At around 5.30pm yesterday the dinner gong chimed, leading to six members of my clan congregating in the dining room of casa Strachan senior. Our reward for this short walk from the lounge a splendid early Christmas meal, courtesy of my brother Ian’s culinary artistry.
A meal of roast turkey cooked to perfection by our kid, with sides of ‘pigs in blankets’, honey glazed parsnips, goose fat infused roast potatoes, sprouts, broccoli, carrots and sweet potato/potato mash. There were more culinary delights on the table, but I don’t recall them as was too distracted by my mum’s over the top choice of dinner gong.
Like our late father, Ian has a real acumen for cookery. Ordinarily creating the meals in the home he shares with fiancée Ann; a charming Geordie lass with a penchant for cleaning, ironing and saying “Do you really need that third bottle of wine, Ian?”
Unlike our Ian, though, Ann didn’t wish to utilise her skillset while at casa Strachan senior, unless she uttered the wine question after I left at 9pm. As a consequence, my mum will have to undertake her own cleaning and ironing next week…… Come on Ann, sort yourself out, love!!
As we tucked into the cuisine, prepared with no little expertise by my kid brother, the six of us*** chatted eruditely on numerous topics. My upbeat brother particular inclined to wax lyrical.****
*** – Ian, Ann, our kid’s daughter Iona, my mum, my wife Karen and me.
**** – Lyrical is my mum’s cat. Thankfully our kid carried out the waxing after he’d dished out the food.
After we concluded our meal, the ladies vacated the table to watch the semi-finals of TV’s Strictly Come Dancing, Ian and me remained dining room in situ. Our new companions CD’s from our dad’s eclectic collection, which we accompanied with out of tune whistling and unmelodious belches.
Intertwined with this we exchanged observations such as “Dad loved this track.” and “I still struggle to look through his CD collection without feeling profound sadness.” Along with inquiries like “What’s the recipe for that banana and ham ju you drizzled on the sprouts, Ian?”……. This unearthing a surprising revelation that the ju recipe doesn’t actually contain either banana or ham!
It was a fulfilling catch up with my brother, who I barely ever see. A hundred mile distance between our abodes prohibiting our regular rendezvous’. The company of Ann and Iona, uncommon for the same logistical problems, also a fillip for the Leeds based Strachans.
Exhibiting great humanity, loyalty, insightful comments and even temperament, our kid is my most trustworthy confidante. A guy who makes allowances for my capricious nature and self-indulgent need to try find a quip in any conversation.
Despite me meaning well, it’s a nature less tolerant individuals can struggle with. I have first hand experience of how annoying endlessly looking for a gag in most situations can be as my son Jonny occasionally mimics the behaviour. And to be honest it drives me chuffing mad!!
Many times my mum has attempted to curb my more excessive moments of craving a laugh with the saying “You’re a good turn, Gary, but you’re on too long!”…… However, I rarely tend to pay much mind to it.
Anyhow, I need to bring this prose to a conclusion as I’m intrigued to understand why the banana & ham ju doesn’t contain either ingredient…… “Cortana, have you got a minute?!…..”