I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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* One exception: short stories.

Monday, 21 October 2013

A mysterious tendency

In a long relationship conversation evolves. Especially default conversation between a couple at dinner.

I find myself asking VR detail questions about cooking.

I have cooked for her but not now. Instead I wash up, attend to the garbage, replace bulbs, shift heavy things, feed clothes to the machine, enter the attic when required, commune with the plumber, drive the car. Undemanding work and not a fair exchange.

The first time, I asked why she seared meat prior to casseroling it. A non-intuitive process, quite awkward if the cut is large and irregular.

Recently she started adding chillis to various meaty sauces - typically bolognese. Just how much chilli? I asked.

I confirmed she still preferred to use inexpensive vermouth instead of white wine in recipes. She told me why.

It's hard to remember these questions since they arrive randomly and are often quite obscure. Is the sludgy white liquid that accompanies tinned flageolets edible? It isn't.

The questions really aren't all that important. I'm more interested in where the impulse comes from and why it continues.

Novel writing requires me to put many questions, especially about women's clothes, make-up, assessments of men, etc. But these are all targeted. The cooking questions don't relate to any specific need. A novel about a woman chef? It simply doesn't appeal.

WIP Second Hand (41,441 words)
As her mother hurried away from the counter bound for the toilet Francine stepped forward and took over. A youth in a thick-knitted khaki beanie received his Fosters and whispered slyly, “Wanna share it with me?”

More out of politeness, than expectation she felt. “It’s not my brand,” she said. “I go for the original Budweiser. Brewed in the Czech Republic.”

He sucked in breath noisily. “Pricey.”

“That’s the kind of girl I am.”


  1. Where does it come from? Surprisingly I think partly from politeness and partly to stimulate conversation, and partly from human innate curiosity.

    Conversation by definition is two way, and asking questions achieves that. The big secret then is to listen to the answers. We used to have a visiting head office official we nicknamed The I Man because of his endless monologue accounts of his own achievements. The two speakers in your extract seem to be good conversationalists at their own level of repartee.

    Deliberately promoting conversation with a wide range of people I meet on my more urban walks is something I enjoy with many rewarding results.

  2. Sir Hugh: I confess I did check the dictionary before using one of the words that follows: this conversational tic of mine seems to be the product of automatism, that's what makes its incidence (if not the subject matter) interesting. I should have added that the questions I put to VR never hinge on what I am eating at that moment. VR's tendency is to read between the lines and she would immediately be on the alert for snideness.

  3. Looks as though you are majoring on innate human curiosity out of my three suggestions, especially, as I am well aware, you value and store away the answers whether satisfactory in their own right or not. Many times you have recalled things I have said which I had long since forgotten, but which you have seen as important in your assessment of me and my opinions.

  4. Yup. That's the kind of girl I am.