What an extraordinary day. Frantic in the studio. Too much to do in too little time. We rehearse from 10.00 until 12.00. I take a break in the make-up chair then it’s out into the void.
We had the lovely Richard Phillips on making a carbo-friendly chicken soup ideal for marathon runners. We also had Greg Malouf from Australia talking about his book ‘Saha’. What a sweet, lovely man. Quiet and bearded, his family are from the Lebanon, and his heart is firmly set in the souks of Damascus and the markets of Beirut. His gentleness belied the ridiculous stereotype of that region. He made a huge salmon, wrapped in paper, then slathered it with tahini and yogurt. It was accompanied by a salad of coriander and flat parsley, which Suzie Barrie paired with a delicious wine.
Greg also turned my little cup of coffee grains over and read them for me –
a woman on a horse was clearly etched into the coffee. ‘Oh, my God!’ I thought. ‘I’m turning into Lady Godiva! Would my next job be in Coventry? Would I be sent to Coventry? Greg asked me to imprint my finger. ‘Good’, he said, ‘there is no evil eye. You’re going on a long journey’. It was the story teller from the Lebanon.
We also had Julian Bennett on. He’s presenting a new BBC 3 show called something like ‘My dog is as fat as me’. The show looks lame but JB is really smart. Small and very funny, he’s running the marathon for Barnardo’s on account of being adopted. I may go and watch the race if I’m not on holiday in Costa Rica.
This evening I went to Old Street and got drunk with my daughter. Two bottles of very weak Prosecco that cost far too much, one greasy hamburger and a lot of chat. I sent her home on the tube as I grabbed a taxi. It cost me £23 and her £1. Well, she’s 20 and I’m not.
When Greg Malouf left the studio he said that he watched the show in Australia and that on April 6th – our last show – it’ll be his birthday and he’ll be in Istanbul but he would raise a glass to me. I cried. Ed Baines hugged me. I got pink lipstick all over his nice white shirt and mascara in my eyes. But then he and Andrew Whitley made bread. ‘Bread’, the brilliant book by Mr. Whitley, should be read by every adult in the land. When you understand the rubbish they put into a loaf to make it quick and cheap, you will never eat a jam sandwich again. Please read it and support his claim that we do everything too quickly, too cynically and too much with an eye on the profit. The times they are a changing and all our lovely artisan bakers, fishmongers, chefs and shepherds are at the forefront. God Bless ’em all.