In which Doris makes Shepherd’s Pie

Biggest moon in 100 years, they said, no really, you’ll never ever EVER see a blue-donkey red-feather yellow-leather solar-flared-gold-embossed-wolf-moon combined with a lunar-eclipsed purple-possum shadow-puppet-planet-power-sky EVER AGAIN, or at least not within the next ten lifetimes. Really, they said that. They always say that.

I’m onto their tricks. Oh yes: They whip us up into a frenzy of fear-of-missing-out, force us out of our beds at ungodly hours and freak us out by making us think we have only one shot at looking at a moon with a different hue. Shock, horror, mortality! And then six months later we’re falling for it all over again.

When I got out of bed with my alarm at 6.00 am that morning I walked out the front looking for said phenomenon, couldn’t see it and took the opportunity to go back to bed, safe in the knowledge that someone else would surely post a better photo than I could take anyway.

Earlier that week I’d run into someone at the petrol station as I was filling up the gas tank of the friend’s car I am currently borrowing. I told this person I had car troubles. “Don’t do anything drastic!” she warned, “Mercury is in retrograde you know, be careful and don’t make any expensive repairs!”

Perhaps it would have been more useful to tell that to my car that before it decided to die last week. Mercury in retrograde or not, my car’s death was real, owing to a timely mechanical failure that may or may not have had anything to do with the moon’s mischief.

So there’s Mercury and the Moon and all manner of other planetary shenanigans of which I’m not duly informed and there’s also the faintest sniff of seasonal change in the air. The days drift just a little longer and the sunlight lingers on the ocean for a few minutes more, reluctant to withdraw its warmth.

I find great solace in the certainty of the seasons, the reliability of the moon in the night sky, the dawn and dusk of each day and the way routine can be the gateway to the greatest sense of freedom.

After more months than I care to recall without a rhythm of my own, I have finally found myself building the beginnings of routine. And in that routine there suddenly appears space where one can safely grow and cling to other little aspects of self: perhaps a flicker of confidence, or maybe a few glimmers of clarity or even a little lick of love…

Yesterday I came home after ‘school’ and made dinner. I made Shepherd’s Pie. I just googled the recipe and I made it. Cheffy made the occasional suggestion and I took them on board with good-humour and a levity not previously exhibited in the kitchen between us.

Standard procedure goes a bit like this:
“Can I give you a tip?”
“Nup.”
“How about you try tucking your fingers in when you chop the onion?”
And my eyes roll so far back into my head they may never return as Cheffy demonstrates his best finger-tucking knife for the umpteenth time.

But today that’s not what happens, I appreciate the suggestion and make a concerted effort not to chop the onion like an idiot. (Maybe it’s the moon?!)

Once I’d popped the pie in the oven I decide to take things to the next level. I cut up some apples and stew them in a saucepan with a couple of chai tea bags, a stick of cinnamon and a handful of sultanas. They melt down delightfully and I serve them with a heady serve of double cream.

We sit on the couch watching a series and Cheffy tells me, “you should write a Doris about this, it was delicious!”

“Nah,” I smile, “No one wants to hear about Doris’ success!”

Getting the hang of our oven’s volatile temperament

Shepherd’s Pie: 9/10. Success is sweet and best enjoyed unwittingly.