My oven broke. This is a shame.
Polly went walking with her sister Sam this weekend, and a weekend without Polly is usually a weekend without eating vegetables.
This weekend was to be no different.
Elly's ballet lesson was followed by an immediate and urgent visit to the butcher where I purchased Calves Liver, Oxtail and Pork Loin. A veritable murder of food.
The drive home was spent mulling over how I was going to fit such a lot of meat into such a short time, having brought 3 meals worth of meat but only having 2 meals worth of time left before Polly's return.
I pondered and cogitated and deliberated and worried until I got home, whereupon I thought "Fuck it, I shall simply not have the vegetable curry I have planned for this evening in my head, I will have the oxtail then. I will braise it slowly thoughout the afternoon and Yea, it shall be delicious."
I looked up a recipe in Appetite by Nigel Slater which seemed utterly delectable and spoke of meat melting off the bone in a manner reminiscent of the way those porno mags that Dad used to have in his cupboard above his suits until Mum realised that I had been reading them spoke of encounters between the milk man and the lonely housewife.
(I was always more of a story conniseur as opposed to a photo letch, although an image of a lady who decorated her pudenda with a pair of sunglasses still haunts me and I dare say my father to this very day)
I turned the oven on but there was no noisy hum as there usually is. I didn't notice initially but then there was a horrible smell of heat so I opened the door and realised that the fan wasn't working.
As Polly wasn't around I wasn't even able to take solace in the satisfaction of a good old rant. I simply switched the oven off, then switched it on. I opened the door. I stared at the fan. I closed the door. I switched the oven off, then switched it on again. I repeated this about 1000 times and then I said out loud "Oh, Elly, the oven is broken"
"Never mind," Elly said.
No, I thought to myself, never mind indeed, for this is the perfect excuse to take binge eating to the next level.
"Elly, let's all go and get fish and chips," I say.
"And tomato ketchup?"
"Yes Elly, and tomato ketchup,"
"Yes please Daddy,"
Then I say something terrible.
"Hang on Elly, how do you fancy going to ...MCDONALD'S?"
What did I just say?
"No thank you Daddy, just fish and chips," Elly says.
"But Elly, at MCDONALD'S they give you a free toy," I say.
Why did I say that? What is the matter with me?
"Oh Daddy, yes, great, let's go to MACDONALD'S"
The second the word is out of her mouth I realise what I've done and feel desperate and awful.
"Will it be an electric toy Daddy?" Elly says, and I begin to panic.
"Let's look at the fish and chip shop first shall we?" I say.
"No Daddy, No, I want Mcdonald's, Macdonald's, Macdonald's."
Elly has never even said the word Mcdonald's before.
All the way to Cherry Hinton I try to make an argument for fish and chips and Elly just keeps saying "No thankyou Daddy, just Mcdonald's please, will it be an electric toy?"
The fish and chip shop is closed. I carry on towards Mcdonald's. As we pull into the carpark Elly is giggling. There is a massive picture of Scooby Doo in the window. Should we eat in or do the drive through? The drive through would be some sort of damage limitation.
"Shall we pick up the food and eat it at home or shall we sit in the restaurant?" I say.
Why did I even ask?
"Oh Daddy, please can we go and sit in the restaurant?"
Elly skips down the path towards the doors shouting "I'm going to have a burger and chips and tomato ketchup and A TOY,"
Mick is clapping and squealing.
I open the door.
The queue is forever.
There is no-where to sit.
"There is no-where to sit," I say and await the inevitable double tantrum
"O.k. Daddy, let's go to the other cafe."
"Really?" I say.
"Yes, as long as we can eat in the cafe I don't mind," says Elly.
"Shall we go to the cafe where you can eat as much ice-cream as you like?" I ask Elly.
"Yes, yes, yes," Elly shouts.
"Creee, Creee, Creee," Mick shouts.
We go to Nando's.
They eat so much frozen yoghurt that they are both sick.
I am a good father.