Near and far, the world is not a happy place. Nevertheless, we both sat down and painted for the whole afternoon, and we were happy. Tom did some watercolour cottages, and I did a painting of an aubergine with mushrooms and an onion, in gouache; the fresh produce supplies run a little low on Thursdays, so I was short of the full ratatouille. I'm fairly pleased with it, I've not done much in gouache for a while, but there's an art teacher on Flickr who badgers me to join various drawing and painting groups, and I'm glad she does, as it's a bit of a spur.
I was pleased with the enthusiastic response I received to aubergine a couple of posts back. They are certainly one of my favourite foods, in any form: ratatouille, heavy on the aubergine and light on tomato; grilled, including in sandwiches with salad and garlic mayonnaise; imam baldi (the imam fainted, either with delight or shock at the profligate use of olive oil ...), brinjal bhaji or any other use in curry, and any of the dippy kind of things from aubergine caviar to baba ganoush. A Japanese friend whose cooking, including her fish and chips, was the food of angels, used to cook them delectably in tempura. The etymology of the name is also delicious, coming as it does to French from Catalan from Arabic via Persian ultimately from Sanskrit, a distinguished and near-mystical pedigree, one might say. I thought I'd better supply a link and lo-and-behold the illustrious Language Hat has one of the best available. I should get there more often. Eggplant is also a good word, if more down-to-earth, and reminds one that they can also be as white as eggs. But when I say I love aubergine, I also mean the colour, which can only mean purple to black.
A fine memory of them was that of cycling the lanes around Muchelney in Somerset, near where my mother used to live, visiting the beautiful old Abbey and picking up a bottle or so of Burrow Hill cider, and calling in on a farm where a lady, the farmer's mother, used to sell the surplus from her vegetable garden, including delicious long thin aubergines, as well as peppers and spinach. I bought half a bottle of Burrow Hill's first ever cider brandy, and really should have kept it as it would probably be very valuable now, but it was just too good.