(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2017 Angharad
This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
“What bacon? I didn’t ask you to buy any bacon.”
“Oh, can’t you stick it in the freezer?”
“How much did you buy?”
“Yes, it’s in the fridge.”
I checked and he was telling the truth. We also had a tray of eggs a catering size tin of tomatoes and in the freezer I had some frozen mashed potato. I knew what we were having for dinner. It was David’s day off so guess who was cooking?
I could do the bacon in a meat tin in the oven, the eggs and potato I’d fry. I had some sausages in the fridge, so they could cook with the bacon, there’d only be one each but with potato and bacon and egg should be enough. A quick flit in the pantry saw a punnet of mushrooms, so they’d get cooked as well. I love bacon and egg, preferably with chips when it isn’t a breakfast meal, but mash would do just as well, especially as I was going to fry it—better than those revolting hash brown things. I found some burgers in the freezer but decided we have enough protein without them. I didn’t remember buying them, so probably David had.
After a cuppa, I told Si we were having bacon and egg for dinner and he smiled and asked if he’d done the right thing in buying it. I told him he’d done really well as I’d forgotten I was doing dinner.
“You could always shove it in the freezer and I’ll order some pizzas.”
“Thanks for the thought but I’ll cook, I quite fancy bacon and egg.”
“I rather fancy you, wifey.”
“Si, thanks for the compliment, but I need to get on and do the dinner, as it’s five o’clock already.”
“Want a hand?”
“Yes could you check out the girls and keep the littlies out of here.”
“Okay,” he took his tea and went off to supervise any he could find.
It was hectic but I had everything ready to eat at six. I think everyone was home so began dishing up. It really was a good fry up—except I’d baked the bacon and the sausages, and I’d made some toast as well. I like my eggs on a bed of toast, so I made ten rounds with commercially made and sliced wholemeal bread. Toast is one of those things which either goes cold while you make the next batch, or if you keep it warm, it goes as dry as a biscuit. In fact I’ve met people who used to make their own dog biscuits by drying bread in the oven. I don’t know if it’s better than the various commercial brands and unfortunately Kiki doesn’t distinguish between much at all, unless it absolutely has to be chewed it’s shovelled down as quickly as possible. If Bramble does the same ie eat as fast as possible, she’s sometimes sick, so I chop her stuff up quite small and spread it round her dish and it slows her down.
Wrapping the toast in a tea cloth helps to keep it slightly warmer but it still took three goes with the toaster to make ten slices.
Eventually, everything was ready and I called in the troops, Julie and Phoebe came in chatting with their dad presumably about their potential purchase. The younger lot appeared and I placed the plates out in front of them, Simon’s being twice as much as anyone else’s. Lizzie was put in her high chair. I would feed her as I tried to eat my own—no wonder it’s always cool or cold.
“Where’s Danielle?” I asked holding up her plate. They all shrugged and said they hadn’t seen her. I put her plate in the cool oven of the Aga. Simon insisted I eat before I worried about calling her mobile.
My appetite dropped a little and I spent more time feeding Lizzie than eating myself. She’s probably just missed her bus rather than been kidnapped by aliens who are puzzled by her lack of internal breeding equipment, when they dissected her—that reminds me, I’m showing some first years how to dissect owl pellets on Monday. I’m half tempted to get a technician to do it but I quite enjoy some hands on work, the identification of the bones, especially skulls are the best bit.
I have an agreement with the Mammal Society that we can use their key for identifying the skulls, which are usually broken but the teeth, or even the tooth sockets can be indicative of the original owner before it met Tyto alba otherwise known as the barn owl, which is what produced the pellets we have. We have a farmer who’s sympathetic to wildlife and farms similarly. He has two barn owl nests and regularly collects pellets for me—in return, he gets a bottle of single malt whisky at Christmas to reward his assistance.
On the ecology course, I take them to Graham’s farm and we wander round taking measurements, and searching for things like dormouse nests in hedgerows or harvest mice in his corn or hay. He keeps some old fashioned methods, despite being only in his forties as well as the odd field of monoculture for silage. We also set mammal traps for live trapping to record small furry things, usually voles but sometimes shrews or even mice.
They all have to learn how to handle small animals if they want to become ecologists but some of the girls and the odd boy seem frightened of mice or even voles. I mean the most they can get is bubonic plague or typhus and provided they submit a medical certificate they can have a few days sick leave to die—we’re not unsympathetic. We did try to set up a contract with the anatomy school at Southampton but for some reasons the families like to bury their own dead. Anyway, we don’t have too many bitten by adders or drowned while collecting pond specimens, so maybe it was always going to be a non-starter. Besides medical schools get offered too many corpses by people trying to avoid funeral expenses.
Dinner was over and while Julie took Lizzie out of her chair and washed her face and hands—she likes to play with her food—I tried calling Danielle on her phone. It was taking voicemail so I left a message asking where she was and to ring as soon as possible to let me know she was all right.
I cleared away the dishes into the machine and fretting about Danni switched it on without putting a tablet in it. That means I’ll have to do them again, blow. At seven I called Cindy to see if Danielle was with her—she wasn’t but Cindy thought she mayh have gone off with a couple of other girls who were either seeing boys or going to watch a film.
“Look, babes, she’s a teenager, she forgets the time when she’s enjoying herself.”
“But I left a message on her phone.”
“That only works if she looks at it.”
“They constantly monitor their phones.”
“Until you want them to.”
He was probably right but I was too agitated to do the work I should have been doing and instead sat myself down with some mending under the colour corrected light I have in my study.
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