On Life Not Being Fair

PJ O’Rourke is one of my favourite writers, though I am sort of Left and he is sort of Right.  Here is his famous quote to his teenage daughter, as she is complaining that something – or, indeed, everything- is not fair:


“Honey, you’re cute. That’s not fair. You’re smart. That’s not fair. You were born in the United States of America. That’s not fair. Darling, you had better get down on your knees and pray to God that things don’t start getting fair for you.”



File:Altynemel dune.jpg

Image by Jonas Satkauskas

Pea Shoots


The Embryo of the Pea laid open.” Figure 2 from the 11th Edition Encyclopaedia Britannica article “Stem”.


In a bid to stave off beri-beri or scurvy or summat, I am growing my own pea shoots, the beloved ingredient of a thousand foodie menus.  I got a handful of dried peas, soaked overnight in cold water and planted them very shallowly in leftover compost ( well, the sad and reproachful reminder of a failed attempt to fuschia cuttings…).

They sprouted the next day. A small victory over the brutal entropy of the universe….





Image of peas by Betty Cai. Rights here.

Truly Excellent Instant Salad



  • Some spinach/leaves of some kind/lettuce
  • 1 fillet smoked mackerel
  • 1 orange/clementine/satsuma etc
  • 1 cooked beetroot sliced
  • 1/2 tin chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • Herbs to your taste – dill or parsley would be nice
  • Dressing: 1 tsp horseradish, 1 tbsp yoghurt, splash of lemon juice, pepper, herbs if required – mint or tarragon perhaps


Arrange as you desire. Serves two.

Mix and match, add or omit ingredients or change the dressing according to your taste and store cupboard. Smoked mackerel is cheap, delicious and nutritious but you could also use tuna, sardines or…. rollmops! For greenery, rocket, dandelion leaves or watercress can serve instead of spinach or lettuce. Enjoy. Because you’re worth it.



File:Scomber japonicus drawing.jpg