Taken from Anna Jone’s The Modern Cook’s Year, a delicious smoky mushroom and roast kale lasagne recipe.
The boy had been born with four healthy limbs but by the end of his first year, he had already lost both his arms. Broad, toned shoulders gave him the triangular physique that so many young men craved, as if his upper body were perfectly fitted for a Zhongshan tunic suit – although if he were actually to have worn one, his father would have needed to trim both sleeves off so as to draw less attention to his son’s missing limbs beneath blue and black cloth.
A mass of turtles had gathered at the edge of the stream. They were floating upside down, tapping against one another. Liú Fāng’s father used a net to collect them and passed them to her. She organised them into rows of four on the path beside the stream: there were twenty-eight in total.
It was 13:29 when Nelson dropped down into his armchair, a mound of mangled wood and cheap leather, less arranged and more dumped in the centre of his back room. It put him two metres in front of an old Philips CRT 29PT9421 and next to an inoffensive table from a chain that erroneously claimed to sell oak furniture. In anyone else’s home, the set-up might have been quirky – the mossy wallpapered walls, the bareness of it all; it had Vogue potential, the type of thing you had to ‘get’ – yet, with all things considered, including Nelson Flood himself, it was just a bit seedy.
May was the cruellest month for Mai. She disliked her name as much as she disliked the sliminess of eels, the graininess of chickpeas, her upper lip hair, her periods, Molly showing off the Victoria’s Secret scalloped plunge bralette in the changing room, her profile pic, not having a dad, her mum’s job, her best friend Sophia moving to Cambridge for a better school, the rain, her curly hair, maths, PE, being an only child, and most recently the word ‘referendum’, or as her friends said, the R word.