Late on Sunday afternoon we went out for a short walk and it was not a success. The Princess lost interest in walking; Michael and Daniel demanded to be carried and so did she. We had to carry them and cajole her back home and by the time we got there, the four senior members of the party were annoyed to various degrees. Michael having had his demand met; to be carried home reclining in his mother’s arms not on her hip was pretty sunny.
When we got home, it was about 6.40. “If we are going to have roast chicken, we will not eat until 8”, I announced gloomily. Mr. Waffle was keen that we should have Yorkshire pudding. Yorkshire pudding with roast chicken is an abomination but he was adamant as it is one of the few things the boys will eat at the moment. 8 was too late for dinner, we decided. “I’ll make the chicken and mushroom thing” I said. To my horror, Mr. Waffle remained adamant on the Yorkshire pudding. Yorkshire pudding with rice, mushroom and chicken in a cream sauce is an unspeakable abomination. I stomped off to the kitchen and chopped up an onion and some garlic. I hunted high and low for the mushrooms which I knew we had bought the day before. I stomped in to where Mr. Waffle was reading to the children and asked where the mushrooms were. “Ah, gosh, yes, I used them all yesterday in the beef stogonoff”. I stomped back to the kitchen and threw the onion and garlic in the bin in a marked manner and started preparing parmesan chicken which does not require mushrooms or onion or garlic (very nifty recipe actually). Mr. Waffle came into the kitchen, he wanted to make the Yorkshire pudding batter. “Fine” I said and flounced off conscious that it would have only taken me two minutes to get the chicken into the oven where it could start its half hour bake (should I explain that the kitchen isn’t really big enough for two and somebody has to stop the children from killing each other). He did his evil work with the batter, I subsequently polished off the chicken and put it into the oven.
It became apparent that the Yorkshire pudding and the chicken would not coincide. “We can have the Yorkshire pudding as a starter”, I said bitterly. I then realised that, really, I would have to make gravy as Yorkshire pudding without gravy is etc. etc. I went into the kitchen and looked longingly at the chopped onion I had fired into the bin in a rage and chopped another and set to on the gravy. As I was adding stock to my butter flour mixture (I believe people who can really cook call it a roux m’lord) and anxiously whisking the very hot mixture seeking to avoid lumps (something I have never actually done in any circumstances, however ideal), Mr. Waffle came into the kitchen to pour the Yorkshire pudding mixture into the oven. I glared, he retreated nervously, I stomped off.
The Yorkshire pudding was ready 15 tense minutes later. The children tucked in delightedly to their lumpy gravy and pudding feast. I grudgingly had one. Mr. Waffle, damn him, is a dab hand at the Yorkshire pudding and it was really very tasty. This from a man who had never even tasted Yorkshire pudding before he met me. As you can imagine, this did not make things any better. Inevitably, my chicken and rice offering was spurned with contumely by my children. Mr. Waffle ate enthusiastically, nervously heaping praise on the cranky chef.
Later as we were giving the boys their bath, my loving husband said to me that I was still cross. Normally, though lots of things make me cross, I haven’t got the energy to stay cross for long and like my father and my brother I am inclined to get over things quickly and forget my rages. But I had a brief insight into what it is like to be my mother or my sister both of whom are very even tempered but once roused are very difficult to calm. I knew I was being unreasonable and I wanted to stop being cross but I just couldn’t let go. I think I may have been talked down later after a soothing cup of tea.
And while we are talking about family disharmony, do you think there was some unhappiness preceeding the insertion of this announcement in the birth announcements in this weekend’s Irish Times:
Stevenson – Kilsheimer (Washington D.C.) – My grandmother in her eagerness to announce my arrival (Irish Times, Saturday January 19, 2008) unfortunately gave me the wrong names. I am called Miles Andrew.