Golden morning, light before 5am, a hot golden light suffusing all the rooms and the garden.
Very quiet morning, hoping there will be a break from protests.The housemate getting happy birthday calls from friends and colleagues, very exuberant and in a party mood. I baked her some of the special chocolate biscuits she loves, broke pieces of Belgian chocolate into the dough, and they are delicate, a little too crumbly but intensely chocolatey. A happy day. She had a nightmare though, woke shaking in the middle of the night, said she was driving on a steep mountain road and her steering wheel twisted and stuck, she swerved and rolled off the cliff, crashing in slow motion. ‘Horrible to die in slow motion,’ she said, her mouth full of chocolate crumbs.
Advent nearly here and I find myself dreading the festive season, as I always do. Reading a review of Rowan Williams’ latest book Christ the Stranger, I feel obscurely comforted by Williams’ wrestling with doubt and lack of faith, the elusiveness of the Divine. The same way I used to read the bleaker passages from Simone Weil and know others had struggled and managed to live between doubt and the desire to believe in the transcendent. How does a former Archbishop of Canterbury admit to times of unbelief and darkness? “Where moral reasoning tries to evade the tragic dimension, where it posits an unambiguous good, [...] it becomes an exercise in fantasy and a failure to accept that God’s grace is at work in the real, damaged world of human experience.”
One of my favourite pelargoniums is blooming, clusters of flowers that look like miniature red roses, so pretty. And my scented pelagoniums — nutmeg, lemon, mint, rose — are loving the heat.
Back to the writing again today, a birthday supper tonight and guests, our neighbours have left for a fortnight in a game reserve in the Eastern Cape, they love watching elephants. Well, who doesn’t enjoy watching elephants?
Decided yesterday that I shall make a tomato tarte tatin with basil oil for Christmas Eve supper. Each year I plan a different dish, usually vegetarian and light, because it is so hot by late December. My watermelon, feta, black olive and basil salad (via Nigella) has been a great success and last year I did a colourful Moroccan carrot salad with harissa. In the African heat, we usually opt for very light meals of seafood and salad, fruit, vegetarian classics. Although I often find myself on the 24th December watching Gordon Ramsey or Nigella roasting a turkey or steaming a plum pudding on TV, and absurdly yearn for a traditional northern Christmas feast. Holly, twinkly lights and a rotund Dickensian Santa Claus shouting ‘Ho, ho ho!’