Life of a peach
Does size matter?
Oh help! This has got nothing to do with my usual rants or raves, nor anything to do with the life of a peach, or a life without peaches for that matter. It’s to do with my daughter’s French boyfriend and my son. Daughter and boyfriend went away for three days. They hired a campervan – this is a van equipped with sleeping and cooking facilities, like a mobile home. The hire company where they got the van upgraded them to a super deluxe campervan for no apparent reason (young love does have an affect on people!), and off they went up north visiting New Zealand’s beautiful coastline and beaches. I thought I’d have some quiet time, but the husband was in residence and the son hung around a lot of the weekend. Oh well. Next weekend, perhaps. The young couple returned none the worse for wear, having eaten in cafes and vineyards, and one night, they cooked potatoes in the embers of a fire. Scrumptious she told me, simple but scrumptious. Just like Norman makes but better because we did onions, too, she said. Norman’s recipe for these spuds is in my book Sizzle Sensational Barbecue Food, should you feel the need to read about it (how nice to be able to give my book a genuine plug). There was lots of activity when they arrived, with things flung hither and yon, but the campervan was thoroughly cleaned and returned to the hire company on time. Daughter and French boyfriend returned home, ate like they hadn’t seen food for a week, showered using a week’s worth of water then, all pink and scrubbed and feeling the chill of the autumn air, rugged up in the same clothes they had wrapped themselves in when they were cooking the potatoes in the embers. Oh dear. They smelled of smoke. Off they came, replaced by fresh-smelling clothes. I offered to wash the French boyfriend’s sweater, a beautiful looking creamy-beige thing, with buttons, and therein started my panic.
I have an, um, penchant, shall we say, for turning full-size woollen things into miniature replicas of themselves. Yes, I mean that horrible word shrinkage! I don’t want to type it too big because it frightens me. However, I washed the sweater with great care in cold water and I was very relieved that when I lay it out to dry draped over a towel it still resembled the sweater I had been handed by the French boyfriend. Good. Then I got on to the rest of the washing, I wouldn’t say feeling smug, but feeling very much more la bonne maman.
Though there is one other little problem area I have in the washing department, and that is to do with colour. Mmm. Things start out white and emerge out of the machine in shades of grey, mauve, pale saffron even slimey green. I don’t know how it happens. I sort things into piles, putting like with like. I wash the clothes in cold water. I take them out of the machine as soon as the machine starts it stupid incessant repetitious beeping. And I dry them outside in the fresh air. But I still get caught out.
Today I turned my sons expensive black and white patterned shirt with turn-down buttoned collar and lovely pressed cuffs a sort of murky blue. If you didn’t know that it used to be white and gray, you’d probably find it quite acceptable. But he knows. A white teatowel is now tie-dyed and has been retired to the barbecue as a cleaning rag. Daughter’s tangerine pants are now a yucky greeny-brown like minced up fermented grass clippings, but strangely the white stripe down the side has remained white. Labels, too, remain white. My son has a new blue singlet to wear. My daughter a pale blue scarf (actually, I think this is an improvement – at least I will try and sell it to her that way), but the worse thing is my son’s stripey pink shirt. It is now a vile shade of pale mauve with pukey burgundy coloured stripes.
Everything is now hidden, either dried and bundled up out of sight, or soaking in buckets waiting for a never-to-arrive miracle. The French boyfriend’s sweater is smelling sweet and fresh – that glorious smell of air-dried wool – but now I’ve folded it up it somehow seems a little LARGER than it was this morning.