Things I Miss


Sorting photos is tricky. Do you do it thematically? Chronologically? By location? Time and space being fairly constant during our Mayotte interval, I went for thematic, but the categories are fuzzy. For example I’ve got ‘people’ and ‘beaches’ and ‘boats’, but a lot of the time all three are in the same picture. So I make a snap decision – the one above, for example, went into ‘boats’.

Then there are categories which suggest themselves spontaneously. I’ve already explained how the BTTS committee reacted to the jackfruit, which fascinates me so much that it plays a significant role in Perfume Island, so unsurprisingly it has a category to itself.

Preparing it is a major undertaking. The first time was pretty disastrous but after a while I became more skilled and the mess didn’t sprawl quite so widely. But I still had to gird myself up psychologically and the whole operation took a good hour. The result was worth it though – well, if you like jackfruit, obviously, which a lot of people don’t. I ate the seeds too, which are toxic if undercooked, but as long as you boil them at least 20 minutes, you should be OK. For good measure I then roasted them, coated with spices and salt. I never persuaded Mrs B to taste them, but then she hadn’t done all the glutinous hacking of the fruit, so perhaps wasn’t quite as keen to make the most of it.

The first secret of happiness, we know, is to live as far as possible in the present, neither worrying about the future, nor fretting about the past. Alas! Though apples and pears are pleasant enough in their way, they make a poor substitute for the jackfruit, which also fits into the category of Things I Miss. On the other hand, now that we’re back, I can eat proper chocolate whenever I want. And that’s the second secret of happiness.