Post New Year Blues – Part Three…


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…. Loud crash of smashing porcelain as a delightful blue and white china bowl hits our newly laid wooden floors.  I curse.  It’s one of my favourites and part of a set. Of course it is.  It couldn’t possibly be an old gnarly, already chipped bowl now could it? No – it’s got to be one that you really like otherwise where’s the irony? Where’s the pain to add to my already shrieking heart?

It still had the remains of the Christmas cranberry sauce in it, and I watch in fascinated silence as it triple salchows perfectly through the air, rebounding off the newly installed quartz surfaces, smartly ricocheting with breath-taking accuracy from one cupboard door to another before coming to a resigned rest in literally millions of pieces on the floor. There’s a generous smattering of deepest crimson across a substantial area.  Lovely.  For a moment I feel a genuine sense of regret for the deliciously aged port that went into that sauce.  Port I oughtn’t to have been using, you understand, as it was one of The Egg’s finest vintage ports, and he’d been saving it.  He doesn’t know and I still see no reason to fill him in.  Well, it was December 24th and I was making cranberry sauce and I needed some port.  Oh come on, you can’t have cranberry sauce without port.  Admittedly finest vintage might be perceived as a tad extravagant. I could have resorted to orange juice as the recipe suggested “should you not have Port available” but it wouldn’t have been the same.  In any case The Egg hoovered it up on Christmas Day and thoroughly enjoyed it. Might have choked on it if he’d known but still…. death by port? – quite a nice way to go – but I digress….

Dashingly red, murderous, bloodied cranberry stain – Miss Scarlet in the kitchen with the bread knife. The Incorrigible Lab hurls himself at it with slathering tongue, tail wagging furiously as he does whenever any morsel of food is mishandled and escapes to floor level from the chopping board.  He is a martyr to his grub and has, on many occasions, had us his loving family collect in abject grief whilst he snoozes – languid, supine – missing only a smoking jacket and a spliff – on a drip at Doggy Hospital having consumed any manner of dog-unfriendly items of which there appear to be a terrifying amount.

Most recent was December and ‘mince pie-gate’ when he managed to snaffle two thirds of a mini-mince pie I had inadvertently left for just a moment on the work surface behind me. His talent for sniffing out sure and certain death is uncanny – he’s remarkably adept at it.  A £200 vet bill later, including a vomit inducing injection (which amazingly for a mere two thirds of a teeny-weeny mini-mince pie produced eight whole raisins! – who knew mini-mince pies are such good value?) – and a sleepless night for me followed his dried-fruit-filled feast. I was sternly instructed by the vet to administer 60ml of pure black liquid charcoal into him every two hours through the night.

After a tense and wakeful night, and the Incorrigible Lab awoke with a luxurious stretch of his paws and a wag of his tail to my suspicious, sleep-deprived piggy eyed stare.  It’s astonishing how messy black liquid charcoal is, especially when you’re administering it in the dark in an effort to stay in some level of sleep coma.  I think he had most of it, but the floor and carpet took a fair hit.  Actually his cheeky wag was all I needed and huge relief flooded me.  Totally love that dog!  No, really, he’s the best dog ever. In the World. Most expensive bloody dog in the World but still the best.  Also the most expensive bloody mini-mince pies I’ve ever bought.  I know they were Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range but really…

Back to Monday.  Kitchen carnage, a rampaging Lab, a barking retriever doing a piercing and freakily accurate impression of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, a lip-quivering teary-eyed Teen Wretch shouting it’s all my fault if he fails in life, Teen Wretch Two unable to find his school shoes and blaming me with gusto as it’s obviously my fault he doesn’t know where they are – (it must have been me who took them off his feet on Friday evening when he got home from school, hurling them to goodness only knows where so as not to waste a shred of his weekend Xbox time!) – and then – I do what any self-respecting woman holding stoically to her sanity would do.  I leave the scene of the crime.  Leave it behind me without a shred of regret or remorse, ne’er pausing to wave or administer kisses.  Clutching my thermal mug of tea and a cheese and tomato bagel – (there was obviously no time for my own sustenance in the furore – (too busy making porridge and toast for two undeserving boy wretches!) – I sit quietly in the car and breathe in some moments of quiet calm.

As I feverishly turn the ignition key I have a sudden blinding moment of clarity. I realise I had been about to give 14 year old Teen Wretch a couple of large tablespoons of 20% ABV port laden cranberry sauce in his morning porridge. For sweetening purposes, to make it more interesting.  Oh dear God. Somebody help me.

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Ruminations Of A Mad Cow

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February 28, 2023