Keeping children alive is not that easy. Especially if they are born with a huge amount of belief that they are indestructible and totally invincible. And my two boys were born with that gene and have made sure my greatest achievement has been keeping them alive.
When Alfie was three we were out doing that thing you have to do, food shopping.
After we left the check-out we had to ride on the travelator so we could return to the underground car park. The wheels of my over-stacked trolley locked onto the travelator and I was standing behind it cruising my way back down to my car. That was when Alfie decided to squeeze past along the side of my trolley, push past everyone else, run to the bottom then out the sliding doors and into the car park.
And I couldn’t chase after him because my trolley was locked and I couldn’t leave it or everyone behind me would have an incredible stack at the bottom, nor would I have been able to push past the people and trolleys in front of me.
When I did emerge into the car park Alfie was no where to be seen.
That’s because he was having the time of his life playing a fun game of ‘hiding from mum’. And then I saw him. Darting and weaving in and out of the parked cars. And I thought that was pretty dangerous. So I called to him and asked him to come to me.
But then I saw a Subaru 4WD racing along between me and Alfie so I told Alfie to stay where he was. But he was still running towards me so I was yelling louder and louder with my hands out in front of me indicating for him to stop but he was having so much fun being naughty and just kept running towards me. The woman driving the Subaru was accelerating and going and incredible speed that I am sure was illegal and she wasn’t even going to slow down as she approached the pedestrian crossing that ran between the parked cars and the entrance to the supermarket.
By now I was not the only one who could see what was about to happen as other people with their trolleys joined me in yelling at Alfie to stay right where he was.
But Alfie ran on to the pedestrian crossing with no clue that there was a car quickly approaching and after he had popped out from the parked cars and taken a few steps onto the crossing he was hit by the speeding car and went flying through the air. He landed, splat on the concrete and the driver in the Subaru screeched to a halt. And women were screaming and everyone was running towards where Alfie had landed, on the concrete completely still.
A man reached Alfie first and I was closely following and he yelled out to me, ‘Don’t touch him, his legs are broken’ and I felt sick in my stomach because Archie had broken both his legs when he was three (but that’s another story!) and I wasn’t sure what other damage might have been done.
But then like Lazarus walking out of the tomb, Alfie jumped up, landed on his feet and said, ‘I’m all right, I’m all right,’ and there wasn’t a mark on him. By some stroke of good fortune probably from an over-worked guardian angel, Alfie, when hit by the car, had been thrown back from the car rather than dragged underneath it.
And all the bystanders were standing around completely stunned that the little boy they had seen fly through the air was upright and walking and completely unscathed.
But I aged a bit.
Have you struggled to keep your children alive?
Today is Australia Day and it is a tradition to put some lamb on the barbecue. But this has to be ‘the summer that never was’ due to the cool temperatures and constant rain. The weather last night was at its absolute worst with flooding in many parts of the city so our barbecue plans were thrown out the window and instead I cooked wintery comfort food that was absolutely delicious and not totally unpatriotic because we still cooked lamb.
Slow-Roasted Lamb Shanks with Peppers and Tomato
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: Lamb shanks can be expensive (I’ve no idea why because this used to be a cheap cut of meat) but I managed to find some in the supermarket that were organic and very reasonable. All the remaining ingredients were in my fridge or pantry.
- 1 tbspn olive oil
- 4 French trimmed lamb shanks
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 1 red capsicum, sliced
- 1 yellow capsicum, sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 250mls dry white wine
- 500mls chicken stock
- 400gm can of tinned tomatoes
- 4 tbspns tomato pate (or substitute with tomato pesto)
- 2 tbspns each of freshly chopped basil, thyme and parsley
Pre-heat oven to 180C/375F.
Heat a large oven proof dish over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides then remove. Turn down the heat and add the onions, capsicum and garlic and stir until softened – about five minutes. Pour in wine, stock, tomatoes and tomato pate. Bring to the boil then return lamb shanks to the pan. Cover pan with a lid then cook for 2 and a half hours. Remove lid and cook for a further hour. Stir in herbs and serve with mashed potato.