No sign of the old bugger for weeks. But that’s him entirely and often his way, he’s either in your face like a wart or your coffee is quite safe. Sometimes I prefer wart … but don’t tell him I said that. I miss the old sod—and being dead he’d be far better placed to answer some questions (on a subject currently close to my heart) than all the experts could ever be. Reincarnation, it’s a bugbear that We, The Living, often find difficult.


The Spouse gave me a lovely coffee gadget for my recent birthday. As is my wont I experimented with different beans and different grinds—I’d bought a superb hand-grinder for just a couple of bucks at a garage sale once so fished it out; easily the best I’ve every used. I’ve now fine-tuned the grind down to a similarity with a coarse-ish sugar granule and am in the ballpark.

I also experimented with varying styles/methods of milk, from straight cold to boiled hard and frothed. Okay, my efforts are nothing to compare with the Starbucks-in-a-bucket I was quaffing as I scribbled these words but we’re early days yet.

Rock bottom and I can account for EVERY suck ... spooky~!
Rock bottom and I can account for EVERY suck … spooky~!

Whilst pondering the vicissitudes of taste it suddenly hit me (stroke of pure genius, I tells ya!) I should try it straight, just as it comes from the moka-maker. Black … and never a hopeful mariner was more rewarded with a safe haven after a stormy crossing ~ pure nectar!


the pretentious favoured black at a time when everyone else didn’t (for reasons obvious if you’d been in New Zealand at the time) (yuk). In those halcyon days you had just two choices: black or white, and take it or leave it. You’d have been better served to pay your money then leave it … macho me, mere male, mostly chose black. Black was (a) so unpopular, and (b) so very James Bondish; so of course …  it was all bloody awful anyway.


thinks I overindulge in coffee. In vain I tell her it’s had a bad press, that it’s currently being brought in from the cold, that for many Americans it’s their major source of antioxidants; and my own coffees fail the Pisa test anyway.

Of course she bites like a soal of shavage sarksh. She’s meant to, and reliable. So I have to explain—

“Italians,” I tell her, “like their coffee both black and strong—”


“—so some Italian genius devised that lovely ‘moka’ thingy you got me for my birthday—”

“Stop digressing! Life is but a fleeting shadow, the grass is growing out there, get on with it—”

“—and to distinguish an acceptable drop from ersatz they they also devised the ‘Pisa’ test—”

“Pizza? You having me on? Coffee pie? Naa—”

“—which involves standing a spoon on end in the centre of the cupful. If the spoon takes more than five seconds to reach the edge of the cup it’s acceptable.”

Good. I’ve achieved the ‘stunned mullet’ look on her face already. From here it’s all downhill; it will be brief but satisfying. Gullible, she is not—the whole secret is not to be sincere but to allow just the hint of a twinkle in the eyes, perhaps just the faintest twitch of an unspoken smile … and then she knows I’m just joshing. Not.

She changes gear so smoothly I don’t even notice.

“Pisa. Aah, yes, I should have guessed, named after the famous leaning tower I don’t doubt. A bit like the modern English KitKat test, no?”


I’m frantically scanning the memory banks trying to associate chocolate coated biscuit fingers with coffee and/or leaning towers. Drawing a blank and being male I roam out into rational/scientific; perhaps it’s something to do with melting rates— . . Uh oh. She’s smiling. I know that coup-de-grace ‘Gotcha!’ grin anywhere …

“If a Kit-ten Kat can walk across without sinking in or even getting it’s paws wet, your coffee is strong enough—no?”

Momentarily I feel riposted. Dammit, couped.

But no, as I look into those two great golden-hazel (with green flecks) orbs there’s nary a hint of triumph nor jubilation, nothing. Nothing but the artless guileless innocence assuring me that somewhere deep within she’s quietly adding yet another slash to an already overloaded tally.


Oh yes, making my moka black. It worked, absolute nectar. Gorgeous.

Too bad The Sage isn’t making still house calls, he’d love it. And I’d be able to pick his brain—if disembodied spooks have a brain—on topics currently close to my heart.


Carpe Diem

.And the perspective (the angle of that snap) does the size of that hefty mug no favours at all—it’s no wonder The Spouse limits me to just one a day; even then I float out …



One thought on “NO SIGN

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