With the election results concluded, my husband has been putting his slippered feet up, growing a beard and reading John Le Carre and an obscure book on cats!
We have joined in the relaxation by adding a couple of days off school to the bank holiday and incorporated Tim’s birthday into the celebration. But on Tuesday the youngest still had her riding lesson, and rather than the usual routine I took her with me shopping after her lesson. When we returned home, the kitchen was immaculate, the draining board clear of clean pots, food was whipped out of the oven and a chairs pulled up for Jemimah and I to eat. While I ate, the shopping was brought in and the frozen stuff put away. I then had a half hour violin lesson to teach and by the time I had finished all the shopping had been put away and dishes from tea either washed or stacked in the dishwasher. Again the kitchen looked immaculate.
It would be wonderful to assume that I am describing the handiwork of my husband (and he is frequently thus domestic, beyond the call of duty), but no! I’m not. He was still sat with his slippered feet up and “The Tailor of Panama” balanced in front of his face. It was all the work of the eldest and his instructions to the others. I was so surprised that I asked him if he wanted to be “Mum” too. He proved that he has excellent managerial skills and as I complimented him, he seemed to read the small print and told me that although he enjoyed doing it all, he didn’t want to do it too often! And no, he didn’t want to be Mum.
But it seems to have instigated a few days of beautiful culinary creations at the hands of all the children. Simeon is the passionate chef and for his birthday had asked for a recipe book that was based on his favourite series of novels. All the recipes in it are wonderful. We had a Beatrix Potter Recipe Book, when I was little, inspired by the Beatrix Potter stories but this is much more creative and I love what the author has written in the Preface:
When I was a young fellow, food was short because of World War II. Everything was on ration, and lots of things folk liked were just unobtainable. So, there I was, reading through my mother’s old cookery books, my mouth watering at the coloured illustrations of delicious recipes. And the books I’d read in the library…It really annoyed me when I’d come to a passage where somebody ate a marvellous feast. There never seemed to be any description of it. Afterward, the hero would ride off on his white stallion, thanking the King for the wonderful dinner. WAIT! What did it taste like? What did it look like? How was it made? Did he really enjoy it? Questions that even to my young mind required much answering. That is why the fare at Redwall Abbey is featured so prominently – I’m trying to put things right! In my stories, the food has as much a part of the saga as the battle, the quest, the poems, the riddles, and the songs. So enjoy it, mates! But in moderation – don’t try to be a gluttonous hare. Also, make sure you have proper supervision in the handling of knives, hot stoves, and things like that. I hope you enjoy the recipes. They all work, you know. Wot wot! Brian Jacques
How lovely to make a feast of the imagination come alive! We had “Crispy Cheese and Onion Hog Bake” the other evening for tea. And it was quite delicious. What is more, I didn’t have to assist in making it, at all! We had “Hot Mint Tea” on Daddy’s birthday. That was very nice, accompanied by “Dibbun’s Delight”, which were indeed delightful. We’ve been treated to “Autumn Oat Favourites” (biscuits) , “October Ale” and “Summer Strawberry Fizz”. Considering the shopping list I was sent shopping with and the ingredients yet to be used, there are plenty more delicacies to come.
So I seem almost out of a job with “The Redwall Cookbook” inspiring one son and a display of excellent organisational skills from the other. Maybe, I could sit back, relax, grow a beard, read John Le Carre, and get the children to do all the work, like the duck in “Farmer Duck”. “How goes the work? QUACK!” I think not. That wouldn’t suit me!
However, I have decided this week, that next time someone asks me what I do, instead of saying that I am a “stay-home Mum, who home educates four children”, I am going to say that I am a “Governess”. It sounds a lot more exotic. I did think I could say that I am a governess, nanny and mother but I think that’s too much a mouthful and will be received with furrowed brows and quizzical looks. Admittedly, saying I am a governess might get the same response, but I think the impact of a single word will be more impressive! I’ll gauge a response to my new job title at my husband’s inauguration as Mayor.
He’s finished John Le Carre and his book of Cloister Cats and and is drawing inspiration (or not, as the case is more likely to be) from a biography of Boris. But it’s back to shaving, smart shirts and polished shoes, this week! The party is over.