18 Apr 2014

No-man's land

No-woman's land either. In fact, no-person's land. I'm talking about the territory, physical and temporal, between me and what I'm about to eat. In the case of last night it was a small platter of M&S's breaded and filo-wrapped king prawns with a sweet chilli dip and the last glass in a bottle of newly discovered 9.5% Pinot Grigio, the perfect accompaniment for any post-menopausal system that feels squiffy from the same quantity of alcohol that was once only the warm up to an evening on the juice. 

I'd had a day of astonishingly varied activities that included clattering around with a stilson grip inside a black, plastic 4,000 litre water tank trying to help Tony fix a leak in a gate valve. An empty tank, of course. Well almost, and it's sod's law that says you will drop your gloves in the puddle that remains at the bottom. 

So appropriately showered and slippered, damp-haired and full of warm expectation for food and another round of TV's Masterchef I felt a generous measure of gloom descend when, at just before eight, the front doorbell rang and the handle clattered with the arrival of my step-daughter and a couple of her friends. 'We were on our way back from Monk's House [to Tottenham],' she said, 'and as we were passing I thought we'd pop in.' My initial unspoken reaction, which may well have appeared like a ticker tape across my forehead, was, I'm sure there's a more direct route. 

I know. Real people, especially the people you love, and the spontaneity of life should always be welcomed. And by the time I'd said that to myself half a dozen times, taken the king prawns out of the oven with the intention of crisping them up again later, muted the TV and found another, but unfortunately un-chilled, bottle of wine, I'd morphed into a just about acceptable version of a host. (Although the possibility of being a host with a chilled bottle of champagne and some fat olives and canapes would have been my preferred version.)

The difference between the general perception I have of myself and the self that emerges in particular situations never fails to surprise me. I am generous. I can be spontaneous. I enjoy surprise. Reminder to self: Not as much as you'd like to believe. 

But we're all evolving products. We shine. We dim. And then we shine again. 

Hungry Writing Prompt
Write about having guests in your home.