I sit down to write a post, but I realise I have nothing to write about. So I tell D I have nothing to write about and D says why don’t I write about Nothing.

Who’d want to read about Nothing? Who’d want to read about a nothing kind of week? With exactly seven days, each day with exactly the same name: Tuesday right after Monday. People un-upsidedown. Duvets in duvet-covers. My washed washing still in the washing-machine. Four cows in the Common chewing on their grumpiness and that fine grass. Pooing as they walk, pooing as they eat. Terrible table manners under absurdly good sunsets. River, rowers, ripples. Goddamn alliterations. And autumn.

Nothing that trumpets. Or tells a story. And that’s the thing about Nothing, see. It doesn’t care. It doesn’t want to be. Doesn’t want to make a point. I watch Chotto-ma blow at a dandelion, scattering seeds to wind, till there’s nothing left but a green stump. But in that Nothing is contained one deep breath. Held. Released. Sending scores of seeds parachuting to its soil, sprouting into a hundred beautiful weeds.

I like Nothing. I like stories that say nothing, and tell something. I like questions that ask nothing, and walks that go nowhere. I like cul-de-sacs. And pointless conversations. And silence. And empty hours. And blank paper. There’s nothing quite like Nothing.

I had nothing much in the kitchen on Friday. I came home to a few stalks of celery, four carrots, a bunch of forgotten spring onions, some dried chillies and a couple of potatoes. And wine, for there is always wine.

Something good came out of that. Something good always comes out of nothing much.

Carrot, Celery and Chipotle Soup


1 cup chopped celery
2 cups sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped spring onion (white onion will also do)
3 potatoes, halved lengthwise, then sliced in thick-ish semi-circles
1 chipotle chilli (this is what gives the soup its lovely smoky flavour)
1/2 cup dry white wine
A knob of butter
2 bayleaves
Coarsely-ground black pepper

Heat butter in a deep pan. Add the celery, carrots, potato, onion and a pinch of pepper. Stir for a couple of minutes on low heat.
Add about 6 cups of water, salt and bayleaves. Cover with lid and simmer till the vegetables are halfway cooked.
Add the wine and chipotle chilli, then continue to boil with the lid off till the vegetables are cooked and tender.
Serve hot.

PS: Don’t go by the soup’s plain appearance. Inside, it is a thing of great beauty.
PPS: We had the leftover soup the next day with a grilled sausage dunked in.

26 thoughts on “Nothing

  1. You make even 'nothing' sound wonderful. πŸ™‚

    I've had nothing to write about of late, too. Nothing comes to mind when I open up my blog these days, and I am left staring at an empty screen. Life has been dull – nothing much has been happening. I wish I could get inspired to write again.

  2. I've seen that putting words on paper in the midst of a blah week makes me realise that it wasn't blah at all. That there were nice little things that I'd done and seen and taken in that I didn't know I was doing or seeing or taking in. Your 'dull' is someone else's 'interesting'. Do write!

  3. To me nothing is scary but the way you make it sound, I feel like calling nothing home and cook it a meal. The soup looks so hearty. The pictures make me want to visit you.

  4. Hi, Vow! you make nothing sound so picteresque and inviting … same here nothing to write but I like the way you moulded your nothingness into a thing of beauty … waiting for more…
    take care

  5. I like the thought of having Nothing over for a meal! πŸ™‚
    Though having you over for a meal would be even better. Cambridge awaits, Anita xx

  6. Pia: dolce niente (sweet nothing)… I like the challenge of doing something out of nothing

  7. “I like the challenge of doing something out of nothing” – yes, I've always enjoyed that more than having choices aplenty.

  8. Sometimes, nothing is the best! Loved this post. Recipe sounds delicious too, perfect for these nothingy days when our weather can't decide whether it's autumn, summer or winter! πŸ˜€

  9. The soup sounds great. A friend of mine had celery and chipotle soup yesterday and I had never heard of it but thought it sounded an interesting combination. Googled it and ended up here. So I'll give yours a go. Nice blog too. Thanks!

  10. If you tried the soup, I hope it tasted as great as you thought it sounded.
    Thank you for writing in – I'm glad the Google god led you this way.

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