Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Emma's grandma's middle name is 'practical'. On the morning of her eightieth birthday Emma phoned her. 'Have you been doing anything nice?' she asked. 'Dusting', was the reply. 'And what are you doing later?' 'Well, Auntie Margie and Uncle Den are taking me out for lunch, I hope they don't take me anywhere posh; I just want to go somewhere (she paused to find the right word) ordinary.' Well, you don't survive the World War II by being flighty, I suppose.

Emma wished her Grandma well for her birthday dust and ordinary lunch, but the call was actually a ruse. A surprise party had been organised. Now, although only related by marriage Emma's mum is also very practical. But her awareness of time, space and motion is somewhat challenged. She tends to round every activity up to the nearest hour, so making a cup of tea will take an hour, then putting the washing on another hour and so on. She also tends to cook in quantities of no less than 1kg; so 5 people for dinner equals 5kgs of carrots, another kilogram if a sixth turns up.

In this case, it was a party for fourteen, with a sit down lunch in a dining room that can cram in about 10. Suggestions that the four rejects could eat in the living room were swiftly rejected because it was too far away and it was important that everyone was together as a family. A table was put in the hall as close to the dining room as possible. Not that there was any space chairs or adults (or one baby in a high chair) but Emma's mum was adamant. In the end we had to sit on the stairs and the telephone table listening to those lucky enough to get a dining room seat having a marvellous time. God knows what would have happened if there'd been a fire.


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