Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Saturday 21 April 2007

vernon kaye, your teeth
are like a wall of naffness
gumming down my day.

The A-Z of Rationalism

C is for Cathar (n.) a member of a Christian sect in Provence in the 12th and 13th centuries who believed the material world was evil and only the spiritual was good. They believed all matter to be evil because it was created by Satan, the principle of evil.
Such was the perceived threat posed by Cathar doctrine to the mainstream church that in 1209 Pope Innocent III proclaimed a crusade against the Cathars. There followed twenty years of ruinous warfare, during which cities and provinces throughout the south of France were devastated. In one of the worst episodes of the war almost the entire population of Toulouse, both Cathar and Catholic, were massacred. Resistance continued until 1243 when the Cathar fortress of Montsegur in the Pyrenees was captured and destroyed. Those who refused to renounce their beliefs were often tortured or put to death by fire.

I awoke early and listened to some new CDs reviewed on Radio 3. The Ugly One, given the choice as to what we should eat this evening decided that he rather fancied Braised Beef in Garlic. This is one of my regular dishes; a Chinese casserole in which is beef is cooked slowly with two (yes, two) entire garlic plants, a splash of sherry, some soy sauce, beef stock, a tablespoon of potato flour and little else. Near the end when the sauce has reduced to a thick gravy you can chuck in some chopped spring onions and roasted peppers, and it’s damned lovely.
I went up to Edgware Road market as some time ago I bought some handmade soap with which I was very pleased. I’ve never been known to get excited by soap before.
The soap man had run out of peppermint, which is my favourite, so I made do with two tea-trees, an orange and a cucumber. While I was making my agonising soap decision he was arguing stenuously with an arab lady who was attempting, very unsuccessfully, to haggle.
‘Do you know how many arab people I know?’ he asked her. This was obviously a rhetorical question as he did not wait for a response, ‘One to two thousand,’ he said. ‘And some of them I damn well know are walking about with two thousand pounds in their pockets, and they try to argue with me about a fifty pence discount.’
Cowed, the lady abandoned her attempt to get the soap cheaper than the standard price and paid up.
I don’t think he was being discriminatory. He was just as grumpy with me, but grudgingly told me that he might have some peppermint in for next Saturday.
My beef in garlic came out amazingly well. The original recipe exhorts me ‘not to be alarmed by the amount of garlic involved’ as, in fact, due to the long cooking time, the garlic is absorbed into the sauce and produces a flavour as far removed from garlic as Gerri Halliwell is from reality.
Talking of ‘reality’ in the paradoxically very unreal sense of reality TV shows, ‘Doctor Who’ was scheduled early tonight, because, it seems, the BBC wanted to place their dire ‘Any Pratt Will Do’ search for the new Joseph (shame on you Graham Norton for involving yourself in such trash) against Simon Cowell’s equally dire search for the new stars of Grease, ‘Grease is the Word’.
I know another word for it, and it isn’t ‘grease’.

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