Monday, 4 August 2008


Just when you let your guard down, scrub the barbecue and invite friends over, the bloody rain starts again with a vengeance. The children are going stir crazy, well the little ones are at least; the older ones are otherwise engaged. My twelve year old with a handful of new books and my son with his Divine Love. One cannot walk into a room without finding them attached to each other like limpets. Hubby and I are beginning to sound like consumptive Victorians given that we cough fervently every time we walk around a corner. It makes no odds. They do not seem in the slightest bit perturbed that their tongues are playing tennis and their hands are permanently glued together. The six year old is most intrigued by the relationship.
“Mu-um why are the under the duvet?”
“One moment angel”, I said, before hurtling up the stairs two and a time. Coughing loudly, which may have had more to do with climbing the stairs than a poor attempt at discretion, I flung open his bedroom door. Sure enough there they were, cuddled up together under his quilt. Mercifully they were watching a chick-flick and fully dressed, even her shoes were sticking out. Phew.
“You alright mum?” asked my son quizzically, “Only you look a bit puffed.”
“Oh I’m fine love”, I replied, holding on to the door frame for support and fanning myself, “Just give me a minute”.
My son paused his movie and they both waited, until I finally managed to say,
“We need some more burger buns. Be a pair of loves and run down the shop for me please”. Sighing dramatically my son emerged from under the covers without somehow letting go of Divine Love. They followed me downstairs where I gave them a couple of quid, handed them a floral umbrella and ushered them out.
Hubby came in from the garden, his face like thunder, water dripping off his nose.
“Why exactly are we having this barbecue Alice? Most normal people would just have pasta in weather like this.”
“Oh, don’t be a spoil sport love”, I said, “With so many people to feed pasta would be impossible. Besides, I’d already bought all the meat and had no idea the weather was going to turn like this”.
“But there are eighteen of us Alice. Some canteens aren’t lucky enough to have that many punters. Besides does Johnny Foreigner like our sausages? Tesco Value aren’t what they’re used to in the South of France you know”.
“Well actually”, I said, bending down to retrieve some couscous from the farinaceous section of my dry store cupboard (you can tell Hubby is on leave) and lowering my voice, “I splashed out and bought some posh ones in Tideford”. He still heard me.
“Hells-Bells Alice. We have eighteen mouths to feed and you’ve gone and bought some poncy snorkers? No doubt with some pretentious exotic flavours. What’s wrong with a simple banger? Must they be ‘delicately flavoured with a hint of wild porcini and fragrant thyme’?”, he used that very irritating signal with his fingers to indicate inverted commas.
I sighed and carried on regardless as Hubby sulked behind me. Just as I poured boiling water onto my bowl of couscous and chucked in a few pine kernels, my son, Divine Love and Mags, her kids and husband walked through the front door.
“Have you seen this horse manure?” Mags bellowed, waving a Sunday newspaper in my face. “I kept it from the weekend for you; I can’t believe what she’s written”. I hadn’t had five minutes to read any newspaper last weekend and this was not an ideal moment either as dad, my brother, his wife and my niece walked in and my students emerged from the basement simultaneously.
“Alright maid?”, said my brother, “What’s to eat? I’m starving” and before I could say a selection of barbecued meats, couscous, salad and homemade salsa, he continued, “Don’t tell me you’ve got that middle class Moroccan muck?” My brother is not what you’d call a metrosexual, “What’s wrong with a plate of good old fashioned tatties?”
“Concur”, I heard Hubby mumble. Ushering them into my sitting room, I told them to help themselves to a beer or wine whilst I counted out the requisite number of plates and silverware.
“Listen to this”, continued Mags, following me into the kitchen where she went on to read a journalist’s rather disparaging description of one of our favourite hangouts : Cawsand and Kingsand.
“She’s obviously never been there, silly cow. How can she say that there are no shops? There are several! Including, for her information, a very busy little post office. She says it has long since closed down. And what about the pubs and cafes? Hell Alice, what would we do in winter without a cappuccino at Moran’s and a curry at the Cross Keys? And apparently the narrow streets on a Friday night smell of wafting Diptyque candles to get rid of the damp smell in the cottages”.
“Sadly she has a point about the number of wealthy second homes owners though. I saw a lobster being delivered to one recently. You don’t get much of that around here Mags. A couple of Dabs and a bit of sole would be splashing out in Torpoint”. Mags scowled,
“Pollocks!”, she said, “Besides there’s all sorts going on. Yoga, twinning, Gig racing. There’s a real sense of community in Cawsand. Bloody Londoners” and with that she histrionically scrunched the paper into a ball and chucked it in the bin, “That’s what I think of that!”
“Grub’s up!” called Hubby, carrying a tray of meats. A stampede entered my dining room.
The French boy looked very distrustingly at his sausage as he pulled a shrivelled red thing from between his teeth, “Mon dieu! What eeze theese?”
“A sun dried tomato”, I replied breezily, before whispering to Hubby, “Don’t say a word. Not one word”.


Sally Lomax said...

More poisonous food for the foreigners Alice? Dear me! I guess sundried tomatoes are from a bit further south than France.... For all their fine cuisine they are in fact not the most cosmopolitan types when it comes to food from other places it seems are they? (Sorry French people, but you have yet to convince me that you are prepared to venture out a little further...)

Loved the duvet moment. Hilarious...

BTW... Have you noticed that I am here first? Now there's a turn up!

It's just me said...

Oooo excellent. I did a smilar BBQ reently, and they all turned thier noses up at stuffed mushrooms and pigeon breasts, but having been persuaded to 'ave a go they were suitably chastisened.

I do look forward to your new posts you know...

Mary Alice said...

I especially enjoyed your depiction of the young is just like that isn't it?! Cough Cough!

Eloise said...

Oh, Alice, you have a way of making everything funny!

enidd said...

hooray! we're sisters. well, at least your brother seems to have exactly the same personality as your brother, so i assume so.

(as for current disasters - better than expected on the mum front, dog disaster hearing is tomorrow. i'm in the uk, so if all goes well a gipy might see a meeting with you and sally and a bottle of fizz in our futures. well, it would be nice.