How I Burnt the Dinner and Other Stories

Photo by Rosy

We spent the weekend at St Helens, a sleepy seaside town, in a little blue cottage, lent to us by generous friends. I am an evil ingrate and moped for two days beforehand because I hate leaving the house. Posy is just like me in this respect. She kept leaving notes all over the house which read, "I hate the beach." She really does. She is an unnatural child but I completely understand this quirk. But Rosy is an adventurer who loves to experience new things, so we did it for her. Hermit propensities notwithstanding, we all managed to have a nice time. Posy did not so much as set foot on the sand, so was perfectly happy. She made us play Monopoly, and we took a handful of Hayao Miyazaki movies to watch.

Rosy and I hung out on the beach in the rain and climbed on rocks and found dead fish. We walked in the rainforest, and Rosy got to drive for six hours towards her driver's license. She loves driving. She is a strange girl. When I go on road trips I like to stop frequently, and luckily the girls do too. We stop for photo opportunities, historic monuments, bookshops, ice cream, animals, interesting walks and roadside stalls. The girls would not let me stop for bags of horse poo, but while Rosy was jumping out of the car to photograph cows in the mist at sunset, I spied a useful log of firewood on the side of the road and nipped out to put it in the boot. Waste not etc..

We are the most diverse set of human beings here at our house. It really puts the Nature vs Nurture debate to bed. It is Nature all the way for personality. Character probably owes something to nurture. And this brings me to burning the dinner. Reasons why I regularly burn the dinner: I was reading something important. I was bringing in the washing and got distracted by the sunset. I was talking to a child or the neighbours. I was walking the dog. I went out to pick parsley and accidentally weeded the garden for half an hour. Last night's excuse was reading something important.

It's not that I am completely incapable of cooking dinner without burning it, it's just that I have to concentrate really, really hard. Conditions must be perfect and quiet, and there must be no distractions. I often cook perfectly on an afternoon when there is no-one else in the house. But I am not a hands-on person. I am kind of flaky and easily distracted. Cooking can go wrong very easily indeed. But mostly the girls are very forgiving, especially since the alternative to having me burning the dinner is for them to cook it. They would mostly rather risk rustically caramelised roast veg than actually don an apron.

Here are some advantages of living with other people, especially those you are related to and cannot escape from: you must learn to accept their little quirks, like hating the beach, always wanting to try new things, or burning the dinner, or will go a tiny bit insane. Can I accept those quirks of my family without trying to change them? Does anyone else find it hard to try not to tweak their best beloved?

Honestly, they all have MUCH WORSE quirks than that.. and so do I. It is so tempting to just try a little nip here, a tuck there.. and then I remember the burnt dinners, and decide to leave well alone.

PS Blogger resized Rosy's stunning beach photo. Click on it to see it in all its widescreen splendour.


Anonymous said…
What a lovely jaunt! I love walking along the beach when it is cold. How lucky to have friends with a place to stay at.

As to quirks and changing others, obviously I am positively perfect and quite sane. But others must be tweaked and moulded and made more in my image. (I am shocked to hear that my family do not hold views of my normality, let alone perfection.).

As to burnt dinners. No. well, actually yes. I can be distracted too. Why does it seem to happen in the last 5 to 10 minutes? Mr S would say because that is when you notice it. That it is always the last few minutes. Same as finding something in the last place you look. Cause then you stop looking.
Jo said…
Lucinda, I feel that your family should admire your perfection more.. and we would all benefit from becoming more Lucinda-like.
Mr S is right. And so is the smoke detector.
Debbie said…
I so enjoyed this post. :) That getaway sounded heavenly to me. I would have been the one on the beach looking for rocks, shells, anything really and watching the ocean waves just totally content and happy. The beach is one of my happy places.

My own grown children are so very different from each other, even the twins. I have one who is really into computer and video games. He can tell you the latest in all those areas. One of my twins is completely obsessed with sports. He plays ever sport he can and is on several different teams. The other twin is my outdoorsman. He hunts, fishes and is happiest when he is out in the woods camping or working. I love though that they are all so supportive of each other and make time to spend together whenever possible, even if one lives completely across the country from the rest of us. SKYPE is a grand thing!
Jo said…
Debbie, it's crazy, wondering what was handed to them genetically to make them so different, isn't it? Or did we treat them so differently that they turned out like this? I can't see it, especially with twins..
Mimi said…
Well, I only have one human child at home now. Two if you count the Man Child, who I swear becomes more child-like with every year he earns past 60. What's with that? Then there's the Whippet Child, who at the grand age of 77 in human years, can be permitted some juvenile, needy behaviour. Mostly I see my grandchildren growing in my image. They are sweet, loving, creative and innocent. They could ONLY have inherited those characteristics from me, right? Mimi
GretchenJoanna said…
Gorgeous photo!

How heartwarming to hear your stories about how you all managed to have a holiday together in love and tolerance. You are so right about the advantages of living with other people, and you seem to model the best ways to make the most of the opportunities.

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