If you’re in the same boat as me (and by boat I mean relative age category) you’ll remember the Guns ‘n Roses track “November Rain”. If you were in the Romantic Teenage Angst Boat at the time you’ll no doubt be thinking of the sad “death” of a ravishing Stephanie Seymour and that dress, coveted by teenage girls the world over. Well, I’m a little off topic here, but bare with me. Growing up on the High Veld of South Africa, one could only associate November Rain with that gorgeous rush of a late afternoon thunderstorm, a perfect tribute in the Romantic Mind of an Angst-ridden Teen to the loved-and-lost epiphany of pour ol’ Axl Rose.
It’s only now, in my second November in North America, that I can look back at that video and realise (as one so often does when thinking back to one’s teen years) just how very, very wrong I was. I remember last November in Toronto well: the huddling masses, waiting, shivering and dripping for a tram; the crouching of the pedestrian population into their soggy coats and the squelching of water-ridden shoes and socks. November Rain, it seems, has nothing much to do with passion and glory and the lightening strike of True Love (with an electric guitar). It has to do with endless, grey and sombre days; dripping, sopping, wet days and not enough love to go around.
None of this Novemberness is in anyway helping with my exasperation at not yet being back at my stove. Well, not successfully, in any event. We cooked our first meal last night, with a friend come to visit, and it was a dismal, if laughable, failure. After discovering late in the day that the soup I’d left out to defrost was marked “Country Soup” in my sloppy handwriting, and not “Vegetable Soup” for the simple reason that it had ham in it, and our guest being vegetarian, I rifled in the fridge and settled on making a spinach and mushroom soup with purple potatoes. Sounds yummy, non? And really, how hard could it be? It’s soup! It’s easy! Except, that in my distracted state of being, I doubled the amount of stock in the pot and ended up with a green, watery grave for the potatoes to bob around in. After reducing it for as long as I thought I could get away with, I discovered that the stock, once thus condensed, had turned the soup far too salty. Ah well, at least the sun-dried tomato and herb bread was good.
Oh, patience, Vickers, I keep telling myself. Before you know it all the boxes will be packed away and you’ll be baking batches of biscuits till the cows come home. Le sigh. In the mean time I’ll think back to that time I like to call Before The Rain and a walk I took in the park…