Well it is Friday again. The beginning of the weekend for most people (unless you are a student then Thursday or even Wednesday have been integrated into weekends). I am at home (as always) with my kids playing xbox games in the corner as I try to make something out of my day. I have been busy with hanging out washing – this takes me back to my childhood – watching my mother as she hung hers out in regimented rows, largest garments to the middle of the rope so as to get the best airing. I remember her telling me to rehang things if I did not do it to her meticulous standards. Funnily enough I have also shown my kids how to do it the correct way. Its funny the heirlooms we share with our kids – a lifelong skill for arranging washing on a line.
I also had a notion to make some soup. For some reason the cathartic experience of preparing something homely from scratch inspired me to try a couple of kinds of soup. My nine year old daughter was also enlisted into this as she prepared the veg as I cooked some onions and bacon as the base for both soups. It is still the middle of summer and soup is not the most season friendly dish but I got around this by making pea and bacon soup. It turned out thick and gloriously colourful. Eating some of this soup was like summer on a spoon – very light, sweet and refreshing. The other was lentil and bacon soup which once it had been blitzed in the blender was magnificent. I think it is my most successful soup to date. I felt very motherly today – sharing this experience with my daughter. It reminded me of cooking with my mother.
My father had always been the main cook in the house as long as I remember but my mum would bake every now and then. It was a real treat watching my mum roll out pastry and put a lot of care into producing tarts and pies of sorts. I always marvelled at her skill for baking.
On a Saturday afternoon it was a treat day and lunch would usually consist of cake and custard. It was one of the few times I remember spending with my mum. In the kitchen as she made custard, always three pints at a time as I chopped the swiss roll into tiny pieces. It always made me feel special getting to be her helper. It is one of my fondest memories of being a child, getting to be near her and watch as she dished out cake and custard for her children (all 13 of them). It seems really simple but it epitomised my mother. When she baked it showed me a side of her I did not see very often. She was always calm and methodical, very accomplished and capable. I love thinking about those summer days in the kitchen, the sunlight streaming in the window and my mum in her element losing herself in the pastry and flour. I miss those moments.
I think when I started writing this blog post I had meant to write about my Friday and how it blurred into every other day of the week as I don’t normally do anything special. And now it has turned into a reminiscence of huge proportions. I think this summer the one thing I will remember most is marrying the old with the new. I have been busy trying to show my kids that life and its adventures don’t have to cost the earth, that we can have fun anywhere as long as you are in the right frame of mind. I have also accidentally introduced my kids to the childhood I had full of adventures, family time, outdoor walks, rambles through the countryside and even things as simple as cooking together. I hope my daughter (and my sons) when they are older remember this summer fondly. I hope they remember the care and attention I spent with them, the sunshine, the glint of sun hitting the water, being surrounded by extended family and sharing in the experience with everyone else.
Life happens when you least expect it. We all just have to be open to the possibilities.