It is beginning to occur to me that the Girl may be somewhat deranged. Possibly no more than your average 21-month-old, but to my mind, unhinged nonetheless. She showed an inclination for potty-training during the nice weather the other week – “Poo-poo! MINE!!!!”, roared every time she saw the toilet, and then she went NUTS when she realised what that blue plasticy thing in the laundry room was. So I took the blue plasticy thing and brought it into the garden, stripped her, and let her get on with it. “How clever,” I mused. “Potty trained before she’s 2... How easy that’s going to make my life...”
Half an hour later I realise two things: (a) that the average 21-month old can’t hold in their wee for more than several minutes at a time, so she spent the morning wandering in circles around the potty, like a Labrador trying to find a cosy spot on a rug; and (b) she is deranged. She has some weird ritualistic ablutions performed after each wee, involving – not, as is usual, fresh pure water, but – gah – the wee itself.
I couldn’t be dealing with that shit (excuse the pun) for very long so, to wails of consternation, the potty has been packed away and the nappies reinstated. Now she’s stripping herself from the waist down as much as is possible (I’ve taken to putting three layers of those clip-shut vests on her), and rifling through the kitchen looking for potty substitutes. As I write she is wearing a wife-basher vest, which is flapping open at her nether-regions, and is sitting on a saucepan. Yes, I realise this may result in some unpleasantness, but it’s keeping her quiet. She has also taken to wearing nappy-sacks on her bare-feet, and a small mixing-bowl on her head, and so generally resembles a pervy semi-scrubbed-up midget surgeon from the first world war. (I should also point out that before she put the bowl on her head, she pretended to vomit into it, giggling uproariously between retches. See? Crazy.)
I wish I could take a photo to show you – it’s flippin' hilarious – but God only knows what sort of readers I’d attract through the Google word-search then. And anyway, this week my sister told me that she’d like to Pinterest some of my photos, but “they’re all really really disgusting. Sorry.”
Disgusting? Really? Golly. I had no idea I was causing such offence with my complete lack of photographic talents. Isn’t it just enough to, you know, point-and-click? I apologise if others amongst you baulk in horror at the composition of my weekly illustrations. I’ve made an effort this week.
It’s called: “Saturday Morning, 9am. A fantasy.” (I can’t show you a photo of what all mornings are in fact like, because that REALLY would be disgusting. Similarly the scene behind the camera is one of utter carnage, a sort of Hunger Games on a smaller scale.)
It comprises all the components of what every Saturday morning should be like: A pot of loose-leaf tea, FRESHLY-MADE muffins (by me, not Mr Supermarket), and a fresh, unripped, newspaper. You will notice too that the table is clean, there are no small paws reaching up to spill something, and ideally you should get the sense that the house is... quiet.
That, of course, is the greatest fantasy of all.
The muffins were real – and delicious - tho’. They’re Nigella, who I’m beginning to suspect is yer only man for fool-proof baking. My only alteration has been the addition of some walnuts (which I didn’t do for the muffins in the BEAUTIFUL picture above, but did for the next batch, and much the better they were for it too).
Banana Muffins (Easy and quick enough to rustle up for breakfast).
You need (for about 12 muffins):
- 75g/3oz Melted Butter
- 250g/9oz Self Raising Flour (or plain flour, but add a tsp of baking powder to the mix)
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon (optional)
- Handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
- 115g/4oz Caster Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Honey
- 2 Large Ripe Bananas (the browner and mankier, the better)
- 2 Medium Eggs
- 125ml/4 floz Milk
Preheat oven to 190c / 170c Fan / 375f / 5g
Melt butter (microwave is easiest) and leave to cool.
Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the sugar and walnuts and mix well.
Mash the bananas well. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, honey, butter and milk to them and stir like a crazy woman.
Make a well in the dry mixture and add the egg mixture. Stir roughly with a folk. (Don't stir too much – it’s meant to be thick and lumpy.)
Grease the cups of a muffin tray well and fill each space to the top with the mixture.
Put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Nigella then says that you need to leave them to “cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then 5 minutes on a wire rack.” Don’t be ridiculous. Leave them for as long as you can wait, which in this house is about 47 seconds.
Stuff as many as you can into your gob before your children get their hands on them (and you).