Both events were in many ways defined by food. Having had to change the wedding date to accommodate the Army’s unreasonable desire to send the Husband to Bosnia, and consequently change my intended outfit to accommodate a winter wedding instead of spring one, so that I ended up wearing the dress that both Allotment Junkie and before that, her cousin, my godmother had worn and also Allotment Junkie’s shoes (there was a lot of old and borrowed at our wedding...) Allotment Junkie and I had a stand up row about the presence of egg mayonnaise as part of the buffet we had chosen. “I think there’s rather a lot of meat” she said. We had selected plenty of salad/veg. I let her win - after all, the important thing was that we were getting wed before he went to Bosnia (borrowed dress, shoes, changed date aside – I’m not bitter) but I was gratified to see that nobody ate it (apart from her).As I have mentioned before, Blue’s diagnosis with leukaemia 7 years later when he was just 2 threw us into a maelstrom of food related issues and anxieties. He ate too much and craved mechanically recovered meat (on the steroids). He didn’t eat enough and wasted away (the chemo made him sick) so I overcompensated and ate on his behalf (3 stone later, and a serious application of Slimming World, I am no longer quite the size of a house). And it was during this period that my rather OCD approach to cookery books developed.
However, 6 years on, and half way into remission (2.5 yrs chemo free, 2.5 to go), I am in an upbeat mood. Although it was horrendous, there is no doubt that what we went through has made us stronger, and more able to value what is important in life. There is equally no doubt that I love and adore my children with all my heart, but just occasionally, the time comes when a break is called for.
This morning, more in honour of the wedding anniversary than to dwell on the other anniversary, I took the children on the train to Kings Cross and handed them over to Allotment Junkie who has taken the back up to Yorkshire for half term. I will miss them, really, I will – Pink, who, like her mother, enjoys a good wallow was really milking the tears, and I do feel a littel smidge that she might still be little young for this - but she managed to persuade me to make breakfast pancakes before we went, AND take a Fruit Slurp with her on the train (we have a glut of the horrible things, purchased for a party, so they are occasionally produced for picnics etc) so she was clearly using it to her advantage. I prefer to think that, having located Allotment Junkie by WH Smiths and handed them over, I left them quickly to avoid prolonging Pink’s tears....And then, the almost unimaginable luxury of an hour on a train with an M&S picnic, an over-priced (and frankly, disappointing) coffee and John Grisham. I haven’t read much Grisham in the last few years, but I have just read 2 rather heavy and serious bookclub reads back to back (‘Still Alice’ – brilliant but harrowing: Harvard Professor has Alzheimers and ‘Suite Francaise’ – French life during the German invasion in WW2) and felt in need of some light relief (do I sound defensive about my literary choices?). Anyway, I’m reading The Confession and it’s very gripping.
Back home, work, dog walking, more work (although as you can see, a little light blogging in the meantime – after all, my time is my own – no children to feed) and then I can crack on with the evening’s romantic dinner a deux. On the menu: Nigella’s Crab Cocktail from Feast followed by two James Martin dishes – roasted duck breast with plum sauce and hot chocolate and pistachio pudding. Both of these are from ‘Valentine’s menus’ printed in Good Food – the duck from February 2010 and the pud from Feb 2008. And then we can set to... painting Pink’s bedroom. We know how to do things in style...