With Arabella turning my week into drama-central somehow I kind of forgot I have a third child. And he’s only seven. And by law he’s not allowed to bring himself up, he’s supposed to be supervised, parented even.
After the night where following my dinner I had to eat a Middle Eastern three-course meal of enormous proportions, I went to bed quite late and had torrid dreams where everyone close to me confessed to being a lesbian. I slept in which sent the day into chaos.
I did manage to present Alfie with his current favourite breakfast of spaghetti on toast but I didn’t have time to make him any lunch. Alfie was thrilled however because that meant a lunch order from the canteen. Sorted!
Within minutes of rising it was time to walk to school but I noticed Alfie didn’t have his school shoes on. ‘Where are your shoes, Alfie?’ And I got a shrug of the shoulders. So I went from room to room on my hands and knees looking under all the furniture where all I found was a lot of evidence that the house is long over-due for a clean, a proper clean.
‘Does anyone know where Alfie’s shoes are?’ I yelled out to EVERYONE but no one answered. ‘I wasn’t home last night’, I continued, ‘So I didn’t put him in the shower. Who did?’ Everyone ignored me. ‘You see this is the problem’, I screamed, ‘I can’t leave my post for a night out in Liverpool because everything unravels like the essential school shoes have just vanished’. Still nothing. ‘Alfie, you were playing with the neighbour. Did you leave your shoes at his house?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Well don’t just stand there, look for them.’ What a waste of breath. All he did was take off his mittens that we’d purchased the previous afternoon from the local shopping centre (where we seem to spend every afternoon) from one of those stalls that they set up from time to time. This week it’s been ghastly knitwear but Alfie HAD TO HAVE the woolen mittens. Now, instead of looking for his shoes, he was playing on the i-Pad. I found the shoes. They were outside of course. Left out there overnight.
We started walking to school and rounded the first corner when Alfie realised he’d left the new mittens at home. He tugged at me, ‘Mum, we have to go back, I have to get my mittens.’
‘We’re not going back, we’re late for school’. Alfie stopped walking.
‘No mum, I have to have them. Please. We have to go back.’ I dragged him forward.
‘Alfie, we are not going back. We are so late already we’re going to have to get a late note’. And I had to physically drag him the rest of the way to school while he whinged and moaned and carried on and I was only too pleased to have the roar of the traffic to drown him out.
We entered the school gates and I reminded him that his grandfather would be picking him up. ‘You know it’s Arabella’s formal so I’ll be in the city so when you see Poppa come to get you, you’re to go home with him, okay?’ As we walked through the school I noticed some outdoor tables had been set up and there was quite an impressive morning tea on display. But I hurried past and took Alfie to the office where we queued for the late note that had, ‘Couldn’t find school shoes’ written on it for the world to see. I sent Alfie up to his classroom with his note and went to the canteen to sort out his lunch. I’d just finished writing out the order when a smartly dressed elderly gentleman approached and said, ‘Excuse me, can you tell me where I’m meant to be?’
I had no idea. ‘What is it you are here for?’
‘Grandparent’s Day’. That was news! How could I not have known about grandparent’s day? It must have been because I hadn’t recently checked his bags for notes and because his teacher has been away all week and normally she would have sent an email. Just to be sure I went back to the office and asked, ‘Is it Grandparent’s Day?’ and they said, ‘Yes’.
‘What time does it start?’ I asked.
It was about 9.20 now. I quickly phoned my father. He had just come in from a run because that’s what you do when you’re in your 7o’s. ‘Dad, it’s Grandparent’s Day. Can you get up to the school?’
‘Now? I haven’t had a shower and I don’t know where your mother is, I’ve come home and she’s out.’
‘Could you just get up here and show your face in the classroom and then you can leave?’
‘Right, well we’ll see what we can do.’
Crisis averted. I started walking out of the school when I suddenly remembered it was sausage sizzle day. If you brought in $2.00 you could have a sausage in a bread roll and the $2.00 was being donated to a Cause. I have no idea which Cause because it could be one of thousands.
I rushed back to the canteen, canceled the chicken burger, ran up the three flights of stairs to Alfie’s classroom, barged in and handed the teacher $2.00. Alfie looked very relieved because the teacher had just collected everyone’s money and he had been the only one without funds!
I went off to the pool and joined the squad that had already started. At around 10.10 I said to one of girls swimming with me (who has a daughter in the same year as Alfie), ‘Does your daughter have grandparents coming to see her today?’ And she said, ‘It’s not Grandparent’s Day.’ I said, ‘Oh it is, they told me at the office.’ And she said, ‘Yeah but not for Year 2, it’s just the Year 1’s that are having Grandparent’s Day’.
My poor father.
My father had raced up to the school and when he arrived at the gate, one of the welcoming party said to him, ‘I’m sorry sir, there’s been a misunderstanding and it doesn’t start until 10am’. So my father went and sat in his car for 20 minutes. At the appointed time he came back and made his way up to Alfie’s classroom. He walked in and everyone stared at him and he wondered why he was the only grandparent there. Alfie, thinking Poppa had arrived to collect him, looked all excited and sprang to his feet.
That’s when my father was told he wasn’t meant to be there and that’s when Alfie was told to sit back down in his seat.
I blame the lesbians.
Spaghetti with Uncooked Tomato, Rocket and Olive Sauce
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: I bumped up the costs by using organic kamut pasta and organic hairloom tomatoes. More common ingredients would make this a very reasonably priced meal.
- 455g/1 lb spaghetti
- 5 nice medium-sized ripe tomatoes
- 2 handfuls of fresh basil
- a good handful of tasty black or green olives, stones removed
- 2 handfuls of fresh rocket, washed
- 1 flat tspn dried oregano, or a small handful of fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 tbspns balsamic vinegar
- 6 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add your spaghetti and cook it according to the packet instructions.
Chop up the tomatoes and basil. Chop the olives up a bit as well if you want to. Chop rocket if desired. Put all these ingredients in a bowl with the oregano. Then add the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, and season carefully with salt and pepper. Taste and season, taste and season, until you get it spot on.
By now your pasta should be cooked, so drain it, reserving some of the cooking water. Throw the pasta into the bowl with the tomatoes and toss well. You probably won’t need to add any of the cooking water because the tomatoes are quite watery, but do add a little if you feel like the sauce needs loosening slightly. Work quite fast, because it’s the heat of the pasta what warms up the tomatoes and you don’t want it to get cold.
Serve with some wine and a green salad.
And a nice bit of Parmesan or pecorino to grate over the top is a joy.
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