Friday, 26 February 2021

Snacks, Lockdown style

 Husband walks into the kitchen as I'm measuring 50g of cornflakes into a bowl already containing 350g of porridge oats.

'What's that for?'

'I'm making flapjacks*'.

'What?  I thought they were healthy!'

'What on earth do you mean?' I'm bemused.

'Well, cornflakes.' I look at him blankly. 'They're processed.  Not exactly healthy.'

'Are you serious?'



He leaves the room, whilst I consider the 100g golden syrup, 175g soft brown sugar and 175g unsalted butter that I'm about to melt and add to the mix.

On balance, I decide, it's probably best not to mention those ingredients.  Instead, I'll leave him to enjoy the chewy deliciousness of the finished product without having his illusions of healthy eating completely shattered....

* UK flapjacks, not the US stacked pancake version.  

Disclaimer: Not a breakfast food.  Not a diet food.  Not healthy, as such.  But ruddy gorgeous, and essential in our Lockdown home.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Pride and (snow) falls

 Parenting.  It's a roller coaster.

One minute you're blow away by your teens' maturity and grace in the times of Covid.  You thank your lucky stars that they have adapted reasonably well to the ridiculous times we find ourselves living through, and even congratulate yourself - a little - on the fact that you must be doing something right.

The next minute, you're standing in your garden late at night waiting for the dog to deliver, and you notice that one of your children has walked the outline of a huge penis onto your snowy lawn - and that it's in a location clearly visible to all your neighbours.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Walking with dinosaurs

As Lockdown #3 begins I walk the dog through our local woods, trying to pin down an elusive thought.  There's a scene from a movie that sums this situation up, I think.  Somewhere, rattling around in the back of my memory, it's there - but I can't quite touch it.  It floats elusively on the edge of my consciousness, just out of reach.  A child - IS it a child? - commenting on the fact that he - I think it was he - was back where he started.  Was there a car involved?

I can't quite grab it.  It'll come to me, eventually.  For now, I try to focus on the beauty of my surroundings, on the sunbeams angled through the empty branches, the patter of the dog's feet through the leaf litter under the bushes and the crunch of gravel under my feet, but instead am swamped - again - by anger.

It's distressing to consider how little progress has been made by the UK over the last ten months, and how many opportunities to learn have been ignored in our encounter with Covid19.  That's not to discount the herculean efforts and sacrifices that have been made by so many, the fortitude of even more. and the astonishing speed with which individuals and companies have marshalled themselves to battle both circumstance and this pernicious virus.  But just as this situation has brought out the best in some, it has highlighted where our government has come up short.  Their lack of foresight or interest in learning from their mistakes, the shocking cronyism that has seen good money thrown after bad, their absence of confidence that the majority will follow sensible rules and, of course, the lack of accountability when they are caught ignoring their own advice; all of the above have brought us to the current parlous state of affairs. Again.

Those are the thoughts I have as I stomp crossly along, wrapped up warm against the cold snap.  Eventually though, the calm of my surroundings works it's magic and I start to focus on simply breathing in, and out, in, and out, and begin to look forward to a cup of tea and a flapjack (because, Lockdown) when I get home.

As I reach the gate at the end of the fields my brain has cleared enough and finally, the memory I was grasping for comes to me.  When I get home I check and - even if I do say so myself - I was right.  This scene, from a movie that is nearly 30 years old, perfectly sums up how I feel about where we in the UK are right now.