Monday, August 21, 2006

Talking boat, seagull woman, branches

On the Thames, a boat full of tourists passes. On board, a guide with a megaphone has a loud, strident voice. He is describing the buildings on either side of the river. You can hear every word as the boat passes.

A woman friend, who loves eating fish, left a deep impression of this particular passion some months ago. In a restaurant, she began to pick at the head of a whole fish, which she had been eating and seemed to have finished with, prodding it with her fork, as gulls do with their beaks, and extracting the flesh until only eyes and bones remained. I wonder whether I will see a repetition of this intriguing behaviour when she is staying with us last week. I dissect a large turbot, which I have just cooked and start to serve the fillets, when true to character, she commandeers the discarded backbone, and, with her fork, tears at the shreds of fish, which still adhere to it, squeaking with excitement.

From the bedroom window I note the lower branches of the large lime tree outside the window moving slowly in the wind with the sort of rhythm people adopt when fanning themselves. Further away the more exposed upper branches of the tulip tree in the middle distance are waving in a more vigorous wind. This time the rhythm is rather that of someone waving to attract attention.

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