Live from the Homefront – the Hitchhiker´s Guide to the Galaxy (chocolate) or Confina-Cadbury
by Susannah Grant
Some lovely friends sent me this wonderful parcel to boost morale and my thigh surface area….all my favourite UK chocolate bars transported to my wheelchair by British Cornershop worldwide deliveries.
This is not the first time I´ve been confined and actually 2 months is a mere drop in the ocean compared to 7 years of being locked up and opposed to locked down at boarding school.
When well-known author of Kane & Abel amongst other books, convicted perjurer and former UK politician, Jeffrey Archer was questioned about how he was adapting to life in prison, he replied that his time at an English boarding school had stood him in good stead because, in essence the regime wasn´t very different. I know what he meant. We had very strict rules, on Saturdays we were allowed to walk down a windy country lane to the local village shop to buy essential rations of sanity-saving sweets 7 km away. This posed somewhat of an impossible feat as you had to report back, having walked 14 km to the teachers a mere 2 hours later.
On one such drizzly occasion, we decided to hitchhike to ensure we didn´t overstay our strict curfew. Unfortunately one of the Religion teachers happened to be driving past as I was touting out my thumb hoping for a speedy lift back to school from a total stranger………always ready with a good excuse, I reassured her courteously that in actual fact I´d merely been holding out a sausage and naturally would never contemplate getting into a strange man´s car, all of which left her somewhat at a loss for words.
That wasn´t the only time I was forced to hitchhike in a hurry. In 2004, during a trip round Japan I decided to scale Mt Yufuin. Having been served rather a paltry breakfast of omelette and pansy flowers I was extremely keen not to miss the hourly bus back to the nearest town on my descent. The appointed hour was fast approaching and just as I was 100 m from the foot of the mountain I spied the 5 pm bus pulling away from the bus stop.
Having been told that rural Japan had almost zero crime and that hitch hiking was completely safe I set about sticking out my thumb in a layby. To my disappointment all the cars sped up as soon as they saw my request for a lift. By this stage I was absolutely famished and starting to hallucinate about the prospect of some hot thermal spring onsen bath and a steaming bowl of miso soup.
Then it dawned on me, that some Japanese, whilst terribly kind and friendly, will do their utmost to avoid embarrassing themselves, which is a position they can easily find themselves in when having to speak faltering English to foreigners. This was why drivers were swerving to avoid me. Determined not to be thwarted in my attempts, I decided to adopt more ruthless tactics. If they were not going to let me into their car I had to gain entry on my own wit. So I positioned myself near the service lavatories, waited for a sharp-suited, weary business man to return to his car, opened the passage door and slid in before he could say Kon'nichiwa.
The horror on my chosen driver´s face was plain for all to see….as he slowly computed the necessity to speak the dreaded English with a native. He looked like I´d just stabbed him. Wishing to distance himself from this problem, whilst remaining courteous, he motioned for me to sit in the back. So there we were, sitting in awkward silence all the way to Yufuin town, whereupon he parked up at the supermarket and waved me out. By this time we were both heaving a sigh of relief and my dinner beckoned.
Talking of food, Aurora has been busy making delicious paella this week, check out her excellent Paella for Dummies tutorial on youtube and send me your photos next week!
Another busy cook is Fernanda, who has been making her native Pão de Queijo from Brazil…..those moreish cheese-flavoured little tapioca buns, a long-time favourite of mine. Now all we need to do is to persuade her to do home delivery!!!
If you´re keen on occupying your older offspring, whilst they practise some valuable life skills, here is a fun activity you can do with you and/or your older children can do with friends.
1. Your child and 5 friends select a dish to cook or bake
2. Send their selected dish to each other/mothers
3. They will have until 6pm on Saturday to complete the task
4. Take pictures of the dish made
5. At 6:30 the mothers via Zoom or House party app will taste the dish prepared by their kid and score it.
6. Scores given will be as follows:
A) 30% on presentation
B) 70% on taste
C) – 100% if helped by their parents. Parents can assist with chopping etc
7. Mothers to award the score
8. Post lockdown, the kids are to make the dish again and all to have a dinner party to re score
1. Cookery lessons
2. Free meal for the parents (!!)
3. Excuse for a dinner party post lock down