My friend Harvey is horrified to hear that I have never, ever carved a pumpkin into a Jack o’ Lantern in my life.
is eight years old and a veteran Pumpkin Carver. I, by contrast, have lived to what Faris the Rascal would term a Great Age and have never so much as lifted a knife, a spoon or any other appropriate instrument to a pumpkin. You could say it's on my (Hallowe’en)
I nearly took the plunge last year but I made the mistake of googling “How to carve a pumpkin” which was a very big mistake because it
surrounded the whole Pumpkin Carving Business in mystery, at the same time suggesting all manner of tools which I would need in order to fashion even the simplest of grimacing faces. These included chisels, power drills and other implements which would be
extremely dangerous in the hands of One Such As I. Hence, I chickened out and it's been a whole year since I last considered getting to grips with my Inner Pumpkin.
tells me it is really, really much simpler than I imagine. Harvey’s mum, Kay, helps me keep our house in some semblance of order and Harvey accompanies her during school holidays when he and I play Blockcraft together and he introduces me to the latest
games on something called Roblox. On his most recent visit last Wednesday we couldn't manage to connect up his laptop to our Wifi so I had to download Roblox onto my IPad. This will make me even more popular than I like to think I am already with my (Not So
Very Little) Welsh Boys when next they come to stay.
Armed, therefore, with Harvey’s encouraging words plus the fact that Strand Local is selling
pumpkins for a mere one pound, I take the plunge and buy a healthy looking specimen which I take home and place, ceremoniously, on the dining room table right in front of Mr B. I think it is safe to say that he appears somewhat underwhelmed. This may, however,
be because I have “dumped” (in Mr B’s words) the pumpkin on top of the sports pages which he was trying to read until an annoying person (that’ll be me, then) interrupted him.
I take myself and my pumpkin out into the kitchen where I start by slicing the top off. I think this is probably my first mistake in that I have taken far too much off the top, leaving little room for facial features. Never
mind, I comfort myself, nobody gets anything right first time. Do they? I shall consult Harvey when next I see him. Over the next twenty minutes, the kitchen surface slowly disappears under pumpkin flesh and seeds - this is turning out to be a satisfyingly
I take FaceTime out to check on the creations of other family members. Sam and James, assisted by their father, show me their amazing pumpkins,
carved with the help of stencils. Sam’s is a wolf howling against the moon; James’s is a spooky gremlin. I show them my efforts and they clearly struggle to find the words to sum up, adequately, their verdict on my endeavours though My Boy informs
me (as if I didn't know) that I have sliced too much off the top...
Just to underline my inadequacies in the Carving Department, the Middle of the Darling Daughters
sends me photos of the Trio of Rampaging Rascals scooping out their pumpkins. They have requested a TRex, a shark and Minnie Mouse. I begin to be thankful that Mr B is so undemanding. At least on the Pumpkin Front.
I have, however, done something nobody else in the family has thought of - I have planted a dozen pumpkin seeds in my vegetable trough. Come this time next year I may - possibly - have my very own home-grown pumpkins ready
to be carved!
Except, except…According to an organisation going by the really rather charming name of PumpkinNook, pumpkin seeds should be planted
in May, having had their edges filed off with a nail file and been soaked in warm (not hot, heaven forefend!) water for two hours. I am SO disappointed.
is not lost - I have consulted a helpful website called Gardening KnowHow and I now Know How to wash, dry and store my pumpkin seeds in an envelope at the back of my fridge where they will be out of sight and out of mind and quite likely be Forgotten Ever
Life really, really, is too short…