27 September 2007

Spot the difference

What I have feared all along is, in actuality, true. All Kirks are the same.

Even when they pretend to be otherwise, by giving themselves a different surname in the vain attempt at escaping the curse of Kirk and evading the pitfalls that are inextricably bound to the genepool and DNA strands. It is a futile endeavor to denounce what Kirk ancestory has granted.

To be dubbed 'Hankins' fools nobody.

Nature seems to prevail over nurture if the family dynamics of the household I am currently ensconced within is anything to go by. Despite living hundreds of miles away from my own fair family unit and being brought up by different parents and in a different environment, offspring are interchangeable. No doubt a swap could occur within the brood and we would be none the wiser for at least a week. Especially if dishwasher loading and unloading is chucked into the mix. The Kirk approach seems universal. Delegation and avoidance, mostly. If only an aga were here, and I'd feel quite alarmingly at home.

And parental approach to wine drinking is comfortingly similar also.

19 September 2007

First impression = Worst impression?

I have been working on my introductions.
My unforced, seemingly off the cuff, decidedly unpremeditated introductions that I will undoubtedly have to repeat about a billion times on arriving at university.

So, this is what I have come up with so far...

'Enchanted. I'm Anna and I'm reading English as I am so enamoured of the romanticism of the literary scene in Bloomsbury, steeped in its creative and scholarly traditions. I just cannot wait to steep myself in it also, being that I am such an ardent admirer of all that is encompassed within this grand institution. Don't you just positively ache to immerse yourself in the culture and ambience of the whole Fresher experience? I'm so pleased to make your acquaintance.'

'Nu! Call me Country Bumpkin Kirky. I'm from Up North. That's a bit further than Harrow. Where sheep outnumber people and you have to wait a mite longer than a minute or two for a bus to anywhere. Yes, the legends are true. And no, I'm not inbred. To the pub, where mine'll be a Newcastle Brown. Cheers!'

'Umm...Err...Hello, I'm Petrified. I mean I'm Anna. As well as petrified. Nice to meet you. I'm doing English, well, will be doing English, you know, when we start doing things. Studying things, I mean. And by things I mean books. Well, in my case anyway... So...what about you?'

Though once I get the old vino rouge down my neck all will be fine. There'll be no stopping my inane and blathering chit chat. Flow of conversation may well depend on flow of alcohol.

Not that I want to give the impression I'm an alcoholic.

15 September 2007

The Little Things

Sometimes it gets to the point when one just wants to cry out, in the immortal words of Dr Evil, 'Throw me a frickin' bone here!'.
After being kicked one too many times when already very much down, bruised and bloodily pulpy from the blows, the little things that bring so much pleasure ordinarily take on almost mystically regenerating properties.
So when I learned that my Big Box of Books were going to arrive that day, I felt instantly brighter. There is nothing like new books. I am all for ancient, musty smelling and yellowing tomes, but there is something so beautifully clean and wholesome and uplifting about glossy, brand new, pristine books. They are nothing short of exciting.
And the fact that they would be inevitably arriving in a brown delivery box only served to add to the charm of it all- something so very 'brown paper package tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things' about the whole postal procedure.

I put off going in the shower for hours so as not to be otherwise engaged when the doorbell rang, announcing the books. I just wasn't in the frame of mind to cope with the disappointment of them being dragged away due to nobody being in. So I sacrificed my cleanliness and tolerated the smell in order to be there when the bell tolled. I was busy practicing my swanky gait when it finally did, getting used to my absurdly high new red patent leather heels around the house, but leapt three feet in the air as I heard the man arrive, leaving my shoes resolutely stationary on the ground as I did so, like in the cartoons.
He was a big, bald, beefy chap. Immediately the box was thrust into my arms, then he passed me the dinky signing contraption on top of this. Now this seemed silly. He was a strapping man of Mitchell brothers-muscle. I am a scrawny waif like creature, often mistaken for an urchin boy of distinctly Dickensian pedigree. So to have to sign this screen with that impractical little pencil/poking thing whilst lumbered with a box weighing over 5 kilos was a little bit rich. But it barely ruffled a feather, being, as I was, so excited and preoccupied with the treasure within the cardboard chest.

Wielding scissors manically, I sliced through the sellotape and beheld the innards. I beamed.

10 September 2007

Technological Healing

In the current social climate we live in, shadowed and tainted by terrorism, attacks and the media stoking the fires of fear within the masses, I was not surprised to be receiving flashing boxes popping up on my laptop alerting me to the fact that there was a 'THREAT DETECTED'. Dum dum duuuuum....!

What I was surprised to see was that one of the options presented in dealing with said 'THREAT' (which was not elaborated on- it was apparently enough to know that it would be threatening) was to 'heal'. I could either 'ignore' or 'heal'. Naturally I opted for 'heal'.

And lo, a new box appeared instantaneously informing me 'the object is healed'. And there was great rejoicing in the land, and the trumpets sounded and all exulted in the power and the glory, and the laptop was praised.

So there you go, it's as easy as that. Threats can just be healed. By computers no less. Computers channelling the grace of God.

3 September 2007

Puddings of the Past: Chocolate Childhood in a Bowl

It is a true classic. Synonymous with family life and formative childhood experiences, Mum’s Chocolate Mousse is forever entwined with vivid, animated images of crowded dinner tables and smacking lips. It surpasses the Chris Garner Chocolate Traybake, and even the Slightly Sticking Yorkshire Pudding on the Kirk Family Classics scale.

Its fame is widespread, reaching as far as any extended family member or family friend has deigned to hold a celebration or gathering over the past decade or so for which we were required to bring dessert. The notoriety and infamy of such a pudding exceeds any that has come before it. It really is that good.

A firm favourite with the menfolk of the Kirk clan, who lap it up as though they have been working the Cumbrian fields since sunrise and have been hard at manual labour which coarsens the skin and puts muscles on their backs, the ritualistic trundling out of the whipped up indulgence never fails to make the revellers eyes light up. Eyes that are often bigger than their bellies. Bellies that have invariably already been stretched with fine food and good wine. The family resemblance between Dad and Uncle D is never more apparent than when presented with the fancy ‘special occasion’ glass bowl of Chocolate Mousse.

Everybody has their own tried and tested way of embarking on its lusciousness and tackling the richness that could take out a rhinoceros with one spoonful. I favour the method of using a small spoon and accompanying the bowlful with a large glass of water that is sipped between mouthfuls, and gulped in the aftermath. Dad drowns his in double cream (‘I’ll have some mousse with my cream, please’) to ‘cut’ through the rich chocolate. N eats his at a (literal) fair lick, asks for seconds - still heady from the first instalment of sugar and cocoa – then promptly keels over from overload, unrepentant in his greed. Mum savours, but consumes at a reasonable pace, smug in the fact she is established in her running program. J takes it slow and steady and, to my extreme surprise, cannot finish it. It is his all time fave after all, requested for his birthday. I’m shocked until I learn he finished off the luxury chocolate cake with butter cream and decorative chocolate shavings earlier. One chocolate hit too far. Deadly.

Thank goodness it was requested however, as it meant I could sample its magical qualities one last time before leaving home. And I had the extreme privilege of making it on this occasion. With the proper type of chocolate that is purchased especially to be used for the Chocolate Mousse no less. The type of chocolate we feared had disappeared forever but was actually bought by Nestle. We shall have to withhold political ethics in this instance, for the greater good of the perfect dessert. Even though, once having been refrigerated, a hammer and chisel is required to break into the dark, velvety yumminess that holds all the answers to childhood. Oooh, mystical... Never underestimate the powers of pudding.