I am bored, the usual boredom that comes with recovery from vertigo. Not yet able to do normal stuff, not quite confident enough to cycle to the library or along the river or anywhere, not keen on walking, not working. I cleaned the bathroom in stages and did some laundry, almost fell into the big basket of dirty towels.
Lots of memories come up at the early hours or late hours, about our wandering years when we stayed with various hippie/non-hippie communes in Ireland and the UK, the bizarre and the wonderful, the diggers and dreamers, the radicals and the feminists, looking for and at times finding a home for a while. Memories of mucking out stables and making apple cider, planting poly tunnel greenhouses, travelling musicians organising wild barn dances into the early hours, magic mushrooms and baking bread, always baking bread. At one place where we lived for almost a year, we baked a dozen loaves early every morning in the Aga stove. It was either milking the goats or kneading the dough at sunrise. Every night, twelve empty bread tins sat waiting on the stove and the starter dough was fermenting in the larder.
Later when we lived in Dublin, in a ramshackle Georgian terrace house with gashing holes in the floorboards - at one point, you could look right through into the basement from the top floor - I baked sourdough bread and sold it to a wholefood shop run by a guy who later attempted to sexually assault me. He pushed a whiskey bottle into my mouth so hard I fell onto the floor and in the surprise of the moment, him struggling to get his precious bottle, I managed to get out the door and run.
I never baked any bread after that. R took over. We moved away from Dublin. None of this was due to the assault.
In our new home, we had a baby, lived in a ramshackle Georgian mansion with a gashing hole in the floor of the one bathroom shared by mostly eight, sometimes more people. R baked six loaves, all that the oven could hold, every second day. The
smell scent of freshly baked bread would bring whoever was home into the kitchen and one loaf would be cut, butter melting, honey dripping and eaten up on the spot.
The bathroom in that house was a narrow space on the first floor landing of the beautiful, imposing, massive staircase, separated by plaster boards with a tank and an immersion heater that used so much electricity it occasionally blew all the fuses. At the weekly housing meetings, we debated for ages whether we should install a shower with an instant water heater and how to finance it and who and when can take how many showers and oh yes, housing meetings. I still get the shivers thinking of it. We did install the shower, our hair started to look good again.
Anyway, bread. I stopped baking because I had a baby and once the baby was weaned, I went to work. When my baby was beginning to speak, her name for me was "back soon". She had a wonderful childhood in that ramshackle mansion with its walled garden and orchard and lots of shoulders and laps and arms for comfort. She has very little memory of these years.
One of the entries in my notebook-of-ideas-for-retirement is baking bread. I have already glued a clear plastic protective cover on our disheveled copy of the Tassajara Bread Book, I am ready.