So here I am, broaching the bread!
A fine loaf it is too might add.
And this is how it happened.
I was woken the other morning from an oddly lucid dream where I was swimming in a night sea searching for my purse which I had left for safe keeping on the back of a sleeping dolphin.
I often have dreams filled with animal content.
Mostly they are related to the sky where I am flying with eagles.
In fact my flying dreams are my most vivid and prolific.
If I was to go by them, I am quite a successful flyer, being a dab hand at managing the difficult stage of getting off the ground in the first place.
Did you know that if you manage to get up even a few feet (and boy do you have to work hard at that, pushing strenuously against the air with both arms held loosely but closely by your sides and all the work being in your wrist and hand movement) that the next bit is easier?
Sadly most people give up too soon and fall flat on the ground and never try again.
Its when you get up above those few feet that you can confidently level out and start catching air currents and having fun.
But back to this dream.
It occurred to me that I needed some money and my train ticket.
But I couldn’t find my dolphin.
I passed some sharks, of whom for some reason I felt no fear of, and one large whale who laughed at me and told me the dolphin would surely have lost my purse by now. Again I did not feel it bizarre that a whale could talk plus I was convinced that dolphins, being of a conscientious nature, would mind my purse carefully.
I was beginning to get cold in the water and was thrashing around in circles when I heard the call of some seagulls.
Their cries woke me and the sea and its creatures disappeared but the cries persisted and I recognised it as the message tone of my mobile phone.
I groped for it in the dark and in doing so realised my duvet was on the floor and I was freezing.
Now we are told for best sleeps we should not have TV’s, digital apparatus including mobile phones etc in our bedrooms.
But as I don’t have a TV, I reckon my phone, which I use as an alarm clock, is small fry in comparison to the amount of digitalia others possess.
I hide it under a book and thanks also to my blackout curtains, I sleep like a hibernating frog.
Rooting further about in the dark I knock over my glass of water.
Lets hope it doesn’t drip into the apartment below.
I have already been told off by this lady for letting water from my runner beans and courgettes growing on my balcony drip down onto her sunloungers.
A handful of fresh beans and two courgettes and all was forgiven.
At last my hand closes successfully around my phone and I squint sleepily at the illuminated screen.
Have you broached the bread yet? the message reads.
I smile, my head too fuzzy from a hangover to reply yet.
I get up and tiptoe into the kitchen in barefeet.
The bread is lying unwrapped of its tinfoil and cloth covering, looking perfectly browned with three slits on the top crust.
I notice a piece missing towards the back.
Fuddled memories seep slowly through my foggy brain.
The first is of nearly falling asleep on the train home but managing to hold on to my precious package even though I let my bag slide off my knee twice and strew its contents on the floor.
The next is of unlocking my bicycle at the station and continuing my drunken journey home by bike in the darkness, holding the still warm bread to my chest and battling against the fierce squalling wind.
The third is wrestling with tinfoil and tea towel in my kitchen and hungrily tearing a lump off soft sweet bread with crust attached and devouring it.
‘About to commence the broaching!’ I texted back.
‘Keep me informed… oh and hows the head?’ came the reply
‘T’will be all the better for the bread’
I filled my small orange saucepan with water for the poaching of an egg.
A pot of green tea was added to the occasion and soon my hangover was a thing of the past.
There is a lot to be said about a good loaf.
There is also a lot to be said about good friends.
Especially when the meeting is in a french restaurant with plenty of good food and even better wine and where the waiter knows to keep all coming as he understands the importance of old acquaintances meeting up after many years.
There are none of those interruptions that occur just as you were getting to the interesting bit of the story. That ‘And how was your food?’ ”shite” that you sometimes get from young waitresses in more pretentious establishments.
He knows his food is the best and if he is annoyed at the fact that we three women chatted endlessly and swiped food from each others plates he also understood that his wine is of a high percentage and it was easy for the female of the species to lose the run of themselves.
So he let the mixing of frites and rice, chicken and steak and the fact that we used our fingers in the pinching go un reprimanded.
Later, having downed coffee to keep us upright, we staggered out across the road to a small pub by the olympia theatre whose ceiling, where not held up by black fabric, was tanned by the cigarette smoke of a thousand actors from bygone days.
We were on the hard stuff now.
Brandy and ginger, vodka and coke, gin and tonic.
The stuff of the loosening of memories.
Our stories came hard and fast and without censorship.
Our lives, the fortunes and misfortunes. The worries. The concerns. The good times. The lesson learnt.
Divulged glass by glass.
Broached without shame.
A woman in high heels much more the worse for wear than we, tottered past towards the toilets and only by good fortune made it without keeling over.
We smiled at each other.
Who were we we to judge.
We hadn’t stood up yet.
On parting we hugged and promised not to leave it so long the next time and Angela slipped a warm bag into my hand.
‘A gift ‘ She said.
I hugged it to my chest, the aroma of fresh bread made me hungry, the warmth made me content.
I waved goodbye to their parting figures and made my way homewards.