ill, and sad...
as Christmases go, this has not been the best, or the happiest. In fact, quite a lot of sad things, so we’ve had to clutch onto the amusing things, for sanity’s sake, really. And rather like Rimmer (in Red Dwarf) was sent to keep Lister sane, I have ‘t’other arf’ – to either keep me sane (I take comfort in knowing my family may be weird, but not half as weird as his) – or to drive me completely bonkers, I’ve not yet decided which.
Two things stand out at the moment. There was the trifle. It was Sunday, and he “found” a Bird’s Trifle in the back of the kitchen cupboard. I have no idea how it got there, although I know he has bought and made them in the past – but by past I am talking 25 years ago, at least. I mean – who needs a kit? They are a piece of piss to make. But I am not a huge fan so I guess I don’t make them as often as he would perhaps like. So, if a trifle is a piece of piss to make, an easy trifle kit should be fairly idiot proof – you would think!
I should have realised that with the first batch of stupid questions, I should have just gone into the kitchen, cut out the “muddle” man – and made the stupid thing myself. It would have been far easier. But, you know, sometimes, you have to make people suffer (even if that means suffering yourself). I’ve cut this down, by the way, for each of these questions, imagine it asked in about 6 different ways (but basically meaning the same thing):
Question: Where’s this Bird’s Trifle come from?
Answer: Dunno – didn’t know we had one.
Question: Is everything there, in the kit then?
Answer: I expect so
Question: But what if you wanted to put fruit in it? Would that be possible?
Answer: You could put reindeer turds in it, if that’s what you wanted, you can do what you like with it. (I was wrong there – but never mind!)
After an HOUR in the kitchen, he had made the jelly part, looked pathetically at the sponge fingers – he wasn’t quite sure what you had to do with them (men don’t really read instructions terribly well, do they?) – and I had come to his rescue and snapped them into smaller pieces. He ruined a saucepan making the custard. He also cocked up the custard. Big time. He told me he’d made it and put the clingfilm on its surface to stop the skin forming. I knew he wouldn’t have done this properly – he doesn’t “do” clingfilm at all. It was over the jug. I told him it was supposed to be actually on the custard itself, or the skin would still form. That’s when I spotted the mistake. There was almost two pints of extremely thin custard. That’s what had taken an hour, he’d been waiting for it to thicken – let’s face it, if he’d stirred it till now, it wouldn’t have got any thicker. I told him he had used too much milk. He insisted that he hadn’t (and tried to make me look foolish for even suggesting it). I pointed out that there was substantially more that a pint in the jug – ‘ah yes’, he agreed, ‘but don’t forget the powder’ – I told him that I really didn’t think that the small quantity of custard powder from the packet would make that much impact on a pint of milk. He then got me the milk carton out of the fridge to prove to me that he couldn’t possibly have used too much – if anything, he had used LESS. I wasn’t convinced. He then went over the instructions with me (again, to prove his point), ‘Look’, he explained, ‘it says use a little milk out of a pint to mix with the powder, heat up the rest of the milk and add it to the milk and custard powder mixture’.
Question (from me): so, did you measure it out?
Answer: Didn’t need to, I just used this milk – and look, there’s some left, and it wasn’t a new one.
Me: Yes – but that’s two pints…
So, the extremely thin custard – or slightly yellow milk as we may as well call it – was left, and on Monday it was still there, as thin as ever.
Cue second batch of stupid questions.
Question: This custard will be OK to eat, won’t it?
Answer: Might have been better to put it in the fridge
Question: Yeah, but you could eat it with a banana, couldn’t you?
Answer: You can do whatever you like with it…
It stayed on the side in the kitchen exactly where he’d left it; jelly was still in the fridge. So, what with it being Christmas and everything, I thought I’d be nice (for once) and I went out on Christmas Eve and bought some new custard, made it (perhaps slightly too thick, just to make sure) left it to cool for a while (with clingfilm), added it to the trifle, and made the “Dream Topping” – I thought maybe it wasn’t such a good idea if he made it, after the custard problem. Jenni sprinkled on the decorative “Penguin Poo” (as we call chocolate vermicelli) and the trifle was put back in the fridge. Now, really it should have been eaten on Monday, (well, no – REALLY, according to the date on the box, it should have been eaten in December 2005, but what’s a couple of years…) but the trifle stayed in the fridge all day Tuesday (and the jug of thin custard stayed exactly where he left it – by now I’d decided (a) I was NOT removing it, as it was nothing to do with me, and (b) I was NOT having any of this damn trifle. Boxing Day tea time arrived and he decided he was going to have some of his trifle, but obviously I warned everyone else not to try any (the sell by date alone put most people off), but he’s only eaten about a quarter of it. It’s going to be at least Saturday the time he has finished it – and it is possible that he will decide to have one every week from now on, as he does tend to do things like this in quite long cycles. (He does this when he hasn’t had pork pie for a while, he enjoys it because it’s a novelty and he remembers how much he likes it, then he will have pork pie every day for about a year, then I’ll get one for him because he always eats them, and he will say he’s not too keen on them! (He’s also done this with beetroot!)
Naturally I am wondering just how long the discarded milky custard will take to completely go off, and will he ever finish it off with bananas, and also wondering if the old trifle would finish him off! I mean, if that story was printed in our local paper “Man killed by trifle” most people would think it a misprint.
I missed today’s minor amusement, by falling asleep. He was brandishing a couple of wet tea towels around and asked me if I thought it would be OK to put them on the radiator in the dining room to dry. I said be could do what he liked with them. (Mainly because I’d be taking them off and putting then in the washing machine ASAP, but also because I am dosed up to the eyebrows with LemSip and Neurofen and I honestly couldn’t have cared less at that point of almost falling asleep.) Apparently he took them into the dining room, where the lamp was on for the budgie who has been banished for Christmas to make way for the “tree” – or branch as I tend to call it – it being a branch! I haven’t had a Christmas tree for some years now, because they are way too wide in my opinion. Our tumble drier is long dead, so I’ve been drying things on the radiator in the dining room, so there was loads of Jenni’s stuff on there, so had he put the tea towels on the radiator he would have had to have moved some dry stuff first (there’s no way he’d have done that) – anyway – the light was on, he came back out, said “It’s a bit dark in there, I’ll take them back another day”. (No doubt he expected me to leap up and make room for them, but every bit of me aches, so I didn’t.) I’ve now put them in the washing machine, and put a couple of clean ones out to use. If anything happened to me, he would just use the same tea towel for ever, drying it on the radiator in the winter and throwing it over the line in the summer. He wouldn’t know where to look for a clean one (the airing cupboard – where I have kept them for about 25 years or so). His argument is that in theory, tea towels don’t get dirty because they are only ever used to wipe water off clean plates, and water is clean. What he fails to notice is that when he washes up, the water is NOT actually clean, it’s bloody rancid. And he never changes washing up water, because he thinks it’s a waste. He never gets rid of any washing up water; he leaves it in the sink until I find it and return it to the wild.
(Update - as I type it is now Dec 31st - and there is still some leftover trifle in the fridge...)