Saturday, 11 March 2017

Bach and Elizabeth David

Ours is also a first edition but the dust-jacket is gone.
Benedict Ambrose is across from me in a sitting-room chair, reading the London Review of Books. Nulli is on the sofa, programming. Earlier today I prevailed upon the latter to play a lot of Bach on the piano for the entertainment  of the former. (still in bed). Bach is one of B.A.'s favourite composers (if not THE favourite), and he loves live music above most things. Thus, although my judgement is not all that splendid at the moment--I think I am in post-shock shock or something--I am congratulating myself on my cleverness in asking Nulli to come.

Originally I was thinking moral support for me, and then I was thinking a man to help with carting B.A. about, but now I am thinking about live Bach for B.A.

As B.A. seems perfectly alright--save for that small white square on his head---I shall return to Lenten discipline regarding the internet. However, I did want to recommend any of the works of Elizabeth David (but especially French Provincial Cooking) for anyone who expects to spend any time in a hospital or clinic waiting room.

Elizabeth David is wonderfully entertaining and authoritative and--in French Provincial Cooking for example--writing about a France that has largely disappeared but is the France foreigners dream about: a France of farmers, roadside café/petrol stations worthy of Michelin stars, bourgeois Catholic households in Paris obsessed with food (but eating plain boiled fish on Fridays) and catered to by their cook, a hardworking girl up from the country.

If you like food--and I do--reading about amazing French dishes will distract you from the unpleasantnesses of an urban hospital waiting room and also forgive your wandering attention. When you lose your place in "Eggs", you can read a few observations and recipes in "Sweets".

Over 36 hours, I read, I think, all of French Provincial Cooking, first in the Eye Pavilion (between bouts of letter-writing), then in the Royal Infirmary A&E (and very cold it was in there), and then in various rooms in the Western General Hospital. The chapel had a large Bible, thank heaven: if my memory does not betray me, it was the Revised Standard English Version (Anglican).

B.A. was gratified I spent the duration of his operation and regaining consciousness praying in this chapel. He was even quite excited for a moment.

"Do they have the Blessed Sacrament reserved?" he yipped.

"Are you kidding?" I demanded. "This is Edinburgh. We LOST the Reformation, remember?"

Thereupon B.A. lost all interest in this chapel although I must say it will always be special to me. I hope and pray there will always be hospital chapels open for Christians to pray in (with a Bible within easy reach), so this is something to think about in the ongoing war on several fronts against the Christian faith. The chapel had signs posted in both the Christian and Muslim corners of the chapel stating very firmly that the chapel was for use of people of ALL faiths, and I must say I was glad of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment