Making Marmalade for the Dead (1)
Beloved this morning was eating his breakfast standing up. Granny thinks this isn't good for his digestion - 'A Scot,' says Beloved, 'always eats porridge standing up' - a statement that brings back at once for Granny the image of her father at breakfast with his bowlful, holding it close to his mouth and shoveling spoonfuls in: yes, standing up. And yes he had Scots blood - highland - one-eighth of it, reflected in his names - of which he was inordinately proud. That he put sugar in his oatmeal, rather than salt, was probably due to the bastard English rest of him.
When he'd finished his porridge, he'd sit down for the rest of it; what is these days called 'a full English' - bacon, eggs - sometimes with added sausage - all of it replaced occasionally by kippers, followed by toast and marmalade; always marmalade without which breakfast wasn't; he expected his entire family too to wade through the whole thing. How he remained so skinny - the rest of this meals followed similar traditional patterns - God knows. But he did. Granny's mother provided by the marmalade. Breakfast was always in her family cooked by Dad himself.
Her mother meanwhile, who found waking up in the morning as hard as Granny does sat at the other end of the table in her dressing-gown, knocking back coffee to wake herself up and reading her paper - the Daily Mirror, not for its politics but its cartoon strips. (Granny loved the cartoon strips too and may have caught some of her future political views from reading left-wing firebrands like Cassandra; tabloids weren't all rubbish then. She doubts if the political effects were intended by her Dad - he cancelled the subscription in 1956, because he disapproved of the Mirror's thunderings against the Suez war. ) He meanwhile would be ensconsed behind his Times. None of the family were allowed to talk at breakfast. There was a thing called a dumb waiter in the middle of the table - a kind of tray on a swivel. That way noone need interrupt the silence so much as by asking for the marmalade. Breakfast was sacred in those days. Granny still associates the taste of marmalade with silence.
The marmalade at least survives. Granny's does. Today's adventures in marmalade making though can wait next time....Bottle Blondshell and husband are coming to lunch..