“I’ve got an idea,” I said to my beloved. “We’ll go into town and go to the market. Then I’ll take you for coffee.”
Clearly I’d been hit on the head. Or maybe I’d inhaled something. Maybe I thought I was still in France…
At least twenty years since I’d set foot in the local market and now I realised why. There was a butchers and a fruit and veg man – and three stalls selling old Superman comics. Presumably to each other.
Anyway, we needed vegetables. Jessica was on her way home from university. She’d sent a text demanding fresh vegetables. I still have trouble squaring this with the seven year old girl who forced me to say, “I don’t care how long it takes, you’ll sit there until you’ve eaten your sprouts.” Words I vowed would never pass my lips…
Never say ‘never.’ The train gets in at four and a decree has gone out that supplies of asparagus and tender stem broccoli shall be waiting. She’s decided she’s short of vitamins. Apparently students can’t afford them.
“What are we going to have on Sunday?”
“There’s that leg of pork in the freezer.”
My wife agreed to rescue said pork from the perma-frost. “Let’s get some plums and some cooking apples,” I said. “I’ll make a compote.”
For some unaccountable reason my lovely wife made a snorting noise.
“A compote. A plum and apple compote. To go with the pork.”
“Congratulations,” she said as we came out.
“Without a shadow of a doubt you’re the first person in recorded history to say ‘compote’ in that market. And it probably cost us two quid.”
“Didn’t you see the bloke’s eyes light up? He decided you were right up your own £$%& and stuck two quid on the bill.”
“No I’m not.”
“Yes you are, darling. Ever so slightly pretentious.”
I carried on chuntering my protests but they got me nowhere. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long for my revenge.
“You should do the parsnips in treacle,” Jessica said as I wandered into the kitchen on Easter Sunday.
My wife skilfully arranged her tactful face. “That sounds interesting, sweetheart…”
I seized my chance. “Excuse me,” I said. “Yesterdays you accused me of being pretentious. Up my own £$%& if I remember correctly.”
“Yes. You were.”
“You’re now discussing roasting parsnips in treacle. And this morning you were talking about a raspberry coulis.”
(Between you and me I wasn’t entirely sure what a coulis was. But I was committed now…)
The tactful face disappeared. “Some of us try to rise above Jam Roly-Poly, darling.”
“What are you talking about?” It was our youngest son. Lightly dusted with teenage sarcasm.
“People who are pretentious.”
“You mean up themselves?”
“No, Ben, we mean pretentious.”
“Like Dad, you mean?”
“Don’t be ridiculous”
“Dad, what’s the first thing you do when you get served in a restaurant?”
“Ask you if you’d like to try some?”
“No, Dad. You take a photo of it.”
I patiently explained that I did it for the blog. If I described a particularly fine rack of lamb, readers expected to see a picture of it. Not that I could remember a rack of lamb in my recent past.
“You know the waiters go in the kitchen and laugh at people who takes pictures, don’t you?”
I resurrected the previous day’s protests, but secretly I’d long suspected as much.
“And how many photo apps have you got on your iPhone?”
I made even more ritual protests. Then I muttered, “Six.”
“I rest my case.” And with that the family lawyer turned to more pressing matters. “How long until dinner…”
Nominations for the BritMums ‘Brilliance in Blogging’ Awards are now open. If you’ve enjoyed reading this post – or any of the ‘Best Dad’ posts – then I’d really appreciate your nomination, in any (or all…) of the Writer, Family or Reader’s Choice categories. Here’s the link – and thank you very much.