after clicking on a few links. It was what happened after the strangling that things began to go awry.

When Rudolf went to hang her corpse from the rafters he discovered that the bit of rope he had to do the job was too short. There was nothing for it but to get in the car and scoot off to the hardware store for a rope.

He quickly selected a rope and when he went to pay for it the date on his bank card had elapsed. He had to leave the rope there, go home, and rummage through his late wife’s purses to find the right card. She had several cards and he knew the pin number of one of them at least. He just wasn’t sure which card it was.

He had to go to four different hardware stores to try the different card with the number he knew. As luck always has it, it was the last card he used in the fourth store that worked.

By now, considerable time had passed. He quickly tied a noose around the corpse’s neck and hung the corpse from the rafters. Well blow me down! Rigor mortis had set in and his wife hung like the letter C, in a big curve. Nothing seemed natural. What a conundrum! What a dismal failure he was as a murderer!

Taking his wife’s working bank card, he locked the garage door, locked the house, and set out in his car for a month-long, all-expenses-paid, summer vacation.

2329. A jolly funeral

Louis was dead. He had been a fanatical breeder of dahlias. When the word “fanatical” is used it simply means he was pretty keen on the idea of developing new varieties of dahlia, and most people thought that was boring, which is why they called him a fanatic.

When Louis died, neighbour Ursula would normally have attended his funeral but she was getting near the end of quilting a bed covering to give to Raewyn for her birthday. Besides, Louis was a bit of a fanatic when it came to dahlias, and Ursula had better things to do than attend the funeral of a fanatic.

When Louis died, neighbour Selwyn would normally have attended his funeral but he was getting near the end of repainting the veranda in preparation for the barbeque season, and Selwyn loved his barbeques! Besides, Louis was a bit of a fanatic when it came to dahlias, and Selwyn had better things to do than attend the funeral of a fanatic.

When Louis died, neighbour Raewyn would normally have attended his funeral but she was getting near the end of removing the labels off the jars she was going to use for pickling later in the season. Besides, Louis was a bit of a fanatic when it came to dahlias, and Raewyn had better things to do than attend the funeral of a fanatic.

When Louis died, neighbour Olive would normally have attended his funeral but if she didn’t have her daily exercise and workout in the gym then it was grumpiness for the rest of the day. Besides, Louis was a bit of a fanatic when it came to dahlias, and Olive had better things to do than attend the funeral of a fanatic.

It could be construed that the few who attended Louis’ funeral were a fairly boring bunch; none of them had any hobbies worth writing home about.

2328. Cold murder

Murder was the last thing on Eunice’s mind when she went, one summer’s day, to buy an ice cream. In fact, she had never contemplated murder once in her life. Murder was something that other people did, in another part of town. One read about it. One sees it reported on the television news. This murder was destined to be spontaneous.

She went into the store, asked for a rum and raisin ice cream, had one lick of it, and WHAM she was murdered. Eunice had been murdered. It would have been possible for things to be the other way around with Eunice doing the murdering. Either way, there’d be a dead body.

When the policeman turned up he was horrified at the waste of a good ice cream. No doubt all would agree.

2327. Cucumber pickle

Marlene lived alone. She was a spinster. It’s not that she had anything against having a family; it’s just that the right person hadn’t come along at the right moment. She was now in her late seventies, and she lived a very ordered life.

Marlene had a small garden. A little portion was reserved for growing flowers. She grew only those flowers that could be cut and put in a vase. The rest of her garden was devoted to vegetables.

Of course, she needed to grow only a few vegetables. For example she grew two cucumbers, one squash, two celery plants, two tomato plants, and so on. It meant that her packets of seeds were good for several years, provided she kept them in a dry place.

This year Marlene sowed two cucumber seeds. Neither came up. She tried a couple more. Nothing germinated. She tried half a dozen more. Nothing happened.

“I’ll give it one more chance,” said Marlene. “Maybe these old seeds are passed their use-by date.” She sowed all twenty-two remaining seeds. “Maybe,” thought Marlene, “there might be one or two seeds that are still good.”

Nothing grew. There was nothing for it but to buy a new packet of cucumber seeds. Marlene sowed four seeds from the new packet. Within a week the seeds sprouted. And so did all the other thirty-four cucumber seeds.

2326. Here comes the bride

Karen’s mother and I have been estranged for about twenty years. Karen was only three when Samantha packed up and left. She wanted nothing to do with Karen. Now suddenly it’s all lights and bubbles.

Karen’s about to get married – this very day in fact – and as soon as an engagement was announced Samantha appeared out of the woodwork and began organizing things. Karen wanted a small quiet wedding; Samantha wanted it big. Karen wanted it in a little country church; Samantha wanted it in a sprawling garden. Karen wanted to wear something new and lovely that she could use as Sunday best after the wedding (we’re not particularly well-off); Samantha wanted a full-scale wedding gown. Karen thought little home-made cupcakes could be fun; Samantha wanted a three-tiered wedding cake. The list went on and on.

Of course Karen tried to be nice. She tried to steer convivially between her own wishes and the demands of her mother. Not particularly successfully I must admit. The wedding is today. It’s meant to be outside. It’s meant to be with an extravagant wedding gown. It’s meant to cater for at least two hundred people. The mother of the bride has a new hat. And a new dress. And a new handbag.

Anyway, I’m happy to say it looks like it’s raining. In fact it’s currently hosing down. And I’ve just got a text message from Karen and Gilbert. They got married yesterday in a registry office before leaving for their honeymoon.