Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy new year

the one and only source of home-made curried beansBoth Maxima and I are hoarders. She's not as bad as me - my hoarding habit is attributable to Adolf Hitler. During much of the Second World War, my Mum was bedridden with an illness, and, I suppose, was spoilt somewhat, with many of her family's ration-coupons for sweets making their way to her. Unfortunately, when she recovered somewhat, peacetime rationing was still in place, and she learnt the widespread habit of hoarding which she eventually passed on to me. The inconveniences my hoarding has caused our family would never have occurred if the Bavarian Farmers' League had carried the vote in 1933.

To be more specific, we were searching yesterday for a set of elephants'-feet to raise a chair for Professor Calculus, who we'd invited over for Hogmanay. Maxima and I searched the house from top to bottom with a heavy heart, and when we failed to locate them we had to face the awful truth: they were in the cupboard under the stairs.

With trepidation we opened the small door, and some nice boxes fell out. There was nothing in them, they were just nice boxes. Then we had to tease out the curved tubular thingy that was going to give me killer abs in five minutes, but failed dismally. Maybe I should have given it a full five minutes...Anyway, we pulled out this, that and the other until, with the elephants'-feet in sight, I came across my old stamp collection. I opened the case and pulled out some of the little books from the Brignorth Stamp Club, some with pages that still had stamps attached. I looked at Maxima to remark on what a fortuitous find this was, but when I saw her face I quickly put it all away and helped her get the elephants'-feet out. Then we had all the stuff to put back in - but that's another story.

We just had a small gathering of people, but it must have been a good party because it didn't just end up in the kitchen, it never made it out of there. Constanter and Honorata attended as well as Calculus, and to keep everybody happy we alternated Mozart, Dvorak and Saint-Saens with Bread, the Beatles and Fredericks, Goldman & Jones.

Somehow the conversation drifted to my culinary abilities, which for some reason the gathered assembly estimated to be about nil. I objected, saying that I could open tins and heat the contents as well as the next person. I was challenged to make a curry, and solemnly informed those present that I would make them curried beans. Midnight came, and with Calculus encouraging Constanter we joined hands and sang Auld Lang Syne. We talked for a while, then gradually a good night broke up, never to happen again, but leaving a lifelong memory and stronger friendships.

So now we have to get the elephants'-feet back into the cupboard under the stairs.

A guid new year tae yin and a', and many may ye' see.


  1. My husband (and I, I suppose) are hoarders, as well. I am an organized hoarder, while not. It makes a difference, I can assure anyone.

    My mother-in-law and I got quite a laugh out of the recipe!

    What a wonderful way to shoo-in the new year. I wish you a good-un, too!

  2. We're the same way round, I'm the unorganised hoarder. But even I'm not as bad as a bloke I read about last week, who had collections of everything from the fronts of cornflake packets to the labels from cans of tuna!

    I'm glad you and your mum-in-law enjoyed the recipe. You should try it - it tastes great!


Please feel free to leave a comment - Frugal Dougal.