It will come as little surprise to hear that I’ve been largely ignoring the fact that I’m pregnant; I’m not ignoring it completely – an impossibility, given the girth - I’ve simply parked it until we get back to London in September. I also think that it’s probably inevitable that the Grubette, once she appears, will also be largely ignored – not deliberately, but she’s very unlikely to get anything near the attention her siblings got. This will no doubt lead to years of therapy and recriminations, but also, I suspect, a nicer child.
She, however, seems to have gotten wind of her fate, and has decided to remind me that SHE IS IN THERE.
First off, I’ve got my pregnancy cough – a hacking, smoker’s cough, which doubles me over several times an hour. The past two times this made an appearance towards the end of the third trimesters, so having it descend on me in week 25 is a bit of a bummer. It wasn’t so bad the first time around, when all my muscles and various body parts were intact, and in the right place; not so great the second time, when I would often cough and splutter my way across the Common with wee dribbling down my leg (seriously); really pretty rotten now, when I have to stagger outside several times an hour to dislodge whatever it is which is lodged in my lungs (a foot maybe?), while simultaneously saving the wooden floor-boards / rugs from a splattering. (Who said being pregnant wasn’t sexy?)
And then there’s the wonder that is Melasma – aka, “Pregnancy mask” – when the pigment in the skin on your face goes into overdrive, but – hurrah! – only in random dark-brown splotches. There’s no treatment for this except time (usually it fades “sometime after the pregnancy ends”), prayers (usually it fades...), and avoiding sunlight completely (it’s triggered by any exposure to ultra-violet light). The Grubette cares not that her carrier is in Florida, where avoiding sunlight is pretty much impossible, and so I am sweltering in a large, deeply unattractive, floppy hat, and yet STILL look like I’ve been splashing about in the mud.
To complete her pregnancy-reminding hat trick, my teeth have started to fall out. Oh alright, that’s a slight exaggeration; more accurate to say that they’ve started to SNAP OFF. I swear. Which is just what you need at the start of a 2 month stay in a country where children are sold to pay for health-care. (Now there’s a thought...)
Of course this happened on a Saturday morning, when no dentists’ surgeries were open, and so I had 48 hours of liquidized food (which, coupled with the out-size sun-hat, and my advanced years made me feel like a native Floridian) - which is how I came to remember that I make a mean gazpacho. Well, you know what they say – every broken tooth has a shining enamel lining...
You don’t actually need to be toothless or dentally deformed to either make or enjoy this, but if you are, it will certainly help.
You need (for 4 bowls. Or for one old crone for lunch and dinner):
- Two tins plum tomatoes / one large US can. You can of course use fresh tomatoes, but you’ll need to skin and deseed them, and they’ll also need to be really ripe. And anyway, can you be bovvered? I thought not.)
- One large US cucumber / ½ European one, peeled and roughly chopped
- One red pepper, core and seeds removed
- One clove of garlic
- A couple of slices of white bread (optional)
- Fresh Basil (optional)
- Olive oil
- Sherry / Wine / Cider vinegar
- Salt & pepper
Bung the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, garlic and a few basil leaves (if using) into a blender / food processor and whizz the heck out of it.
Add several glugs of olive oil, and one of the vinegar. Blend again.
If using bread – and I think it gives a nice thick texture (as well as providing much-needed calories and sustenance to those unable to chew) - break it into chunks and add to the mix. Leave to sit for a short while, until completely soggy, then blend again.
Taste to see if you want it more vinegary (I like it really sharp so tend to use the same amount of vinegar as I do olive oil), and add more as necessary.
Season with salt and pepper, then either leave to cool in the fridge for a few hours, or chuck some ice-cubes in it and serve.
Enjoy with a glass of rose, and a nice, liquidised, side-salad.