Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Late the other evening, surrounded by cannelloni tubes, wayward bits of mince, a cheese sauce with an identity crisis and armed with a frozen garlic baguette, Hubby walked through the door.
“Yoo-hoo Alice love!” He sounded most uncharacteristically chipper.
“Hello”, I answered, struggling to get the bloody baguette into the oven, “Damn it”, I continued, realising there was no alternative but to remove the thing from its foil, cut it in half and re-wrap it.
“Damn it”, said Hubby, wrapping his arms around me, “Is no welcome home for your poor, hard working husband. Meet Graham. He’s come for dinner”.
I looked up from under my messy, badly-needing-to-be-washed hair and smiled, very weakly.
“Uh, hello Graham. I’d shake your hand only it’s covered in garlic butter.”
“I didn’t want to impose and this husband of yours said we’d get a curry”, said Graham, looking slightly uncomfortable.
“Did he, did he indeed?” was all I was able to say. Well this Hubby of mine hadn’t even told me a colleague of his had been invited for dinner. If he had, take it from me I would not have gone to the immense effort of stuffing ruddy ragout sauce down the gaping mouth of a cannelloni. The sauce was everywhere, as was the cheese sauce which had caught at the bottom of the pan and which would take two days of soaking in soda crystals until the pan was once again useable. A night off by way of dipping my naan in chicken korma would have been a welcome change. As it was, the house and I were a mess and, unlike Jesus I find it a struggle to eke out a dish of pasta to feed the five thousand. “Please make yourself at home”, I smiled, “I’m afraid I’ll be stuck in this kitchen for a little while yet”.
“Yes, c’mon Graham,”, said Hubby, only too happy to have a friend to play with, “let’s leave her to it. Fancy looking at my record collection?”
I smirked. That could quite easily have been suffixed with - Matchbox cars, Pokemon or Star Wars figures. It matters not a jot, men are still boys with their toys.
Unfortunately, they didn’t get much time to play records as the youngest children were most intrigued as to whom Daddy had brought home. My children are far from shy and within minutes of Graham sitting down both were on his lap interrogating him.
When I ran into the dining room forty minutes later the pasta dish burning me through the tea towel and the garlic bread under my arm like a sword, he was still pinned to his chair being serenaded by every nursery rhyme the Red-Head could remember – to be honest her repertoire is pretty limited and so ‘Finkle Finkle Lickle Star’ was sung as though on a constant loop, although with more gusto each time. Graham looked exceedingly happy to see his dinner if only to remove a sticky, caterwauling three year old from his lap.
Witty, civilised conversation was as ever out of the question as four, feisty siblings fought for attention and their turn to be heard. Opinions and anecdotes listened to and protested over, the meal degenerated further as the youngest squabbled over the last of the garlic bread and the eldest argued over who was going to use the internet next. Hubby, oblivious to the discord at his table was more concerned in looking through a pile of 45’s for a pink, vinyl copy of Squeeze’s Cool For Cats. It was left to me to entertain our guest, who looked curiously, overwhelmed. Dinner at chez Band is, without a doubt, an intimidating experience.
Luckily for me I have spent many an evening in the company of sailors and am thus adroit at conversation with any branch of the RN be they weapons engineers, helicopter pilots or ‘supply’. Graham was more than happy to wax lyrical about grey ships, especially given the fact that he once had command of one. A few choice questions here and there about Type 23 frigates and the challenges therein and before you could say, specialist anti-submarine platforms, dinner was over and we could all excuse ourselves.
“Thanks Alice love”, said Hubby as he carried a few plates into the kitchen after me.
“What for?” I asked, scraping the remains into an adjacent bin.
“For not talking emotions. You’re really one of the lads at times”, he added, smacking me on the bottom as he left me to the Fairy Liquid.
Later, after the youngest children had been put to bed and the eldest wrestled off my computer, I finally sat down to share what was left of a fine bottle of wine. Just as I took my first sip, the Red-Head called for me. Running up the stairs two at a time, I reassured her that there were no and never would there be any, velocoraptors hiding stealthily under her bed. Running back down the stairs, a piece of Lego that had been previously hiding, took my foot from under me and I fell down the stairs like a hapless burglar in a Home Alone movie, landing in the hallway, my skirt somewhere above my chest, the infernal piece of Lego imbedded insufferably into my, not insignificant, bottom cheek.
“Oww!”, I wailed. Unfortunately being younger and fitter, Graham was the first to jump off the sofa and thus the first on the scene; consequently the first to see me, clothes awry, bottom bleeding. Hubby was fast on his heels though but his proclamation of “Dear God girl you look a right state” did little to console me.
Suffice it to say the remainder of the evening was not spent flirting in the company of two handsome men but on the kitchen table on my hands and knees. Tweezers, ice pack and Savlon* were administered with one hand, dignity, decorum and modesty taken away with the other.
* an antispectic cream.


thefoodsnob said...

Oh, Alice, sometimes I don't know whether it's wrong to laugh when I read you, you can't make this stuff up!
I would just strangle my hubby if he brought someone home without calling, ESPECIALLY if it was someone I had never met!
Sorry about the end of your evening, at least it sounds funny now?!


enidd said...

lummee, alice, didn't he even wash up after springing a visitor on you? he's the one who deserves the lego in the cheek.

Alice Band said...

Lisa - Hilarious!

enidd - I don't normally do the dishes. I think it was diversion tactics!

sally's hubby said...

Hi Alice,

I reckon I did some work with your unexpected guest, shortly before he left his previous posting, from the few clues you've dropped here.

BTW, Sally is still alive and kicking, in case you're wondering. Just kicking school kids by day and fellow Thesps by night. Doesn't leave much time for blogging. But I'm sure she'll make good the deficit as soon as she is able...


Yolanda Elvira said...

mmmmm..... cheese and sauce and pasta and butter and garlic.... yummmm.... was there something else to the story? something about a mess and a husband and a friend?

go back to the cheese and the sauce part, wouldja?

Mary Alice said...

Deary me. Well, you are the hostess with the mostess if you managed not to gasp out loud at the unexpected arrival of the guest. I am very impressed....and the fall with the skirt up over your chest, well that just served to keep the memory of the evening forever imprinted in your guest's head....the fact that it may be forever imprinted in your own behind, is just as side note.

Alice Band said...

Sally's Hubby - Lovely to hear from you after so long! My love to Sally. I wonder if you miss the old RN?

Yolanda - Keep your fantasies for The Boyfriend. Leave the cheese sauce out of it!!

Mary Alice - I am very forgiving!

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

I'm just catching up on my reading...and had to laugh at your pain...I apologize. Is this a case of adding injury to insult? Hope your bum feels better :)