Cheap Thrills and the Dangerous Miss Jean Brodie

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Here it is again, the arse-end of winter. What’s a girl to do but stay in and eat condensed milk straight from the tin with a spoon.

I’ve also been buying lovely things, as is my wont. (And reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, so I can brush up on my morningside accent and use words like ‘wont’).

Whilst trying to do my weekly food shopping entirely from the reduced section (sort of successful, if a little soul-destroying), I picked up a big bright bunch of tulips reduced to £1.25  and took them home and put them in a glass jar like those arty people do.

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Another big exciting discovery was the book section in my local Shelter shop – 99p a book. I could have gone wild. I managed to contain myself to buying two Agatha Christie novels with really beautiful covers. I find the cover of a book is the best way to judge how good it’s going to be. And that’s a metaphor that applies to every part of life.

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Not only did I score these beauties, but I also got a FREEEEEE BOOOOOOK from the library! On a table with a big sign that said ‘free books’. This was a Scottish Opera promotional extravaganza, rather than some crazy scheming on the part of a disaffected librarian, but joyous nonetheless. I’m now going to read up on Goethe, who was a cad, by all accounts, but a talented one.

ImageThe last great thrill of the broke and lonesome stretch before pay day was a cheap recipe in honour of the little flurry of snow that we had the last few days. I shamelessly stole this (from here) – it’s a three ingredient recipe, and takes about five minutes. I call it coconut and cardamom snowball truffles. Because I darn well want to.

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Heat up a 200ml tin of condensed milk (eat some with a spoon first.  It won’t work unless you do this). Add 200g of dessicated coconut. Stir. Remove to a cool bowl and leave for a while. Add more coconut if you need, until you have a consistency you can roll. Smash cardamom pods with a rolling pin. Put the seeds into the mix. Give it a good stir. Spread coconut out on your worksurface. Roll mixture into balls and then roll around in the coconut until they’re all fluffy. Put them all on a pretty serving plate. Then eat them all in one go. In bed.

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To round off a week of bookishness, here’s Jean Brodie in full swing, teaching her young gels about just what the pecking order of life really is:

“Little girls”, said Miss Brodie. “Come and observe this”.

They clustered round the open door while she pointed to a large poster pinned with drawing-pins on the opposite wall […] It depicted a man’s big face. Underneath were the words ‘Safety First’.

“This is Stanley Baldwin […] Miss Mackay retains him on the wall because she believes in the slogan “Safety First”. But Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth and Beauty come first. Follow me”.

And with that, the dangerous and utterly bonkers Miss Brodie leads them outside to a favourite spot under an elm tree in the playground to pretend to learn about history.

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