It was during the tail end of Autumn, me & twenty-something 6 & 7 year old children were captive to the weather. As we all waited, most played with toys listlessly or listened half heartedly to Mrs York read stories from the book-box. I was against the windows, my nose almost touching the glass, watching the rain pelt down & intently recording in my mind's eye as crackling coal-black thunderclouds descended over the school yard. It was only 3:50pm & the street lamps had long since flickered into life, dispensing a vaguely sulphurous glow, I could see them 200 metres across the field, flanking the street amidst the irrepressible darkness that had closed in without warning. It wasn't even so much a darkness, it was just an absence of light; everything was cloaked in a deep graphite shade, which seemed to consume all light, bar the emissions of the occasional house stirring with signs of life. Nobody was in the playground, the monkey bars sat perched on an angle, they were the cruel shipwreck of this great tempest. There seemed to be no traffic on the distant road...the eeriness of this setting was only amplified by the howling wind which fought it's way in through the cracks in the cavernous old classroom, like draughts of compressed air through the bellows of a gypsy accordion. The skeletons of trees which has shed their clothes weeks ago, scratched with their bony fingers against the windows & roof tiles, jostling & shaking, molested by the violent gales. I left my window outpost & the warmth of the ancient hot-water radiator which skirted the classroom, the teacher had finished reading & was stirring a cup of tea. I convinced her that I would be fine to go home - insisting that the weather wasn't so bad, & that I could run home, as I only lived 5-10minutes away, (it was only rain & wind & a bit of thunder occasionally after all).
I broke loose, with my windbreaker buttoned right up I ran for it. I was Carl Lewis, I was Mercury, I was Roadrunner, I was every fast character my 7-year old self had ever heard of; my school bag bouncing up and down laden with books & an empty lunch box. I hurtled across the field, out the school gates, over the zebra crossing, down the long & dead-straight alleyway, the end of which was marked by a horizontal metal bar. Most days I would jump onto the bar and do a roly-poly on my stomach, but not today. 2 more minutes running around the crescent that was my childhood street, under the scarlet red leaved plum trees, my clothes were starting to soak through, & my shoes were capsizing, taking on water. Finally I arrived at my own front door. I was home. What was waiting inside, were the exact things I do romanticize about winter; a blazing open fire & a big bowl of leek & potato soup with buttery toast. On this occasion, I have made an adaptation of the humble leek & potato soup, what we have instead is a leek, potato, onion, garlic, swede, carrot, barley, thyme & celery. Garnished with flat leaf parsley, shredded cabbage, mozzarella & a pinch of paprika. I will right the recipe in a bit, right now, I'm too fucking lazy. Pin It