Steve Comes To Dinner

Chicken Biryani

Extending My Kindness to Steve

Gentle reader! Or perhaps, gentle readers, because I believe there are upwards of three or four of you out there who have read my hubs.

I know that most of you have inadvertently come this way in pursuit of clearer and crisper writing, as that offered by Mark Ewbie, or the in-depth style and elegance of Lady Wordsmith or Angie Jardine; perhaps misguidedly sidetracked by what seemed to be the light of a Sunnie Day at the end of a tunnel, as did those poor deluded and misguided ones: A.A. Zavala and mckbirdbks. Or H P Roychoudhury, that great sub Continental travel writer and historian; that talented and lovely poetess, Nellieanna Hay… or lastly, and unfortunately, the only other who springs to mind: attemptedhumour our Antipodean literary bricky.

Regardless how you may have wandered here, perhaps you may have ploughed your way through (or past) the first couple of paragraphs and learned of my innate kindness to my dear friend Steve (Currently cutting a dash on HP under the cleverly disguised nom de plume: steve of ian fame).


You may also have learned of my benevolent nature if you read of my kindnesses to my friend, George de Lancy de Somerville de Smith de Ceased de Brown de Tergent.

This hub, however, does not deal with GdeLdeSdeSdeCdeBdeT (George de Lancy de Somerville de Smith de Ceased de Brown de Tergent), but with my friend Steve.

It is a story, nay a hub, which deals with Good Manners, Hospitality and the British Way of Life, as personified by my good self (and to a lesser degree) by Steve.

Steve was staying with me for a couple of days in the lovely little village of Norbury-sur-Mer in which I reside. I decided, out of the goodness of my heart, that he should be treated to a home cooked meal.

We had gone to several Takeaways over the period of the three days that he had been staying with me, and we were running out of the types of food that dear Steve found suited his palate.

The first Takeaway restaurant at which we availed ourselves of their cuisine, was one of my favourites: ‘Tandoori Corner’ which is an Halal takeaway dealing with sub Continental foods at a very reasonable price and a good standard. One of their specialities is aloo gosht (lamb and potato), chicken biryani, and lamb biryani which I particularly like and murgh methi (chicken with fenugreek leaves) which is superb if cooked well.

Remembering that this Takeaway is run by Muslims, and all the food there is Halal, it was very foolish of me to leave Steve to his own devices, because, as I was deciding what I wanted, he took the opportunity to try to order for himself, and when the guy asked him what he wanted, he asked if they had any Sweet and Sour Pork.

We beat a hasty retreat and I have to admit that it was a long time before I could set foot in there again, but they seem to have forgiven me now.

Spaghetti Bolognaise - Typical English Food - Even Better with Chips

"Foreign Food" is a bit of a closed book to Steve

When I remonstrated with him, Steve said that “foreign food” had always been a bit of a closed book to him, and that he felt more comfortable with good old reliable English food, such as pie and chips and that equally typical meal known simply as Spaghetti Bolognaise.

We made do that night, and the next day, when we were out in the car, was the time that I decided on the "home cooked meal". I asked what he would really like and he said that he was very fond of liver and bacon, and that would be fine for him.

I pointed out that, being a Muslim myself, I do not eat bacon, and don’t like the idea of cooking it, even for a guest, but that I am capable of cooking a really tasty liver and onions with mashed potatoes. To me that sounded almost quintessentially British, and when I suggested it, he jumped at the idea… Well he didn’t actually jump. Steve doesn’t jump a lot, but he said, “Ah!” and that is tantamount to a jump in Steveworld.

Anyone being on familiar terms with the chap will soon become aware that "Ah!" can be a very reliable substitute for conversation with Steve.

So I took it that "Ah!" indicated that he approved wholeheartedly of my culinary plans.


So I went to the Halal shop and bought some really nice lambs' liver and went to my local supermarket and bought onions, and the best potatoes to make the mashed potatoes. I make mashed potatoes fit for a King or a Queen…

(I have been told by a couple of queens I know that my mashed potatoes “are simply divine, Dahling”… but that’s another story).

Garlic or Tulips

So the evening arrived, as evenings do, and I commenced to cook the meal. I had cleared the table, which is a fairly large two-leafed affair, and laid it for two. Candles were burning in the candlesticks, music was playing and I was in the kitchen, fiddling around, whilst Steve was sitting at the table waiting less than patiently.

Have I pointed out that Steve has little idea of “foreign food”?

Have I pointed out that Steve likes his food in fairly large quantities; and in front of him at the earliest convenience?

I didn’t tell you? I should have. Both facts are relevant.

Now by serendipity (or not) the kitchen is next to the dining room… of course it is. But when the dining room door is open, if one were to look at the oven door, it’s black glass, it acts as a mirror and reflects, so that one can see into the dining room if one is standing in the right place.

I happened to look across to see the reflection of Steve reaching right across the dining table to the other end; a good three metres away to where there lay a clay dish containing some tulip corms that I had meant to plant in the garden. They had lain there for a week or more, as the season had just arrived for planting. He reached across and picked one up, and peered at it closely. I thought nothing of it, as the meal was just about ready, and I was a bit busy.

Fried Liver and Onions with Mashed Potato and Petits Pois

The liver was beautifully cooked and smelt delicious, the onions were a dark golden brown and smelt wonderful, and the mashed potato (Recipe withheld for selfish reasons) was creamy, and in peaks of delicious promise.

“Dinner’s ready,” I announced and came into the dining room with the dish of liver; that succulent liver lying in and on a bed of fried onion, the fried onions doing what fried onions do best. I then returned to the kitchen and came back with a bowl of mashed potato which was almost crying out, “Come and eat me and have a coronary… I am so wickedly rich and full of butter and milk”. There was a bowl of precious petits pois begging, no, demanding to be devoured.

But as I was starting to serve the liver and onions onto his plate, I noticed that he was already eating something.

“What are you eating?” I asked.

He held out his hand to show that he was holding half a tulip corm.

“This,” he explained, “I thought garlic would have tasted differently”.

Trying to suppress my irritation that not only had he not waited for the meal that I had prepared; not asked if he could eat my tulip corm; ruined a perfectly good tulip corm, I said,

“Well you’ve started eating it; you may as well finish it. Is this enough liver? Would you like some more onions?”

Steve obediently finished the tulip corm.

“I thought it would taste different… I’ve never eaten garlic before,” and he put his fork into the liver, cut off a healthy slice, and continued, “That was garlic, wasn’t it? It didn’t taste as if it had been cooked”.

Ignoring his question, I put a large spoonful of mashed potato on his plate. Steve has maintained ever since that I threw the potato at his plate, but as there were no witnesses, apart from half a dozen Norbury Mudhounds reclining tastefully around the room, the history of that evening depends on whose version one would wish to believe.

Garlic or Tulip or Daffodil?

There was something in my demeanour that gave rise to some misgivings on his behalf.

“That wasn’t garlic was it? What have I just eaten?”

“Well if you must know, it was a tulip corm. Now why don’t you get on with your meal. It’s going to…?”

But I didn’t get a chance to explain that liver and onions, and my delicious mashed potato (Recipe withheld for selfish reasons) wouldn’t taste nearly as nice if he allowed it to get cold.

“Help. I’m dying. Will no one take me to the nearest hospital?”

Steve rose to his feet at an alarming speed, letting his knife and fork drop to the table beside his plate (never a sign of a good upbringing; one feels that manners are so important).

“I’ve been poisoned,” he shrieked, “You’ve poisoned me with tulip bulbs, I’m going to die”.

“Tulip corms,” I corrected him. “Daffodils have bulbs… tulips have corms”. I started to explain to him that daffodils were similar in construction to onions, as they consisted of layers of thick fleshy leaves wrapped around the centre; whereas tulip corms were solid and of a completely different construction.

For some reason he didn’t seem interested in the difference between corms and bulbs, but as I had started eating, I thought it best to carry on. The liver and onions; the mashed potato and the petits pois were delicious.

Suddenly, and precipitously he rose from the table and darted from the room, and I could hear him opening the front door and rushing out into the street. I made a quick headcount of the Norbury Mudhounds, and realising that there were still six, and having verified that none of them had accompanied Steve, I continued eating my meal.

I could hear his voice as he ran up and down the street, calling out it a piteous little voice,

“Help. I’m dying. Will no one take me to the nearest hospital?”

Suddenly he reappeared in the dining room. His hand to his throat. His face was quite red.

“Aren’t you going to do anything?” he yelped. “Don’t you realise that you may have poisoned me?”

I tried to show some concern; I really did. But he seemed quite lively, and I was enjoying my dinner so much.

“I think I have the number for NHS Direct,” I said, “I’ll look for it in a minute”.

I must admit that my eyes wandered a little distractedly to my, as then unfinished, dinner.

“Eek! I'm hallucinating. I think I'm going to die. Call NHS Direct,” and other similar cries for help.

I looked at him in as kindly a manner as I could muster.

“I’m doing my very best, Steve, but I have already started eating and it will take me between ten and fifteen minutes to finish the first course. You wouldn't want me to rush my food; or worse still, put down my knife and fork to find the NHS Direct number for you, would you? My dinner would get cold. And you wouldn’t want me to spoil my dinner, as you obviously seem to be determined to do to yours, do you?”

He continued to pant and hyperventilate; gazing at me in a manner that almost looked like hatred, for some inexplicable reason.

“Anyway,” I said, attempting to calm him down, “I have heard that daffodil bulbs… or was it tulip corms? Well, whichever; are poisonous. Not both… just one. Daffodils or tulips… but I can’t remember which”.

“I don’t want to die,” he moaned.

“And realistically speaking, there’s a fifty-fifty chance between daffodil bulbs and tulip corms being the poisonous vegetable. So you have an equal chance of surviving”.

"By the way," I added, in an attempt to make him see the lighter side of the situation, "The tulip corm and the garlic clove are certainly closer in appearance than the daffodil or the onion. So you were sort of right in thinking..."

But for some reason he didn't seem to be really interested in my botanical comparisons.

At this stage I finished my meal. And it was very tasty too. I had really enjoyed it; even with the distraction of Steve’s little drama.

Are you going to call NHS Direct?” he shrieked.

"Oh I suppose so," I started, "But first, before we tie up the phone line with what might be a protracted conversation with NHS Direct, would you mind if i just had a couple of words with Judi?"

Judi, as anybody should know, is my best friend, and we always share little bits of gossip and interesting anecdotes.

"I think I'm dying," he moaned peevishly. "Can't it wait?"


A Jolly Little Chat with Judi

I picked up the phone, and dialed Judi's number. Her husband, Sid, answered the phone, and after a few pleasantries, he put me through to Judi.

Of course she was glad to hear from me and we chatted about this and that for a while, but then, caring and sympathetic person that I am, I gently slid it into our conversation that Steve was with me, and that, inadvertently, he had managed to eat a tulip corm.

"Goodness!" she said. "Sid did that once... but whether it was a tulip corm or a daffodil bulb; I can't remember."

I could hear her on the other end of the phone, asking Sid if it was a tulip corm or a daffodil bulb. He couldn't remember either.

"He can't remember," she reported to me. "But apparently one is quite safe and the other is really poisonous... but he can't remember if the tulip or the daffodil is deadly."

For some reason, i found this information to be quite amusing. I think she could hear that there was quite a bit of merriment in my voice.

"So what's poor Steve doing now?" she asked, almost concerned as his well-being.

"Oh, just whining and feeling sorry for himself," I replied, and I could feel the laughter at the situation bubbling to the surface; both with me and with Judi.

"You're not being very supportive!" she said.

"Oh. You think not?"

"Not really," she chuckled and after a short time, we brought the conversation to a close.

NHS Direct steps in to help

But by now, as I have said, I had finished the first course of my meal; given myself time to relax; let the digestive process start (as one should) and so I gave my chum the NHS Direct phone number.

But when we rang through, he was hyperventilating so much that he couldn’t make himself heard or understood. However, when I took the phone from his violently trembling hands, I found that the woman on the end of the line to be very informative.

She told tell me what the incidences of fatalities from eating tulips were. She told a charming story concerning tulip corms that had been eaten by a certain person, Mr Jan deGroot, who had eaten forty-three (43) medium sized corms without any ill effect. A world record; on 14th May, 1973, in the picturesque little village of Jelsum just outside Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

I found the information fascinating but my chum took himself off again. He had darted out through the front door and it seemed that he only wanted to run up and down the street outside my house, flapping his hands, squeaking and telling passers-by that he was hallucinating and/or in imminent danger of dying. In fact, he was making quite a spectacle of himself, in no uncertain manner.

This is a nice, quiet suburban street, and that sort of behaviour shouldn’t be tolerated. NHS Direct should think carefully of setting up a help Line for that kind of reaction.

I strongly feel that NHS Direct isn't much help for some needy people.

And so, after a relaxing few days in Norbury-sur-Mer, Steve returned to Halstead in Essex.

A couple of days later I received a text message from him on my mobile phone. It was just one sentence.

“Your compassion and concern came to the front and set something of a benchmark and left a pathway for others to follow.”

I think that there are people in this world who are brimming with the Milk of Human Kindness, and I can honestly classify myself as one of those precious people.

More by this Author


Comments 124 comments

A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

What is the British preoccupation with organ meats? The only thing I've had are English bangers and Fish and Chips. I shouldn't judge, I'm sure there is a reason. Sweet and Sour pork in a Halal food establishment? IS your friend realted to the guy in the show "An idiot abroad?" Funny!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi A.A., thanks for coming and having a nose around. I hope you didn’t mind being mentioned in my intro. Would you believe it, that apart from you and Sunnie and Mck, NO ONE has read a thing of mine since I did the collaboration with Sunnie on the Victrola thing. The curse of HP. Eek!

Oh! And Mark Ewbie, a really good writer. Unless they have read and not made a comment... that pisses me off.

We call it "offal".


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Hi there Ian,

This was hysterical..knowing you now..I can just see you sitting there eating your potatoes, cutting your meat, dabbing your mouth with a napkin, taking a sip of wine, as Steve is hyperventalating..Funny funny story..I needed that..

Take care,

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks, Sunnie. I appreciate your learned discussion of the creation of a character (ha ha ha). I hope you didn't mind my mentioning you in the intro. Not that you need any more visitors.

Hope the back is completely bettererer soon.

Big hug,

Ian


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

That was nice Ian to mention all of us..very sweet..it is getting better I think daily..Hope you are well too.

Big Hugs,

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I have just read 'I stand at the door'.

It was so good. I wish I had written it... I would be proud to have done so. It is magnificent,


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Dear Ian,

You are so kind my sweet sweet friend..I am learning to let go...came from such a deep place..Thank you being you!

Sunnie


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

Offal? Hmm, we call them guts. I know liver is a delicacy in all countries and cultures. I just can't get past it.

You have a gift. When you were eating while your friend was dying, you made it seem like it was a regal act. Others doing the same thing would seem like a hateful wanker. I need to get to that point! I'm learning from EPI on how to be randy to women without getting slapped.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

That's a hard one (No pun intended). I have always been like this, maybe I am a hateful wanker, but I've fooled most of the people most of the time, so I suppose I got away with it.

I have a poem which absolutely described me to a T, but the last word, the punch line would get me thrown off HP, so I am afraid it will have to be my little secret.

What's EPI, by the way? Unless it's Mr Epiman!


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

Yes Epigramman the Great. I think in his former life he was a Satyr. May still be one...


Mark Ewbie profile image

Mark Ewbie 5 years ago from Euroland

Enjoyable, funny story. Like the spag bol reference, our English versions must make other countries shudder. And queens and mashed potatoes. I'm not going to chance eating a tulip corm though.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Well here i be and glad of the invitation. I can't help but be reminded of Ricky Gervais and the idiot abroad. Pity you two didn't think of it too as you'd both fit the part and do nicely out of it too.

It was a jolly hilarious romp and perhaps Stevo deserved a bit of what he got. I always imagined those murder mystery stories set in small fictional villages were made up and not based on an actual place. But Norbury-sur-mer seems to be throwing up rather a lot of surprises for such a seemingly quiet and quaint little village. Will it be murder next, with you slain and Stevo on trial at the old bailey?

I'm sure the lure of that rich British supper will eventually smooth over your differences only next time Stevo will be less adventurous, if that is at all possible. Cheers Ian, great stuff.


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

My spaghetti bolognaise is proper, because I'm a quarter Italian. Also my mash is something very special, especially when I put a smidge of fresh cream in it - oh my.

But liver and onions? Well, I have never had it, but Ian, it looks delicious, and your descriptions of it were divine - if I do ever get to visit you in Norbury-sur-Mer, please will you cook this dish for me? I'm not offally squeamish (geddit? A-ha-ha!) about innards.

I must admit that I didn't notice much of Steve in this hub (did you mention him at all?), because I was so interested in the food - I haven't had my lunch yet, you see. I'd best go eat, and then read it again!

Honoured to receive a mention, by the way - thanks so much :)

Linda.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for dropping by, Mark. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have certainly been entertained by you enough, and I hope you didn't mind the link. And it's the daffodil what does the damage, so munch away at as many tulips as you like. The Guinness Book of Records is there for you... can't have the Low Countries beating us at anything, can we?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for the great comments, Keith. No, I hadn't thought of Stevocide, but after reading your message, I think it is very likely to come soon.

Norbury-sur-Mer could do with a bit of notoriety, and I know just the man who could step forward and fill the breach. Right now we only have a Tired Old Tart, propped up at the end of the bar at the 'Dog and Duck', asking the eternal question; "Does anybody want to buy a lady a drink?"


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for the culinary suggestion, Linda. I ran the cream bit past H P-F, and she said that when she last dined at the Ritz, with Fluffy, Anglican Bishop of Crawley, the mashed potato was literally dripping with Jersey cow cream.

Yes. Steve did pop up, just a bit. Popped up; popped our; popped back again. Hyperventilated.

Quarter Italian? I think I love you... Well, 25%.

Thanks for the visit. Please come again.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Just a note before I read the rest. For the record I wasn't misguided by Sunnie, I was guided.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

This Hub was just loaded. Loaded with humor. Loaded with calories. Just one question young man. Were those Tulip corms in a serving dish?????????? Wicked.

de Ceased

de Tergent

A.A. "Epigramman the Great. I think in his former life he was a Satyr", I think you nailed the persona perfectly.


steve of ian fame profile image

steve of ian fame 5 years ago from Essex

Well your compassion and understanding of us mere natives does you credit. The court jester is a role I have had to familiarise myself with. I think eating only meat with the cause of death of the animal in mind is not appetising. vegetarianism offers no solace either. You foreign British chappies take some coming to terms with.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, Mck. And believe me, I am so glad that you were guided here. I have enjoyed your comments and your asides.

Well, to the unpractised eye, I suppose they would have looked like a serving dish, but as I don't come from Essex, I wouldn't know what a serving dish looks like down there.

So you liked de Ceased and de Tergent?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for sloping by, Steve. I appreciate your visit, and you must admit that, for once, although I indulged in a trifling amount of poetic licence, I didn't distort the facts whatsoever,

I admit that the manner in which I served you with the mashed potato does not tally with your memory of such, but on the whole, it follows verifiable historical evidence.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

I think you lay out little crumbs to see if anyone is really reading. And some of us are. And the first time I've heard of Muslim fast food is right here at your Hubpage.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Mck, the Paki food in London, and I suppose in Bradford and the other Asian areas of the UK, is excellent, cheap and well cooked.

And if you're thinking that I am using "Paki" as a pejorative word, fear not, because I am a Paki and proud of it.

The next time you are in Norbury-sur-Mer, try eating at the 'Lahore Kebab Restaurant’, a restaurant on the London Road. The food is excellent and "desi" (genuine)


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

I was raised by a Marine Corp sargeant so I think I know the perjorative words. The ones worth knowing anyway. I'll try to grasp the concept of Pakistan in the Asian areas of London. I guess if I'm prepared for English Spaghetti Bolognaise, then I'm well on my way to a liberal education.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Brilliant rejoinder, Sir. I like it.

I have eaten pasta in England and Australia, and I can assure you that I wasn't prepared for the difference. "Fasten you seatbelt," as they say, you're in for a bumpy ride.


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

I'm intrigued by that - I think I need to know the difference between English and Australian pasta: sounds like a good enough excuse for a field trip I think. Hmm, I'll get saving.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

The stuff I had in Perth West Australia was sooo much better than any I have had here. But we had a big Italian immigrant community there, and they seemed to blend in so well.

Now I'm going down memory lane and remembering when my girlfriend and I went to a ball given by the Italian Ambassador... what a great night!


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

You've just commented drunkenly on my hub, and yet here, on your own splendid work, you are sober! I knew it - you have a split personality!

I believe that my spaghetti is fairly close to Italian spaghetti, so perhaps you would like it. I don't like the stuff we get in 'Italian' restaurants over here, it's nothing like my gran's (we had an 'Italian' restaurant in Lancaster called Paolo Gianni's - actually run by two not-remotely Italian lads called Paul and John, tut).


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Split personality? I thought you would like a little practice with your proof reading. That's all.

Split personality. I was just thinking; in Perth where I had a lot of Italian friends, they decided to call me Marcello (whereas Gianni or Giovanni would have been closer).

A lot of my friends here call me "Paki", and the name I chose for myself when I embraced Islam was Abdul Haq [Slave of Truth - but my oldest friend (also a Muslim) in the world said that Haq was a laugh considering I wouldn't know the truth if I fell over it].

But carry on with the "your own splendid work". Dem's music to my ears.


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Did you keep hold of Islam, Ian? Because you are known here as Ian, and not Abdul Haq. Or are you still a Muslim? My goodness me, you have, like, millions of layers and stuff. Please get on and write about your whole life so far, and then I don't have to ask you personal questions!

How many places have you lived in the world? I have only lived in three places: Lancaster, Wales and New Jersey. Wales and New Jersey don't really count though.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Yes, I am still a Muslim. I am not the bomb throwing Jihadi, type, but of all my Islamic friends, there was only one and we all laughed at him for his silly ways anyway.

I have lived in order:

1. British India (mow Pakistan)

2. South Wales

3. British India (now India)

4. India for a few months before they threw us out

5. Australia from 1948 to 1965

6. England since 1965

This might help:

http://hubpages.com/travel/Does_Anyone_Know_What_I


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

I think we had this conversation..didn't we and I didn't have to sit down? lol AND Good morning my friend!

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi, Sunnie. I can't remember if I have Alzheimer's or whether it's Wednesday or September or tea time but Nurse just said I have to have my medicine and had I opened my bowels today and if I have I'll be better soon.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

I typed Norbury-sur-Mer into Google to investigate your travel recommendation and followed crumbs to Twilight Lawns plc. Interesting place you have there. Oh, good morning.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Oh my! I hope everything comes out okay..Pun Intended! It is Tues here in Texas and should be there too..lol

Take care and feel relief soon..:)

Sunnie


Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

The spirit of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse lives on in this liver and onion literary rib-tickler. Abdul Haq alias Ian alias Twilight Lawns alias Marcello who prefers to be a Gianni ( or a Giovanni - phew!)

A rose is a rose is a rose, Sir, whatever name you may call it. You are a unique and uplifting writer.

I love the Steve & Ian show so much I want more! I am chuckling my way through in your delightful anecdotes so much I want to come to Norbury-Sur-Mer for a takeaway crawl ( like a pub crawl, but with more insults thrown in)

Awesome, friend.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Abbott & Costello Meet P.G. Wodehouse at Norbury-Sur-Mer sounds like a blockbuster to me.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I am uncovered, as they say, Mck. Twilight Lawns plc; just a little strip of heaven on earth.

Beware of Mrs Eulalia Hawkins, she thinks she's on duty this week, and it's unwise top call unless you let the staff know first.


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I don't know about the "calming" medicine, Sunnie, but Nurse Smythe's Senna pod tea is working wonders.


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

What a brilliant comment, Docmo. I love the way you write. I would love you to come along also. I must admit that I love Wodehouse, and I suppose I must have taken in some of his style... like a lizard lying in a pool of water absorbs the liquid around him.

I almost bow my head in shame (but not quite) when I read the little anecdote of George and the Balkan Terrorist. It smacks of P.G.Wodehouse almost too much.


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Blockbuster, Mck? I have already signed up Dame Judi Dench to play, Mrs Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh, and Dame Maggie Smith has agreed to play Sister Mary-Perpetua of the Little Sisters of Selective Charity.


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Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

I do acting Ian, can I play someone double-barrelled? Or even triple-barrelled?


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I knew a guy once who maintained he was triple barrelled... he was the nastiest con man; runner of a male brothel you ever met. And he stole stuff from me.

A friend asked me to put him up for a few weeks and he absconded with stuff and didn't even pay any rent... triple barrels are not my favourite.


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mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Now that Lady Wordsmith is on board, you are assured success. She can speak Japanesse to the help as an aside. And keep it down about triple barrelled, don't want the pharmaceutical companies in on this.


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Lady Wordsworth is so close to Archbishop Setrag, Armenian Bishop of Highbury and Islington, that he dare not administer the Eucharist unless either she or Mrs P-F is in attendance.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

You are ever amazing, Ian! :-)


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, Nellie. I wondered if you had disappeared off the edge of the world. I've not seen hide nor hair of you for ages.


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Aah, Ian, and mck, you crack me up :D

Yes, the Arch-bish-bosh, he does rely on myself and Mrs P-F so.

Lx.


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Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Dear wingman ... have just had to change my underwear ... this was the funniest thing I have read in a loooonnnnggg time! (sorry, Mark - I always was a bit flighty).

But I must take you to task, dearest Paki for your indelicate mention of me at the Dog and Duck (see way above) begging for drinks when my pension had run out. And by the way what night do you do liver and onions? I'll bring my own tulip bulbs and cutlery.

Oh and thank you for the kind mention in your opening para.

Big cuddle (in the original sense) to you from me ...


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Dear Linda and Mck,

Wait till you read the chapter concerning Fluffy, Anglican Bishop of Crawley and the wine pressing at Mrs P-F's villa in the south of France.

I'll show you what Bishops can get up to.

(Yet to be written, but I'm doing the research)


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I always thought, Dear Bar Fly, that the way you sit with that Balkan Sobranie in your well laquered fingernailed hands, twiddling the stem of your cocktail glass, and in a voice that can only be described as "dark brown" saying, "Does anybody want to buy a lady a drink", that Dear Joan Crawford would have delighted in your complete persona ans emulated it so well... almost as well as you have created the legend that you are.

Glad to see your name in lights, my friend. Also glad that you approve.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Ah, dear Joan ... she did actually do a passable imitation of me ... until I sued. I felt my Middle-European Polska accent was entirely my creation and it has done wonders for my husband's libido, of course.

Sadly, I think the term 'lady' is a tad optimistic in my case, but I have never given up hope ... I feel if I use the term long enough someone might just believe it. N'est-ca pas?


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mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Mrs Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh, this is never going to fit on a billboard.


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

If 'Twilight Lawns plc, Home for Impecunious Gentlemen and Ladies of Decent Class' can fit on a billboard, then Hilda Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh is bound to.

Or else.


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mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

I suggest to you the same thing I told Fleming, don’t name you character Secret Agent Bartholomew Olivier Nils Davies, call him Bond.


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

My secret agent is known only as Raj, the Gardener's Lad. But, my goodness, does he get around.

His Ammy, my Auntie Gukshana makes a wicked chicken biryani. Stirred, not shaken.


Doug Turner Jr. 5 years ago

This Steve reminds me of American fellow I know named Homer Simpson. You painted this scene nicely; from the hounds and the savory meal, to the frantically out-of-place Steve as he ranted against your civil backdrop. Good to return and read your fine talents.


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

And you were missed as well, my friend. I hope all went well... weller, if possible... or even wellest!

Thanks for the comment. Smacks of the pedagogue (but a pedagogue with a heart).

I didn't realise it at all, till now, but the character is so much like the Homer in question. But I can't really tag the chap with the Proper Adjective: "Homeric".

Welcome home,

Ian


Doug Turner Jr. 5 years ago

Ian, I hope not to come off as that P-word, but I am in a dreadful hurry these days. Hopefully by mid-summer I can slow down and slide back into hub-focus (another hub-ism for you.)

Homeric sounds right, but I'd hate to confuse your friend with that Iliad fellow, when I was definitely thinking more of the hapless bald cartoon father who works at a power plant. Either way, the picture you painted here came to life.


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I am right here where you left me, Ian, like a jade plant, surviving on mere air. :-)


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Well slope along in this direction, ask one of the Teddies to sit with you in case you need to find the meaning of a difficult word (Teddies may not know big words like armadillo and herbaceous border, but they can point to the dictionary on the shelf) and read some of my one or two hubs.

I haven't heard a word from your good self since Sunnie Day and I launched into time and space for the entertainment of all.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Ian - Yes, my Teddies are always available, though one is more into music than vocabulary and the other is so British, he seldom reveals his true intentions. They're strictly house-teddies, though, so neither of them has any knowledge whatsoever of armadillos or border issues, though they have a nodding acquaintance with s sweet green plush octopus here in the house. But he moved upstairs to my office so they lost touch.

I'm here reading your excellent hub about Steve, and have also networked over to his hubsite and read his hubs. And you and I have something else in common - well, a couple of things. My son is named Steve and I'm famous for my high-calorie, cholesterol-rich, utterly divine mashed potatoes, too! I wouldn't think of prying but, if truth be revealed, I'll bet we'd find that we have similar secrets of method, which outdoes even the superb ingredients we use to make them divine. It is all in method, is it not? Each and every step is vial! The exact same ingredients in less sensitive hands could result in a lumpy, heavy mess. It's in the method.

I know. You haven't heard many words from me of late, though it relates, if at all, in another way to your work with Sunnie. I've been terribly busy, as aren't we all? I must admit that a first post of a "Chapter 7" suggests to me that I needed to read 6 preceding chapters to follow well. And before getting time set aside for that, a "Chapter One' of another series appeared.

Now, you claim to be a slow reader. Meet your twin. Plus, I'm literally monocular, which may or may not bear on it, but rapid eye movements are sometimes a problem. Plus, plus I really love to linger and digest what I read, referring back to gather more as it begins to unfold at the point of departure.

I tend to 'give myself' to whatever I'm into, so I've needed time set aside for just reading your intriguing latest hubs. I don't read and multitask well. And multi-tasks have been nipping at my heels from many directions. Many would not wait, such as my big chest freezer going out and a bunch of work to be done about it, with one task leading to 3 others. . . . and reminding me of mountains of other organizational tasks everywhere I look. You know, 'tiresome details of living'. We all have them.

I have managed to publish a few little poetry hubs and to reply to the comments to them, though. - But the last 4 or 5 of which have missed visits from my beloved Ian. I know it's not a case for you of trouble with vocabulary, but I also realize how busy you've been with life's demands and with writing - and no little bitty hubs, either! I am impressed and looking forward to giving those justice. I know they'll be treats, and with Sunnie collaborating on the more recent ones, even more so. What a team!

By the way, 2 things I relate to in your new series: 1) I grew up playing thick Edison records on a wind-up Victrola at the ranch for any entertainment to be had. There was a wide variety in a huge collection, including music AND narration. 2) My mother used to call any extra bonus she received when shopping over in Acuña, Coahuila, - 'pollone'. She was a respected shopper over there because she didn't just accept a posted price like "touristas" did, but she either got it lowered or got extra goodies - or both. I've always wondered about the origins of that word, though. The Mexicans used & comprehended it. But it didn't really sound Spanish and I found it in NO Spanish dictionaries. and I can guarantee that none of my teddies could help me out!


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

ps - Does this mean you missed me, too? :-)


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Of course I missed you. But if yoru Teddies say they are unable to help, I think they may be telling fibs. Teddies are multilingual and can speak everything from Pashtun to Eskimosian (Ha ha ha!) and everything in-between.

Proof? What small child, no matter what country she or he is from, will be unable to converse with the Teddy she or he has been give,? None.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Glad to know I was missed! Hugs!

Good point, Ian. Never underestimate the talent of a teddy - or his sly cunning when it comes to getting out of onerous jobs! Even if mine did savvy the lingo, they'd rather be destuffed than volunteer to translate.

But the fact that teddies speak the language of their child-owners is inconclusive. It needs to be considered that they learned OTJ, and have you noticed they have their kids' individual accents and reflect their educational levels? Doesn't that strongly suggest that they're learning FROM their kids but probably come into a home having only their own teddy speech and language in their trove of knowledge? They're sharp, so they quickly internalize the language they hear 'at home' so quickly as to be undetected that they have to learn it. They probably benefit from parents' guidance to their child, also, and if they stowaway to school with the kids, just think of the training they are getting there!

I admit I'm impressed with Beartoven's natural musical genius, but that is possibly more commonly innate than knowledge of languages. But now I'm dubious about all I thought I knew about teddies. . . I may try to probe their own brains for more enlightenment. Wish me teddy luck!


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Very funny hub, and the comments just keep on providing smiles! Never had liver and onions . . . and doubt I ever will. I had a friend eat a handful of potpourri thinking it was a snack. A bit dry.


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

yuk-k-k - potpourri would be horrid, and none too good on the innards, either. haha - funny, Sally! :-) But chicken livers are yummy. Ever try rumaki? ummmm. That might convince you, provided you eat bacon occasionally.

Oops - now I'm in big trouble. I misspelled Bearthoven's name! He may not be his usual smiling self listening to my keyboard playing if he gets wind of it. Whew!


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

This little quote made me laugh my socks off: "they'd rather be destuffed than volunteer to translate." I know it's true, but it really made me laugh like a child.

Thank you for entertaining me.


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Oh, Sally, I agree whole heartedly. I have the best class of people reading my scribbling. You included. I read their comments and I fall about laughing.

Tell you friends that next time she wants to eat a handful of potpourri, that splash of milk always helps. After all, potpourri is just another form of muesli, isn't it?


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Rumarki? I have neither heard of it nor tried it, and as I am a Muslim, I would not be eating bacon (although I did before I embraced Islam, and loved it).

No pork or fine wines... I loved those also.

Notice in the story I say to Steve that we don't have liver and bacon, because I don't eat bacon.


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Giggle. I thought you'd appreciate my teddy's subcutaneous extreme antipathy expressed as preferring most anything else (except being jerked around in order to serve my inadequacies helpfully) - to being destuffed, Ian. I could just see you laughing at that one, and I felt smug even before you shared that you did! Wow - socks off is the ultimate!! Entertaining you is my pleasure! Besides, whatever it takes to be back in your good graces! ;-> I could even perform my water-glass balancing trick!

Oh, of course I did notice you said you didn't eat bacon, Ian. My Rumaki suggestion was actually for Sally, who doubted she'd ever eat liver and onions. Assuming it was probably primarily the liver that was objectionable, immediately I thought of a form of liver which is exceptionally yummy. Even my George, who was adamantly anti-liver, liked my Rumaki. It is an hors d' oeuvre with Chinese origins, in spite of a Japanese name and a strong association with Hawaii. It's one of those hors d'oeuvres which one must plan carefully to be ready when guests are ready to enjoy it hot out of the broiler, though, like lovely stuffed mushroom caps.

It's been ages since I made Rumaki, but the pages in my Trader Vic's Pacific Island Cookbook with the recipe are well anointed with soya sauce! (I prefer Kikkoman)

The Rumaki is a combination of chicken livers & water chestnuts, marinated in spicy sauce made of chicken stock, soya sauce, gingerroot, cinnamon, star anise, garlic and a tad of sugar. The livers are simmered in the sauce before being wrapped, along with a piece of water chestnut, in a short strip of bacon, secured with a toothpick. Then they're either broiled or deep fried till the bacon is crisp (and can be drained of excess fat). I always broiled mine. I'm not into fried stuff. This cookbook is from the 1960s, though, before health issues were prevalent. The addition of a bit of sugar to enhance flavor was also typical of many recipes back then - BHC (before health consciousness - to its present level).

Many of the book's other recipes call for MSG, now quite out of favor because of its major sodium content. Back in the olden days, though, - around the holidays and going to or hosting lots of festivities, I made a cheese ball, the recipe for which called for something like a half-cup of the stuff! It is a flavor enhancer, for sure, if one cares not for one's blood pressure and other organs affected by it.

As for the bacon in the Rumaki, I'm not sure if anything else could be used as a wrap. Perhaps there are vegetable substitutes. I just don't eat bacon or other greasy stuff, so haven't looked into it. Possibly the chicken liver and water chestnut could be simply skewered onto a toothpick without any wrapping, though the bacon blends with their flavors to make this so delicious, as well as being enhanced by its crispness. But that sauce is what really gives it unique yummy flavor. . .


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

That recipe sounds wonderful. I love it when people have the time and expertise to make stuff like that. I am no great cook, but I used to make a liver pâté with chicken liver for the flavour and pigs' liver for the delicacy. I prefer pigs' liver to lambs' fry for cooking pâté, but lamb's fry for breakfasts and things,

I have noted from the comments that Americans don't seem to like offal. I love kidneys and liver and brains. or is it just that Hubbers are squeamish about that sort of stuff.

I don't think you could substitute anything for the bacon in your Rumaki, that would be an important ingerdient missing,

I love spaghetti (or tagliatelli, preferably) carbonara, but have not eaten it for about thirteen years. because it depends on bacon. Then the other day I found a halal restaurant that does spaghetti carbonara using smoked turkey, and it was a very good substitute.

Yay!!!


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I don't know about 'typical' Amercan tastes, Ian. Depends on to which Americans one has been exposed, We're so varied and from so many different heritages and regions, that there is no one "American" anything, I suspect. My Dad from his Germanic heritage liked all the organ meats while Mother from her 'British Isles' heritage really detested liver; and I can't recall her getting into many other organ meats, though she was a good sport about trying to cook them for those who liked them. But her liver was a disaster. I think she just plopped in a pan and boiled it. Ugh. I learned to like liver only when I went away to school!

She was also called upon to cook rattlesnake once and javelina on another occasion, but she didn't try it either time. I sampled and actually the snake was much like white fish. The javelina was like VERY gamey wild pork and the animal was laden with fleas when it was being readied to bring into the house. I only barely sampled it. By the way, javelina is not in the same genus as pigs, though it shares some appearance characteristics. It is of the peccary family and traces its own ancestry as a distinct species back into antiquity. There are feral hogs in Texas, but not in my neck of the - er - desert.

Occasionally at the ranch, where Dad raised sheep and goats for their wool & mohair, they would use an animal, usually a goat, for butchering. Angora goats are "hair goats" and are not raised for food, nor are Rambouillet sheep, actually, and the meat is very greasy. Sometimes it would be mutton, which led to my calling anything with a questionable odor "sheepy" smelling. haha

This procedure was usually conducted when there were extra ranch hands and neighbors in at shearing time, with extra mouths to be fed and no access to a local grocer. We had no refrigeration there then so Mother would cook up the meat into lots of things and 'can' whatever wasn't eaten immediately. She cooked on a wood-burning cook stove.

One specialty was something she called "Son-Of-A-Gun Stew" which featured several of the organ meats, sort of like giblet brew from the Thanksgiving turkey, and Dad loved it. It was horrid, as I recall. Shudder! Her sensitivity to of lack of it for organ meats, along with her inability to smell, were involved, I suppose. All this may have influenced the kinds of organ meats I learned to tolerate or to like. Surely her inability to taste any but the 5 basic flavors had bearing on both what she liked to eat and how well she sensed the subtlety of what she cooked. Most of our 'taste' is actually smell, other than those five basics. Her meat specialty was roast beef, though she loved to fish and to eat her catch. Her fish cookery left much to be desired, I thought, especially since she would fry up the smallest 'catch' she brought home, and it was usually boney. yuk. haha.

I like chicken hearts and later learned to like beef heart, but I never really loved brains or kidney, much as I really like good mild liver - calf or chicken, but not any from mature animals and definitely not pork or goat liver. (I've never tried lamb liver.) Mature livers just yell "bitter" to my taste buds. I know - some folks taste bitter flavor more intensely than others, and I must be one of those who do, as I suspect Mother was.

I think Dad could eat anything. He loved cheeses, as I do - but his taste included Limberger. I couldn't even be in the same room when he was eating that stuff! He did have a feeling for healthy foods, though, and that helped. But back then, people thought that fatty meat was the best and was 'good for you'. When one thinks about it - back then, it may have been better for you than now, since 'you' possibly did much more hard physical work as a general thing. He certainly did.

Yes, smoked turkey bacon is pretty tasty, though I avoid fatty, salty meat in general, therefore most smoked meat. But if bacon is called for in a recipe, the turkey does well enough. Possibly it would be OK for the Rumaki, if pork is the only objection involved. I hadn't really thought of it. I just avoid fatty stuff in general these days. I'm more into looking for stuff with benefits, rather than possible damaging by-product, for my longevity plan's sake! I'm living to be at least 100 and still healthy and active! haha.

My recent fiasco with the freezer going out and thawing some of the stuff in it helped me see that some prepared frozen meat entrees I've used are much greasier than I'd realized. I will be less reliant on those now.

Fortunately not everything thawed. For one thing, I'd kept a lot of ice and frozen jugs of water in there, so the thing remained quite cool for a good while after it faltered. I wasn't sure just when it happened, but the thing is in the garage - in the hot Texas temperature - so I was wary of most of the contents. I used the frozen jugs for packing the coolers to take our foods to the ranch for lengthy stays. I always thought we or I would be doing that again, so I kept them in there, frozen. It was handy when a routine defrosting was called for, too.

Actually, though, I haven't use the freezer for too many things since I've been alone, though there was an accumulation of hot dogs, my own purchases of fish and individual entrees, veggies andfrozen yogurt dessert in there! haha. I tried to pass it off to George in lieu of ice cream, to which he was addicted, though it was not good for his already ailing heart. So I had a lot of slushy cartons of it to dispose of. I'm not intending to get another freezer. The freezer compartments in two fridges should be ample. I won't be keeping the jugs of frozen water! And I was definitely wiling to dispose of the top of our wedding cake, frozen and kept since 1985! I did pluck off a couple of icing roses to keep for another purge, though! :-)

So it was sort of a blessing in disguise. Got rid of a lot of unused stuff and realized a better system for my present needs! Now to get that chunky chest freeze moved out of there to make more room in an already crowded garage! Groan. That will involve some other shifting of things in order for it to clear a generous path for removal! Removal is a job for several strong guys and a dolly. This monstrosity was in the house when I moved in, in 1986, with all the original stuff from a long occupancy by George and his original family! (His first wife had died half a year before.) I don't even know how old the old Sears freezer is, but the "owner's manual" I found looked like ads from the 1950s!

Old-timey appliances were made with a LOT of heavy metal - and didn't even sing and play rock! My hefty financial advisor tried to move it, thinking he might be able to help me out. He didn't budge it but a few inches and realized it would require help! So either he'll volunteer to bring help or I'll have to call in the professionals. I wouldn't impose, even though he offered, unless he drives up in his pickup with said help and equipment.

He'll be in the Dallas area tomorrow, but I'm to meet him at the local office for a conference (he lives and works out of Sherman, about 70 miles north); and no mention of the freezer came up! He ran for County Treasurer up there and won, so his time is divided between jobs. (And to think that I encouraged him to consider running for office!)

He's lined up a local broker with whom to work with his special clients, of which I'm one. Should be an interesting meeting. It's located in Plano, a far-north Dallas 'burb. I have my route planned out and my gas tank filled. haha. Never a dull one!

I've become spoiled, since Trent has usually come to the house for any business needing attended to requiring my signature or eye-ball-to-eye-ball explanation; - and he always offers to help with anything I'm needing his strength or height to accomplish! Last summer it was he and a friend who went with me to the ranch and Del Rio to attend to some urgent things needing heft and presence beyond my own. We're trying to find a lull in schedules to go back for more of the same, but the political duties and the demands of work and family have delayed it each mon


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

OOPs. It did exceed the limit and was cut off. Not that it'll be missed, but here is the remainder. (because my laptop is apt to suddenly obliterate whatever I'm typing on an online field, I usually write in an offline notepad and then copy and paste to the online field)

. . . continuing where it was cut off:

We're trying to find a lull in schedules to go back for more of the same, but the political duties and the demands of work and family have delayed it each month it was considered. We didn't get everything done needing it last time. Everything is so spread out that a lot of the 4 days was in the truck going from place to place. The ranch is 500 miles from Dallas and very, very remote. It's 100 miles from Del Rio, and my interests there requiring attention are 10 miles out of town. I would not venture to go alone. I may be foolhardy but not THAT foolhardy! So it's in limbo, except when a water pump fails or a pipe busts, then I just must attend to it long-distance. A challenge. . .

Ah, how I've rambled. Forgive me. You may be regretting rousing up the sleeping typist! ;-> Should I have put this in an email, - if at all? They may not even allow this much in a single comment field! Hugs.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I'm glad you don't expect a reply like this one I have just read. I'm glad you are getting rid of the chest freezer. there have been tales of people bending in to get something at the bottom, falling in and being found weeks later, somewhat dead... but well frozen. AND IMAGINE FINDING A MICROWAVE LARGE ENOUGH TO DEFROST THE BODY


Becky 5 years ago

I was laughing for 20 minutes and have been giggling for 2 hours now. My daughter came in to see what was wrong with me. I made her read this and now she is giggling. Oh my, I love this.


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

hahahahahaha!! Yes. And microwaving would be a second death, in fact!

Whenever a chest freezer is disposed of, it is a law that the lid must be detached from it! Even if it's not working/freezing - it would smother anyone or any living thing becoming entombed in it, alive at first.

Ugh. What a thought. I'll be so happy to be rid of it!! It is quite large, too.


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I'm glad you liked it, Becky, and it's a double for me that your daughter enjoyed it too. The frightening (or is it just amusing) thing, is that the story is honest truth, all down the line. Steve is a constant source of inspiration for a writer.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Nellieanna, in a Steinbeck novel, there would have been a vagrant, or simply an out of work person living in your discarded chest freezer. Remember 'Cannery Row' or was it 'Tortilla Flat'? Why don;t you have a lock fitted on the inside and leave it on the highway... you could let it out for a nominal rent.

Yes, we have that law concerning old refrigerators as well. The thought of children playing hide-and-seek and locking themselves into old fridges makes me feel so awful.


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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

With the freezer still inside the garage, which is virtually inaccessible from the outside, at the moment it is unlikely to become a trap - or a home - for anyone or anything, though maybe some vagrant squirrel might squeeze through the crack I have left to make sure it doesn't get stale and nasty in there. It's totally dry but I'm obsessive about bad odors. The lid is propped open a bit with a couple of flat box lids. But when it's taken away for discarding, I would hope they would just remove that lid. It's a little out of my 'line' to do it, especially since I can't budge the thing and I'm sure the hardware is on the backside, which is now just inches from the wall.

Hm - that scene & character may have been in Steinbeck's "Of Mice or Men". All his characters, set in that Great Depression era, were so destitute - and true to life.

What was amazing to me as a child was that the vagrants created by the economic disaster were not mean-spirited or dishonest. In Del Rio - (no zoning regulations then) - we lived not far from everything in town (and only a mile from the International Bridge over to Mexico) & the places included The Ice House, which served all our homes' "iceboxes" with blocks of ice (before refrigeration had entered the picture for homes)and it was also near the railroad tracks, so that freight trains could load up ice for the transpiration of perishables. (Lots of stories associated with that ice house and us kids. I may need to do a hub about it. hehe)

But the point here was that "tramps" or "hobos" who had stashed away on freight trains sometimes got off in towns to try to get some food in exchange for work. They literally came up to the doors of the houses on nearby streets - which in our area were neither poor nor affluent, but very respectably middle-class - and begged for some work around the house or yard in exchange for something to eat! They didn't even ask for money! Just food which they would eat under the shade of a pecan tree in the yard - after the work had been delivered!

One never heard of any mischief from them and people didn't even lock the house or car doors back then. We always found something for them to do and gave them of our pot of beans and rice - or roast beef or chicken - with garden-fresh veggies and dessert; - whatever our own fare was that day. One never heard of any break-ins or anything bad from them. Many had been prosperous citizens before losing everything, I'm sure.

I suppose that after they did the work and had the meal, they'd hitch another ride on another train and move on to wherever - possibly California.

But there was a noticeable prevailing DECENCY then. I have thought so much about that as things have evolved and it has become an "old-fashioned" trait in today's world. I think it is one trait which allows many older folks to be fooled and victimized because they still expect decency from others, unless the other person is amply identifiable as a scoundrel. Also I think this assumption of decency was the 'dividing line' between the generations prior to and after WWII. As a youngster from before it, I don't recall a lot of focus on it, it was just part and parcel in the "moral of the story" even in our school books and the poetry Dad would quote to me. It wasn't pointed out so much as demonstrated. So perhaps it was assumed by the prior folks and somehow escaped the notice of many of those coming up afterwards, in a bit of a whole 'nuttier' world with a faster pace and different focus on success and "keeping up with the Joneses" - or being the Joneses!As a result, the examples were more distant from the homelike and yet the parents didn't realize it wasn't apparent to the kids. (Whole 'nuttier subject, which I did touch on in my "Magnolia" hub series.)

Yes! It is unthinkable for a child to get into a castaway fridge or freezer and suffocating. If I had to figure out a way to remove that lid myself before it leaves my garage, I would!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Grrr. Spell-check will not leave my 'n-u-t-h-e-r spelling but insists it should be "nuttier". Maybe that too -but that's NOT what I intended! hehe :-(


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

The book, I am beginning to remember, is Steinbeck's 'Sweet Thursday' the one which had Doc in it. I am beginning to think it was woman who made a home out of a pipe or was it 'Cannery Row'. I love Steinbeck and have read him many times, but you wouldn't think it would you? I can't remember the novel... It was the girl with the "tomato red dress"... she insisted it wasn't "tomato", but "love apple".

I am in the middle of writing a series of incidents and memories of a day with my parents when I was a boy, and blocks of ice come into that too. Coincidence???

Please, Nellie, expand your little comment here into s short story. I could almost see those guys coming to your door and sharing what you had... all the way to the pudding. And the pecan tree... and decency.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

It is a vivid story. My child's mind saw it from a special perspective, I'm sure. Among the old thick Edison records there were to play on the wind-up Victrola at the ranch was a narrative titled "The Raggedy Man". It was a poem, though not a rhyming one. I visualized the "tramps" who came to the door when I heard it; and remembered the narrative when I saw the tramps at the door. A major memory was the naturalness with which Mother fed them, without ever thinking they might be pretending.

I look forward to reading your series about you and your parents!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

And I look forward to you writing this... from a child's perspective is not easy, as I have discovered, but there are pluses there amongst the minuses.

Please, Nellie, I know you have it in you. I can see a nobility and love and trust in your mother, and I still like the idea of your father providing water for the local farmers... there's a huge metaphor there, just waiting to be developed.

You could easily write a Novela, with your experiences, and your anecdotes, and just the mise en scene that you have created when writing to me.


steve of ian fame profile image

steve of ian fame 5 years ago from Essex

I remember you rang half of London too, just to get an upper hand, the following morning. Dining out on this story in the belief that your own charachter remained unblemished. Your dear friend J said in the middle of events, "You are not being very supportive are you?" That was an understatement from a dear friend.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Ah Yes... Judi. She was always as kind hearted as I.

What was that "unblemished" word? I'm not particularly familiar with it.

Is it something to do with cooking?


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

You're B-A-D, Ian, very BAD. hahaha.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Where did you get that idea from Nellie? Have you been talking to Steve?

He has a very low estimation of my kindness levels. He thinks I have very few kind bones.

I have absolutely loads of kind bones...

Let me reassure you. My body is full of them. I just haven't got round to using them yet; I'm too busy using up the milk of human kindness which is sloshing around in my veins.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I must confess I got the idea from YOU, you rascal, you. . . pretending such innocent naiveté to your friend, Steve! . . . - Scandalous, I tell you - scandalous!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Yeah! But scandalous is fun, isn't it.

Steve is a constant source of ideas for stories, and frequently they don't need embellishment.

It was silly conversations with Steve that sowed the germ of the Twilight Lawns Saga.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Scandalous? How would li'l ole I know if it is fun or not? (battling my lashes & touching my toes with them 10 times for their daily exercise!)

Well your friend Steve is certainly a fascinating character, Ian. One might even conjecture that you're closely related! ;-> - still batting the lashes. . .


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Horrors!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Tee hee! Wow - that brought you into the forefront! hahahaha.


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 5 years ago from Louisiana

Haha that was too funny!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you. Shall I try to make it less funny next time, or are you happy for me to keep trying?

Thanks a lot for visiting.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Nellie, if you like him so much, I’ll do him at a real bargain rate.

Now let's start negotiating. How much are you willing to give me for him, and what is your highest offer?


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Ian, I absolutely love that you concluded that I "like him so much" from the facts that I commented that:

1) he's a fascinating character - and

2) I thought you two could be closely related!

See, there, - you know your own true value! It's PRICELESS! Can't negotiate on that value, which is, of course - my "highest offer"!

(grin - my mother didn't raise no dummies!)

Batting lashes furiously now!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

You are so entertaining. I have just got up and am going out to have an al fresco meal with my neighbour, who has been so supportive recently, although she has had so many problems herself. She is an American lady.

I think I like Americans (smiles winningly across the Pond and hopes his winning smile reaches all the way to the Ranch in Texas)

Hugs


steve of ian fame profile image

steve of ian fame 5 years ago from Essex

The three Gertrudes are still concentrating on this in The Princes May of Teck wing. Many a buscuit has been chewed upon as an attempt to conclude, befitting behaviour from a "Friend of the Society." You may lose your status over this.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Biscuits, Sir? Biscuits? Has ALL the Battenberg gone already?

Next thing you'll be saying is that the Earl Grey is no more.

Horrors!!!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I hope the deer, quail and wild turkeys enjoy the winning smile. I wasn't there. You realize, of course - -or do you? - the ranch is 500 miles from my home in Dallas, where I am. Yup. I've been down there once in the past 7 years - last summer. Hoping to get down in the fall. It needs me, too, so wish me luck with my collaborator to go down. It's much too remote and dangerous for me to attempt going alone. It's near nothing, except the Mexican border, where people swim into the country lacking 'papers' and in desperate need of water and food.

Hope you've enjoyed your al fresco with your American neighbor, dear Ian. And thank your for the smiles across the pond. Smiles have no concern with geography, but zero in on PEOPLE targets, so I received them first-hand here in Dallas. Thought you'd like to know that. Hugs.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

No wonder. I said, "Hello!" in my best English accent (not a bad one, considering I'm mot English, and all I dot back was "Gobble. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble. Gobble." in what I assumed must be a Texan drawl.

I see what you mean about no being there... "Dangerous" must be an understatement.


SilverGenes 5 years ago

I got part way though one hub - down to Bill Gates clever boys being required to rewire after the cleaning lady - and then here, where I have been sitting at the computer laughing out loud. Thank you! And thank you, Steve. And now back to Bill...


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

An absolute inspiration to those with a desire to write; Steve the answer to a maiden's prayer (or maybe not).

Steve is convinced that I "tweak" his image. Believe me; I have no need.

Thank you once again, SilverGenes, for visiting.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Actually, a Texas drawl is mere mimicry of our wild turkeys, rather than vice-versa. :-)

Yes - it's always dangerous for anyone, but for a lone woman - - foolishly dangerous, regardless of how much attention it needs from her! the county is bordered by ValVerde on the east, Pecos on the northwest, Crockett on the north east, Brewster on the west and Mexico on the south. My place is near the south of the county's parameters. All these counties are very large in area and none is very well populated. Mine, Terrell County, has but one town with a population of about 1000, of which few are Anglos. To get to it without a helicopter, one must drive over many rugged ranch roads and then up the US highway quite a way. There is no one to call in case of an emergency who could or would be there quickly - if at all. One can drive many miles without seeing another vehicle. The nearest real grocery store or medical facility is in Del Rio - in ValVerde County, about 100 miles distant, including the rugged ranch roads. From Dallas (in the northeast quadrant of the state) to ElPaso (in the furthest west part) is 638 miles, via Interstate highway. From Dallas to the ranch is about 500 miles and no interstate comes very near. In short - it is a very remote and isolated area of the planet.

To help visualize - look at http://www.censusfinder.com/maptx.htm


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I don't think the UK is as big as that.

Yipes! Stay in Dallas.

Why do you keep the property? Planning to start your own kingdom?

Queen Nellie-Anna (Note the hyphen)


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 5 years ago from Louisiana

No it was good as is!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Sure, Ian. I can hold court with the jackrabbits and roadrunners bearing the banners and collect taxes from the bobcats and cacti. haha

Actually Texas is bigger than England, which as 50,346 square miles. whereasTexas has 268,581 square miles. England far outdoes Texas in population, however, with 51.1 million as of 2007. According to the 2010 census, Texas' population was about 25.1 people (not sure whether or not they are all legal citizens, though. hehe)

My ranch county is only 2,358 square miles, with many canyons in which the sparse rains run down to the Rio Grande, leaving no permanent surface water at all. There is a population in the whole county of 1,081 people. that is a about a half a person per square mile, though most of the people live in the the one and only small county seat town, Sanderson. There are also 2 or 3 'ghost' towns. My ranch is a mere 10 square miles and at present, its permanent population is 0. :-) It boasts one deep water well with a large 5-foot tall above-ground 50-foot-diameter concrete water holding tank and a piping system to 6 water troughs over the area. The roads are rocky and unpaved, of course. There is a darling little cabin George and I designed & built ourselves, an old tall hay barn & large sheep-shearing pad & awning, plus corrals and fences around the perimeter and several internally, dividing the 5 pastures.

Why do I keep it? There are some valid practical reasons along with the sentimental ones, Ian, - although as things are proceeding, I may need to reconsider my options. Not being able to be there and take care of it is a pain and I very much miss it. I was conceived on the other ranch nearby - the family's "Headquarters" ranch and spent much time down there. Then after acquiring mine, which Dad acquired the year I was born, I spent about half of each of 14 years there with George, keeping and improving it, as well as sponsoring limited deer hunting in the fall. It gets under one's skin.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

So we both know where we were conceived,,, not many people seem to know... or to care.

I have a friend whose mother was looking out of an upstairs window at the fireworks that were part of the celebrations for the ending of the First World War, and her husband came into the room behind her to join her at the window.

Romantic? At least a sense of occasion.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Ah, yes - that is romantic! Very visual!

My conception at the ranch is part of an intricate chapter of my parents' life at the time. It's a story in itself which unfolded for my knowledge rather oddly. It's not a casual one to be told casually!

My appearance was fairly exceptional in several respects, in fact, - and a bit disconcerting to some of the other family members in the surrounding generations, I suspect. hehe ~ How's that for romantic mystery? ;->


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

If you don;t make an attempt to write the saga of your life and your parents', I will be very disappointed, Nellie.

Please have a think about it.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

OH - I do think about it, Ian - very seriously. Yes. Thank you.


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 5 years ago from Scotland

Great story and I never realised that NHS Direct could give out so much information on the history of tulip corm eating.

All the best


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Actually, ShinKicker, I have a feeling that the woman had too much time on her hands. Or she was as deranged as my friend, Steve, at the end of this little exercise.

It's all a matter of forbidden fruit, perhaps. Maybe that couple in the Garden of Eden felt the same... and perhaps the Serpent was every bit at reassuring.


steve of ian fame profile image

steve of ian fame 5 years ago from Essex

Incidently, in our Turkish restaurant they serve pork chop and claim to follow Islam. The Qu'ran is not applicable in the commercial world. There are one or two other indiscretions our local guests commit. They believe "To sin in secret, is not to sin at all." They are Muslim in name only.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Before I launch into a rant about my religion, Steve, you may be interested to know that 'Steve Comes to Dinner' is my most popular hub.

Thanks for being my inspiration, Sunshine.

Mini rant:The Arabic word 'Islam' means submission and obedience, and derives from a word meaning 'peace'.


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

(Hands Ian the requisite calling card while looking in askance at the dried, curled cucumber sandwich...pokes it with a finger)

So I understand that (for selfish reasons the recipe is being withheld) you make a mean mash potato?? I'm down if you are! When I pulled up there was a guy running up and down your street screaming that he was hallucinating? I told him not to brag. What's that all about?

Excellent dinner that I will be sharing with my followers (both of them) and friends (same both).

As regards said political hub/story I am writing...would you care to be a character? If so...would you care to remain anonymous? I understand if you do...after all..you nearly killed your friend Steve...best to keep a low profile and shit.

What's for dessert?

Thomas


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thomas, my friend,

Would I care to be a character? Yes, of course. Bring it on. And of course, also, I have no desire to remain anonymous. After all, what have I go to lose, apart from my good name.

Yeah right!

Ian


Hendrika profile image

Hendrika 4 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

So nice to read something humorous. I did not think it will be possible to take a corm or bulb, whatever for garlic!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hendrika, thanks for coming and also thanks for enjoying my little effort.

If you knew Steve, you would realise that ANYTHING is possible in Steveworld.

It was Steve, on another occasion who rang me and told me that he had had a meal in central London at a Turkish restaurant, that had set his tummy pretty much on fire. I asked him what was in the meal that could have upset his tummy, and he said, "Nasturtiums."

I delved and delved and eventually realised that his "Nasturtiums" were really Chillis.

That's out Steve.


steve of ian fame profile image

steve of ian fame 4 years ago from Essex

sweet peas actually.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I stand corrected. The poor chap thought he had eaten sweetpeas, whereas I seem to remember his having said, Nasturtiums. I this an indication of the early onset of Alzheimer's?


steve of ian fame profile image

steve of ian fame 3 years ago from Essex

Tthis version of events keeps being modified. I wonder if the truth is out there somewhere.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 3 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

My version of the truth is always more palatable (and certainly vastly more interesting) than that with which you are more familiar, Steve.

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