Saturday, 7 March 2009

Every cloud must have a silver lining

So we are summoned from our exciting time in London by the threat that Shark may be gravely ill.

Aunty Dee may have had enough. She cannot find evidence of temperature, sore throat, headache or other symptoms, beyond Shark groaning, and lying wanly on the sofa. Aunty Dee has attempted to feed Shark the obligatory pink juice, but Shark jumped up and fled the room shouting Not bloody likely. Or words to that effect. It might be time to wrap up my life of glamour in gold spangled tissue paper, shove it to the back of the cupboard of memories and other bizzarities, roll up my sleeves, and get on with living daily.

First, I am determined to show Aunty Dee a good time, hopefully to say thank you for putting up with the gritlets. On the agenda is a visit to the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, which is stored in a dusty corner of a Cambridge quadrangle a bit like you might stuff a shoe box of treasures under the bed.

But because today we are doing things properly - and I fondly want to bring back a little of that sun and moon kissed moment of living it up in London to Aunty Dee, who has doubtless been on her hands and knees grovelling in grime - this means I have decided that we arrive in Cambridge elegantly. Like ladies who lunch. But because I have to please the gritlets too, I say before we tour the museums, we may take pizza at the Pizza Express. This, I think, will show everyone a good time. It will certainly make a change from eating last week's stale bread from a plastic bag as we travel at 70mph on the A1 and referring to it as a lovely picnic.

By the time we arrive in Cambridge, it is already too late for pizza. But I'm not giving up on my idea that this is a fine day out and a treat all round. I suggest we pop into a posh sandwich shop where Aunty Dee can indulge herself in goats cheese and black olive paste. And here I strongly recommend Tiger, Shark and Squirrel take pizza slices.

I strongly recommended that, Tiger. So strongly in fact, some might interpret that as an order.

Now of course it all goes wrong. While I am calculating the income from selling a body part in order to pay for lunch, Aunty Dee must deal with Shark. Shark picks up a roasted vegetable panini from the self service counter and immediately drops it on the floor. Gasps and wails all round.

Once paid up and broke, Shark discovers her new choice of a delightful vegetable option is stuffed with rolls of parma ham, which might explain the cost. Of course there is more wailing. Shark won't eat it unless the ham is pulled out with fingernails and dropped in a bin. Then I must lie and revise all known physical laws and say of course the parma ham did not actually touch anything else in her panini bread.

That solved, Aunty Dee must now surmount the slight technical problem of Squirrel who suggests her pizza slice might be improved if it was the opposite shape, colour, texture and temperature while we are all stumbling crocodile fashion along the pavement looking for a bench on which to eat our lovely expensive lunch.

But at last! We find a lovely bench to sit on, surrounded by the quiet contemplative glory that is Cambridge. Here I can allow Aunty Dee a few moments to sit in the sun eating her sandwich from a paper bag, a la street lady. And I can turn my full attention to the constantly whining Tiger, whose mnmnm mnmnmm mnmmm has accompanied us up the street like a medieval minstrel with a special interest in recitals about seventeen miserable ways to die.

Tiger has chosen a ciabatta with sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella and rocket. She opens her ciabatta and declares, I do not like mozzarella. By remarkable foresight, I have equipped myself with two slices of dried Tesco value bread from a plastic bag I discreetly keep in my handbag for emergencies. In between the bread goes the mozzarella.

Tiger then declares I do not like the green stuff. In goes the rocket to Grit's sandwich.

And, I do not like the tomatoes.

Tiger now has a plain ciabatta roll (59p from M&S, £4.59 from posh sandwich shop) .

Give it a moment, and the inevitable happens. And I do not like the bread.

You see, this is exactly what happens when Grit tries to import the lifestyles of the wealthy and elegant to the domestic grind that is Grit's day. It is constantly undermined, frustrated and thwarted by small children until Grit is quite worn away and toppling over.

But I am not giving in. I take out all the contents of my sandwich until I am returned to the woeful two slices of Tesco value bread, and I exchange those for Tiger's ciabatta roll.

And so we eat. Now I can console myself that although I may be bankrupt and dealing with a malnourished trio combining a clumsy Shark, a complaining Squirrel and a cranky medieval minstrel intent on picking fights and kicking the pavement all afternoon, I have still come out on top.

I get to eat a decent sandwich. And Aunty Dee gets to sit in Cambridge on a bench.


The Finely Tuned Woman said...

Woman, how do you do it without going stark raving mad. You must have the patience of an angel. I would have dropped them off at Oxfam.

Rubberbacon said...

I agree with the above.

mamacrow said...

The whole Tiger posh sandwich disection scene? Achingly familiar. Except I never reach the dizzy hieghts of Cambridge.

Grit said...

this is why i end up with stale bread in a plastic bag. because the gritlets will actually EAT this. and benefit to me, i am saved the trauma of throwing pound coins into the nearest bin.

sharon said...

I think I might have been tempted by a ploughman's lunch and a swift G&T at the nearest pub, possibly leaving the gritlets sitting outside with a lemonade and a bag of crisps (each - wouldn't want World War 3 breaking out if they had to share them). What remarkable restraint you have Grit!