Mother’s Day has been and gone. With the family matriarch edging towards her seventh week in a stroke ward, there wasn’t opportunity for my siblings or me to spend the day in the company of mater. Consequently, thanks to COVID edicts, our gratitude, love and reverence for the old lady had to be delivered via phone.
In frustration at being afforded this damp squib of a Mother’s Day, I sought to raise my spirits courtesy of unearthing previous narratives written following past annual days of maternal reverence.
Amongst them, I stumbled upon one penned in 2017, a juncture when my father was still alive and my mum was on top comedic form. An afternoon of much verve, laughter, good food and wine. Circumstances which were the very antithesis of the thin celebratory gruel provided yesterday.
My offbeat Mother’s Day observations four years ago playing out below:-
Despite it still being March, yesterday’s pleasant West Yorkshire temperatures allowed our family Mother’s Day roast dinner to be consumed alfresco.
The sunny temperate weather enabling my wife, adult children, parents and I to sit comfortably at the patio table; troughing, quaffing and chewing the fat…… I knew I should have bought a leaner cut of meat!…… Only kidding, the silverside cut of beef from a local butcher was bereft of fat, but mercifully not flavour.
The decent weather and gratifying cuisine a fitting way to give thanks to my wife Karen, along with my mum Maggie, for years of the outstanding mothering they’d bestowed upon our brood.
The preparation and production of the meal a culinary collaboration between my son Jonny and me. A task we embraced with a joint determination to make it a meal to remember for our respective maters. Our goal an exquisite smorgasbord for a brace of northern English women with more sense than money…. To clarify, neither are that sensible, they’re just poorer than a church mouse who’s eight months delinquent with mortgage payments.
Anyhow, we didn’t let the ladies down. Producing cuisine of such quality even my notoriously critical mother was moved to posit “It wasn’t as s***e as I thought it would be!” upon completion of her scran.
My occasionally abrasive daughter Rachel also made a huge effort to ensure her mum had a good day. Despite Karen’s face indicating differently, I’m sure she was hugely grateful Rach assisted her in eating the chocolates she’d bequeathed her as a Mother’s Day gift.
She’ll be similarly touched by Rachel’s other selfless present of not leaving her bedroom in it’s habitual mess. Thoughtfulness which meant, on a sunlit Mother’s Day morn, my missus only had Rach’s bed to make, along with a mere four mugs to retrieve from her daughter’s chamber.
Yes the sun definitely had his hat on this weekend. Unlike my dad Mally who was sheltering his bald pate with my hat. Pater’s adorning of my trilby meaning the joint of beef wasn’t the only thing being roasted. Until retrieval of flat cap from indoors, yours truly’s visage afforded a fearful singeing from prevailing solar rays.
Despite a rubbish few months health wise, my old man was in good spirits yesterday. During this time, he gave further proof of his returning appetite by demolishing a plateful of beef, Yorkshire pudding and five veg in record time.
At least I assume he ate it and, being indifferent to the cuisine, not clandestinely hid his plate contents under his (I mean my) trilby. An action which’d explain why, at the meals conclusion, from beneath his pilfered headwear, gravy trickled sloth like down his cheek .
Warmth from both sun and family certainly enhanced our Mother’s Day dining experience. My back garden a ‘go to’ sanctuary when the sun shines. It’s seclusion and aesthetically pleasing views providing tranquillity, catharsis and calmness to the soul. Add to that heady brew copious amounts of inanity, laughter and agreeable tuck and you stumble upon a recipe to raise even the most curmudgeonly of moods.
That being said, a few hours dining at chez Strachan, whether alfresco or indoors, can be any eye opening experience. As vino induced giddiness guide dining table conversations down surreal avenues, the offbeat nature of chat topic takes a markedly left field spin. Yours truly being the main protagonist of this frivolous absurdity.
For example, during yesterdays patio table randomness, after a ludicrous inquiry from yours truly, we learnt from Karen her twin sister has never appeared as an extra on a Crimewatch reconstruction, used the word juxtaposition, or seen a horse’s penis…… How Karen can definitively say her sister has never seen a horse’s penis remains, and will remain, an enigma.