There is nothing more reassuring than a kitchen to get you through the bad days. I know many people might disagree with me but I have to say that for me, coming home, to the kitchen is the most satisfying and comforting part of my day.
I come in the back door. Small dog greets me. She makes that pitter patter sound on the ancient floor boards, wagging her tail and telling me that all is not so bad. I pat her for a moment and then make some green tea. I take out my apron from my bag to surrvey the stains. Many stains signify much work. Treacle, dough and god knows what else form a bunch of magnificent islands that I created. I am happy. I am happy to be home. To have worked. To have baked bread and scones and blueberry and lemon pound cake, green goddess dressing and pear and apple chutney. I am a chaotic recipe that somehow seems to have found a method. I scream with delight. Delight can be temporary. Let us not be deceived into thinking otherwise.
Because nothing is without a shadow. These days I must keep my boundaries tight and not show any flamboyance. I miss that. I must always follow the recipe and sometimes the recipe can be limiting. But that is not to say that even with limitations the result cannot be favourable. It is just that it is without the extra trimmings. It could be like a gift without a huge ribbon or a great spaghetti missing fresh parmesan cheese.
Do I lie? Of course I do. Ireland is sinking. It falls like a failed soufflé into the sea. It sinks like a sponge cake that never got a chance. It breaks my heart. Did you know that almost seventeen years ago I persuaded H to move here so taken by the bog and the sky was I. So taken by the idea of the simple life. So taken by the fact that the boys could roam around the gorse bushes without supervision. I was a dreamer then. It was lovely. I wore necklaces made from daisies. I opened up my house to people and hosted parties and talked about how great it was to be home. And now? We were fooled. The dream disintegrated. Nobody has any money. The government is a mish mash of fools. My children, educated and good people will more than likely have to emigrate back to where I took them from. And where will I be? Lost and fooled. Lost and without any sense of direction and ready to leave at the drop of a hat. Ireland did not play fair with me or with most people of my generation. We are paying the price for greed and lies. And so my kitchen becomes a refuge of sorts. Here I can almost forget the sins that will never be revealed. Here with the sunlight dancing in from the sea I can almost believe that it never happened, was never even possible.