Norma and I have been planning our isolating projects with some care. We want to keep ourselves busy for the next month or so, but we are also very mindful of our wellbeing. We intend to emerge to take our places within those first social gatherings with a spring in our step.
First, we thought of documenting our attempts at learning to cut hair, but then wondered how we’d get on if lockdown ceased the day after our first attempt. How do you even decide who goes first in a situation like that when the stakes are so high? Could we start with the cats? Eventually that idea was dropped because of our imagined attempts at trying to make holiday small talk with cats and the wisdom of offering them those little Lotus biscuits. Would they then happily revert to munching GoCat? We dropped the idea completely when Norma pointed out that both Polly and Stewie are short haired, and off we went looking for another project.
We considered over coffee and a couple of Lotus biscuits just what gives us pleasure in life? ‘I like Liquorice,’ said Norma and ‘I spend a lot of time wondering at plant life, not traffic lights and diggers you understand, the green or not so green frondly types.’ Yes,’ Norma said, ‘you’re a bit of a plant freak. Remember the time we decided to plant a wild-flower garden and you insisted on erecting a sign – animals not welcome here, not even bees and butterflies.’ ‘True,’ I said, but the more we chewed the liquorice, the more satisfactory our project theme became.
I’m not sure who can claim ownership of our idea, but soon we were talking excitedly about how we could make our own liquorice. Save us a fortune at Costco, I thought. All we needed were the simple ingredients on the back of a packet of Bassett’s liquorice Allsorts and we’d be on our way. Most of the stuff is in our kitchen cupboard. Who knew liquorice Allsorts had Paprika in them?
Ever the practical voice, Norma asked where do you think we can buy liquorice extract from? Buy, I thought, why buy? I spent over 20 years extracting all sorts (!) of chemicals from plants. All you need is diluted alcohol and it just so happens that vodka, whilst slightly lower in strength than the normal 80%, should work well enough. It may just take a little longer.
Norma then said, OK, but where do we find the Liquorice to extract from. Now it was all seeming to sound like that poem, ‘The woman who swallowed a spider and thought she’d die’, Where could we get the extract from? Well, liquorice is a plant, a pretty ugly and misshapen thing, but a perfectly acceptable crop plant. The liquorice flavouring is extracted from the woody roots. It only takes three years to grow the plants to the point of harvest. Surely lock down will be over by then and having boxed up our zoom equipment and stored it on its shelf in our digital cupboard next to our old Amstrad PCW word processor, we will emerge with trendy hand crafted boxes of Liquorice to share at our slightly awkward, but at least now no-longer-socially-isolated gatherings.
Banchory East Church
A journal of the life of the East Church through our members and congregation.
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