“You must remove the eyes from the potatoes just like you would for your own family.”


Good advice given to me free of charge when I was an au pair in France. Inversely though, at the time I thought I was conforming suitably to the family who was extremely parsimonious, and privileged.


I thought about this as I prepared some potatoes this morning.  I still feel the smart of Madame’s words, as I had imagined that her family wouldn’t waste a morsel, not a nubble bubble and chomp down on the sproutings of old potatoes with relish, piquant.  Further I had earnestly attempted to avoid the possible reprimanding for having pared off the sproutings, after all I had been subjected to the trials and tribulations of finding replacement parts to a type of clothes dryer I had never seen before, then at least twenty years old, which was rusting in corners. The hard plotted and trotted  endeavors of a British woman married to a Frenchman living in the 5eme. Madame was similar in appearance to Jane Birkin, and she took heart to her job of femme au foyer. She held tight reign over every object in the house, praised her husband’s clever homemade unlacquered saw horse tables in the unused living room, marched around Paris searching out the best price for quality. She was intensely proud of the pajamas she’d found for her daughter, which were nothing to write home about, but indeed suited the purpose.  I never thought of her or her escapades as fun, although she seemed to be having the time of her life.


Nowadays we have Aliexpress. I expect it would depress her. I googled, as far as I can tell she is still alive.  Her husband is somebody.  I googled, present tense. He is the main cheese, and she carries the spuds home in her shopping trolley. I imagine she still has the same trolley, lovingly patched and cleaned.


I keep busy, paring potatoes, and a manuscript which I wrote some time ago but I am currently reworking.  I find it fun and I am about three fourths done towards a good working draft to be read.


After rehearsal in the center this morning, I thought: Maybe I should go look at something, something for the house, for whatever, agoodamadingy, what do I need?  I couldn’t think of anything to save money on, so I went home and made plans to lie on the floor with my cat and dog, because it’s riotously warm – three days long on day three – and think about my novel.