Monday, 10 September 2018

Round 37.


This basket is empty, except for the random debris of till receipts, bank transaction details, promotional offers and a shopping list that lie at the bottom.

Oh, and  the garlic.

There are two heads, firm, white – a little industrial; the new garlic, always more purple, is not ready yet.

I like garlic; you can add it to anything.

Except, maybe the chocolate.

I will put the garlic in the blue ceramic bowl that sits on top of the dishwasher; I will put the chocolate on top of the family book.

It’s not really a book, it’s a box- but it looks like a book.

It came from a shop in Lisbon, and it outlines the family rules that we try to adhere to.

Help each other.
Be thankful.
Know you are loved.
Pay with hugs and kisses.
Try new things.
Be happy.
Show compassion.
Be grateful.
Dream big.
Respect one another.
Laugh out loud.

It seems to be the right place for the chocolate.

Inside the box there are some treasures; one is a letter my daughter sent me for my birthday.

The chocolate came from Sylvain’s stand in the market; my daughter will help him on his stand at Easter.

Last year she came home with some free pieces.


Today it is only a slab of his caramel-y chocolate that is in my basket.

Except for an Easter Egg.

In the shape of a fish.

I will put that in a secret place, so no one finds it too soon.

And so I don’t eat it right now.

There are real eggs in the basket too – a box that could hold ten but which  in fact holds nine.

Not because one got broken or forgotten, but because that was all that remained.

I will put them in the fridge for later, maybe scrambled eggs, maybe a cake.

The cheese that is in the basket I will also put in the fridge, I’m not going to eat that now either.

I bought it from the man at the end of the market street. People say he has the best and cheapest cheese.

He’s a large man, but is head is tiny. His shoulders engulf it and although he wears a small hat it is not easy to find his face.

His thick woolly jumper that rides up over his chin doesn’t help.

He reminds me of a tortoise.

A tortoise that sells nothing.

Except cheese.

So this basket is empty, except for the garlic and chocolate, two sorts, and the eggs, two sorts.

And the cheese, two sorts, because there is some from the woman who sells goat’s cheese too.

And a book.

The book came from the swap book box that hangs on the wall in between the jewellar’s and the estate agent’s.

I sat on a bench in the sun and read the first two chapters because the words on the first page invited me to do so.

Two postcards of the holiday town in the south-west of England. They show the same scene which makes me think they were chosen thoughtlessly, bought together maybe in the same shop without caring a whit what the picture showed. Or bought separately, two months between them. She had forgotten, of course, what the first one displayed by the time she came round to needing the second.

I hope to write as well as that one day.

Except I would have put a comma in-between the ‘scene’ and the ‘which’ in the second sentence.

I read two chapters on the bench in the sun and I would read a third right now, except…

Except this bag is nearly empty now.

Except for the asparagus.

And I would like to empty it.

The asparagus is in its own paper bag in the corner of the basket; it is the first asparagus of the season, at least that I have bought.

It will only be available in the market for a few weeks, then I will have to wait another year.

Once I take them out of the basket, and put them in the fridge the basket will be empty.

Except for the two courgettes and two advocadoes.

And the Tahini.

Do you remember the first time you ate Tahini?

It did not exist in my house as a child and it was my friend Helen at university who introduced me to it.

When I bit into the bread on which she had spread the tahini my tongue stuck to the surface and I was unable to move it further.

I felt I was eating a quick-drying cement.

Except today I love it, this pot replaces the one I bought last week and emptied this morning.

Olaf sold me the pot.

He no longer gives me a reduction on the price; he resisted passing on his price rise for a year as I was a regular, but time has caught up with him and now I pay the extra fifty cents.

But he gives me a free bag of olives to make up for it.

Except not today.

So this basket is empty.

Except for the tomato plant.

It’s a red cherry tomato plant.

A free gift, because I bought six others that I carried together in a separate bag.

The tomato plant seller felt that my selection of varieties was perfect.

Except for the lack of a red cherry one.

I will plant it this afternoon and then my basket will be empty.

Except for the random debris of till receipts, bank transaction details, promotional offers and a shopping list that lie at the bottom.

Which I will leave, for another day.

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