tea and penguins...
I apply the sort of dedication to buying secondhand that Roy Castle used to sing about on Record Breakers...it's true, if you want to be the best and you want to beat the rest, dedication's what you need...
However, every once in a while an item of unparelleled form and function drops into my peripheral vision and I'm smitten.
What is it about the Penguin? I'm immediately drawn to that multi coloured jacket with its thick creamy stripe; I find it almost impossible to leave behind on an op shop bookshelf a dogeared copy of a book I already own or have read at least twice.
I put it down to a chance encounter on a train circa 1979.
The first Saturday of every month was a time of ritual and tradition during my childhood years. The Whitgift Centre, Croydon was my mothers church of choice and Marks and Spencer's her alter. My brother and I would trail in her wake, supposedly just "TOUCHING WITH OUR EYES", but I have never been able to resist the feel of fabric and my brother would always try and position himself so he could catch a glimpse of middle aged lady flesh through the slight gap in the changing room curtains; strange predilections even at nine.
Rattling home, tucked amongst the carrier bags and sweetened into submission with chocolate, I spotted my stranger seated across the aisle.
He was wearing an old army jacket and an earring, brown hair tumbling a la David Essex he plucked a Penguin from his battered old satchel. He stopped me in mid chomp.
At this point I'd love to say he noticed me staring, winked and twinkled at me a little before asking for a bite of my Curlywurly. Unfortunately, I'd be fibbing... of course he ignored me but I've always remembered him, the epitome of cool who started me down the path of Penguin love and a thing for men with earrings.
Edit: I'm also mad keen on men with speech impediments, but that's another story...
The cookies are a brownie macaroon mix that I have yet to master fully!