We had been invited to, probably the last BBQ this summer. It was Saturday afternoon and the sun had been shinning all day. Unusually I had no food to prepare and things were quiet in the house. We were bringing the drinks including Pimms so I did need to chop and soak the fruit in the alcohol before we left.
I started early as the longer the fruit marinated the better the Pimms tastes. I own a beautiful glass punch bowl which comes with delicate little cups. The sheer glass has vine leaves bulging with fruit etched delicately round it and the glass spoon sits comfortably poking through the opening in the lid.
This punch bowl has been part of my family for as long as I can remember. My father a born host produced this bowl from the recesses of his cupboards for every memorable party he gave. Perfectly chopped fruit, pimms, ice and bubbling lemonade taking centre stage on the drinks table at the summer party. Warm, spicy cinnamon and red mulled wine pervading the room, hinting at the fruit mix and warmth waiting to be enjoyed after the bonfire and fireworks display he had already pre-planned.
In fact I don’t remember an occasion he didn’t bring the bowl out and make good use of it, and yet the delicacy of the glass survived them all. When my father passed away and my mother downsized she gave the bowl to me to follow his guardianship, with the understanding that I too, would put it to good use. I hoped that I had emulated that custody.
I began chopping strawberries, oranges, lemons and apples. I dug deep into the cupboard to bring out the bowl and even deeper to count that I still had all the cups to serve the drink in. Carefully I brought it to the sink to wash it and took the lid off. The water running, the lid shining I lifted the spoon out.
Time stood still.
It was only a gentle tap as the spoon came out but in slow motion the side of the bowl shattered as each shard of splintered glass speared my disbelieving memory. One side of the bowl remained intact but the one nearest me was in pieces as was I. Sexy Sporty Dad responding instantly to my cry of pain, tried to find where it hurt.
Inside, where my heart is; where all the memories of my childhood had just converged on my core tearing it to pieces. I had been given this to use, protect and pass on. In a moment’s distraction I had destroyed something precious, at least to me; the memory of my father as he entertained his guests and never let anyone be without a drink or a companion at any of his parties.
Sexy Sporty Dad gathered the pieces and with sombre tone admitted that not even he could glue all the slivers back together for me. He carefully wrapped the offending pieces in newspaper and will dispose of them as if they were a beloved pet that had passed on. Quietly and secretly so my misery is not re-ignited.
My mind wrenched back to this evening’s activities. What of the Pimms? I still needed a receptacle to serve it from. I knew the friends we were dinning with would have accepted a bottle of wine or other form of drink without damming me; but I had promised Pimms and so Pimms it must be.
Where do you find a punch bowl late on a Saturday afternoon these days?
A plethora of charity shops adorn our high street and there is one that sells all kinds of odd bits of household clearance items that rarely anyone wants. I started there and trawled the aisles finding beautiful cut glass vases, jugs that would hold enough for two or three drinks even large brandy glasses that might be used instead. I found a sugar bowl and milk jug that matched Granddad’s cups, I spotted a silver or possible stainless silver jam spoon that it had taken me weeks to find when I was looking for a present for my mother’s new house. The one thing I could not find was anything resembling a punch bowl.
As I browsed a couple of outfits and smart tops on the way through to the exit I noticed the two ladies at the counter waiting I guess, for someone to say hello, buy something or just a bit of excitement. I popped back in and asked “I don’t suppose you have anything like a punch bowl?”
The first lady looked at me sadly “no unless it is out on the shelves we don’t”
The other lady seemed a little more thoughtful. “Could you wait a moment we did have one handed in a while back I am not sure what happened to it.”
Naturally I waited; picking up a top and admiring it; wishing I was 4 sizes smaller and could squeeze into it. Why are all the best clothes always too small. After 10 minutes of browsing I was becoming a little edgy, late on a Saturday afternoon and I didn’t know where I might find what I was looking for.
Finally she appeared staggering under the weight of a large punch bowl box. Unsure even if the box held what it promised we gently removed the bowl with spoon. It seemed to be resting on a layer which we lifted exposing all twelve cups in perfect condition. This was not delicate thin glass with beautiful etching on it, but thick chunky glass made to withstand even my clumsy washing. I would take it. After all the cost would not matter; how much does it cost to replace the priceless memories associated with my broken, shattered bowl.
“That will be £5 please”
“How much? Are you sure?” I added another top I had been toying with as I felt so guilty at the cheapness.
Ten minutes later all clean and shiny; the bowl adorned the shelf in the fridge with a small layer of pimms soaked fruit. The lemonade would be added at the party.
As we drank late that evening in the glowing embers of the sunlight we raised a glassed to my father “Cheers Dad.”
I seem to have reached a goal; one I was not expecting. Although my book “Memories” is supposedly going through a revamp and re-edit before being sent to publishers; I have found myself writing a short blog in the newly launched Gillingham Guide. I may only have a remit of 250 words a month to tell my tale, I have gone over on both occasions so far, this is to be a regular, time critical writing that I will have to produce as a filler providing space is available.
With all that is going on currently I am deciding whether I can find time to join NANOWRIMO this November. How can I write 1600 words a day when currently finding time for 100 per day is a challenge. I have several themes going round in my head for the next book but maybe I should get Memories published then write the next one.
On another note my writing coach from our writing group has slated this blog for it’s over use of literary features and clichés. Having recovered slightly from the slating I thought long and hard about his comments. I could of course drop all the fun features as he suggests and just text speak my thoughts in plain boring words but I think I would lose the essence of what I am saying and I am not sure I would stay focused for long. I suspect my coach needs to understand blogging, twitter and social media before he can write-off my penned word completely. After all I am publishing two blogs regularly and now another monthly blog, people are beginning to know my name. Does he really want me to stop that just as things pick up for me?
I guess I need to get used to these beratings and rejections before I send Memories off.
Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy