The Man is off gallivanting for the weekend (still not quite sure how that particular agreement came about) and so I’ve been practising something I haven’t done in quite a while: round-the-clock sole parenting. It’s been an interesting few days, and in an attempt to be a better person, I’m focusing on the lessons I have learnt, as follows:
· Drinking two beers at dinner time is likely to lead to forgetfulness.
· Forgetting to put a nappy on the Boy at bedtime is likely to lead to leakage.
· If you’re stupid enough to take your eyes off your demented offspring while in a toy-shop, you can expect to leave said shop owning various over-priced age-inappropriate toys in ripped-open boxes.
· A visit to Starbucks is an entirely appropriate way to kill an afternoon.
· There are some Starbucks’ customers who don’t fully appreciate this.
· And staff.
· Those “leak-proof” swimming nappies clearly weren’t tested on a one-year old with a penchant for weetabix.
· Swimming pool attendants do not cope well at the sight of brown water.
· A three year old calling his mother “Mother” is somewhat amusing in the confines of one’s own home. Less so in a busy cafe.
· Small children should be dressed brightly when going for a walk in the park on a misty morning.
· The best way to deal with hysterically weeping small children is to offer chocolate wafers. Saying “Oh for goodness’ sake I was just over there” just doesn’t cut it.
· The road to heaven is paved with good intentions to make the most of being alone by going to bed early.
· The screech of someone being garrotted in your back garden is a just a fox. Hopefully.
· You are never too old to lie in bed worrying that Freddie Kruger might be hiding somewhere.
· Roast mushrooms on toast is one of the all-time great suppers.
Roast Mushrooms on Toast
You need (for one greedy sole-parent):
· Four large flat mushrooms (or as many plain white mushrooms – large or otherwise – as you fancy)
· Some olive oil or butter
· Some garlic (optional)
· A couple of tablespoons of pesto (optional)
· Salt and pepper
· Chopped parsely, to garnish (optional)
(As you can see, there’s a lot of optional going on above. Really, all you need are some mushrooms, fat (oil or butter) and seasoning. After that, you can get as fancy as you like.)
Heat oven to 170c / 325f / 3
Wipe and de-stalk the mushrooms. Put on a baking tray / oven-proof dish. Drizzle olive oil over, or dot with butter.
Apply any fancyness now (crushed garlic, smear of pesto etc).
Stick in oven for about half an hour, or until entire house smells of autumn.
Remove from oven, season, scatter parsley atop, and serve with plain old buttered toast. A softly poached egg would be good too.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the most important lesson of all: a glass of red wine elevates even the most parsimonious of suppers to great heights.