A Secret Family Recipe

Keen to see how my dad was coping during his post-radiotherapy recuperation, I nipped around to my parents house yesterday morning.

It was a productive time where not only did I get a few odd jobs done, but I received a gratis lunch, numerous cups of tea, a free bag of cola bottle sweets and my mums ‘secret’ recipe for homemade Cheesestrings.

Passed down generationally through her side of the family, my mum has finally let me into how she makes her flavoursome cheese snack.

I shouldn’t really disclose this, but the recipe is 300 grams of Red Leicester cheese, 300 grams of Double Gloucester cheese, 300 grams of Cheddar cheese and half a packet of Blu Tac.

Basically you place the three cheeses on a chopping board, then Blu Tac them together and voila you’re in possession of a homemade Cheesestring……. If you haven’t any Blu Tac you can substitute this with adhesive tape. However, if you opt for that ingredient, be warned you’ll have to eat through the tape before getting to the dairy produce.

I’d also advocate not to eat all of the Cheesestring at once. I’m not party to the exact fat content of the snack, however I suspect eating just shy of a kilogram of cheese in one go will take you over your recommended daily level.

As alluded to above, the visit proved a fruitful one with me sorting my dad’s problematic laptop, fixing a shower curtain rail and dealing with an issue with my mum’s dental plan.

Over lunch (thankfully not a homemade Cheesestring), I informed mater of my recent dabble into the portal of poetry writing. She seemed impressed, responding “Bleeding hell!….. Who do you think you are bleeding William Shakespeare?!”

With her enthusiastic support for my project of prose, I let her read one of the sonnets I’d penned the other day for my two adult kids (Jonny and Rachel). It was a soliloquy that told of my pride in them, along with some erudite fatherly advice for the future.

Written in a traditional style, I emailed Jonny and Rachel my words of fulfilment at the adults they’ve become. They both said it was well written, but could I translate it into layman’s terms as they only understood about five words within the six verses…… Perhaps I overestimated how well they’d turned out after all!

Jokingly dubbing them “Thick shite’s!”, I promised them an adapted version with words of no more than four letters and two syllables.

After my mum begrudgingly read the aforementioned sonnet, she announced it to be ‘Ok’, before adding that Jonny and Rach must think I’m a bleeding idiot! I pointed out that they were probably in possession of that detail long before receiving my locutions of prose.

In the knowledge my pater would disapprove of my poetic venture even more than mater, I didn’t give him the ‘pleasure’ of viewing it. God bless him, he has enough on his plate at the minute without subjecting him to my unashamedly pretentious poetry.

We do try and keep his spirits in the ascendency, but understandably with his grim diagnosis and nagging discomfort that isn’t always possible. He never grumbles, but you can see in his face the area treated is troubling him.

My sister Helen has on numerous occasions offered sound advice on his palliative care, however it falls on deaf ears. To her chagrin, his stubbornness means he won’t countenance her informed guidance. As it stands, there would be more chance of him approving of my poetry than acting upon the good advice offered.

As the saying goes “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!”

Yesterday afternoon I left chez Strachan senior with a bag of cola bottles, just under one kilogram of Blu Tac’d together cheese and a mixture of emotions. Pleased I’d been able to assist in a small way, but with an overwhelming sadness at my dad’s plight.

Right, I best get off to ring them to see how he is today, not to mention check that shower curtain pole hasn’t fallen down!

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