We’re having a cool gray morning. I am looking forward to grocery shopping and, if not exactly looking forward to finishing the thorough cleaning of my living room, at least looking forward to having it done. I am also working part of the day, finishing the unpacking of a book order.

But I am relaxing this morning. I got up with my husband at 4:00 to see him off to work and just lay in bed and read after he left, and was able to go back to sleep. Unusual for me, and probably a sign of sleep deprivation. Then I got up and used the eggs and milk #1 son bought last night to make some muffins.

Banana Muffins

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c sugar
1 egg
1/4 c canola oil
1/2 c applesauce
2 c wholewheat flour
3 T buttermilk
2 t vanilla

Mix everything together gently and bake in a muffin tin at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

I am reading A Place of Safety by Caroline Graham. This is the second of her books that I have read; I don’t know how it is that I had never run into her work before. She has truly interesting characters with believable good and bad qualities, and she is able to make their emotional lives gripping. So often a series detective will be the most important character in the book, and the others are just foils for the detective. That is not the case with Graham’s Inspector Barnaby. All the characters are three-dimensional. The plots are suspenseful and unpredictable. With so many mystery novels, I come upon a scene and feel like, ah yes, here is the required violence to perk things up, or okay, there’s now going to be 5 pages of the heroine in peril — I can skip that. Graham’s work is more like the classic books of the mystery novel’s Golden Age.

Ah, the muffins are beginning to smell very good.

Yesterday a man came into the store with a little boy. He was wearing a bucket hat, an expression of cheerful good health, a polo shirt, khaki shorts that revealed his knees, and black socks and shoes. Somehow, this ensemble convinced me that he was from New Zealand. Sure enough, when he spoke, he had that antipodean accent.

“Look,” he said to the little boy, “you can use these to cut shapes when you make scones or something.”

The little boy was not a kiwi. Perhaps the American grandchild. He looked solemnly at the cookie cutters. We have recently learned that kiwis say “capsicum” when we say “pepper” and have sausage variations that we can hardly imagine. When they say “scone” (rhymes with “gone” in the U.S.), they mean something rather like what we would call a “biscuit.” But when they say “biscuit,” they mean what we would call a “cookie.” The nice man realized this, and continued.

“Or you could make a cookie shaped like a stah.” He said “cookie” as though it were baby talk, something I have noticed before among English speakers not from Hamburger-a-go-go-land. He was also saying “star,” but the New Zealand version of that vowel is unlike anything we have in the U.S., or at least in this part of the country. We never make that tense a sound.

But we do sometimes make scones, cookies, and even muffins (which, I would guess, the people in the Southern Hemisphere would call “teacakes.” I’m just guessing, though). I believe the muffins are now ready, and I will now go make a nice omelette with peppers to go with them.

And, now that I have a refrigerator, I will stop talking about food all the time. I promise.