Sunday, 21 March 2010
Beware the ides of March
The ides of March have come and gone this week, which may or may not explain why I feel quite so jittery. No Shakespearean soothsayer has come to warn me against the ides; life in my quiet north London street has not taken on the tragic proportions of Julius Caesar's Rome, as far as I can tell, although a sinister, possibly suicidal legion of foreign harlequin ladybirds has invaded my study through the south-facing window, most of them dying soon afterwards.
There have been glorious bursts of sunshine, in between sudden showers; the daffodils are finally blooming; the cat is warming her old bones on the grass. A fox skirted past her this morning, but she seemed not to notice; I kept a watchful eye on both of them, but the fox was simply passing through, up and over the wooden fences into neighbouring gardens.
Yesterday I made one of my mother's fail-safe recipes from my childhood: a packet of ginger biscuits, crushed and mixed with a little melted butter, then patted to form a base on a spring-form cake tin; topped with a tin of condensed milk mixed with a tub of cream, and the juice and zest of several lemons. This works like magic: the lemon juice thickens the creamy mixture, and it all sets in the fridge to form something that tastes far more delicious than the sum of its parts.
The dishwasher is broken, after a decade of patient service. I'm hoping it can be fixed, as I've lost faith in the zen art of washing up.
But the good news is that I found my copy of Angela Carter's essays: 'Shaking a Leg'. Here she is writing in the London Review of Books in 1985 on Elizabeth Wilson's study of fashion, 'Adorned in Dreams': fashion matters, she says, 'Because women do love to dress up, and also to dress down: we dress to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to transform ourselves, to amuse ourselves... to pass unnoticed in the crowd, to pass messages about ourselves, to pass the time.'
Memo to self: find Elizabeth Wilson's book; sweep up dead ladybirds; move on from melancholic superstition; embrace the spring...