And here's one from the archives below about another seaside break to Seasalter in Kent.
See you soon.
A Recipe For Love - 30.10.2015
Eldest was with us for a few days during his reading week, but now we're home and he's packing for the train for university. We'll all be together again at Christmas. "I'll make you something to eat," I say, "for the journey." I peer into the fridge. There's homemade chicken stock in a jar.
At Seasalter we strode out across the beach, Youngest, Eldest, and I, toward the silver sea that ran away from us even as we approached, becoming stuck in clawing mud, holding on to one another, laughing, listening to the wind and to oystercatchers calling.
I open a cupboard: a packet of couscous. I measure some out, boil the chicken stock. In the salad crisper there are bits of veg and herbs and a packet of kale. I take a handful of kale, chop it, add it to the stock.
"Listen," said Youngest, as we huddled together, stuck fast in mud, "we can hear his guitar all the way from here." It's Middle One, sitting on the bench in front of the little house, playing to an audience of sky.
When we came before, years ago, maybe three or four, perhaps even five, with these three same boys, only younger versions, Eldest brought his ukulele instead of his guitar and played it standing at the open door. I took a photograph: his silhouetted frame against a rippled sky, his music floating out across a Magwitch marsh.
I pour the boiled stock with kale over couscous in a large bowl, cover with a cloth, go to look in the pantry.
We walked to Whitstable again this time along that same stretch of beach, the distant town clinging to that edge of bay, appearing closer than it is. We ate in the same restaurant too: fish and samphire with local beer, but this time we investigate the shops after. The boys buy 'vinyl' in a record store, which they didn't the last time, and pear drops from the jar in an old-fashioned sweet shop, which they did the time before. Then we return, three pairs of precious hands clutching sweet-filled paper bags.
In the pantry I find two tins: mixed beans, and salmon. Once drained in they both go with the stock-infused couscous, plus chopped veg, herbs, peppers, celery, cucumber, spring onion, fresh chilli, coriander, mint, parsley.
We walked back, sun dropping fast behind the beach, a wide sand of pinks and blues, shot through with metallic threads, topped off with an eerie calm, three boys running before, wellies scuffing, pools splashing, loping and laughing, the boys they once were, the boys they still-almost are.
A squeeze of lime over couscous, added chilli flakes, glugs of oil, a salt and pepper stir, calculating the nutrition: fish and carbohydrate, pulses, veg, brassica, stock, herbs, seasoning, oil… no nuts or seeds. Adding a handful of pine nuts. Is that all? What else? Stir again. Feeling the need to add more. Finding tupperware. Spooning the mixture. Rooting around for a plastic fork. Sellotaping it to the lid.
"Here you go," I say, "something to eat on the train."
"Thanks," he says. "What is it?"
"Just couscous," I say, "with stuff."
Love E x
P.S. What I don't tell him is, it's chock-full of love.