In salting and pickling beef (Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery)

“I’m going to pickle some beef.”

He looked at her incredulously. “Pickled beef?”

“Yes. In salting and pickling beef and other scrumptious delights, I’m going to make my fortune. It’s my new business idea.”

“Are you going Bodmin?” he asked, eyeing her quizzically.

It was his turn to be on the receiving end of an incredulous look. “No. Why would I go to Bodmin when I can nip round the corner to Morrison’s and get all the ingredients?”

She shook her head, gave him another incredulous look for good measure, and with a loud huff, stuck her nose into her ‘new’ Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery book.

He chuckled to himself – God forbid she should see him laughing at her! She was always having hair-brained ideas about how she was going to make her fortune. But, pickled beef? Who ate pickled beef in this day and age?

~~~~~~

“I’m just nipping to the supermarket, dear. Can I get you anything?” she called.

“No, I’m good, thanks,” he called back. “Take care on the roads.”

“I always do,” she responded. It was a fairly standard call and response between them; neither of them probably even heard the other.

~~~~~~

“Beef, salt, spices; beef, salt, spices; beef, salt, spices.” She repeated the mantra as she got into his car; taking his old battered jalopy as it was blocking her shiny new car in the driveway.

She could understand why he was always telling her to take care on the roads. Since they’d moved to their new home in the country, he was constantly worrying about her driving down twisty, windy lanes. Truth be told, she was a far better driver than he. “It’s not you, it’s the other drivers on the road,” he’d say.

She smiled to herself as she thought about how kind and caring he was and, as her mind wandered, she forgot her mantra. In fact, she pretty much forgot how to drive – coming to a tight bend in the road, she slammed the brakes on, skidding off the road as she did so. She just about missed the post belonging to the gate leading into a field full of cows. The gate had, fortuitously for her, been left open. Not so fortunate for the nearest calf, which took the full force of the car’s sideswipe and lay to rest just beside the passenger door as she came to a halt.

“Oh my!” She uttered, which was a bit of an understatement. “Oh my!”

She looked around to see if there was anybody around who could help her. A nearby cow stared at her and mooed forlornly, but there were no humans around. She got out of the car and opened the rear passenger side door. Looking around once more, she heaved the calf – with great difficulty – into the back seat of the car and made her way home. Once there, and, miraculously, without being seen, she secreted the calf in the shed in the garden.

She let herself quietly into the house and went straight to the bathroom to clean herself up. As she came out, he asked, “did you get all you needed, my love?”

“Drat! No. I’ve forgotten a few bits and pieces. I’ll have to nip back out. Won’t be long.”

“Take care on the roads,” he called.

“I always do,” she responded.

She got back into his car and drove, carefully, to the supermarket, repeating her mantra, “salt, spices, car wash; salt, spices, car wash; salt, spices, car wash.”

~~~~~

(The phrase, “going Bodmin” refers to the Cornwall County Asylum opened in Westheath Avenue, Bodmin in 1815, much of which is still in existence, although it has now been turned into housing. The phrase, “gone” or “going Bodmin”, relates to this and actually means, “going mad” or “simple”.)Urban Dictionary

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