the bawley mixture: grilled sourdough with garlic, chilli, anchovy and tomato
– as demanded by B. Usher, who is only silent when he is eating (or underwater)
Bawley point, August 2005.
The Avalon surfers are muttering about in their car as the wind and cold rain lash in from the south-west. They are not prepared. They are cold damp and hungry and they watch with a growing distemper as our man busies himself in the small lean-to he has attached to the side of his van over just there, in the lee of the gale.
Here he has set up a small bench with a portable gas stove, a gas lantern and a couple of easy chairs. A warm glow suffuses the stormy airs about him. The interior of his van is visible and they can see a couple of full book racks in there, a bucket with two wine bottles, cutlery, crockery. The flicker of a TV.
He is a big man, tanned and snowy haired and he moves with athlete’s grace.
He crushes a clove of garlic, a small red chili, four strips of anchovy and a couple of sun-dried tomatoes all together in a stone dish. A little pepper. A caper or two. The mixture.
~ a moment here as he retires to the cosy interior of his van to introduce a little more volume to the 3rd track of the Ravi Shankar / Philip Glass album ‘ Passages ‘ and change into a clean pair of hemp jeans and a faded Pima cotton shirt. He folds away a half-read copy of J.G.Farrell’s ‘ Troubles ‘ and applies a little Michel Sexual Pour Homme Eau de Toilette to his midriff.
Later he will grill both sides of a few slices of sourdough after brushing them with olive oil, then he will spread them with The Mixture, plus a little Padano and some ground Szechuan pepper. Then he will slip them under a hot grill.
Later a couple of extremely attractive young ladies will call by with a couple of bottles of cold reisling and they will stay very late indeed.
From time to time during the long night the Avalon lads will hear sounds of laughter coming from the interior of the van – despite the escalating shriek of the gale – and they will chew their leg-ropes in sleepless envy, and the familiar heaviness of failure will weigh upon them again.