Friday, 9 May 2008

Up to Ketts

I peeled myself from the Brent-Eleigh oasis and charged up to another, different kind of heaven - my Mum's house in north Suffolk. She and her boyfriend, Eddie, bought the very retro, '70s conversion in 2000 and have imbued it with their own kind of retro charm. Cor, talk about an e-Bayer's paradise - the place is dripping with goodies and quirky collectibles. Eddie likes things like Michelin Man statues and mannequin's legs; my Ma likes trays with pictures of the Royal family, circa 1960. And Elvis pop-up books and Oaxacan ponchos. It all swirls together down a long bumpy track surrounded by pea fields.

This is flat Suffolk, but with gorgeous water meadows and lazy creeks all around. Now I'm getting away from the influence of London - no leisure communities or polished lawns, just straight up, unaffected countryside.

They're having a lunch party. My mum had thought it might be funny to call up all the people in the phone book whose name has anything to do with chocolate and invite them over. All she could come up with though, was a guy from Sri Lanka called Mr Choktanasakulchai... and she thought it might be a bit perplexing for him.

WHO CAME: Mum, Eddie, me, George & Ingrid Franks and my old pal Lettie.

WHAT WE ATE: Started with some more rum punches - pretty hefty ones - then onto wine with lunch. A big pan of oven baked chicken with fennel, olives, garlic and tomatoes; beatola and mushrooms from the field. Then the most delicious salad in the world ever - watercress, lettuce, marjoram and lovage. This is the taste of the land. It is the taste of the sweet, green lushness of May with just a touch of wild bitterness. I love it and could eat it forever.

DINNER TABLE TOPICS: George is a venture capitalist and I want to pluck as much info from him as possible. He's not giving much away - I don't think he likes talking about himself. So we talk about Lettie's album release and her recording sessions in Woodstock. And how delicious it is when you pour red wine into mash potatoes. Tongue in Scotland is banded about as a destination for me - I fear I may not make it up that far but would love to smash through to the tippy top of Britain.

THE PUD: Relieved of my duties my mum has made a chocolate bread and butter pudding with Willie's chocolate. She's grated cinnamon into it for that Mexican flavour. We all go for it on the cream front and I'm not shy when it comes to seconds.

MY BED FOR THE NIGHT: I stay in the room that they call 'Shit Alley'. I dunno...the name has just kinda stuck and we call it this with a real fondness(!) It is cool and dark and very silent and I end up staying for three nights, idling away in this remote place. A hot, grey/blue haze of days that make me feel like I'm in a Camus novel.

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