Such a lazy somnolent afternoon with bees crashing into dried lavender stalks and flies hobbled by glass, slow sun stretching itself out on the lawn.
My friend Marilyn came by. She wanted to know all about my vegan supper, which was not an unmitigated success. I had forgotten Marilyn is an ardent vegetarian and food purist.
‘Is that dog food I smell?’ she asked, frowning and wrinkling her nose as she came into the kitchen.
‘No,’ I said happily. ‘It is oxtail for our supper turning all glutinous.’
When it comes to tact around offal, I am what the Irish call a complete feckin’ idiot.
‘But it snt really the poor thing’s tail is it?’ asked mrilyn in dismay. ’It is like a part of leg, isn’t it? Tail is just so gross.’
‘Not done with a small quill of cinnamon and paprika and stock and a bay leaf, not gross at all. Very mucilaginous, because everything kind of melts down and you can feed 12 people on just a few chunks.’
Then unfortunately, I realised it was time to change the subject and began talking about haggis made with pinhead oats and a rinsed sheep’s intestine. Marilyn became very quiet and stern and for all my vigorous self-policing I could not seem to shut up. I like to defend cheap cuts of meat, but this was bad timing. She is a city girl and fond of scrubbed butter lettuce and tofu burgers and health shakes with soy milk. Oh, I do love vegetables, but I am also a raw farm hick who likes to watch a smiling Nigel Slater on BBC Food stuffing bulky sheep hearts with parsley and breadcrumbs.
When I sobered up, I thought this kind of running away with myself in chattering gambits would just not happen anymore. Sadly, it was not just the alcohol talking. It was veritas without vino.
I gave the repelled Marilyn some penitential grapes and stopped just short of inviting her to supper. She fled up the road and I may not see her for a while. My oxtail now smells delicious but forbidden, like a sweaty footballer with unwashed socks. How scrumptious.