I have a birthday coming up in a few days, and for the first time in years (ever?), I am quite happy to let it pass quietly by. See, I’ve just spent 14 days in various manifestations of the pictures above: mostly on a boat (pictured centrally, she is Isola Bella, the beautiful island), where many hours were spent watching waves, less hours (but rather a lot) drinking gin and tonics to yet another gorgeous sunset, some time sitting on deck chairs in various marinas watching other boats while sipping gin and tonics, and even a few stolen afternoons lounging at pools with other hot and weary travellers. We were a small crew: our captain, my father-in-law; his son, my husband and first mate, and yours truly, the galley slave (later to be promoted to galley admiral, and thereafter commander – either because the sandwiches got better and better, or because I became less tolerant of interference with the sandwich-making. This remains unclear).
Our home point was Kent Narrows, Maryland – where la bella lives when she is not out sailing – and our destination New Bern, North Carolina, where my Raleigh family came to hang out for a day before we turned around and headed on back. Little did I know that I would also be greeted with a bucket-load of birthday presents to make up for their not being here on the actual day. And you know how people sometimes give you all sorts of useless crap because they feel they have to give you something? Well, this bounty was the exact opposite of that. I got a rocking brownie pan (the one that makes lots of edges) that I’ve been coveting ever since I got into the sordid business of finding the best brownie recipe (it’s all in the pan!). I got some funky Bodum and Scanpan accessories (it’s sometimes nice to be Danish). And all the way from Jamaica:
two three weeks of eating and drinking copiously (oh, the Maryland crabcakes. Oh, the North Carolina shrimp. Oh, the captain’s steak Fiorentina. Oh, the beef jerky!), and coming home with a stash of goodies to a kitchen that has already had one big gift this year (oh, beloved Kenwood Chef), who needs a birthday?
In fact, I rather like the idea of drinking water and eating apples for the next few weeks. And working from dawn till deep into the night, like some mad monk.
OK, that last part was bullshit. I would never be so irresponsible. Work and apples should be used in moderation.