All I wanted to do was cook the dinner. That’s all. It shouldn’t have been so hard, should it? I mean I made it out of work and into our village with nine minutes to spare. Just enough time to pop into the shop for milk and meat before walking round to the schoolyard just as the bell rang. I gathered up the children – my own and our play date – and headed home, stopping off at kindergarten for the final child. I walk into the kitchen, glad I tidied away the breakfast things and put on the dishwasher before going to work. Two hours till dinner time. Perfect. Winnning. Yay.
Suddenly the kitchen is full of school bags, coats, toddlers shouting “Where are the raisins?” and schoolboys asking for yogurt. Brainwave – “You get the eggs from the chickens and I’ll make a snack, ok?” I say, whooshing them out of the kitchen, stopping off at the cloakroom to shove in the coats and bags. I take out the raisins, warm milk for my coffee and then it happens. “An egg broke but there are millions of them” one child announces, marching into the kitchen in mucky wellies. I assure him that’s ok before realising he has no eggs with him, at least none that I can see. “There are seventeen!” he exclaims just before his friend tells me “Yeah, he has his pockets full of them”. I look back at my own child and see an rapidly expanding dark spot on his trousers. “You didn’t put the eggs in your trouser pockets, did you?” I ask, eyeing up his new slim fit cords we just took the label off yesterday. “No”. Phew. “In my fleece pocket”. No! 90 minutes till dinner time.
Together we manage to remove the whole eggs from his pockets. A tricky task when the pockets are made for slim little children’s hands and the egg shells are covered in slimy raw egg. Fleece off, pants off, fresh clothes on. I decide to throw the clothes straight into the wash. No point crying over spilt milk. Or crushed eggs. The machine is full of the wash The Bavarian put on in the morning. I decide to throw it in the dryer. The dryer is full of the towels in put in last night. I look at the line. The line if full of the wash I hung up yestersday. After a laundry version of musical chairs I have a wash on, a load in the dryer and a basket full of folded washing to bring upstairs. Diana Ross’ Chain Reaction is playing on a loop in my head. An hour till dinner time.
The dishes from the children’s snack and my coffee – half drunk, totally cold – are in the sink. The empty lunchboxes crowd the worktop. I decided to empty the dishwasher before starting on dinner. Good thing I put in on this morning. Not so good that the tab got wedged on top of a saucepan and the load needs rewashing. I shut the door and set it to the short program. I put away the milk and try to remember what I was planning to make for dinner along with the meat I bought. Rice? Yes. Or maybe no, since the press reveals that we have only enough for two people. “Spuds then”, I think to myself taking them out before turning to the hob. The hob that is a clutter of egg cartons, eggs, egg shell and raw egg. “I’ll pop all that into the sink” I tell myself before remembering the sink if full of dishes and the dishwasher is on. “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,…” springs to mind. I’m back where I started. All I wanted to do was cook the dinner. It shouldn’t be this hard, should it? 30 minutes till dinner time.
I open the fridge and put the meat back in. I open the freezer. Croquettes, fish fingers and peas try to cajole me into choosing them. Slow cooker beef & pork stew, batch-cooked chili con carne and butternut squash soup stare lovingly back at me. I grab the stew and open the microwave. Defrost. 20 minutes till dinner.