Recipe For Life

English: Miner's lamp, Stadium of Light, Sunde...

English: Miner’s lamp, Stadium of Light, Sunderland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Pinch of You

Sometimes the best recipes are those  made in error.

My principal ingredient is

1 Whole  Makem (Sunderland born)  a.k.a. Mak’em or Maccam

         Do not  be tempted to replace this principal  ingredient with a Takem   ( Newcastle born) a.k.a. Tak’em or Taccam

         The resulting mixture may curdle.

Allow the Makem  to settle in a rural village in post-war Durham in a safe environment.

When suitably mature, press the Makem   daily into a local colliery school; at the same time, nurture a wild imagination. If you find the Makem at any time under a dirndl skirt, this is merely shyness  and in time the Makem will cope with this trait themselves – often combating it by displaying   extravert  traits with over-excitement.

Introduce before maturity a sibling Makem. This adds colour and flavour and purpose at an early stage.

At this point the Makems two generations above will now one

by one disappear, leaving the young to grieve and wonder.

The care of animals has always been a recognised ingredient to counter-balance loss and foster self-discipline. Rabbits, dogs, ponies will all suffice; in later life caring for others can induce the same sense of purpose.Danielle  and Parc 017

  Repair any lack of confidence at this stage: in this ‘recipe’ the Makem  became National Poultry Trussing Champion………a lucky digression.

Now add sporting ability ; I added athletics, hockey, horse-riding and tennis (Howard Kendall was my mixed doubles partner at Grammar School). A little drama perhaps ( Bryan Ferry was Malvolio to my Viola). .

 After a musical parental indoctrination of ‘The Standards, gently immerse an Everly Brother or two ,Joan Baez, a guitar and you may find that a morsel  of brashness appears.

One Makem could now well become two. Two Makems becomes four until early tragedy may hit; in my recipe a young  husband dies and a first-born is dangerously ill for 3 years. At this point ingredients can clash. Withdraw the natural anxiety trait if at all possible without disturbing the equilibrium. Tragedy is a good leveler and can contribute to enhancing others’ lifes by acquiring a soupcon  of empathy. However, this more than  troublesome hiatus in my mixture wrong footed the other natural ingredients, causing confusion. Mistakes  are often made at this juncture. Triumph over adversity can also lead to taking the wrong direction whilst beating a hasty retreat. Have a Wet Wipe to hand.

Here is where I added a false ingredient. Wrong-footed by events, but full of good intention and care I stifled the mixture with agoraphobia and tension. This rescue attempt turned the mixture sour, and a second tragedy meant that the Makem had to be saved by loved ones. Along with  dependents.

Remember, however,that  the true grit of a Makem, available at local supermarkets throughout Wear-side to the discerning buyer in Family-size packs, can never be totally removed. In time , determination, stubbornness, experience and family dedication can overcome (nearly)  all.

I moved my  Makem in it’s entirity to France at this point, whilst ingredients were ‘proving’.

 Here we can add  1/3 of an architect, 1/3 Rhythm guitarist/rock-folk singer and divide the remainder into equal portions of choir-mistress and gite proprietor /head gardener. Plus dollops of long-distant mother, grand-mother and friend. But too much naivety shows itself. The  Makem  did not foresee  the roller-coaster of emotions that would ensue. Watch out for any tendernesss if this segregation technique flounders.

My advice. Finally. Avert further suffering. My mix was looking pretty good when further tragedy bestowed itself;my Makem &nbsp demonstrate much care. In this instance, chance had brought true love and further tragedy in equal measures. The ensuing qualities were evident and with forgiveness and nurturing it  made for a good consistency.  I added here more than a smidgin’ of compassion to compensate for the devestating predicted results. Sadly, the catalyst to the forgiveness and care in this scenario was the soul-mate and  dies, leaving the Makem with a hefty  burden of loss to bear.

The Makem licks her  wounds aplenty this time and knows her person is now whole and equipped for what might be left.

The Makem was almost complete.
<p class="MsoNormal"……Essential ingredients…….

1         A Pure-bred Makem

2         Timidity ( including respect and a reluctance to be decisive and discriminate).

3         Determination to succeed and overcome .

4         Creativity. i.e. home-making, building bridges and commercial enterprises.

           A photographic memory.

5         Compassion.

6         Ability to forgive…… excellent ingredient.

7         Love .  Unadulterated. Essential for growth.

           Nourishment of animals and children.

8         Bottles that are only ever more than half full.

           Consider on the grounds of balance…..

           For  a fuller personality, omit half of the nervousness and anxiety that have proven   to be a downfall in times of dire  straits.  Adding surplus of less damaging attributes can balance a slip into an abyss of self-pity, doom and gloom.

         Don’t overdose on the panic buttons. There could be a misguided assumption that  rusing  head-long gets the job done quickly, but it’s not so….leave the bulk of that disruptive  ingredient aside too. I added that one mistakenly.

         Acceptance. This is a much discussed and rare commodity. Reader; if you find it in a generous helping, please notify.

Malvolio and the Countess

Malvolio and the Countess (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        If anyone has tried this recipe before, could they inform me know at what point the worrying stops and pleasure takes over, as I have struggled to know how that ingredient is built into the above framework for life?

        Different strengths and proportions of any of the above qualities  will create a variation but a not altogether distasteful  Makem.

        Thank you.



Addendum: For the unitiated: a Makem made boats in Sunderland. A Takem sold boats in Newcastle. They are often confused, but a true Makem wouldn’ even suck a Black and White mint.


Flash Photography

It was 1972 and our cow-man responsible for milking the treasured herd of 120 Brucelosis Free Accredited Friesians  was leaving us. A replacement was soon found. One of the main attractions for the job was a ‘tied’ cottage and soon the new member to our work-force moved into the house next door to our farmhouse with his wife and two infant boys.

Things were running reasonably smoothly and each Friday, right on 6p.m. Elaine would knock at the back door to collect her husband’s pay packet .Neil’s job was a pretty mucky business to say the least, so we provided a Burco Boiler for his wife to boil his dungarees in.

One firiday evening in early December at the allotted time, Elaine arrived for Neil’s pay packet. As I handed over the brown envelope she asked me if we liked Christmas Pudding. ‘Yes’ I replied, with a quizzical expression. At which point she handed over a large, heavy, tepid dome wrapped in a tea-towel of questionable hygienic standards. I said how kind it was of her to give us such a tasty treat so soon in the Christmas season. She assured me that it had been no problem at all as she had actually made a big batch of the said fruit puddings.  She said it couldn’t have been easier as she had used the Burco Boiler. She had put all the ingredients inside and simply turned it on!. At this point I must have been lost for words and  she realised that an explanation  was needed……….no need to worry……….. she had bleached the boiler out first.

So, I belied my inner feelings with an understanding and reassuring expression. I took the pudding into the house, pensively closed the outer door and placed the delicacy onto the kitchen work surface. Where it stayed for several days until I could wait no longer and it saw the inside of my waste bin.

The following friday arrived and I had rehearsed my lines. I was going to say how delicious the whole thing had been and what a really good consistency it was. And I did just that, handing over the weekly pay packet with a smile. I can picture her now, her straight hair gripped at the side, her fringe still managing to cover half of her eyes and sporting a slightly mischievious grin. With a furtive glance my way she tottered off across the gravel drive to her home, but I could see from my kitchen window that she was  returning immediately with a wide grin and clutching another package. I opened the door for her. She was pleased we were so happy with our pudding………and here was another one !

It was Neil’s duty when milking was finished, to attach the muck-spreader and drive to whichever field was in need of fertilising and drive around spreading the proverbial. Whilst Elaine was busy mastering bulk baking from a Burco Boiler,  her husband had been up to more tricks. Seemingly, this week’s needy field backed onto a brand new street of houses ; spying a solitary young woman washing up at her kitchen sink, looking out onto the fields beyond, he had stopped the tractor, stood up on the tractor seat and given her the benefit of a full-frontal in the trouser department. He duly buttoned himself up again and having finished his work he came home for his breakfast.

The following morning, he repeated this display, which was obviously somewhat distressing for the on-looker. The recipient of his attentions notified the local Police  and for his third (and what was  to be his final revelation) a Woman Police Officer was positioned at a bedroom window directly above the kitchen. And she was armed…….with a Polaroid camera. Neil arrived, temporarily stopped to reveal the benefits of his wares, then carried on his way.

Before 9 a.m. that day, and modern technology in the form of a Polaroid camera making this incident  immediately memorable,  the Police were then able to identify my husband as the owner of the tractor and they duly made their presence known at the back door.Short introductions followed and a verbal warning until finally the WPO took the photographic evidence from her pocket and asked me ‘ Do you recognise this man’ ?