Tuesday, November 24, 2009


You know how numerology associates subliminal meanings to numbers? The number 3, 7 and 23 spring to my mind, but I am sure that those experts can come up with earth-shattering revelations about every single number out there. As far as I am concerned, my magic number is 1348. It all started months back, when I was trying to build a PhD-writing routine. How do I snort even now! To think that, not so very long ago, I still thought that PhD and routine could seamlessly come together beggars the proverbial belief.

This is the work of hindsight though; then, I really did think it was possible and so it happened that for a week or so, I ended up sorting out my life in the mornings in order to sit down at the desk, free as a bird, in the afternoon. The time was always 13:48 according to the Mac. Even today, which I have spent holed up with a dog and a brush, then with a mop and a bucket, then with an iron and a board, and then with a cheese toastie and a cup of tea, I sat down at 13:48 exactly, fingers poised on the keyboard as my eyes darted to the top right corner where they were met by the magic number.

I must have developed a biological writing clock that goes off at 13:48 every day, as I can quite safely report that writing rarely crosses my mind in the mornings. I am one of those people who hankers after an early spell at the keyboard and a daily finish at midday sharp while, in reality, I am saddled with an ability to come up with something coherent only between 2 pm and 5 pm. This span is always interspersed with the need for a coffee, a tea, a biscuit, a cheese-and-Marmite toastie, an online browse, a pat to a dog, a phone call, a row of knitting, a trip to the toilet, an urge to do some yoga, one to re-arrange the kitchen cupboards, one to clean the bathroom, one to arrange my knickers by type, and another one to sort all the VOGUEs in month-year order every single time. In fact, it’s a bit of a miracle that I get any writing done at all.

But then I have found that the magic number gets me into gear, if only for a minute spell, and we all know that some writing is better than no writing at all. Late yesterday afternoon the urge to make some chocolate rice crispies descended upon me like a pack of ravenous wolves and I had to give in. As I always do. I am very, very well-practised to giving in.

200g dark chocolate
50g rice crispies
50g butter
2 tsps Golden Syrup

Melt the butter, the chocolate and the Golden Syrup together in a double-boiler if, like me, you’ve yet to enter modern times and still haven’t got a microwave.

Remove from heat and fold in the rice crispies. Drop a tablespoon of this mix in paper cups and place in the fridge to chill.

The upshot of these is that they are terribly, terribly tasty and can be whipped up in fifteen minutes flat. In fact, I made mine right in the middle of writing. Works every time.
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