There's been a lot of fuss* in the press this week about a shocking survey which claims that most working mothers only have nine recipes in their regular repertoire.
Even more dreadful, they sometimes cook the same meal on the same night of the week. How do these people live with themselves? Their families must be rending their garments and crying in the wilderness at the pain and woe caused by having the same meal on the same night of the week.
But hang on a minute.
Let's have a think. How do they define "meal" anyway? One of the press pieces I saw covering this scandal listed the "Top Ten Meals." The list included things like "Curry", and "Meat and Two Veg" and "Roast Dinner".
If I was in a restaurant and the menu said "Roast Dinner" I think I'd be asking a few questions. What exactly did you roast? Is it chicken? Pork? Beef? Snake? Cat? A bit more detail would be welcome there, thanks.
The same with Meat and Two Veg. That, to me, covers about four hundred different meals. Especially if you include sausages. Which I do.
Curry. Just look at a menu in any half decent Indian restaurant. If there was just the one entry - Curry - they wouldn't get too many people coming back for a second visit. Unless that one dish was incredibly fantastic, I suppose.
When you look at the actual survey results and the accompanying press release, it transpires that the whole thing emanated from Uncle Ben's.
It seems to be ok to have a small repertoire of meals, as long as some of them include ready-made sauces.
"Nutritionist, Juliette Kellow said: ''Parents should feel reassured that kitchen shortcuts like ready-made sauces are the perfect solution to expanding your repertoire with exciting and nutritious meals all the family will love.'' "
But where, oh where can I find a selection of ready-made sauces? Tell me, Uncle Ben!
Other news: We have a gardener! Yes, the Servant Question became more complicated today, as we added him to the long list** of people we pay to come and do stuff for us.
He is a very nice chap, and is going to give our poor old gnarly apple tree in the back garden a good hard pruning. He looked at my horrible weedy overgrown flower beds, at the ivy-infested hedge encroaching out across the mossy lawn, at the sad excuse for a vegetable patch, then asked me, "Shall I just come in and do what needs doing when I have time?"
God, yes. Yes. Come over whenever you can, and make my garden look nice. PLEASE.
We've been putting off doing any kind of serious work on the garden because we want to get all the hard landscaping torn up and re-laid, so spending ages on the plants seemed like a waste of time. However, the gradual decline of the garden into a dank, frog-infested, weedy, mossy wilderness has become too depressing, so the very nice gardener is going to help us fix it.
I'm quite excited actually.
We've been living in this house almost 8 years (I think) and have been gradually getting all the serious stuff done - electrics, roof fixing, central heating, replacement windows and doors, bathroom, kitchen, all that, but now the house is more or less finished, so we can turn our attention to the extensive grounds***.
Next Spring could be very lovely. And boy, it's nice having something so pleasant to look forward to after this, The Year of Unmitigated Shit.
On that note, for those of you who have been bored witless by us talking about the SSFH****, we have had an apology. And we are being deleted from the databases. I should fucking well think so.
Maybe one day when I find it all less horrific, traumatic and heartbreaking I will talk about it on here. For now, though, we are trying to move on.
In the meantime, life goes on and we will have flowers in the Spring.
*I've seen two articles
**The hilarious and brilliant cleaners. And I suppose Kevin the Decorator.
***Front and Back gardens. Oh, and the bit on the side. Fnar.
****Shit Storm From Hades