Virginia Barton

28 February 2016: Festina lente


28 February 2016


Ars longa, vita brevis.

Memento mori.

Carpe diem.

A clutch of aphorisms, and the bewailing of the death of Heraclitus (in translation, I hasten to say) are the sum total of four years of Latin lessons. Shocking isn’t it? What a disappointment to Miss Wegg-Prosser. She would not be surprised to know that only recently has the significance of festina lente sunk in.


There has been too much rush-rush and not enough hush-hush this week. The computer crashed, slap in the middle of a very private legal document. The hospital bowled a bouncer, and a foolish remark came home to roost like an old crow. By then it was Wednesday. On Thursday the online shopping was delivered with 12 x 9 rolls of kitchen paper rather than the two I meant to order, and at the very same time a significantly tall man came to the door with the new kitchen composter. Now this IS interesting.

This is a ducky little caddy with a vented lid, a carrying handle at the back, and a gizmo to hang it on the wall or inside a cupboard. Plus a roll of cornstarch degradable liners. My first reaction was how much these caddies must be costing our cash-strapped Council/rate-payers. Presumably they will prove worth it, planet-wise, in about fifty years. However, when one reads of all the Children’s Centres being closed plus many of the services for the elderly, e.g. the Falls Clinic, one can’t help wondering if the money might not have been better spent.



One thing you won’t find in our food waste caddy is a scrap of BH’s pobs! A thoughtful neighbour was so moved by his porridge-less plight she came with a cylinder of Flahavan’s “Trusted for 200 Years” Original Irish Quick Oats, “Ready in 2 Minutes”. AND with an easy measuring spoon. BH’s breakfasts are now wreathed in smiles and I bless that kindly neighbour and E. Flahavan of Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford.

To top that, today came a cutting from The New York Times celebrating the joys of a restaurant in Greenwich Village called OatMeals. Here the most outlandish and outrageous kinds of “porridge” are served: with cheese and bacon, peanut and banana (the ‘Elvis’), or Indian spiced: can this really be curried porridge? The article says nothing of Robert Burns but it seems that in 1932 a wooden porridge bowl with his initials and a horn spoon were purchased by W. Ormiston Roy, now in the collection of G. Ross Roy.



The article in the NYT described the special tool the Scots use to stir their porridge – a wooden tapered dowel called a spurtle (above). It sounds like a dibber to me, and I must have one.

The 23rd World Porridge Making Championship is to be held at Carrbridge, Scotland this year. The prize (you guessed it) is a Golden Spurtle. I’m thinking of entering BH.






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