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.

28 comments:

icemaidensmellingthecoffee said...

Family traditions and customs are interesting and eye-opening. I like to think I'm rather more broad-minded than my mother and can join in the jokes with my lot although I'm sure a lot passes under the radarnaqxfy. Sure you are too. Keep up the good blog.

icemaidensmellingthecoffee said...

Oops. still navigating this complex site and think I need a probably need some sort of tom tom - see naqxfy on last comment.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

Am I right in thinking that Rayburns are like Agas, i.e. on all the time?

I'm waiting for someone, in this day and age, to give us the carbon footprint figures for same.

Dogs Dick (without the apostrophe); very good!

Adventure Togs said...

You could start a new sport - "bread throwing". Your family sounds like fun and the kitchen huge!
Love your blog and I'll be back for more.

blogthatmama said...

Glad to read your blog again, frog in the field. I've been busy getting addicted to several blog sites and thoroughly enjoying it. Family sounds challenging and entertaining at the same time.

Frog in the Field said...

Hello and Welcome to that cold chic with a long blog name! Have just visited you, a lovely Blog.


Hi Ernest, Rayburns are indeed similar to Agas.
Ours though, is not on all the time because the wood hasn't been sawn up with our ear-splitting, noise polluting chainsaw.
I think our carbon footprint is fairly light though, all the wood is from our farm, stuff either dead and fallen or stuff we have been governmentally-instructed to remove, to encourage wildlife (oh, really) and enable us to put double fences everywhere to stop animals noses touching. I wish I was exagerating and talking complete skwit, but I'm really not.


Hi Adventure Togs, don't encourage them! Tomatoes sliding down walls were known in their younger days, usuallu involving homemade runner bean wine!

Hello Blogthat Mama, our family is not so much of a challenge but an evolutionary development.

Grit said...

i love the way that families are like SSSI places; they have their own habitats, flora and fauna. bread throwing is a visiting seed we may have to try and cultivate!

Millennium Housewife said...

Froggy! That was LOL funny! You're brilliant at the succinct, to the point blog, genius.
I am fascinated by your life really, my childhood ambition was to be a farmer, I spent days and weeks on my mum's best friend's farm learning the trade and still yearn for the small holding/chicken pen/goat farm. Instead I live in a new build (carbon almost neutral footprint) with a pocket handkerchief garden, but we are still looking for my dream...A few more pay rises on husband's part and we'll be there. V envious. MH

LittleBrownDog said...

Ah, a woman after my own heart marrying into a family of whom can be said, what they do best is eat. Your mention of the Pig bench, however very much put me in mind of the Sopranos - or even Don Corleone - I'm thinking the scene with the horse's head... Love the bread catching and the dogs, Dick. Excellent blog!

Tattie Weasle said...

Ah, the in-laws and all the funny little quirks they posses. Sucha joy and a trial until you learn the language!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

These old farm house kitchens will always be the hub of the home. So much went on in those rooms, I doubt much happened in the other parts of the house. Mine is just the same. I don't have in-laws anymore and I have to say I'm not bothered! I do often wonder however, what it would have been like if I had moved in with the farmer's mother. I don't think I would have lasted very long.

CJ xx

Expatmum said...

Sounds like a Jilly Cooper novel - great fun. We have a lot of family meals with just three kids and two parents. It gets very noisy so I can't imagine what a brood of 7 could manage.

Milla said...

very funny Froggie.

Frog in the Field said...

Hi Grit,
excuse my ignorance, but what's SSSI places??

Hi MH, very kind comments indeed.
Don't be fascinated, you'll have nightmares!

Hello LBD, you know about their funny quirks? Do you deliver the Sunday paper?

Hi Crystal,
I don't live with my farmers mother, we did it for two months only and I think it was enough for both of us, never easy sharing your lifelong space. We live within a few hundred yards of eachother and that's fine.

Expat Mum, howdy, howdy!
Surely Jilly Cooper novels are a bit risque aren't they? Ooh, we're terribly decent here you know (hah!).
You really can't imagine the noise, especially after a few bottles of wine and pogo stick races up and down the flagstones.

Thank you Milla, but really, I am very serious you know.

girl with the mask said...

Ha! Normally in our house it is dad who is like your mother-in-law... I think he has some sort of time delay to his hearing or something!

the mother of this lot said...

Fortunately, this lot have not yet developed the art of making comments that their mother cannot hear. Much to their disappointment.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

oh right dogs dick, get it!

the bread throwing is a great tradition, I shall implement it forthwith. In fact might go the whole hog and start chucking their food at them, that could work.
Pigx

Mean Mom said...

They sound like a great family! Could you wangle an invitation to dinner for me? They wouldn't notice one extra, would they?

Mini-et-Moi said...

'Dogs, Dick' reminds me of the one about the sole and the eagle, recently deceased and on their way to the Pearly Gates. The sole, spotting the eagle says "Ah, Eagle" to which the eagle replies, "Ah, ...!"

marriedwithfour said...

My Nan used to call everyone "Cock" enough said!

dulwichmum said...

OHMYGOD! I read the last four lines first - I don't know why, but I then read the rest of the post feeling relieved, but a little traumatised nevertheless!

Dear friend, you are a scream.

Bea x

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hee hee, I love that they all keep a straight face in front of their mum. Hopefully it's a talent you too will develop as the years go by. :D

GoneBackSouth said...

You paint a vivid picture, dear frog. I can just picture you all at your mafia style gathering.
p.s. Just looked at your party bags - they're lovely.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Just found your blog...via the feature in the Daily Telegraph (Sorry! I am a bit tardy I know!). I like your blog very much and will keep on reading.

My family are bad enough and my in-laws are 300 miles away (and they are the ones with the sense of humour!!) Keep up the good work!

Grit said...

Site of Special Scientific Interest...

Sparx said...

sounds like heaven! I do love farm kitchens and being with family... v envious!

HER ON THE HILL said...

Marvellous! Love the flying bread -must try that. Could help get the girls in the rounders team...

Sounds like my kind of kitchen (and family!) too.

Working mum said...

Came back to read this again via Potty Mummy. Still funny!