Mimi Say's…

By Alison November 12, 2005 2 Comments 6 Min Read


It’s Time For Plan B…

If in a flutter of my eyelashes I could be someone else just for a little while, you know, I think I would be Nicole Kidman- because of her nose. Recently she played Samantha, the witch from Bewitched, who can magic things with just a little wiggle of her nose. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have those powers? A little wiggle here, and zap! The ironing is done, folded and put away. Zap! My hot chocolate is stirring itself so I don’t get that sludgy bit at the bottom. Zap! No one else wants to bid on that thing that I must have or the world will end on eBay! Zap!

Actually, when you come to think of it, most of us are pretty good at magic every day. Not just the wonderful Brocante Magic, where our homes smell delicious, we have a knack for arranging things just so, no, no, there is more. With the click of a finger I can summon a book from the furthest corners of a bookshop in America to land on my doorstep. I can send invisible messages flying through the air to magically appear on a computer screen further away than I could travel in a day, or even a week! And my favourite trick of all, as you know, to turn back the clock in the time it takes me to open the pages of a dusty old book or magazine.

It is pretty easy with all this magic at my disposal to feel pretty invincible. To feel in control, and powerful. Yes? No! Every now and then, I am waltzing around my kitchen in my vertiginous heels, my black dress with the pink roses that makes me feel like a fifties princess- I am making plans for dinner, plans for lunch tomorrow, running a bath, opening my post (oohhh, I love, love post!), a veritable whirlwind of magical activity. And then, my heel snaps, and crash! It all comes tumbling down! I land in a heap, the parcel I am waiting for just doesn’t arrive, or else they call while I am out and I have to go to the sorting office. Dinner burns, and when I go to pour something delicious into my bath, the bottle is empty, and so is the cupboard.

Although this is (happily!) just a metaphorical bad day, it has to be said that there are times when it is not so very far from reality! Even today, I have just got to work, and was feeling pretty pulled together, hair up, lipstick on, and I get a huge ladder in my tights! Not just a little discreet ladder, a huge hole that my knee is threatening to poke through. And no break for hours in which to buy new tights! These times,when life decides to trip you up are when you need a Plan B. Plan B is something I often think about. I sketch in my mind an emergency kit for my desk at work, which would comprise spare tights, some paracetamol, a teeny bar of luscious chocolate, change for the bus, and tissues. I think about how in my handbag I should keep a little notebook and pen, rather than scribble things on bits of paper then lose them in the mire forever!

At planning Plan B I excel. I devoured a chapter in ‘Romancing the Ordinary’ by Sarah Ban Breathnach about organising a little basket to keep in case you get a cold or other winter poorliness. You tuck into it all sorts of little treats, such as soft tissues, a pot of lip balm, a nice novel to read, some eucalyptus oil and so on. I got as far as planning to buy some old Nancy Drew novels on eBay for my basket, and then I went on holiday to Norfolk. I had planned a holiday of walking through the countryside, pretending I am Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice; of tea shop afternoons, and puttering through little book shops. What I got was a hideous cold that swiftly mutated into a chest infection, and kept me off work for nearly a week. Where was my little poorliness basket? Where was my Plan B?!

So do take a peek over my shoulder while I muse about some Plan Bs that I will now be putting into action!

Firstly I shall go and buy a multipack of new tights at lunch time today. One pair is going in my desk drawer, another in my handbag, and the rest at home, where I am going to throw out all my old laddered pairs. (Why don’t I do it at the time I realise they are laddered? Why do I play "tights lottery" every morning, where I get one leg in, then most of the other and realised they have a hole! And that was the last clean pair .cold legs today!) So no more helpful people saying "did you know you have a ladder in your tights?" no more scrabbling for a hole free pair in the morning! All thanks to Plan B.

Next, I will sort out myself with a winter poorliness basket. And while I am at it, I am putting a Plan B in my freezer too. I rarely feel like cooking when I am ill or frazzled, but all too often I am ravenous. So I am going to simmer up a large batch of the most heavenly soup I know, (green pea and chilli) and then freeze it into individual little portions. I am going to cook comforting casserole and do the same with it, and also hide a few other lovelies in my kitchen cupboards for a future I-need-to-eat-now-but-have-no-energy-to-cook-and-really-cant-face-a-takeaway crisis! (Think couscous and pasta, and the luxury stir-in pasta sauces for instant heaven on a plate).

And last, the hardest Plan B of them all. And believe me; this is hard, hard, hard, but also the most powerful Plan B in your armoury. Sometimes it is really, really hard for me to admit that the world is not going to end if I do not find authentic chocolate money coins for Christmas. (The kind made from nice chocolate, and has 2ps and 10ps and so on, not pretend currency or Euros!). It is really hard to take a deep breath when this kind is sold out, and rather than spending my lunch hour charging round the town, being hustled and jostled and elbowed, trying to see if any other place sells them, running out of time for lunch, being hungry and cranky all afternoon, Plan B says take a deep breath, admit it is not the end of the world, and buy another kind. It is not so much a settling for second best, (and there are some things I would never ever compromise on such as free range eggs) but sometimes, I have to be brave, and work out if my quest for tissue paper in the exact red I have in mind (nope, that one is too tomato saucy-, and that one is too burgundy, and that one its just not right!) is going to cost me my sanity, and if that is too high a price to pay. Sometimes, just sometimes, Plan B means letting go, just a little tiny bit.

Love Mimi



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  1. Alison. says:

    Recipe for pea and chilli soup please Mimi!

  2. Mimi xxx says:

    The most important ingredient is a tissue, for mopping your nose with when eating! Such a pretty colour this soup, and you can whip it up in an instant. I like to serve it with home baked bread, and little extras such as grated cheese, bacon and so on.Melt a healthy dollop of butter in a large saucepan, then add a medium onion, chopped. Add 2 crushed cloves of garlic, and 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped up small. (You can use a green chilli, but red is prettier!). Stir about over a lowish heat for about five minutes. Then pour in 850ml stock made with marigold powder (a stock cube will do) and bring to the boil. Add 1lb of frozen peas, and boil rapidly without a lid until they are just cooked- as little as two minutes! Whizz up with a stick blender, swirl in a little cream if you are feeling indulgent, and enjoy. ahhh, soup! Love Mimi xxx

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