Be careful what you don’t wish for   Leave a comment

You might get what (somebody thinks) you need.

On Saturday the 17th I had a gentle start to the day, laying in bed reading and eating cookies.

Eventually I got up and had brunch, because I’d planned something nice: fried egg and bread, and of course coffee to go with it. Unfortunately the egg exploded when I cracked it on the frying pan, so that made a mess and popped the yolk. And whilst trying to multi-task I ignored the espresso machine for a bit too long and my coffee overflowed. But the fried bread was nice, at least, and everything else was salvageable.

Hopefully that paragraph won’t torpedo any points I try to make later on.

Then I had to do the day’s main job, of wrapping presents for my cousins up north. My uncle and sister were going to visit them on Sunday, so they would take them up. Which meant they needed to be wrapped. Arghpanic. Fortunately, Mum called to say that riding was off this weekend. Phew!

Well, I actually got around to wrapping presents at 6pm or so. I don’t like wrapping because it takes ages, so put it off by doing the washing up, having lunch, and so on. Which, of course, meant it took even longer.
Whilst I was at it I watched the last episode of Frozen Planet, and everything vaguely interesting in the iPlayer’s Comedy section. It was nearly 3am by the time I’d finished. At which point I realised that I’d forgotten to get money for a card, so needed to go to the town centre. “Not tonight, though”, I thought, and set my alarm even earlier than it was already, so I could do it in the morning before the presents were collected.

If I’d not had long-lost cousin’s presents to wrap, it would only have taken half as long. Grr.

But I’ve ranted about her enough. If you’re my other Northern cousin, stop reading now!

Probably an unnecessary warning; even if she read this (she doesn’t, I hope) she would probably have been mortally offended by yesterday’s ranting, so would have disowned me completely by now. But just in case, as I want to talk about her families’ presents. No peeking!

I’m not convinced they’ll like them. I don’t know what they wanted, because I didn’t ask*; inspiration struck. I got them the most terrible present: something educational. My cousin’s boyfriend has a daughter, somewhere in the region of ten years old. I don’t know the first thing about the desires of children that age, but it occurred: she’s probably about old enough to learn how to cook; I used to bake with my grandmother when I was younger than that. And, of course, everyone should know how to cook. So I got her some kids’ cookery books, which will hopefully inspire and educate.
Unfortunately, neither my cousin nor her boyfriend are terribly culinary, so they wouldn’t be much assistance. But everyone should know how to cook, so I got them Delia Smith’s nice, big How To Cook book; age shall be no defence against having education and betterment imposed upon them! Well, my cousin’s son is about two years old. He gets a suspended sentence.

I didn’t start cooking for myself properly until I went to university, but it was definitely the most useful thing I learned in the four years of my studies. Much more so than any computing; I could do my job with the things I’d figured out by A-Levels (or just by gluing together Google search results, which is what it feels like I do most of the time anyway), but I couldn’t get by without the ability to cook. It’s probably the most important skill I’ve ever learned (despite my being nowhere near professional standards, or good enough to go on Masterchef**, say) and it was an incredible stroke of luck that my application to halls got mucked up so I didn’t wind up in catered accommodation***.

I do hope they find it useful, and that it helps them learn an important (and interesting and enjoyable!) skill. But I worry it’ll just be a disappointment, which would be a shame.

Ranting about her sister and buying shit presents? Flavour of the month status in 5, 4…

* I’m of the opinion that if you need to ask what somebody wants, you don’t know them well enough to be giving them presents.

** I reckon that I could make a lot of the things on Masterchef, with a bit of practice at the details (I’m not terribly dainty). But thinking them up in the first place? That’s the trick really, isn’t it. And wheras the contestants get two hours to make two or three courses, I could easily make preparing any one of them take an entire day.

*** It also meant I got a single room with an en-suite shower and toilet. In all, far and away the best mistake anybody’s ever made on my behalf in my entire life.


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