I am officially in love and this is not something the Spinster says lightly nor is one particularly well equipped to deal with right now having just finished peeling and preparing 6 mangoes and a small pineapple! Unsurprisingly my manual dexterity is somewhat compromised after this amount of precise application of brain to hand. As I have mentioned a million times before my personal wiring shorts out; the myelin sheath has been (and continues to be) compromised which sounds vaguely as though one is practicing some particular form of safe sex! Oh that this were even within close proximity of the truth; memories ladies, we still have our inner most intimate recollections hidden deep within our cerebral filing system – if only I could recall the password to that secret compartment as I feel sure there’s something worth having a quick butchers at!
The last few sentences were designed to detract from the phrase ‘6 mangoes and a small pineapple’ as my dearest ma’s voice gently chiding me for purchasing the fruits in such numbers echoes in my head. Now be honest I know I am not the only one who lives with an internal dialogue; a conversation that informs the decisions we make – or not in the case of the 6 mangoes! My problem, in my defence (and yes it’s never a good sign when one feels the need to justify ones behaviour), the items were found in the reduced area of Morrisons. I find myself incapable of turning a deaf ear to the mournful cries of exotic fruits miles from home; weighed down with the impact of the air miles that brought them here to be sold for a paltry19p! That would be 19p for the pineapple and 19p for 2 mangoes; total cost 19p times 4 i.e. 76p.
The personal and environmental costs are rather higher. Personal injuries include a few small nicks and a couple of cuts (no blood drawn today); yes Dad I need to get busy with the knife sharpener although that in itself could be a high risk activity requiring adult supervision. Hmm that’s what you could give me for Christmas – your knife sharpening expertise – perhaps I’ll bring my kitchen knives to the parental home for a festive break! I have to confess that the 6th mango was a bit of a struggle – the pineapple wasn’t exactly a breeze either – as by then my ability to grip the juicy fruit in the palm of my left hand firmly enough to peel it with the vegetable peeler was a bit rubbish. And no I couldn’t leave them any longer as they were already in an unhappy state when I came upon them as they nestled in the box carried by the apron clad assistant collecting produce within an eyelash distance of their sell by date.
Today possibly wasn’t the best day to embark on a fruit massacre as I was a bit weak (and willing so the fatuous saying goes; why the willing bit? Does it refer to too weak to be anything other than compliant – anyway as always I digress) – on account of having been fasting. By fasting I mean drinking coffee and water supplemented with cigarettes with lashings of painkillers the result of which can be feeling a bit speedy! Not the best day to decide to return goods to M&S either; my godson came to see me on Friday and the gorgeous little guy has seemingly had a growth spurt! When he came to sit on my knee from where I read him a story I noticed that his feet reached further down my legs; no matter how much I adjusted his little body – well to be honest he did this all on his own as he wriggled trying to get comfortable – I couldn’t see how the aged 4-5 years Gruffalo dressing gown was going to fit! This particular design seems to be particularly popular as there were no larger sizes available on line either. Seeking out children’s clothes is the nearest I get to being a yummy mummy; all I can say is it’s rather hard work.
When said godson arrived he said ‘thank you for my new shoes Auntie Fran’ which rather threw me as to the best of my knowledge I had been no where near childrens shoes. If you ignore the unhealthy interest – lots of bemused starring – in the trainers worn by several small girls running round Chapter with lights flashing on their feet; the faster they ran the more lights flashed! It transpired that Godson’s new shoes had been purchased using a gift card I’d bought for him earlier this year. Nothing quite like a polite well briefed child to warm the cockles of a Godmother and so conveniently near to Christmas as this means I’m more likely to repeat this behaviour which of course I did yesterday!(The gift card has hologram puppies which move when the card is tilted!)
This visit was the first time Godson had come for his tea and I confess I had to ask his Mamgi (grandmother) what small people eat. Good job as it turns out because sandwiches minus the crusts would have been way off beam (of which more later). I was reliably informed Godson liked cheese on toast and hotdogs; great I thought how difficult can that be; how wrong was I! The visit began prematurely (for an overly organised single woman) when as I got out of the car Godson and his Mamgi walked towards me. The tea food was in a carrier bag in my hand: baked beans and sausages, hotdogs, mini chocolate rolls.
Once Godson stopped beating the front door with his fists I turned the key in the lock and he bolted into the house straight to the kitchen asking where his grapes were; no individual fruit today we are loading up with artificial preservatives! Mamgi helpfully unpacked the bag whilst I gathered myself i.e. filled the kettle for absolutely no reason. She then proceeded to fire questions at the small child: do you want the bread toast? Do you want the cheese melted on the plate? Etc etc followed by saying to me, when I bordered on becoming overwhelmed with his answers, ‘I don’t give him a choice myself’!
The whole experience was illuminating for the uninitiated Godmother; the following lessons were learnt. Hotdogs can be eaten cold from the packet or heated in the microwave they do not need to be boiled in water. Baby bel cheeses were spot on although small people need assistance removing the red wax; the cheese can then be melted directly on the plate with the hotdogs. No cutlery is needed; sitting down is optional and sharing mini chocolate rolls is not always welcomed.
And best of all children DO NOT like bread with bits in it; the hotdog/cheese sandwich was dismantled and the bread discarded nonchalantly piled neatly on the side of the plate! When I asked if he would have eaten the bread if I had put it in his mouth when he had his eyes closed he gave me the nearest to a withering look as a child of 4 can do! This was a non conversation; no words in the dictionary could describe quite how revolting this bread was to Godson. In simple terms it wasn’t proper bread as far as he was concerned!
Returning to my opening gambit I refer to Modesty Blaise and the story being serialised on Radio 4. Action woman/heroine Modesty is a bit of an amateur sleuth with an independent income and a liking for fast cars (of which she has a garage full)! Originally created in comic book forms the stories morphed into fully blown books at some point. A Taste for Death has been dramatized for radio by Stef Penney who is quoted as saying ‘Bond has held his macho sway for far too long. Time for him to stand down ..long live Modesty Blaise!’
And as the Woman’s Hour theme tune fades away its time to get back to my occupational therapy; my own personal version thereof wrapping Christmas presenst! With compromised manual dexerity the degree of concentration required is tremendously exhausting. I’ve only just twigged that you don’t have to wrap presents before popping them in present bags but somehow unless you cellotape the top closed there is no degree of surprise (good or bad) – I should have taken a lesson from Auntie who uses and reuses present bags each year! You just line the bags up and drop things into them; what could be simpler! One thing that could be simpler of course is the boxed set; please avoid this unless absolutely necessary especially the 3 for £10 ones in Morrisons! Convenience doesn’t always convey the degree of care you might be looking for…