DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: When the proof is in the pudding

November 22nd, 2020 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

The new season of The Crown is consuming people everywhere. Although for me, this week has been mainly about consuming bread and butter pudding and wondering if my Prize Bond numbers will ever come up.

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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Week 36 and the Christmas ads on TV have turned me into an emotional wreck – an even bigger one than I was already

AROUND this time every year my sister and I start asking each other ‘that’ question: What will we do for Christmas this year? It’s a bit gas, because it’s not like our options include spending it in the lodge in Aspen or the apartment in Manhattan. For the past few years, it’s either been her place or ours and for the most part it’s worked pretty well. Who knows how it’s going to pan out this year? Strictly speaking, it’s my sister’s turn, although I suppose I’d better start making some feeble attempt at ‘a list’ just in case we’re left to our own devices. Although if it’s just ourselves it mightn’t even be worth getting out the good plates? Kidding… kinda.

We do the same every year for New Year’s Eve and it always follows the same pattern. We start with plans for a big elaborate dinner party and after approx 403 conversations, we’ll settle with a family-friendly tea, and decide that in the new year we’ll start paying into a special account so we can go ‘all out’ next year and maybe go down to the Brennan brothers in Kenmare or over the road to Inchydoney. We know deep down it won’t ever happen, but it makes us feel good just to say it out loud. We’re basically full of hot air.

How will Christmas swims work this year I wonder? Or will they? Going to the Broad Strand swim has been our family tradition for over 40 years. I missed a few years during my teens when I felt I was too fat, or too cool (youth really is wasted on the young), but I’ve made a splash of sorts most years. Be a shame if they can’t go ahead in some way. Perhaps if everyone gets a time slot? Being honest, though, what I love most about the event is being told by the onlookers that I’m great (at my age you lap up whatever scraps of praise come your way),  and the fact that you can have a hot whiskey at noon. Damn you Covid.

Speaking of alcohol, we made the rookie mistake of availing of a supermarket offer and buying the Christmas wine too early. I always knew how it was going to pan out, by my husband seems genuinely surprised that it’s nearly all gone. I really thought he knew me better at this stage. I shall not be getting the chocolates until the 23rd for the obvious reasons.

The Christmas TV ads are coming thick and fast and  it doesn’t matter how corny they are, they turn me into a blubbering mess. Oh lord, the SuperValu one is definite wobbly lip, ‘no, no there’s just something in my eye’ territory. Catches me every time. It makes me feel even more sorry for people who are trying to decide whether to book a flight home this year or not.

I’ve made what I feel is a very grown up and mature decision and am deferring my viewing of The Crown. I’m dying to get stuck into it but going by past form, I know if I start I won’t stop (a bit like Pringles). If I can get to the start of December, or even next weekend, I’ll be pleased. Besides, I’m still ploughing through Schitt’s Creek. I only copped this week that Moira is the mum from Home Alone. That made me like the crazy bat even more.

So, a Cork prize bond holder won themselves a cool €50,000 this week. It reminded me of how a good few years back I got a prize bond as a Christmas gift when, in fact, I’d asked for runners. I still don’t fully understand what got lost in translation, but the fallout was ugly. It was definitely not the most wonderful time of the year for me, that year. The gift giver has reminded me frequently over the years that I’d change my tune pretty swiftly if I got lucky, so I suppose with new found maturity I can see that while the runners would not have lasted the pace, this is the gift that keeps on giving. But if my family are reading, I do not want another one this year. Thanks.

I’m deliberately not mentioning the speed wobble that our Covid cases have taken over the past few days, and how we’re all firmly back in Dr Tony and Dr Ronan’s bad books. They’re saying we have time to turn things around, but... it could also get worse. So, if you’re acting the eejit – get a grip, the clock is ticking.

In completely unrelated, and not very interesting news, I  made bread and butter pudding the other day for the first time in years. It was my dad’s favourite so we had it on his birthday in his memory. I stick with the traditional recipe with raisins, you can keep your fancy medjool dates. And yes of course, there was custard, lots of it. I reckon if we had been making this during Lockdown 1, instead of the banana bread, we’d have felt much better. Although we’d probably be talking about the Covid Two Stone then. But sure Dr Ronan Glynn said we all need to stick to the basics right now, so strictly speaking I’m only doing what I’m told, although the proof will be in the pudding.

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