Mix and Match

‘Six ounces of plain flour, half a teaspoon of mixed spice and the same of ginger.’

Thank goodness the children are playing next door and I can get this pudding made. Why am I bothering anyway? Much easier to buy one but Barry always said mine were far better. Mustn’t cry he’s been gone three years, ridiculous.

‘Six ounces of soft brown sugar and three ounces of chopped peel’

I don’t have to chop the peel fine because there’s no one to moan about large chunks now.

‘One tablespoon of orange marmalade and finely grated rind of an orange.’

I’m taking the boys to see Father Christmas this afternoon. Can I run to that bike Joseph wants? Perhaps I’ll buy a chicken instead of turkey. They’ll not notice the difference and I’ve crackers left over from last year. Just go into the red if necessary.

‘Two ounces of finely chopped walnuts and eight ounces of fresh white breadcrumbs.’

Perhaps I should write to Father Christmas. How about,

‘Dear Santa, I’ve been on my own for a long time. The boys need a dad and I’m lonely and sad. Please bring me a man for Christmas.’

Huh, some hopes.

‘Six ounces of shredded suet, six ounces of raisins and the same of sultanas.’

Ok, so stop eating the dried fruit or you’ll never get into your clothes and that’ll make you even more miserable. I think I’m nearly there. What’s next?

‘Grated rind of half a lemon, three eggs and a quarter of a pint of milk.’

When I’ve mixed this I’ll get the steamer ready but I won’t put it in the basin until the children have stirred and made a wish. Oh-oh here they come.

‘Mummy, Mummy look what Angie gave us and we made you a card. It’s got glitter all over it.

‘How lovely. Thank you Joseph and thank you Luke. Oh a cup cake each! Did you help make them?’

‘No they were from Sainsbury’s. Angie says they’re better than homemade. Is it lunch time or can we eat them now?’

‘No Joseph, save them for a pudding. Luke you need to give your hands a good wash and get that glitter off. In fact both of you do that and then you can stir the pudding.’

‘Can we make a wish like last year?’

‘Yes you can both wish and so will I. Let’s see those hands. Much better, so, youngest first, come on Luke kneel on the chair. ‘

‘Ooh it’s really stiff. I can’t push it round. Can you help me Mum? I wish….’

‘No, you mustn’t say it out loud or it won’t come true, Luke. Say it in your head.’

‘That’s right, Joseph. Well done Luke you can get down and let Joseph have his go. That’s lovely. My turn…. ‘I’ve made my wish so I’ll put the mixture in the basin and then it’ll be time for a sandwich. Go and play for a few minutes and don’t make too much mess because we’re going out this afternoon.’

If I put it in the steamer now it shouldn’t need topping up with water ‘till we get back. Really wish wishes came true. Cheese sandwiches with tomato sauce should do it. We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry …… Shut up! Christmas songs are haunting me.

‘Ok boys lunch is ready.’

‘Oooh, cheese and red sauce, yummy. Where are we going Mum?’

‘It’s a surprise, Luke.

‘I bet it’s to see Father Christmas. Is it mum?’

‘You’ve guessed it Joseph so if you’ve had enough to eat you can get your coats and shoes on.’

The pudding needs five hours steaming so we’ve plenty of time.

‘Right boys into the car. Don’t be silly Luke. We have an appointment and we’re expected at two o’clock. Also Father Christmas will ask if you’ve been good!’

It’ll take about twenty minutes so I’ll put the radio on and hope Luke doesn’t nod off otherwise he won’t sleep tonight.

‘Hello, Mr Elf, we’ve come to see Father Christmas.’

‘Hello, young men and what are your names?’

‘I’m Joseph and this is my brother Luke.’

‘That’s lovely. Father Christmas is ready for you now so I’ll take you in.’

‘Father Christmas this is Joseph and his brother Luke.’

‘Hello and is this your big sister?’

‘No, that’s mummy.’

What gorgeous brown eyes peeping over that beard and such a deep, sexy voice. Oh you could have my dinner money any day. The boys are enthralled and they’re not alone. Hope the presents are not too tacky. Looks like our time is up, better move.

‘Father Christmas is going to see some other children now so let’s go.’

Good the elf is helping. I think Luke has been mesmerised. What was that thump? No! Santa’s collapsed. The boys haven’t noticed.

‘I’m a nurse would you look after my children, Mr Elf, and I’ll see what I can do.’

He’s very hot; could be a temperature. Good he’s coming to. What a lovely face he has. Bet he’s married with ten kids.’

‘Hello are you with us? You passed out. I think you have a fever. Would you like a drink of water? I’ll get an elf.’

‘No, please just wait. I didn’t feel good this morning but didn’t want to let the children down. If you help me to sit up I’ll probably be alright.’

‘I think you should go to the doctor and get some antibiotics. I’m a nurse and I’m sure you’ve got a temperature. At least you should go home now.’

‘You’re right I feel rough just sitting up. Could you help me get out of this robe so the children don’t get upset.’

Oh he’s lovely, so thoughtful.

‘There you look like an ordinary man. I think I should go to my children now. I hope you feel better soon.’

‘Thank you, Mrs……?’

‘Harris, Sheila Harris. Would you like me to drive you to the doctors? I’m not sure you should drive because you could faint again.

‘I can’t put you to all that trouble and your boys might recognise my voice. We will have to close the grotto and then Mark, the tallest elf can drive me. Could I have your phone number or e-mail so I can thank you when I’m better?’

‘Yes, but you’ve already said it so there’s no need.’ What am I doing ?

‘Please.’

‘Ok.’ Can’t get pen and paper out quick enough; all fumbly. E-mail and phone number and my name in case he forgets. Must give it to him then find the boys.

‘Where’ve you been Mummy? Were you telling Father Christmas what you wanted for Christmas?’

‘Yes Luke; he knows what we all want so it will be our best Christmas ever.’

 

Christmas Eve, the boys are asleep and this gin and tonic is a real treat. Who’s ringing me? Bet it’s one of those PPI things.

‘Hello?’

‘John who? I don’t know you.’

‘Oh! How are you?’

‘That’s great. Antibiotics still work miracles.’ It’s a miracle he’s phoned me….love that voice.

‘There isn’t a Mr Harris. He died three years ago.’

‘No, don’t worry.’

‘Yes, yes I’d like to see you but getting sitters can be difficult.’

‘Boxing day would be great. We often go for a walk in the Dales. We’ll meet you at ten thirty then. Look forward to it. Bye.’ Oh my God! I’ve got a date. Raise my glass,

‘Cheers, Father Christmas.’

 

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