The corner grocery store

Life here’s been somewhat heavy of late with various unexpected twists and turns over the last few days. Most of it’s not our story to tell, which hasn’t stopped us finding ourselves in up to our necks in conflicts and counteraccusations. Tonight peace reigns, although I couldn’t say exactly whether that’s because the storm has passed, or because we’re in the calm of the eye and the worst is yet to come. I’m not sure I have the wisdom or the experience to deal with the meteorites that it appears to amuse the Deity to be throwing our way at the moment. 

So here’s a blog about some highly peripheral matters that I shouldn’t get into trouble for talking about… 

We figured out how to make custard!  There’s a vanilla pudding mix here in the supermarket masquerading under the name of “flan”, which normally needs to go cold in the fridge for eight hours before it even thinks about thickening, but adding a spoonful of flour before boiling produces something that isn’t quite Ambrosia but more than meets with Joni’s approval. 

While we were away, baby food in jars has arrived in our local supermarket.  This seems pretty lunatic because people here by and large know how to cook from raw ingredients and are generally perfectly capable of feeding their kids without resorting to over-processed gloop over-packaged by a multinational company.   Ah but, over on the other side of the world, people in the global north buy fewer jars of baby food than they used to because the market has wised up to the idea that over-processed over-packaged gloop might not be the most nutritious option for a developing infant.  So the multinationals need a new market, and here’s the clever / cynical bit… if the advertising suggests that sophisticated Europeans behave in a certain way, then even normally intelligent Argentineans do seem to fall over themselves to copy it.  So while parents in Europe are abandoning the product, advertising companies will focus on persuading parents in Argentina that the real way to look like a sophisticated European is to behave like a soap-opera character on a sink housing estate.  Will it work?  I would like to hope not, but we have to acknowledge the many advertising campaigns over many years which have successfully persuaded millions of otherwise intelligent people in both Europe and Argentina that the way to express your individuality is to buy the same products as everyone else.  So the nutrition of Argentina’s next generation hangs in the balance. 

From the corner grocery store in Argentina to the corner chemist in Letchworth.  I replaced my mooncup while we were in the UK and was disproportionally happy to discover that they’re now available in Boots.  It’s not that I’m a particular fan of Boots, but this is really good news because it means that what was previously considered a mad-hippy-alternative product has been mainstreamed, and we can finally break the taboo and talk about feminine hygiene a mere decade or two behind the should-have-been-parallel discussions about returning to reusable nappies in the baby-care department.  I have been using my previous mooncup-equivalent (different manufacturer) for the last twelve years and it would probably have seen me through except that I’ve given birth twice in the interim, and this is probably as much detail as I can go into on a family show so if you want to know why that’s important do email me off air.  Having reached the age of 40 I’m calculating that model mark 2 should now take me to the end.  Sadly I can’t see reusable sanitary protection taking off in any way ever in Argentina despite everything I’ve just said about the power of advertising to persuade otherwise sensible mothers that what their baby really needs is over-processed gloop in a jar. 

To end on a more cheerful note, this is my new toy from the second hand camera stall on Hitchin market (not the walking boot, silly, that’s there for scale): 


It’s low tech, simple, fixed f8, will only work on manual, but it’s lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g and it only cost thirty quid, and he even threw in a nice condition sony tripod for another tenner.  I’m looking forward to going out to Miramar and testing it on the flamingos sometime soon.  In fact the mental image of photographing flamingos in Miramar combined with a  hummed backdrop of “in Christ alone…” (repetitively and tunelessly, don’t you wish you were here?!) has been keeping me going most of the day today in between dodging meteors in some of the more immediate parts of my life. 

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

(Townsend / Getty)

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