Thursday, 3 January 2008

Man Cannot Live by Christmas Cake Alone

I bumped into my neighbour on the way home this evening. She's seventeen and too cool for school (or rhymes), whereas I am twenty-nine and have embraced my inner nerd with such fervour that I may have broken the inner nerd's ribs (or costae spuriae, to be precise). The otherwise insuperable barrier of cool-nerdth incompatibility, however, we have transcended thanks to our shared affection for her late dog, Bailey.

So, there we were, bumping into each other on our way home, and naturally talk turns to the subject du jour, my New Year Detox Program (which began, just in case you're interested, sixty-six hours ago, and has so far resulted in no fewer than seventeen lucid hallucinations of sticky date pudding soaked in kahlua). I regail her with very interesting facts about quinoa, which I have eaten for breakfast three mornings in a row, and begin a lurid account of today's lunch - three apples, a bunch of celery, a handful of cashews and a capsicum - when she says, "My boyfriend proposed to me last night in the car."

And that's the end of the story. The moral is: never talk to seventeen-year-olds about quinoa.

In other news, manuscript for the book what I've been editing on Mr W. Blake got sent orf today. I am now awaiting response from publisher: make it shorter, longer, footnotier, with a Russian accent.


eyrie said...

First and most importantly of all, fervid congratulations on getting that MS orf!

As for talking to seventeen-year-olds, quinoa is probably as good a subject as any. The things one ends up saying as part of small talk are generally a little on the surreal side and it's always a puzzle as to how they ended up there. Re the proposal: perhaps she was telling you as a trial run for telling someone else.

Martin Kingsley said...

I feel it my duty to report that Man, Woman, and Gender-Neutral Hermaphroditic Frog-type Entity Can, in Fact, Live by Christmas Cake Alone.

As a medical doctor with wide-ranging qualifications, I request an immediate retraction. We here at the AMA refuse to admit that there is anything vaguely decadent or even wrong with Christmas cake, being as it is an unrivalled source of essential nutrients, vitamins and oils. It's also the sole natural source--currently known to man/woman/frog-type yada yada-- of Cakenium-112, a fundamental (and, it must be said, delicious) amino-acid.

I fully expect your people to get in touch with my people by close of business. Good day to you. Hmph.

P.S: Imagine the tipping of the hat and the snappy about-face turn, will you? They don't translate well in the language of the Blarg.

P.P.S: People of seventeen are weird, says I from the lofty heights of nineteen and very-nearly-but-not-quite-a-month. You might be able to get through to her via judicious use of some taro. I can hardly think of a more versatile and innocuous veggie (well, apart from the toxic-if-eaten-raw bit, anyway).

Indeed, even if she somehow remains unconvinced despite your best efforts, you'll get almost equal joy from chucking pieces of taro at her house. Trust me, I'm a doctor.

Maria said...

Man can live by almost anything alone ('cept maybe death). Depends on how long you expect/wish to live.

JahTeh said...

I want to know just what he proposed to her in the car.

Thanks to stomach bug probably caught from some vile un-washed child at Southland, I'm only just finishing my Christmas. It's very satisfying since everything is marked half price which I'm enjoying almost as much as the goodies.

Sweet Camden Lass said...

There I was, idly googling 'Brown Owl Blog', and I find your blog, with a picture of the Bile Beans sign that I used to love when I was a student in York. At least, I think it's the same one. Next time I'm in York, I'll check.

Actually, I still love it, but, you know, it's a bit harder now I live in London.

alexis said...

Camdenite, it pleases me inordinately that you got here by googling "Brown Owl Blog". My mother used to be a Brown Owl, back in younger and more kiddy-ridden days.

As for Bile Beans: photographed from the wall around York in May 2006. The Ouze had flooded and all the riverside pubs were kneedeep in water, so prancing round the city walls keeping high and more-or-less dry made sense. There's a lot of rain in that there England.

alexis said...

Copperwitch, very sorry to hear of your tum-infection. They're hideous things. A pox on all parasites and errant bacteria (so long as they don't refer the pox on to their hosties).

Eyrie, ta for the conga rats. I'm feeling pleased with myself and slightly lost. Now would be a good time to tell me you've bought me a return ticket to Wellington, with complementary mountaineering gear and a couple of sherpas.

Martin, I trust implicitly everything you say on matters nutritional. You are, after all, a doctor. And I happen to know you also have the ear of the Almighty, which is nowt to be sneered at. However, when Our Lord saith "Man shall not live by Christmas Cake alone", he is using the terms "Christmas Cake" and "live" in idiosyncratic senses. "Christmas Cake", as Jesus has it, represents The Things of This World, material pleasures. Living, in this context, means more than existing materially for the term of one's natural life. Noone's denying that Man can eke out an entirely satisfying, pleasurable and healthsome existence for three score and ten years eating nothing but Christmas Cake. The problem is what happens to him when he shuffles off his mortal cake plate. Where will Christmas Cake get him then, eh?

eyrie said...

You just name your date and I'll even make a packed lunch, with fairy bread instead of sandwiches and a thermos of pink lemonade.

I climbed the tower of Yorkminster. You can applaud now, if you like.

Maria said...

"Christmas Cake", as Jesus has it, represents The Things of This World, material pleasures.

Oh really? I suppose it dependeth on which cake you devoureth. The Body of the caketh, often made with sugar, butter, flour, and some eggs, and perhaps spome spice and brandy - it represents the sweetness of life (sugar), the beginning of life (eggs), the spice of life (spice), and the basics of life (butter and flour). The many fruits that go within represent the fruits of the labour that we earn as we toil, but also the fruits of our experience and our joys. What is life without spice, sweetness, joys and a touch of brandy to get us high - on life itself!

Roll it all together and have it lovingly presented it to you on a special day by your ma, as Christmas Cake often is, and tell me that this Christmas Cake cannot be lived on alone. Representing much more than the material pleasures of this world, but life itself, its meaning, its existence, its love, its emotions. Gaze into a large red glace cherry and tell me that your heart does not beat pulsatingly with the inner meaing it holds for you. Oh Christmas Cake, Oh Christmas Cake!

I think I need a sit down. And maybe a bit of cake and something to drink.

alexis said...

Awright, awright, awright, awright. Let's just focus on the issue at hand: I am eating nothing but fresh fruit and vegums and the odd pulse for another nine days. So no more talk of Christmas cake or pink lemonade. (Thanks all the same.)

My nice neighbour - the flute teacher, not the seventeen-year-old - popped round this morning with her homemade concoction of pureed banana, watermelon and passionfruit. So it does pay to alert the neighbours after all.

Eyrie, you're magnificent. The pink lemonade sounds mighty tempting, come to think of it. As for bread ... [drools]

lucy tartan said...

excellent news about the Blake book...

JahTeh said...

Dear Harlot, just popped in to tell you about the beautiful crisp fresh croissants I had for breakfast, the raspberry jam went down well and the Earl Grey tea was refreshing. (fair trade tea)

Maria said...

I would have posted this lovely bit of eavesdropping on one side of a mobile phone convo on CityRail on me own blog, had it not fit so nicely in with your own topid, Dr Harlot.

Just heard a young male of at least 6ft in stature talking to someone on the phone today

"No ... no ... I'm eating well ... well I got some pickled stuff ... fruit ... I think ... well because man cannot eat by bread alone ... that's a phrase I think because actually I haven't bought any bread ... yet ... well here's hoping I won't be 35kg by the time I come home ... see ya ..."

alexis said...

These are not laughing matters. The younger brother of a friend of mine developed scurvy a few years ago. His mother left him for a couple of months, and he subsisted on two minute noodles and toast, to the point where he had to be hospitalised because his gums were disintegrating.

Lucy, ta.

Jahteh, many happy returns.