In the kitchen

In the kitchen01It’s been a busy week for me. Much talking in cafés. Partly work, partly friendship and what’s the difference anyway? Much riding round on buses of course. Then yesterday in London talking buses, people and mentoring once again at social enterprise HCT. Then I’m working tomorrow, Saturday too. Doing a conference about housing and health at The Bluecoat.

So being a Friday, as is my habit, I’d really like to go out for a walk. Particularly as I need to test out some new memory in my camera.

But all morning it's been raining.

But all morning it’s been raining.

And not just the light, showery rain its a pleasure to walk through.

And not just the light, showery rain its a pleasure to walk through.

But relentless.

But relentless.

Still, I need to make sure this camera’s ok. So I’d better take some pictures here. I decide to take about ‘a roll’. The 24 pictures you’d get from each roll of ‘real film’ before we all got digital cameras with their more or less unlimited capacities.

I decide to 'work' - if that's what you call it, in the kitchen.

I decide to ‘work’ – if that’s what you call it, in the kitchen.

Using no flash and moving nothing around.

Using no flash and moving nothing around.

This is our kitchen, as it is, this January day. I’ve lived here over 23 years now, Sarah a couple of years less. We’ve never renovated the house or had the kitchen ‘fitted’. Just painted it up now and again.

Listening while I work.

Listening while I work.

On BBC 6 Music Lauren Laverne is interviewing Meryl Streep. About playing witches and other strong female role models. She’s just starting on a film about Emmeline Pankhurst. ‘It might shock some people’ she says ‘How violent it all got. Women in Britain having to literally fight to get the vote.’ Definitely something to look out for.

The camera has a look round.

The camera has a look round.

Sarah, it's fair to say, likes beautifully crafted jugs.

Sarah, it’s fair to say, likes beautifully crafted jugs.

Elsewhere in the house she has a collection of tiny little ones, delightful but mainly decorative. Here in the kitchen thy are practical working jugs.

There is also one of Sarah’s paintings.

'Battered tulips after the rain'

‘Battered tulips after the rain’

Done in oils some time around 1998. One of many tulip paintings she did around those years.

There is fruit of course.

There is fruit of course.

And many and various jams and preserves. A good few made by Sarah.

And many and various jams and preserves. A good few made by Sarah.

Though not the Marmite of course. A Sarah constant and tasted only once by me when I first got to know her. Once was enough. Someone said to me about someone else once ‘He’s a bit of a Marmite. You’ll either like him or you won’t.’ I know what she meant.

And of course there's an O.S. map of Antarctica.

And of course there’s an O.S. map of Antarctica.

Years ago we had this mounted on card and it’s been on the kitchen wall ever since. ‘Why?’ visitors will occasionally wonder. Well why not? At one time we thought we’d like to go there. I certainly wouldn’t want to any more, as you’ll know if you’ve ever read my ‘Year to live’ reflections. But purely as a map it’s a beautiful thing to contemplate. And often while I’m in the kitchen, waiting while something simmers on the cooker I’ll stand there reading the sacred names I’ve been reading for the best part of 20 years Now:

“Dronning Maud Land,
Terra Adelie,
Oates Land,
The Executive Committee Range,
…and the rest.”

And these climate change days, when we hear that part of an ice sheet has broken off and is drifting away, we can look at our carefully scaled map of Antarctica, and see exactly the size of what the news is talking about.

Cartography. Where art meets science and a thing of practical usefulness is also a thing of intense beauty. On our kitchen wall.

Drying.

Drying.

Washing.

Washing.

Cooking.

Cooking.

Baking.

Baking.

Time for a cup of tea.

Time for a cup of tea.

While the radio plays on.

While the radio plays on.

The rain keeps falling in the yard.

The rain keeps falling in the yard.

The kind of day it's good to be warm and dry and inside.

In fact, the kind of day it’s good to be warm and dry and inside.

And the camera seems fine with it’s new memory.

Back then to something more recognisable as ‘real work?’ Maybe.

At the conference I’ll be showing and talking about ‘Tina’s Story’ – the film I just had to make, after I thought I wouldn’t be making any more.

6 thoughts on “In the kitchen

  1. Helen Devries

    I’ve just looked round my kitchen….the main feature seems to be pairs of glasses dotted around and my husband’s fanatically guarded collection of bread bags ready for the next batch to go in the freezer. Apart from the books and papers and my laptop…

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Yes, I decided not to move anything so, if for no one other than me, I would remember the kitchen exactly the way it is. There’s something about kitchens, we don’t consciously keep them neat, it’s where we live.

      Reply
  2. robertday154

    It never hurts to make an exercise out of looking at the things immediately around you to see what potential they have as pictures. In another time and another place, you could have gone down a whole different path…

    Reply

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