Thursday, 3 December 2009


“I’ve got a bad chest”, I croaked.
“Looks magnificent to me”, leered Hubby. I slapped him away.
“Get off”, I said in a quiet, broken little voice, “Can’t you see I’m ill?”
“Sorry, love did you just say ‘I will?’, because I’m up for it if you are?”
“Honestly, how can you take advantage of the afflicted? I need some tender, loving care and some drugs”. Reluctantly he dragged himself away from my very debatable charms and went to concoct a potion that would set his wife on the right path. To what I didn’t want to contemplate.
“Right then”, he said minutes later, “Here’s a strong cup of tea and a couple of paracetamol-extra. That should get you on your feet in half an hour”.
“But I just want to stay in bed”, I whimpered, wrapping the duvet tightly around me.
“Not on your nelly. Let that magic potion work then get on your feet oh, thou great, domestic goddess and finish the job that you’ve started.”
The day before, making a Christmas cake had seemed a marvellous idea. I had made so many at the cafe in which I work that I thought I’d rather got the hang of things, the most complicated thing being in my opinion, the preparation of the tin. All that lining and brown paper palaver. I’m sure that by the time I’d greased and cut and attached there was more butter and baking parchment stuck to me than to the tin. Still once done, all is a doddle. Well it is if you work in an environment where your boss is organised and has all the ingredients ready to hand. So I creamed and sieved and alternately added the booze soaked fruit to the creamed mixture along with the flour and spices. Ten minutes later and my tins were in the oven and the citrusy aromas combined with the cinnamon and mixed spice, were indeed heavenly which is, once again, why a little voice in my head suggested that I too could produce a Christmas worthy of Ideal Home magazine, where cherubic children look on in wonder at their mother, whilst beautifully dressed older children, who have never been near a ‘hoody’ and a litre of cider and would never consider being anywhere else, lean against the kitchen counter approvingly as a handsome husband is portrayed laughingly having his hand slapped as he dips his finger into the cake mixture. A loyal, well behaved dog always looks up at the proceedings, as though himself smiling.
In reality my husband is having his hand slapped away for altogether far more lecherous reasons, the youngest are mutinous after sharing the weighing scales only momentarily and my son has informed me not to bother making my own mince pies as Mr Kipling’s are ‘lush’ and that this year he’ll be at his girlfriend’s place until ‘sometime’ on Christmas Eve.
Still, I press on in the hope that, once I’ve departed this mortal coil, those who profess to love me will themselves forever try to recreate the Christmases of yore in an attempt to retrieve me, if only fleetingly by way of a smell or methodology. Isn’t that why I and a million other crazy mothers do it? Aren’t we really trying to recover our own mothers as much as we want to make memories for our own children?
So it was as I measured out the dried fruit ingredients the other afternoon. I put Tom Jones on the CD player, one of my mother’s favourite crooners and got on with the job. I was dismayed however to find that I was lacking in enough glace cherries, cinnamon and sultanas and so decided, that upon picking up the girls from school we would drive out to Kernow Mill and get my things from good old Julian Graves. Unfortunately upon our arrival it was apparent that the aforementioned, million other mothers had got there before me and there was nary a sultana left and no cherries whatsoever.
“Bother”, I said, peering at the shelves.
“That’s not a bad word is it mummy” asked the Red-Head.
“No darling, it just indicates frustration”.
“Because bug....”
“Bug? What bugs?”, I added hastily, turning her around and making a quick escape. We came home via Sainsbury’s loaded with vine fruits and the all important cherries and spices. The girls, amid much rancour and bitter recriminations that it was ‘my turn’, ‘no mine’ tipped most of them into a big bowl as, sighing I went in search of the brandy, a little nip for me, the rest over the fruit. To my intense annoyance I realised that we didn’t have any.
“Bug..” I started, before catching the Red-Head’s eye.
“Currants look like bugs, don’t you think?”, I said breezily.
I texted Hubby to bring me some booze on the way home from work. He arrived half an hour later, clutching a bottle.
“Be careful of the texts you send me Alice. I was otherwise engaged, so asked my PA to read it out to me and, ‘Darling, desperately need a bottle of brandy’ was met with very raised eyebrows”.
I shrugged, by now my chest was getting tight. I poured the alcohol over the fruit and down my scratchy throat and went to lie down. The following morning what with Hubby’s advances and the recollection that I had yet to get all four children up, take two to school, walk the dog and then once again cream and sieve, made me most reluctant to get up.
I jumped though when Hubby hollered upstairs,
“Alice come quickly, the dog is drunk!”. He had it seems, whipped away the cling film in the night and troughed pounds and pounds of sherry soaked fruit. Most of it had reappeared. From his expression, if he could have he’d have asked for a couple of Ibuprofen.
As we checked him over our son wandered downstairs.
“Man, now that’s what you call binge drinking”.


Egghead said...

amazing, mum! love it, was well and truly lolsome, although perhaps the word 'immense' would have been suitably less girlish than 'lush' for my -rather femininine- but still seventeen year old brother. Have a nice day in dartington :D xxxx

Anonymous said...

That's why I buy my cakes from good old M & S!

Alice Band said...

Studentmum - M&S were having 'samples' todaym of their Christmas cakes and I helped myself and wondered too why do I bother!

jinksy said...

Nothing will ever beat the home cooked variety of anything! So glad I found you via The Smitten Image recommended posts...

Sandi McBride said...

OMG! I'm still very funny and made me miss our home in Beaconsfield and my beloved neighbor, Bubbles Green!!! Oh you are wonderful!
congrats on Post of the Week inclusion!

blunoz said...

A friend recommended your blog, and I really enjoyed this post tremendously. Congrats on your honorable mention on the Post of the Week.

Anonymous said...

Most definitely worth of a POTW award!
It's been a while since I stopped by - glad to see your writing is still in fine form. :)

Alice Band said...

Hello everyone. Just happened to look to see if any other people had popped by to find you all here. It's made my day although I have no idea what on earth Post of the Week is! But I'm delighted whatever it is!

blunoz said...

Alice, Hilary writes a Post of the Week (POTW) blog on Wednesdays at The Smitten Image.