Saturday 25th June 2011
Kitchen sink drama
FOOD preparation was not an undertaking in which Martin or Gary took any pleasure. When Arthur suggested I should be taught the workings of the kitchen, no objections were raised and I looked forward to assailing a room that was clearly in need of reorganisation, purification and a good going over with a damp cloth.
“Virgulle has a sir prize four you,” Arthur informed them. “She and eye are go wing to prip air a soup herb bank wit.”
“Grate,” Martin replied, without enthusiasm.
It soon became clear, however, that Arthur had other intentions. While teaching me various new names – sore-span, my-crow-wave, toe-stir – he wrote something in large letters on a piece of paper, which, cautioning silence, he handed to me to read, as he walked about, identifying other culinary items.
I GO. YOU FILL SATCHEL. BRING IT HERE. I COME HERE. WE GO.
I nodded and made an enthusiastic start on the muddle of misplaced utensils and clogged cooking pots.
Arthur soon left the cell, having advised Martin and Gary that he had to go and ‘purr chase sum inn greedy hunts’.
Elated by the expectancy of escape, I went up to my room and thrust a few belongings into a satchel Arthur had previously presented to me as a gift. I then spent a long time scrubbing, rinsing and wiping more pots until Arthur returned, carrying a large back-sack and entering through a door that led directly from the kitchen to the garden.
“Right, let’s get started!” he grinned.
He took a silver carton from the sack, consulted the writing on its wrapper, turned a dial on the cooking machine, and placed the carton inside. Suddenly he announced, loudly:
“Dam! I four got the most import—“
He left the room briefly to talk to Martin and Gary. On reappearing, he put a finger to his lips, grabbed the back-sack, motioned to me to pick up my satchel, led me by the hand towards the side door, opened it, shouted…
“I’ll be back in five, Virgulle! Chop chop!”
…and closed the door behind us as we made a swift departure.