strawberries and cream

White climbing roses

When I used the title “ways and worlds” for the last blog post, I had no intention of referencing Laurie Lee. And yet now that I’ve gone looking for his poem “Home from Abroad”, I find it begins,

Far-fetched with tales of other worlds and ways,

so it seems likely that I had that at the back of my mind.

I was looking for the poem today as I wanted to quote a line from it. And although I’ve quoted it here on the blog in the past, it was a good opportunity to re-read the whole poem.

The line I wanted was:

The hedges choke with roses fat as cream.

And the reason I want to quote it was because this rose caught my eye the other day:

pink and cream mottled rose

The only blossom on the bush was still quite a young bud, not the full-blown blowsy rambling blooms I picture when I read Laurie Lee’s words. And it’s ice cream not cream that it conjures in my mind.

At first sight I thought of raspberry ripple, but now I’ve decided it is more like the blocks of ice cream we bought when I was a little girl. Now, the standard tri-colour ice cream you get in the supermarket is always strawberry, vanilla and chocolate, but I am sure it used to be pink, white and green when I was sent to the corner shop to buy.

Maybe I’m mistaken, but there’s also a distant memory that Mr Jones would cut a chunk from a bigger block and wrap it in thin white cardboard and then in thick layers of newspaper to keep it frozen while I ran back home.

I may be mistaken, too, about the green ice cream, though it would be logical, as, like the red tomatoes, white mozzarella and green basil of pizza margherita, it would represent the traditional three colours of the Italian flag. The connection with Italy would also mean the green would have been pistachio not mint, which would explain why I didn’t like it.

I don’t like the chocolate ice cream in Neapolitan blocks, either, so the rose was a perfect trigger for memory focused on strawberries and cream: the rich, almost yellow, colour of proper Cornish ice cream combined with the pale pink of all those wonderful strawberry summer desserts – ice cream, milk shakes, blancmange, Angel Delight, Nesquik…

pink and cream mottled rose

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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