Old dog, old tricks

Friday September 10, 2004

I think I reached the point where I had squeezed my store cupboard just that one meal too far today. Lunch was fine in theory—soup and bread—and the main course for dinner was fine, too—a nice little fish pie. The problem with both of those is a lack of substance, which I would normally fill in with something sweet to follow. And all I had in the store cupboard was a large can of ‘fruit salad’ and a smaller one of gooseberries. No problem, I thought, I’ll rustle up a gooseberry crumble and a drop of faux custard of the Bird’s kind. That was when I discovered I had no shortening for the crumble mix. I’m happy enough to make pastry with vegetable oil but a crumble needs something more solid. No margerine, only a smear of butter, and not a trace of Trex™.

If I’d really pushed the issue I could doubtless have come up with something but it was another long, lazy afternoon and my shaded couch under the (figurative) banyan tree called with a far more persuasive voice than did a made-do-and-mend session with the pastry board and the rolling pin. So, unwisely, I decided the can of fruit salad would do to follow our dinner, and the remnants of the week’s fruit bowl for lunch. All very healthy. But, sadly, not a good mix for my digestion.

“I think I’m getting a bit of the bloats,” I said as we settled down after dinner.

“You’d better take something for it before it gets too bad.”

“In a minute,” I said, following my usual disinclination to resort to the pill bottle.

And the minute stretched, the way minutes do on lazy days. Before I knew it my tummy boiled and bubbled and reacted in the generally unruly way that neglected tummies do. I popped a wind pill, which cleared the worst of the problem, but the damage was already done.

“You’ll never learn, will you.”

“No,” I said. “I never shall.”

It serves me right. On several levels it serves me right. Tomorrow I shall tear my backside from my chair and go perform a major provisioning. That’ll teach me.

Except it won’t, of course.



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