Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Other Side of the Coin

Having praised buying local and fresh and seasonal and whatnot, I should point out that it does have its drawbacks. For example, I know a woman in Hungary who had the opportunity to escape from the country in 1956. However, she had other priorities. She would go, she decided, but first she had to help her mother finish bottling the tomatoes. And, of course, yes, you guessed it, by the time that task was finished, the opportunity had evaporated.

Similarly, living in Belgrade with a young baby when Chernobyl blew up, I walked in the door one Saturday morning and heard the telephone ringing (it's not so long ago and yet it feels like ancient history - not even a whisper of the possibility of almost universal mobiles at the time).

I picked up the receiver and heard my mother, who was calling from Australia. 'You ought to come home,' she told me. She was worried about any effect there might be on my daughter of possible leaking radiation.

I'd just got home from what was known as the peasants' market (when I was talking about life in Belgrade the other day to a friend in Canberra and mentioned 'the peasants' market', she said she was going to refer to the Canberra farmers' market [very bijou and full of failed interior designers producing 'artisanal' 'niche' products] as the peasants' market from now on) and there had been tomatoes there for the first time in eight months. To my eternal shame, my only thought was, 'I can't leave; I've got tomatoes at last.'


  1. Very smart: I like the symmetry.

    1. Thank you, although I read someone somewhere saying that symmetry is vulgar - provided it wasn't you, I shall take your comment as a compliment.