For breakfast this morning I enjoyed hot buttered barley scones teased with fresh Scottish butter and drizzled with fresh honey and cream. We took a flask of hot tea and our warm scones down to the river beside the ancient brick of our wishing well. We sat and watched as the sun rose and shone on each of us in turn. For a while I found an inner peace that for quite a while had avoided me. Above us the curlews cried and kestrels soared as if to signify our new happiness. We laughed as Beauty, my wife Siobhan's wee goat, ran off with her head still in the bag containing the last scone. Peace had finally returned to our lives with a flourish
The stench of ancient dampness and dirt invaded my nostrils with a ferocity that I had for so long been unaccustomed to. The broad staircase, once magnificent in oak was now rotted and hung forlorn as the bangs of the once beautiful woman now aged and whose dank lifeless hair now merely fell upon the lines of her face. I gazed upon the porcelain tile cracked and defaced behind the corrugated metal sheets, destroyed by those who would never understand the importance of their own history. The Georgian fireplace, so grand as it heralded a families photographs in situ behind silver frames of prosperity. Smashed and in ruins beneath my feet. The blood red scrawl of illiterate spray paint told drug-fuelled stories of hatred and abuse. I shuddered with the pain of it all as I knew she had spent nearly a year curled up upon a filthy mattress in this very room. I ran my fingers over the large blunt end of the hammer in my coat pocket. It felt ugly in comparison with the lethal beauty of the folded razor nestled comfortably in my other hand. Only the love of someone so precious, so completely sucked beneath the surface of the evil syringe kept me walking up those stairs. It was time to pay another terrible price and bring my daughter home.
That was three long years ago. At times, her anguish brought a terrible sadness to each of our hearts. I returned briefly to a world I had left behind in order to create a future for us all. I can now watch as my daughter walks in front of me with the sunshine reflecting from her hair as she dances around with my wife as they collect wild garlic and brambles from the fields and hills that have long been my own salvation. It has been a while since anyone of us wanted for much, the reason for this I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. One thing for sure, money does not always make a man happy, it merely offers him options. These days, seeing the smile of my youngest daughter, knowing that she is safe and back to her old self under my roof is worth more than any amount of cold hard cash can ever afford. This morning, between us, we all helped to create a dish in her honour. Sweet, and made with love in mind. I cannot stop smiling in the presence of my new kitchen helper. With my help and her family around to love and support her, she will continue to claim the once lost happiness in each our lives. Just like the perfection and time it takes to create the perfect recipe, a person should never give up or lose hope. A lesson to us all. Seek the rainbow, it is there beyond even the greyest of clouds.
16 cups popped corn
1 cup of brown sugar
Half a cup of golden syrup or treacle
1 tsp each of almond and cinnamon essence
4oz Pecan nuts
A wee dod of fresh butter
Cook sugar, syrup and butter in a glass bowl in microwave on high for one minute. Stir and repeat for a total of five minutes. Should be hot and bubbling.
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2-1 tsp vanilla essence
Mix until foamy. Put popped corn into a brown paper bag. Pour the syrup into bag. Stir to coat. Fold bag over. Place in microwave and microwave for one minute and shake. Repeat. Microwave 30 seconds and shake. Repeat. (Sprinkle with extra cinnamon if desired and shake again)
Pour popcorn out to cool on wax paper.