Come along for the ride!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cremated sausage anyone?

Come on sunshine, you can do it, that’s it, keep going, just a little bit more …..

Light the BBQ Dad, let’s go!!!

My parents had invited us over for a barbecue today and, as luck would have it, the sun came out and stayed out for the pretty much the whole day. We arrived nice and early too so our time there had a very relaxed feel about it. (Hey, my mother-in-law even managed to enjoy herself so it must’ve been good!).

My parents seemed to have been incredibly organised about the whole affair, with the dining table covered in prepared foods and covered up awaiting our arrival.

Obviously, within 15 minutes of arrival, my Dad and myself slowly shuffled over to the BBQ together to firmly establish our places for the best part of the afternoon. Naturally we “ummed and aahed” about whether or not the coals were ready to go and our collective uncertainty led us to forge ahead, albeit a little too early.

Dad started bravely, plonking down sausage after sausage, chicken drumstick after chicken drumstick, lamb kebab after lamb kebab before looking slightly worried at the speed at which the heat was burning the outside of the meat. With some thin excuse for leaving his post (coupled with my eagerness to help), I found myself holding the spatula of power and the fork of plenty, turning the raw meat as fast as I could, taking into account the incredible heat being given off.

It’s quite good doing it this way however. This is because when we both sat down to eat and the womenfolk raised their eyebrows at the charred offerings, in my mind I could say Dad had started it, whereas my Dad could tell himself I hadn’t kept a close enough eye on it after he had left. Either way, it was very tasty and of course, I ate far more than I needed to.

My parents’ house is perfect for garden entertaining. This might have something to do with the fact that they have a garden similar to a national park; it really is beautiful. It’s huge, it’s green; it has areas of ‘tidy’ and pockets of ‘wild and natural’. It reminds me of the sort of garden you’d imagine when reading the Secret Garden or the Narnia Chronicles; parts of it seem almost forgotten about which is what I love.

The children have a fantastic rope swing hanging from the giant cherry tree at the bottom of the garden. Of course, my Dad being who he is allowed for both a boyish 5 year old and a girly 3 year old to be able to play safely on it and provided Joseph with a wooden slatted seat but cut the legs off of a plastic chair for Annabel and with a few deft drill holes and cleverly placed metal links, each child can now screw and unscrew their own seat for the swing.

I mean, I know there are bigger things going on in the world right now but personally, I’d sacrifice my left ear to have the DIY skills that my Pops has.

The whole day was lovely; the children enjoyed themselves (although they ended up beyond tired), M and her Mum enjoyed themselves, as did yours truly and I believe my parents did also. Of course, our parents always do enjoy themselves when they have their grandchildren running around in close vicinity.

I’d have to say however, that the highlight of my day was drinking a cup of coffee while talking with my Dad, sat on the bench at the end of the garden.

We were reminiscing about the garden fires we used to have when I was younger. I remember we would have them at the end of a tough afternoon of cutting, dragging and piling of branches, the daylight fading to dusk, eyes adjusting to the gloom without being aware it was even getting late. Our faces would be scratched, tatty jumpers pulled on to keep the advancing cold at bay, thick gloves on to help drag the thorny branches the length of the garden and then PHWOOOOM, Dad would throw a match and up it would all go.

We would keep feeding the fire, its’ appetite insatiable, flames growing ever taller, our concerned looks watching as the branches of the apple and pear tree behind it glowing and threatening to catch, the orange of the fire reflected in each others eyes and faces. I can remember feeling like we were working damn hard, wanting to stop for the night, before Dad disappeared into his (huge) shed, emerging with two cans of beer.

We snapped the ring pulls, clunked them together with a “cheers Dad” from me and a “thanks for your help” from my Dad, one free hand on our respective hips and drank, deeply. (It is always acceptable for men to have a hand on their hip when they have been doing manual labour and they are drinking beer. Extra points if you belch loudly afterthe first gulp).

I asked my Dad today to “let us know when he next has a fire”.

Hey! There’s nothing wrong with trying to relive your past. Just talking about it today helped me relive a little piece of it. And boy was it good.

Thanks Mum and Dad; we had a lovely day


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