About this blog

My only daughter's name is Clea. Clea was six years and nine months old and she was enjoying a family holiday in Samoa when the ocean surged as a wall, ten metres high, and drowned her. Many other people died that morning of 29 September 2009.
The other four members of her family survived the tsunami.
Life has never been the same since. It will never be the same. This blog features memories, reflections, poetry, etc...
Just let me stay with her under this moon,
hold her in my arms, spin her in the air,
with my dear daughter in some timeless swoon.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


It is her favourite breakfast. Days-old bread soaked in warm milk, lightly coated in beaten eggs, then fried in olive oil until golden and finally sprinkled with sugar (and too much sugar would never be enough, of course!). Also known as French toast, I have always called it torrijas, and I still recall my parents frying torrijas of a cold winter morning, sometimes accompanied by thick hot chocolate.

These days I simply use French sticks (which I allow to ‘age’) from the supermarket, but the best are always the ones made with Pane di Casa, thicker Italian-style loaves you can cut into any shape that takes your fancy.

We had perfected some sort of family comedy routine. When the plate was full, I would sit at the table and stare at them, at Clea and her two younger brothers, and very seriously declare my breakfast was ready, so what were they going to eat for brekkie? She would immediately reply in an indignant tone: ‘¡Son para todos!’ They’re for everyone, they’re to be shared!
I still make torrijas as often as possible. Her brothers have elsewhere declared it one of the best foods in the world. I still will sit at the table, place the big plate in front of me and announce that my breakfast is ready, and what is everyone else going to eat?

I still hear Clea in my head, crying out that the torrijas are for everyone, indignant at the sheer injustice of her father promising to eat all of them by himself.

How can such a sweetly perfected family comedy routine vanish? Why?

I’d pour tonnes of sugar over them if that could lure her back, and I’d feel no guilt or shame for giving my child all the sugar she wanted. Just this once.

1 comment:

  1. There are some of Graham's favorite foods that I wonder if and when I'll ever be able to prepare again. They were foods I made because it made me happy to please him. I know nothing could make you happier than showering little Clea with all the love (and sugar) that she deserves.
    How topsy turvy the world now seems to be.


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