Discussing chestnuts

Thursday evening was bonfire night and we went to watch our fireworks in Birkenhead Park. We had to wait for an hour for the fireworks to start. With the rain that had been coming down all day it could have been a case of damp matches. There were a few thousand people gathered round in a great circle to watch. For most of the hour all we could see were a few men in high visibility jackets waving torches and the green light of mini lasers sweeping round blinding the odd passer by. There were plenty for fireworks in the distance but none in Birkenhead Park.

As we waited one the children started to complain and worry about the cold and her homework that apparently still needed to be done. She kept counting diown the minutes before she would be off storming up the hill to be home but then halfway through one of her minutes the fireworks started and the sky erupted into light. She was quiet then but behind us a far younger child decided that he needed to be home in bed and a long way from all the loud bangs. He wailed all the way through. A high pitch moan of “I don’t like it I want to go home”.

The fireworks were still pretty good.

Saturday morning and slightly unexpectedly I found myself giving advice on the proper construction of a chestnut roaster. I was in the grocers and Kazim had had a go trying out his new roaster earlier that morning. He had not been able to get it hot enough and the chestnuts had taken too long to cook.

I peered at it as if peering into the bonnet of an unfamiliar car, I poked at the metal and put my fingers to the holes that had been punched into the metal fire pit on legs and the round sheet metal lid.

“It needs more holes” I said as if there was a danger I knew what I was talking about. “It needs more holes and they need to be bigger”.

Kazim and I stroked our chins and discussed the merits of gas against charcoal and the cooking time for chestnuts. He hopes to have a better go of it next week. In the meantime a small pressure cooker bubbled behind us – a lunch of stewed onions and tomatoes.

Saturday afternoon and we spent twenty minutes in a dark room watching a naked marble statue talk us through her starkersness lips and eyes fluttering light as she clothed and undressed herself and her soft voice went on, asking us questions about what we were watching. We were in the Williamson Gallery and almost missed what we had come to see – mostly because we didn’t have much idea of what it was. It transpired it was a light projection onto the marble statue that made her eyes and lips move as she spoke. There was something spooky about being in the room with her. She kept perfectly still but the flickering light brought her to life and it felt as if there was someone else in the room with us. I hope they don’t turn her off at night and she can continue talking after we have all gone home.

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