My mother’s birthday was on February 1. I went down to Cork the weekend before for a birthday lunch which passed off peacefully and which I hope she enjoyed.
Preparations were rendered somewhat stressful by my brother’s decision to re-organise the bottom of the [very large Victorian] bookcase where a lifetime’s supply of ware had nestled peacefully for decades. All that he had deemed worthy of salvation had been returned in ordered piles to the bottom of the bookcase but the dining room table was piled high with items about which he had his doubts. My parents, I discovered, are the owners of the largest collection of toast racks alive in captivity. I may well be responsible for their above average holding of Kwak glasses.
In advance of lunch I found homes for many of the items – intended as temporary but likely to become permanent, I fear – the trolley and the sideboard are now more heavily laden than previously. On the plus side, the dining room table was clear. With the blessing of everyone in Cork, I liberated a toast rack and a jam pot which made it safely back to Dublin. “Ah,” said Mr. Waffle, “the 50s are back.”
I have discovered that if you want your toast to stay warm, a toast rack is utterly useless. However, if your daughter has cold toast for her daily sandwich (don’t ask me), it is ideal for ensuring that the toast cools speedily so that you can minimise the danger of condensation in the sandwich bag. Don’t mock the afflicted.
The other birthday is my brother’s which was on February 5 and for which, as yet, he has got no present from his loving, elder sister. I’m sure it will be even better for the wait. I wonder would he like a packet of stroopwafels.