Photos: Me IN A HAMMOCK, ON A BOAT happy as a clam in Cervia, Bagno Samuele where Lev works, Me and Cath on the beach in Mombasa (I know we look like girls out of college but this one is now and not 25 years ago…), Wedding in East Hendred 1997, Mum on Massimo’s boat going the full Patsy on Lev’s birthday, Claudia’s Chicken Salad and a Watermelon and Feta one.
It’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve added anything here – basically, it’s because a patient was reading the blog (I actually see people under my ex-married name but some people know I’m me anyway) and it made me self-conscious about it. Not that I mind, but I suddenly felt I should write more edifying-type things with more psychoanalysis in them. But then, the other night, I made Claudia’s chicken salad and felt I had to share it with you urgently. Make! Eat! Quick! Easiest thing in the whole world. I made it to go out on Massimo’s boat. Boats! Who knew? I’ve been sailing all summer – I say sailing, when I mean sitting on a boat and being really, really impressed and soaking up the pinks and blues and just feeling like this is the nicest bit of my life so far. I’ve been learning the Italian names for bits of boat and getting into the politics of whose boat is whose and whose grandfather owned and fished from what and how speed boats (or any boats with a motor really) are for small-penised losers and real sailors can sail down a windless canal at night spreadeagled on the sail to catch the slightest motion of the air to the awe-inspired gasps of sailing-savvy diners at the twinkly, shouty restaurants on the waterside in Cervia (Massimo is a real sailor I will have you know).
Everyone shouts out his name, people he was at school with, vague relatives and clients who shout out ‘avvocato!’ and address him as vous. You know that Moretti advert where there’s an Italian family eating on the terrace and trying to get someone to drop work and come and eat and they send him a bottle of beer on a complex pulley via neighbours’ flats and stuff? Obviously it’s an idealised Italy ad aimed at Brits but, surreally, it’s actually a bit like that here in real life.
So, I’m divorced. I didn’t know I was getting divorced when the papers arrived from the East Midlands something or other (even though I got married near Oxford, in fact) all .gov.uk and terrifying. So sad to see the name of the church we got married in and my ex’s full name and all that. And to have to sign and I didn’t want to. I mean, I get it. It’s been over a very long time and the end was instigated by me and etc. etc. But it’s sad. I know that deserves a whole blog to itself but it’s not getting one. I went to Kenya just now, 25 years after I first went there to see the same friend and hang out with all the same people (one of whom has become the President during my long absence…). Went to the same beaches and carried on a lot of the same conversations. Friend and I even look not TOO disimilar in the matching photos we took, just sadder really. And I want to go back 25 years and do it all again, better, properly. It could have all have gone so right. And, of course, some of it did. And maybe if it had I wouldn’t be as happy and finally peaceful as I am now. And this is bliss, all the more so after the work and struggle to get here. But still…strange how time has swooshed by and we are nearly fifty and yet it all feels like the other day. WAS the other day.
I’m listening to The Brothers Karamazov in the car (in English – Constance Garnett translation) and thinking about how much people discuss politics and religion (as per last night in garden), social issues and God knows what and it’s all in there – a comprehensive discussion of absolutely everything, with the Grand Inquisitor chapters containing the actual meaning of life and why and how we all get it wrong. Okay, that’s pompous and boring but, what I mean is that these discussions could have been over ages ago, were over ages ago. It’s just that most people haven’t read it. NB. Dostoevsky not great on women’s characterisation. Just, you know. Yuh.
Claudia Feneziani’s Chicken Salad designed for Sardegna boating and modified for Cervia:
A roast chicken (bought from rotisserie totally fine), pulled apart into shreds
Five big tablespoons of any mayonnaise
A whole thingy of celery, sliced, including the leafy bits
Five chopped spring onions
A big handful of flat leaf parsley
Eight cloves of garlic, chopped and fried in oil, plus the oil
Mix all the above together and eat. You can add boiled potatoes or cooked pasta too if very hungry. Or put it in sandwiches for boaty activity.
Good with salad of chunks of watermelon, crumbled feta, baby spinach and or rocket leaves, spring onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper, maybe mint?
Therapy via Skype at http://www.themindfield.world