Sunday, 25 May 2008
Family Sit Down Meals Have Gone to the Dogs
We have had a number of special visitors to the farm recently. It means we all get together and of course do what we do best....eat.
It’s a bit like a very amiable mafia meeting, the family I have married into is definitely a clan not infiltrated easily.
There are seven offspring and their partners and children.
I already knew some of the clan before Darling Husband and I started going out but I still had many surprises when first meeting with them on their own territory and long after moving here too.
The 'family' have developed their own language of sorts and have such a great sense of humour. But more importantly there is an impressive talent they have perfected, to be able to judge the volume of your voice so perfectly that only your mother cannot hear your comments at the table, and they’ve certainly managed it, not only that, but knowing how their good-natured, God fearing Mother would be horrified if she heard half the funny things they said, they are able to maintain straight faces throughout almost anything. A number of times I’ve almost choked on my meal, my Mother-in- Law looking at me disapprovingly because whatever I’ve found funny is obviously abhorrent to everyone else.
The first time I went to ‘the house’ for dinner is an occasion never to be forgotten. The farmhouse kitchen was full of wonderful food smells and cheerful chatter. It's a very traditional farmhouse kitchen with meat hooks in the ceiling and there's a long wooden bench on one side of the table with huge gouges in it. It's called a pig bench and yes, years ago, is was what the pigs were chopped up, on.
On one side of the kitchen is a sofa, there’s a big rectangular table in the middle, a round table in the corner and there were two Rayburn cookers, one was in use but very old and one was waiting to be installed but in the meantime was there with a television on the top.
The television was on showing a programme about Gypsy life. We all sat down and mother started slicing bread and flicking down the table with the knife. The bread was expertly caught and although I was a bit surprised, no-one else raised an eyebrow, so this was obviously how it was done in this house, probably the quickest way to serve it up when you have seven children and excellent for eye-hand co-ordination, of course. We started eating and one of the sisters motioned towards the TV, a Gypsy man was washing his dogs. (Farm dogs are not the cleanest canines)
I’d probably better mention at this point that Darling Husband, his brothers and also some of their friends call each other 'Dick' ( no idea why).
“That’s the way to wash your dogs, Dave” said the sister.
“That’s the way to wash your dogs Dick” muttered Darling Husband, just loud enough for everyone, except his mother to hear.
The spare Rayburn has gone now and so we no longer have the pleasure of TV in the kitchen.