All we needed was an opportunity - and yesterday the perfect one presented itself.
We had just finished scoffing a delicious roast lamb dinner cooked by the Middle of
the Darling Daughters. The Twinkles were fully engaged in Multiple Madness and The Rascal was looking round for fresh mischief. "Let's build a house!" I suggested.
It is possible that The Rascal was anticipating
digging foundations and operating a cement mixer, in which case he was bound to be disappointed when he saw me opening up a box containing a "Decorate Your Own Gingerbread House."
"Good luck with that" was
the supportive comment from Young Faris's mamma who decided to remove herself to the kitchen and the washing-up. She seemed to think that restoring order to my kitchen was going to be a piece of (gingerbread) cake, compared with the Earnest Endeavours on which
her small son and I were about to embark.
The directions on the back of the box looked deceptively easy. If we could just manage to get the walls of our house to remain upright for the half an hour it would
take the icing with which they were stuck together to, well, stick, then we would be half-way there. It didn't help that I had to keep jumping up to rescue one or other of The Twinkles from mischief - every time I returned to the table it was to see yet another
wall slowly toppling sideways.
Eventually, more by luck than judgement, we had the roof on. It was balanced, precariously, on four wobbly walls but then I never pretended to be a Master Builder, did I? It
was time to start decorating. To give him his due, Young Faris was not in the least bit interested in eating the sweets. I can't imagine there are many two, going on three year olds, who would have concentrated on pressing the jellies, the Smarties and the
coloured balls into the icing sugar, rather than into their mouths.
The Middle of the Darling Daughters dragged herself away from the kitchen sink just in time to witness this unprecedented act of cooperation
on the part of The Rascal. I preened myself, proud of my power to hold the Rampaging One's attention. Our gingerbread house was looking good enough to eat. Which was, of course, just as it should be.
about to capture the happy scene on camera when The Rascal reverted to type and demolished our shaky efforts with one carefully aimed left hook. It was just like Joshua at the Battle of Jericho. You know, when the walls came tumbling down. To be fair, it didn't
take a trumpet call.
I'm not giving up, by the way. I have rescued the four walls and the two roof sections which I am trying to rebuild while fighting a constant battle against subsidence. Mr B says I need
to get my priorities sorted as we have a special Valentine's Dinner to cook - fillet steak with pepper sauce, jacket potatoes and salad. What am I doing with my fingers all sticky, desperately holding pieces of gingerbread together with dollops of icing sugar?
he wants to know. Give me time, I tell him. It will be yet another example of the Triumph of Hope and Hard Work Over Adversity. With icing sugar and jellies thrown in.
Faris writes: I know what you are thinking
but you have to see this whole House Building Business from my perspective. Nanni is always building things, mostly sandcastles on the beach. We (well, Nanni) start by digging a moat, then we build the walls and turrets, then finally we decorate our castle
with shells and seaweed. After which I am allowed to jump on the castle and demolish it. To be honest, it's the best bit. Bar none.
So, really, I can't see what was the difference between building a sandcastle
and building a gingerbread house. The best bit was always going to be knocking it down.
This is only my opinion (as you know, I have a lot of opinions) but I feel confident you will agree. You know it makes