Saturday, 20 November 2010

One more cup of coffee 'fore I go......

It's cold today. Outside the the leafless trees poke the sour-milky sky, grayed like a bad white wash, neither wet nor dry, a Saturday fit for nothing. My son calls to say he is up the road. I don't know why he's calling to tell me this but I seize the opportunity, rarer and rarer these days to communicate with him.
"Where are you?" I ask.
"By the green," he says.
"Do you want to go The Diner? Have some brunch?"
He does so we do.
It falls well short of the American model it tries to emulate but I enjoy the experience: sitting at a table, eating with my son.
"I'm drinking filter coffee," he says, "you get free refills, like in America."
I have the same and we order pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage, and pretend we are in New York. He was too young to have his coffee refilled when we lived there so his memory is borrowed from the movies.

Outside, the good denizens of Islington go about their busy weekend business. Every other man appears to be wearing a small child strapped to his chest, one even has a specially adapted coat in which his infant is swaddled. Their woolly-hatted, baby heads wobble back and forth, their chubby baby arms jut straight out, like a fleet of B 52 bombers, their tiny baby mitten-fists clutching at life. One bearded and bespectacled father causes my son to point and laugh, he's a dead ringer for the funny one in Hangover. I laugh too and our coffees are refilled.

Sunday night brings a big moon, looming high over the roof tops that fill my window. The silver-gray clouds conspire to obscure the white light, hammer-horror like. Roast chicken with garlic, chili and cinnamon, roast potatoes, baby carrots and cavolo nero, lots of red wine and Ottolenghi's ginger, rhubarb cheesecake. It's a better day than yesterday, tomorrow is another day. Bag packed for Monday morning, lists made, laundry still damp, hanging limp on the dryer, plates piled..... who ever's not working can wash them. And there is a light at the end of my Sunday night telly dilemma: Any Human Heart, Channel 4..... oh joy of joys and Jim Broadbent....... please do not disturb.

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  1. I don't have many rules in life, but I stick to this one pretty rigidly. "Don't eat American food outside of America, unless you want to be dissapointed."
    Glad you got to enjoy your time with your son.
    Thanks for the wonderful post.

  2. I missed the Jim Broadbent thing - but I will be catching up with it. He's amazing. I love the sound of the American Breakfast. We have a french cafe in SHeffield where we do this and its a real treat. xxx

  3. I missed Any Human Heart too, dammit - I guess it'll be on More 4 or somesuch - it sounds great. A lovely evocative post - thank you.

  4. Glad you enjoyed your time with your son.Sundays food sounds wonderful!

  5. Dads wearing their babies - this generation of fathers is a lot different from the last - I think for the better ;)

  6. That's a smashing post. I really like the way you write.

  7. You write beautifully.

    America is not all it's cracked up to be. Call me cynical.



  8. Dear Jo, I love your writing too. You should write a book, I'm sure you've been told that before.

    I keep going past The Diner and thinking I should give it a try...

    Loving Any Human Heart, I love anything with Jim Broadbent in, isn't he wonderful?

    Your dinner sounds absolutely delicious. I really do want to get together, quite honestly I have no idea where the time goes! xx