“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog’s blanket and the tea-cosy. I can’t say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring – I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house. Though even that isn’t a very good poem. I have decided my poetry is so bad that I musn’t write any more of it.”
Dodi Smith, I Capture the Castle, 1949
With so many great British Smiths, how is one to distinguish them? There are the musical ones of course, but narrowing Smiths to their respective fields doesn’t always help. Take the sub-group British literary chicks, and you’ve got not only Dodi, but Zadie and Ali to deal with.
Since I am drafting this post on an empty stomach, I am of a mind to differentiate these talented three by what one should consume whilst reading their books:
Zadie – An Indian dish, mispronounced, in the fashion of those ordered from Ardashir Mukhul’s restaurant in White Teeth (“Chicken Jail Fret See wiv chips” for example).
Ali – Haggis.
Dodi – Devonshire tea – with the tea-pot tea-cosied, the scones with lashings of cream, and the table sheltering bed-socked feet and a dalmatian.
The dalmatian is in deference to one of Dodi’s other books – the one arguably more famous than the author herself. It goes by two names, the lesser-known being The Great Dog Robbery. I’m sure you can guess what it is.
With thanks to the splendid Cathy for requesting this splendid first line.