I’m upstairs miming in front of the full length mirror. The cat is watching me suspiciously from the top bunk. The mirror is annoyingly narrow so I can’t see everything I need to see. I’m walking an imaginary dog who is out of control and runs rings round me, so my legs become entangled by the lead.
Now I’m in a one-woman tug-of-war competition. I’m pulling hard but the other ‘team’ are winning. It’s making the cat uneasy. He sits up ready to leg it if things get any weirder. I don’t need to practise suddenly-being-trapped-in-a-glass-box. I’ve been proficient in that for nearly thirty years.
Downstairs, I find a clip on the computer of The National Theatre doing a vocal warm up that I’ve never seen before. It would be great for today’s class. I start a call and response thing with the woman on the screen. I repeat back to her all the sounds she makes, going high and going low, going quiet and getting louder, until Ollie complains that he can’t hear Tintin over the din. The cat, who is now by my side, looks equally perturbed. He’d just like to be fed but he’s well aware that he comes bottom of the pecking order.
I get excited when the National Theatre woman talks about the relationship between breathing properly and voice projection. This is one of my things, but I know better than to go on about it in class. I made this mistake before when teaching over at the infant school. I launched into a lecture on intercostal muscles and the diaphragm and breathing properly. When I looked down all the children were rolling on the floor, begging for me to be quiet and to start another game of wink murder.
It’s at times like this that I have a new found respect for Miss Nolan, our drama GCSE teacher (’92-’94). She had an unruly class of 30 to try and control, with the likes of David and Liam who based every piece of drama around a porcelain chamber pot that they found in the props cupboard.
Tintin has finished and the cat is practically savaging my leg, such is his desperation to be fed. Definitely time for lunch…..
Butterbean, Leek and Bacon Soup
Bacon is to me what double cream is to Nigel Slater: everything tastes better with some added.
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 2 leeks, finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
- 1 large carrot, cut length-ways & finely chopped
- 3 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped into small pieces
- 400g tin of butterbeans, drained & rinsed.
- Hot vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh coriander, to serve.
(Apologises for not putting exact amount of stock – it’s a personal thing and depends upon how thick you like your soup…)
Heat a tbsp of oil in a large saucepan. Fry the onion for a few minutes on a moderate heat.
Add the bacon. Fry for a few minutes, then add the leeks and garlic, then the carrots.
Fry for a few more minutes then add the stock and partially cover the pan. Simmer gently for twenty minutes.
Add the butterbeans five minutes before the end. Stir through.
Put two ladles of soup into a plastic jug or similar. Blend with a hand blender to thicken the soup. Return the blended soup to the pan and stir in.
Taste and season if needed. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves. Enjoy!
Post-soup: here is Ollie writing up his ‘blog’, as he puts it.